Dec. 14, 1999
BERKELEY - Cal coach Marianne Stanley addressed the Bay Are media at an Oakland Tribune Classic preview lunch at Blakes on campus Tuesday. Junior guard Kenya Corley and sophomore center Ami Forney were also in attendance. Following are some of Stanley's comments.
On The Oakland Tribune Classic
"We're looking forward to the tournament. I'm sure all of the players will be relieved after exams are over. This year's tournament I believe is one of the strongest fields ever. We open with Illinois-Chicago. They've already equaled their win total (5-2) of last year. They're come in strong, playing well. They have a second-year head coach, who I know, Tim Eatman. He's got them doing the right things. On the other side of the bracket, you have Florida, who's perennially a strong team in the SEC and Pepperdine, which has moved up in terms of its level of play regionally and taking on some national powers and playing very well. I think all four teams bring some excitement to the tournament. I know I'm looking forward to it. I think whoever wins this tournament can feel as though they're playing well right now, and that they've won two demanding games against good competition. That's another step towards our preparation for Pac-10 play and hopefully positioning ourselves for postseason play."
On practices during final exam week
"I've been taking the approach of the less stress the better. I've been having what I call body practices. We want your body but not your brain. We try to do things in which you don't have to think a lot. I think these kids deserve a lot of credit for being here at Cal. This is a tremendous institution with a tremendous academic reputation. The players have to work hard in the classroom and on the basketball court. I look at this as a week in which we can give them a less strenuous schedule and just ask them to come in and keep their conditioning up and do the things which they can do routinely without a whole lot of mental effort being expended on the basketball court."
On the team's improvement this year
"We're at the top 10 percent of the mountain now. We've improved a whole bunch. Now, we're at the steepest part of the climb, where the increments of improvement are going to be smaller, and it's harder to show the improvement. But, it's also what's going to separate you from the rest of the pack."
On Cal's improvement in rebounding (Bears lead the Pac-10 in rebounding margin at +6.5)
"We told Ami (Forney) in the off-season that if she wanted to run, she was going to have to get on the glass. The whole team believes less is more. They didn't want to run as many plays, which I agree with. We ran too many different sets last year to find something that would work. The real problem was that we weren't getting on the glass and rebounding. We're a team which has to have a certain amount of open court opportunities. I think Kenya (Corley) functions equally well in both halfcourt and open court. But, if you ask her, I think she'd say she prefers the open court. I think Ami is the same way. We told the team if they wanted to run more, they had to play defense and rebound, and it would happen. At the same time, we're not a run and gun team. We're not going to start to be the old Loyola Marymount of the Paul Westphal days."