Cal vs. USC Quotes

"That was March Madness basketball. It was a competitive game by both teams. USC is a great team, and I really do think they deserve to be in the tournament. I know their amount of wins may not be the
By Cal Athletics on Thu, February 22, 2007

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Feb. 22, 2007

Recap |  Final Stats

BERKELEY, Calif. -

California Head Coach Joanne Boyle

Opening statement:
"That was March Madness basketball. It was a competitive game by both teams. USC is a great team, and I really do think they deserve to be in the tournament. I know their amount of wins may not be there, but hopefully they will make a run down the stretch. They are a tournament team. We have been in this situation before in overtime this year and came up short. We knew going in what those five minutes are like and our kids just came out and said, `we're not tired' and they carried it, they really did. They did an unbelievable job just not allowing somebody to come and take a game from us. We are playing tournament ball right now."

On coming out strong in overtime:
"We changed the zone offence a little bit. I think we got a little calm. We tried to set a ball screen for Tasha [Vital] so she had a little more daylight for passing. Our post wanted the ball, Kea [Levy] knocked down some huge threes for us, but I definitely think our stamina during that period was important. I just felt like our team was in pretty good shape down the stretch in those last five minutes."

On what she told the team going into overtime:
"I wanted them to get to the basket because when a team is tired, they foul."

On making the tournament:
"I think our chances are pretty good, but the worst thing you can do as a team is look too far ahead. I mean, we got twenty-one wins this season. It's been a really good season for us, but it will be a great season on Saturday. That's what we talk about. We are just focused on that game: we want to finish out strong. We are not looking ahead. We don't want to be known as a good team when it's all said and done. A great team finishes out the season, and we want to be the talk going into the tournament. These kids really understand the importance, and they have so much fight in them. They know how to finish out a season, and that's what we are trying to do - just finish out our season. If we do that, we will have had a great regular season."

On positioning themselves to make the tournament:
"You want to determine your own destiny. That's what is so great about this team in particular and then that they are so young. They are determining their own destiny, and you can't say enough about that."

On the highlight of California's performance against USC:
"The toughness they showed in overtime. I saw them talking a lot more and just knowing they were going to get a stop. We were a tournament basketball team tonight."

"They had five seniors on the floor. I don't think initially we were close enough to Jamie Hagiya. This game was on the line for them. We just made adjustments at halftime to contest their shots, and our kids did well down the stretch."

California Forward Ashley Walker:

On scoring a career-high 32 points:
"I just felt like I played well tonight. Coach told us in practice yesterday that they fouled us thirty-two times last game and to just go to the basket. So I just went to the basket, and they fouled me. I got and-one's and things were just going in."

On her mindset while shooting two game-tying free throws to send California to overtime:
"Make the free throws. I shot free throws late in the gym last night after practice, and I was not going to miss these two free throws after shooting for an hour last night. I stepped up, just blanked out all noise, and shot them."

On coming out strong in overtime:
"In overtime, everybody's intensity level picks up, and it is just who wants it more, who is going for it. I think that's what we did. We decided to get every rebound, every offensive rebound and to not turn the ball over. We all looked in each others eyes and knew we were ready for this."

California Guard Natasha Vital

On her career-high 10 assists:
"I was just looking for my teammates. My post players were always calling for the ball, so I was just looking for them because I knew they were hot. You know, Ashley [Walker] had her career high today and Devanei [Hampton] had 25 so I just have great teammates, and they were knocking down shots."

California Center Devanei Hampton
On mental toughness: "In the huddle, coach asked: `Who ran with (strength) coach (Pat) Dixon this summer?' It wasn't me (was hurt), but the whole team conditioned this summer, and we knew we just had to come out and out-hustle everybody. That's what we do."

USC Head Coach Mark Trakh

On the overtime period:
"We felt like we could have won the game on out last possession (of regulation). But they had some momentum. Psychologically they had an edge on us."

General comment:
"We've been playing well the last four to five games. But Cal tonight was awful tough with Walker and Hampton. They are just so strong and get to the rim. They make really good plays. They are just really good."

On NCAA Tournament berth:
"We either have to beat Stanford and win one in the Pac-10 tournament or win two in the Pac-10 tournament."


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