March 29, 2009
TRENTON, N.J. -
Head Coach Joanne Boyle
I'd like to give a lot of credit to Connecticut. They've established a lot of history in their program. Understandably so being here every year where they are. Just kind of pushing that tempo in the second half and doing what they needed to do. In the game I thought they just did a really good job. But at the same time, I'm extremely proud of my team, they've done a lot this year, they've done a lot in four years. I'm just really proud of them.
Questions for the players
How did you feel in the first half when you were up? Personally, and as a team?
Ashley Walker: I think we were just playing with momentum, we were playing hard. The ball was bouncing our way. We wanted to keep the game close. They have never been in that situation before. On every loose ball we were hustling. Just playing really hard and play your guts out.
Can you talk about this being your final game and the disappointment that comes with it?
Ashley- Uconn is an amazing team. They're one of the best in the country. It's sad to know it had to end like this, but there's always a winner and there's always a winner. That's how it goes it's the game of life. Imp thrilled I got a chance to play with my teammates. We got a sweet 16 under our belts, and we're excited. The rest of the girls get to come back and try again. Me and Alexa are going to go on and keep playing and keep cheering for Cal. Can you talk about your career at Cal and how your team has progressed from year one to where it is now?
Devanei Hampton- Coming in you couldn't even tell who Cal was. Coming in and establishing our presence, Me, Alexis, and Ashley our freshman year, we opened some doors and we rang the bell. Over these four years we've progressed. These years have been amazing, Coach Boyle is a terrific coach, she turned down Duke to stay here with us that showed a lot. She's the driver to our train. This journey has been magnificent. Me Alexis and Ashley, we couldn't pick a better group of girls to play with.
Ashley- It was great to get a chance to play with the people I did. Our class in particular chose to come to Cal because it was in our back yard. We're all from that area. It was a no name program at the time. We all wanted to establish ourselves. We wanted to play premier basketball against great teams, and then Coach Boyle came along. She's done that for us. As a group we've made this program what it is and left a little bit of a legacy behind us so the seven freshmen coming in can see what we have done and make another push and really put Cal on the map in the next couple years. It's been an amazing ride and journey. I wouldn't pick any other 11 girls to play with.
What was Uconn doing differently, what did they take out of you to come back?
Alexis- Uconn is a great team. The first half they came out and put everything on the floor. I don't know if they necessarily did anything differently. They played a lot harder, but we also played hard. It wasn't like we just kind of gave up. We can take the push and when we were down 20 we came back in, that's the soul of our team. We continue to fight no matter who we're playing against, what we're doing. Even though it didn't come out the way we wanted it, we battled adversity. We could have went down 30 or 40 at a point but we didn't, we came as a team, we played together, played power basketball. Obviously we could have played a little better and ran our stuff a little better. We don't have any regrets at all
You mentioned you were impressed with Connecticut- what in particular impressed you?
Ashley- You just look at them they're a great team. We stayed in the game, we were up on them. They've been to the Sweet 16 numerous times, and this is the first time Cal and this group has ever been to this level. It's the first time for us but not the first time for them, so they weren't going to give up without a fight. Great teams close all games, they make a run, and they keep pushing, and that's exactly what they did. We just couldn't get a stop there, couldn't get the ball to bounce the right way. Devanei got some great looks, just missed a couple of cheapies. If it goes in then you get the momentum, and if it doesn't it hurts you on the back end. They're a great team, they put in a great run and they've been doing that all year.
Comment a little bit more about what impressed you about Uconn? Did what Hayes did surprise you?
Coach Boyle- It didn't surprise me, when Natasha got her second foul obviously we were clicking on all cylinders, and she had to sit for six minutes the momentum changed and they went on a 12-2 run. We're not deep like Connecticut's not deep. I do think we can guard on man-to-man for a long time. We really try to do a lot of triangle and two, we did triangle Tiffany on Maya and Renee. You're taking your chances, she went 1 for 9 in the first two games and we were going to take our chances a little bit. She hit every one of them. We had to get out of that, and go onto man. We put ourselves in some foul trouble. With that 12-2 run I couldn't see that my team when we went in the locker room, It felt like they were a little anxious and antsy to keep that eight or nine point lead, and when that didn't happen we came out in the second half and we didn't get the first four or five stops. They start questioning themselves, and it starts to snowball, and that's why Connecticut is such a great team, they know how to push and they did.
Talk about the seniors and what they meant to this program-
Coach Boyle- We sat in there and I was looking at them and I told them, `You know it's one game, you're not leaving us.' I'm watching California written across their jerseys thinking you're such a part of this school; you're such a part of this team and family. Cal hasn't had any history. To now begin with this group and who they are and what they've done, they came in without a lot of upperclassmen, to find their way and figure it out all on their own. They laid the foundation ore Cal basketball, they took it to the next level, and they left their legacy. I know they wanted to do more, but we ran out of time. Not only have they embraced the basketball sense of it, we have a community at Cal that has totally embraced this team getting 9,000 people out to support us and students and administration. They just left a buzz. Before we got there, it was just nothing. So for them to be able to do what they've done, we're not a program of 25 years, we're a program of 3 ½ -4 years. We were able to do a lot, and just to take this team to the next level. Normally there's a lot of pressure on everyone else to continue. I said `I can't thank you enough for everything you've given,' and I don't think they realize, from a college student's perspective, of what they've done. I think there are a lot of teams that have taken programs to the next level. I'm telling you just in the Berkeley area, the support they're receiving, and the hype about women's basketball, as an adult to me I cant thank them enough for that.
Could you have asked for a better start to this game?
Coach Boyle - You take your chances, well Tiffany's shooting and Maya and Renee aren't, so that's a good thing. To me it was really Tasha getting those fouls. It was Tasha and the 12-2 run that happened. Then the script flipped really quickly. We talked all week about foul trouble, it's not like she intentionally made those fouls, and to me that's where the shift happened, in the first five minutes of the second half.
Talk about your feeling when you were up eight
Coach Boyle- We've been here we were in the Oklahoma game, at the same point. You just got to keep on track. They're running all the right stuff, kids were hitting their shots, we were moving the ball, and we were getting stops. I wasn't in my head saying, `Oh my gosh what's going to happen here?' It was just like, ok next play, next stop. We just don't have a lot of depth, and or depth with experience. That was a long six minutes.
When Natasha was out of the game how does your team work does offensively? Defensively?
Coach Boyle - Tasha and Lexi work so well together. Kelsey is a catch and shoot kind of kid. If she's not hitting her shots, we're struggling a little bit. I tried to run some quick hitters just to Ashley and she just missed some twobies down the stretch. The reason why Connecticut is so good, is because if you make one mistake they will capitalize on it. In the second half we were trying to catch up, but we were just out of sources. We have told Tasha in the game, `don't even go for the rebounds, when the shot goes up you're going to find Renee, and you're just going to be on renee.' She started getting excited and going in for rebounds and then they had transition and we kind of lost our minds a little bit with the game plan. By the time we got to a timeout to stop it, it was already 14 points. We broke down a little bit there and gave them easy baskets. Geno's a great coach, and they just thrive off of that. Tiffany's become an x-factor for them.
Talk about Stanford and Connecticut.
Coach Boyle- Both great teams. Different styles, different systems. They share the basketball better than most teams. They're veteran teams, they're older, not necessarily seniors but they played a lot of minutes. Connecticut tries to play the up tempo fast-paced transition. Which is totally different styles of who neutralizes who.