Feb. 13, 2002
BERKELEY - California women's basketball head coach Caren Horstmeyer sat down with the Cal Media Relations office to do a Q&A prior to her team's final homestand of the season this week. The Golden Bears host Washington State Thursday at 7 p.m. and Washington Saturday at 1 p.m. All youth 17 and under will be admitted free on Saturday.
Media Relations: How have your young players progressed at this point in the season?
Horstmeyer: I'm very pleased with Kristin Iwanaga and Leigh Gregory. They have made great strides over the year. They came in playing very well. Now, they have gotten used to playing in the Pac-10. Every player, there's always room for improvement. However, I just think these two have really stepped up. They have incredible winning mentalities and a belief in what we're doing. They've been incredible.
In terms of the other freshmen, I think this has been a great learning experience for Alisa Lewis. She's very mentally tough and works extremely hard. She wants to do whatever she can do to help this team be successful. I think she's a good defender. On the perimeter, she's wanted to work on anything that's going to help her and her team be successful. All of the newcomers have gained valuable experience this year.
Media Relations: What do you say to the team after they've worked extremely hard to take a team like Oregon State to overtime but come away with a loss?
Horstmeyer: I keep stressing how much we've improved and that we want to keep improving. It is for this year. It's not just about the future. But, it is for this year and the (Pac-10) tournament. For me, we just have to keep improving and making strides and then good things will happen. We can't then come out and not participate in a game like we did against Oregon.
Media Relations: Is there anything new the team is working on over the final few weeks of the season?
Horstmeyer: We definitely have been getting better at a lot of things. So, as a coach you try to weigh whether you want to add things or continue to build on what you have. We'll probably add one or two things, but we're not going to add very much. If you see anything, you'll see us get better at pressing. That's what we'll probably look to do in the tournament.
Media Relations: What do you want to say to the great fans that come to Haas Pavilion?
Horstmeyer: What I would say is that there is a great foundation built for the future with our young kids and with the intensity. The other thing is that I would tell them is that you have a team that works extremely hard and is still for the most part exciting to watch. And, they're very charismatic to the fans based on what they do on the court and when the fans get to see them off the court. Just be patient. Hang with us. We've set a great foundation to build on.
Horstmeyer: I'm going to remember Ami for her athleticism. She's a great person in addition to being a basketball player. And, I'll remember her for her passion. She wants to do whatever she can to help her team. She's made great strides from last season to this season. She's struggled a little in the last three weeks. But in the next four games, I believe Ami Forney is going to step up. And, I'll remember Ami Forney for that. Janet is an extremely fierce competitor. I think that's what Janet would want to be known for. I believe she is. I'll also remember what a great shooter Janet is.
Media Relations: What are the keys to the Washington State and Washington games?
Horstmeyer: The keys for Washington State are to be mentally prepared and mentally ready. We need to press them and to pressure them. We have to not allow their big kid, Brittney Hawks, to go off. We have to play our game. Against Washington, a team that beat us really good last time, we need a belief that we can beat them, not let them have open shots and rebounding.