Jan. 17, 2013
PRESS QUOTES 01/17/13 CAL VS. USC
California Head Coach Lindsay Gottlieb
"I Love this school, I love this team, and I walked off the court and three Men's Basketball players are there to high-five us and give me hugs and they are on their phones calling for Gennifer Brandon. And the community is behind us, the crowd was amazing tonight, and I told these players in the locker room that they are doing something special here that is changing this program and what Cal Basketball means. That being said, I really credit USC for coming in here and being ready to play. They are a very talented team and they have been feeling it lately, they always play us well and they had a good defensive game plan and they made a lot of plays; so we had to battle. I loved our resolve. I think that great teams sometimes have to win when you have to battle from behind. I thought our defensive effort was tremendous, the fact that you hold a team to not getting a shot off when they have a shot to win a game is signature and the fact that we held them to one point in overtime is terrific. Obviously Gennifer Brandon and Layshia Clarendon were unbelievable in their individual performances, but I thought our team finally dug in and figured out what we needed to do, moved the ball and got it in the right peoples' hands and obviously got enough defensive stops and changed the feel of the game."
How different would the game had been if you guys had made a higher percentage of shots? <
"It's going to take a while for me to analyze this stat sheet completely, but 32 offensive rebounds, Layshia took 30 shots, it's unbelievable just looking at it. I think a couple of things, I thought that we conceded early the pace and the style and we were taking too many quick early jumpers and I thought later in the game we got into a flow of getting the right people where we wanted them to be and in flow. And what happens, like when we're laughing at my great offensive play, is Layshia throwing it off the rim and to Genn. But I think when we get things in rhythm, that's when we get offensive rebounds versus one pass shots and it's less a matter of we need to hit more shots, and more of that we just need to get in our fast pace, play our rhythm, move the ball and make plays where we need to make plays, whether that's attacking the basket and knocking down shots or whatever else."
On Gennifer Brandon
"I think we all know that Gennifer has got some unfathomable leaping ability and rebounding talents, but I do think that there are times when she is in the zone. And I thought Ohio State was one, we've seen other moments of games and obviously this is one where you just feel like if the ball is anywhere in the vicinity, she's going to get it and she's going to finish. And I think her offensive game has really improved and knocking down short jumpers and what can you say about it, other than it's phenomenal."
On Brittany Boyd's play during the first few minutes of overtime.
"I think that was the first basket of overtime. It felt like we were close a couple of times, we missed a couple, and as I was saying on the bench, we felt comfortable with what we were running at that point, we were getting Layshia a lot of good looks, but I said that we needed to get a stop and score in transition and that will open it up. And in a similar way to what Gennifer does, Brittany has a gear that no one else has and when she can go in transition and get herself open layups or someone else a look, that's not a lot of people who can stop it and she was just locked in at that point and we needed that basket."
On the energy level
"I thought that our energy level to start off the game was not great. I think that they came out and they were getting loose balls and they were getting offensive rebounds and I really got on our players and they responded. But I think down that stretch, those last ten minutes, you knew every loose ball we were getting it, every rebound, we were getting it, and we didn't have that look at the beginning of the game and obviously that's something that we need to fix."
On the defense
"I thought that the defensive effort was heroic. I thought that we started to shift the feel of the game, like Layshia was saying, kind of mid way through the second half, and yet we didn't quickly take the lead. We had had to chip away and I liked our resolve when we were clearly trying to take control, but they would still make a play, Harberts [Cassie] had the one play where she kind of dipped and got to the free-throw like. And then we almost got a stop and Ariya hits the crazy shot in the corner and they are good. And then we would get close and so I thought our defensive intensity from that point on never waned. You guys know that we want to make more shots. We don't want to shoot 23% in the second half, we have to be better at that. It's going to be on us to figure out what we need to do to get them comfortable, but there's no question that the defensive intensity and the speed in transition and the rebounding is pretty unreal. And if we play at that level that's tough to stop."
On how other teams will be scouting them in the future.
"We can say it. There are three people. They aren't guarding two people, they are sitting on top of our post players laps. Yeah, we need to push in transition so that they can't do that, we need to move the ball around and attack in our spots and it's not something that we haven't seen before, but it's hard to get post players touches unless it's off of a rebound or unless it's off of ball reversal, because literally there are two guards sitting on top of our post players and Reshanda Gray is in there battling and only going to get three shot attempts because she has someone on her lap and someone behind her. And I don't think I'm telling someone something that they don't know and we'll figure it out. We still scored 71 points. Obviously we feel like we can continue to push in transition and we believe in our players knocking down shots. Afure [Jemerigbe] is a good shooter, no one can stop Brittany off of the dribble and she can knock down shots. We just have got to get in a little bit better rhythm."
On Mikayla Lyles playing limited minutes
"She changed the game because they were guarding her. So they weren't guarding Afure, they weren't guarding Eliza [Pierre], they weren't guarding Boyd so we put Mikayla in the game and they were guarding her, so she wasn't getting the open looks that she was getting at Stanford. They clearly watched and said okay don't give her open looks, so what happened when she was in was that we got a few more looks to the post, but there's not question I went with that line-up down the stretch for defense. They were feeling it, Boyd, Layshia, and Eliza. We were getting stops and we went with that line-up. Mikayla is in the rotational play, but it's figuring out what we're getting with each group that in."
CALIFORNIA FORWARD Gennifer Brandon
Gennifer you are a great rebounder, but during games like these when you just seem to not allow anyone else a chance with the ball, is it something internal? Do you feel like it's a different type of game for you? Is there a different kind of feel to that game?"
"I try to approach all games the same way, with the same mentality of play hard. But somehow I ended up with 26 rebounds and I guess that I just had more energy."
But that's your reputation, so don't you feel that you have to keep living up to it?
"I try to keep living up to the rebounding and jumping and offensive rebounds from Layshia's shots."
Gennifer, this is the closest that I've seen you play to when you played Ohio State. You legs are healthier, there is more of a spring in your step; the last play that you made with the rebound and turn face and bank in overtime was just like the biggest All-American play that I've seen all year.
"I was surprised that I made it too. It was beautiful."
On the rebounding during the beginning of the first half
"In the beginning they seemed to be packing it in on defense, so Coach called a play for Layshia and I just posted up on the opposite side of the rim."
Gennifer, did you have an extra dose of determination in those last few minutes of regulation?
"I was basically in a daze. "Not today," that's what I kept saying to myself because they beat us in overtime last year and we have a saying on the team that whenever we face off against someone, "Not today" and I just kept saying that over and over."
We've talked a lot this season about missed free-throws, but for Gennifer to come in at the end and sink all four free-throws, was being in the zone today transferred into your free-throw shooting at the end of the game?
"Definitely. I don't know why, but it was just a different type of focus and my mind was just on the rim and having a soft touch, like we do in practice, and thank god they fell."
CALIFORNIA GUARD Layshia Clarendon
Layshia, do you feel that you made it difficult on yourselves as a team by some of your play? Did you guys make it harder than it should have been?
"Definitely. We came out of the locker room relieved, knowing that we could celebrate. But Coach Gottlieb was saying why not win by more? Why risk it? Just when you have those lapses and you give people the chance to beat you, we were controlling our own destiny at that point. The first half we did have a lax energy and we didn't play the way that we've been playing, not getting every loose ball, you give people a chance to beat you. So that's our push to really be elite be a top four team, to know that you just can't do it, it has to be part of your identity. So we definitely let them in there."
On the effects that the Stanford games had on tonight's play
"I don't think so. It's a quick turn around, so I know that maybe our legs were a little tight. I think, if anything, it should boost us more. But like she said, we conceded to their tempo, we were kind of unsure of what they were running, so we needed to just stick to what we were doing regardless of what the other team was running. And we needed to come out with the defensive intensity all of the time and focus on that."
And what was the difference in over time that put your team over?
"Defense. I think that no one scored for the first two or three minutes, but we just stopped them. They only scored one point the entire time and it was kind of that six minute mark, or four or five, in regulation where we just started digging in and then as Coach Gottlieb mentioned in the locker room, if we had waited for three minutes to do that, we would have lost because we didn't come back that quickly. They kept scoring, and they would come down a make a play, somehow Ariya [Crook] hits a three in the corner. So it was us turning on our defense and saying to ourselves that they are not going to get a stop, so that's what we need to have from the start of the game."