April 3, 2013
Selected quotes from Cal women's basketball senior guard Brittany Boyd and junior guard Mikayla Lyles at the Wednesday, April 3, press conference at Haas Pavilion, prior to their Thursday departure to New Orleans for the Final Four:
Did you ever vision that you could reach the final four only two years after head coach Lindsay Gottlieb's arrival?
Layshia Clarendon: "Not really. Nothing against Lindsay, but we were just struggling so bad I think that we just wanted something to believe in. I think that is what is awesome about Lindsay, she just came in and said `Look, follow me, I will lead the way. Just come to practice, work hard, bring energy, just be yourselves, I will worry about the rest.' That is what she has done, and look where we are now. I don't think I could have imagined it but with a little belief you can end up a long way."
What is it that Coach Gottlieb actually did that changed the team's performance?
LC: "I think she is a really great motivator. First of all, basketball-wise she knows her stuff, better than a lot of coaches. She watches film on every single scout (scouting report). Every single coach has a scout, but Lindsay knows their scout just as well as they do. She came in and motivated us. I think that having everyone healthy, getting good brackets, helped put everything in place. Charmin said something the other day, `Good teams get lucky.' She really came in and motivated us and she didn't just come in and say she would lead the way and then say alright what do you guys want to do for practice today. She came out and said this is what we are running, do it, run fast, work hard and she really led by example."
When did you realize that this team was something special?
LC: "I think we've realized it in a sense with each other, with the coaching change we have really banded together and stayed strong. We love each other, this could be something awesome, but we don't know what the coaching change is going to be. Having her come in and winning the conference title, then getting the two seed made us really realize that this could be something amazing. There have been some small little spurts along the way, even playing against Duke, and being nationally ranked. We thought, 'Okay, we can do this,' and we just kept believing."
How do you see your role on this team both when you are on the court and when you are not?
Mikayla Lyles: "I look at my role as doing whatever the team needs. I don't really feel like I have to be doing this or I have to be doing that; whatever coach wants me to do, whatever the team needs me to do, that is what I am going to do. If it is being crazy emotional on the bench then that is what I am going to do. I have a lot of passion for this team, I have a lot of passion for the game and I just love being around these players, so whatever I can do for them I will."
What has the journey been like over the past three years? Talk about the music video as well.
ML: "The video was more just our team having fun; us being who we are. I think the journey itself, as we have been saying, is very humbling. To be in a position as a freshman to be not the greatest team out there, competing with the best of the best, having to work yourself up, essentially from the bottom, is very humbling and teaches you a lot about character and about the type of people you have around you on a daily basis. You really get to see the kind of people they are through your struggles and failures, and upsets. We are battle tested and just a humble group that likes to work hard."
What does it say about the unselfishness of the players that you have so many playmakers who will do whatever they can to help the team?
ML: "It is the epitome of a team sport right there. You can't be a successful team without everyone being selfless and want to give everything they have to each other. I think that is what this team is - we have everybody who embraces what they are to this team in the best possible way that they can. The selflessness just thrives through. We just love each other, we love being around each other, we love doing everything we can for each other, and I think that is what everybody sees when we play."
On Possibly Matching Up With Louisville's Shoni Schimmel in the Semifinal
Brittany Boyd: "I'm really just focused on my team and doing what I can so we can get the win. I'm not really focused on her. I know she's a great player. But I don't get into the hype of that. That's not my main focus. My main focus is to go to New Orleans, get the win and move on to the next game."