March 14, 2007
BERKEEY, Calif. - Cal head coach Joanne Boyle fielded questions from the media about the NCAA Tournament on a teleconference March 13. The eighth-seeded Bears open the NCAAs against the ninth-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish Sunday, March 18, at noon ET in Pittsburgh, PA. The game can be seen live on ESPN2.
On the long layoff since the Pac-10 Tournament
"It can serve you a couple of ways. For us, not being a deep team, it's been great to give the kids a couple of days off back to back. Rest is really important for us going into the tournament. The bad thing about that is that you don't get game minutes in that kind of atmosphere for two weeks. We've tried to prepare for that by bringing in guys to do scrimmages. We did one on Friday (March 9) that went well, and we're going to do another one today (March 13). We're trying to get them back in that mode of that type of competition. It's been good for us to get some rest. Now, we have to get them back into game shape getting up and down the court, instead of just doing drill work."
On coming back to Pittsburgh and what that means to you personally
"It's kind of funny that we've been in the tournament the last two years and both times we've been in Pennsylvania. I don't know why the committee likes sending us back east. Coming back to Pittsburgh is great. I put my brother in charge of tickets because my phone is blowing up here with people requesting tickets. Friends from high school have called that I haven't spoken to in 25 years and the athletic director from the high school. It'll be fun. It'll be great to see everybody. It'll be tough for a lot of our people out here to travel because it's such a long way away. For us, in terms of fan support, if it's my extended family and friends that become our fan support, then that's great."
A snap shot of Cal basketball...what works for the Bears and what do we like to do?
"I don't think it's any secret. We're an athletic team. We like to get up and down the court. We like to score in transition. We have a solid post game. A lot of our offense runs around our post players. We share the basketball pretty well. I think people understand their roles on the team. We've been a pretty good defensive team and rebounding team in the Pac-10."
On Charel Allen, who is also from Pittsburgh, and what she brings to the Fighting Irish
"She's a great player. She's a slasher who can get to the basket, has an outside game. She's a complete player. I know for her going home to Pittsburgh, she scored over 3000 points in high school. Her name is out there. People are supporting her back home, too. Notre Dame is much more athletic than they used to be in the past, and they're using that athleticism. They run a great transition game. They get up and down the court. They look to score early. They run four guards out, a post in, at times. She's a huge part of their offense. A lot revolves around her. They set her up off of ball screens and face screens. They like to take people to the basket and get to the free throw line a lot. She's a big part of that."
On the tip-off time being 9 a.m. California time
"We did it last year. We were in the first game last year. We're going to come out late Thursday and try to have at least a couple of days to adjust to the time change. We're going to have early morning practices for two days. By the time Sunday rolls around, we're going to have that adjustment. With St. John's last year, we played that first game at noon at Penn State. It's nothing the kids haven't seen before. It just comes down to us getting them adjusted. It'll be good to get out there Thursday and to have Friday and Saturday to get our body clocks right."
On her impressions of Notre Dame
"They have great guard play. Everything revolves around their guards. They love to get to the basket. They're a great free throw shooting team. It'll be interesting to see what they do against us. Against better shooting teams, they've played a lot more man. Other teams they're really known for their 2-3 zone defense and their 1-3-1. With our post players, we could see more zone. We have to prepare for both. They like to pressure. They make you turn the ball over. They're forcing 21 turnovers a game. So, even though they're picking you up and pressuring, they might fall back into a zone. We have to do a lot more work this week with our zone offense. We have to emphasize not putting them on the free throw line and not turning the ball over to give us opportunities to score. We're also looking for a lot of second-chance points."
On being sent across the country when Stanford and USC were possible destinations
"It is what it is. Once you're in, if you focus on what could have been or should have been, then it just takes away from preparing for your team. We did this last year. You want their families to be able to travel to see them play. That's the one thing that's not going to happen. But, I think we'll have great fan support in terms of the (women's basketball) staff all being from the East Coast. We'll have a lot of our families there supporting us. I can't be happier for Stanford to be able to be at home. As a two seed, they deserve it. It would have been nice to stay at home, but it wasn't what the committee wanted."
On how to play a team like Notre Dame with experienced guards
"I think they've become very experienced over the course of playing 40 minutes a game. Notre Dame is a young team as well. I'm not sure there's any advantage or disadvantage there. Once you get that many minutes into the season, you get a lot of experience. I think our players understand that we've always talked about our inside-out game and getting the ball rotated, getting good looks on the weak side after the ball has been rotated through our post players. It's something we've faced all year. When we take care of the ball, we get opportunities to score and do well. Tasha (Vital) was freshman All-Pac-10. She's proven herself there. Lauren (Greif) has been doing a great job for us getting steals. They've grown in the last five or six games."
On Ashley Walker and Devanei Hampton
"Dev and Ash have been great complement players for each other. They've shown very unselfish play between the two. Dev was Pac-10 Player of the Year, Ashley was up there and was first-team All-Pac-10 (with Dev). People know that our offense rotates through our post players. Ashley was on the watch for the Wade Trophy and Devanei for the Naismith. They're great because they really understand sharing the basketball amongst themselves and also understand that they shouldn't try to do too much. They understand getting touches to our guards and reposting. They understand the unselfishness that we need of them and being able to play with each other unselfishly, as well."
On her days in Pittsburgh
"I went to Gateway High School in Monroeville, Pa. Ron Davis was my coach. I was in touch with him two years ago. Periodically through 20-25 years of not being there, we've touched base a little bit. I went back there for a hall of fame thing and got to see a lot of old teammates, athletic directors and other people who work at the school. That was nice. That was three or four years ago. They've been great about keeping in touch with me throughout my career as a coach. It's great to go back. I've gotten emails from people I haven't talked to in 25 years. It will be interesting to see who's at the game to support us."
On whether Notre Dame remind her of any team Cal has played
"I think they have their own unique style. It's nothing that we haven't faced, but I wouldn't say they remind me of a team we have played."
On whether coming home to Pittsburgh was something she were hoping for
"It's funny if you look at all of the chat boards where people place you, they had us in Michigan, Minneapolis and Texas. I don't think there were any thoughts out there that we might be on the East Coast. I thought we could potentially be a seven or six seed depending on what happened with some other conferences, and that would allow us to stay closer to home. Then, we dropped to eight. I didn't even think about it. We were going to play wherever. When it came up on the screen that we were going to play in Pittsburgh, I thought how funny is that?"