Nov. 1, 2012
PRESS QUOTES 11/01/12 CAL VS. VANGUARD
Lindsay Gottlieb Opening Statement:
"I think this group has been excited to play again since we lost in South Bend, but what I'm happy about is that we have been working on things since then, and I think we saw some of those things tonight. I was definitely happy that I saw our players trying to do the things that we are trying to be better at, a little bit better defensively, more pressure on the basketball, more fluid on the offensive end, whether people are playing us man or zone, or if we get a transition bucket or not. So, I really like some of the things we saw collectively. I definitely liked that we were able to play everybody and that people stepped up and played really good minutes; and in particular, these two young women in the room Genn (Gennifer Brandon) and Boyd (Brittany Boyd), I have said these to are the most improved players on the team and I thought you saw some of that tonight. Obviously they come with some God given talents, but I think now putting that together, with working on getting better in specific areas, you saw that tonight. I am really proud of these two and the team. This is just a start for us because I thought that we had some defensive lapses and we want to be better, but we will take tonight and we will get better and be ready for Friday night.
Brittany, how are you better this season?
Boyd: "I think that I am more under control. I understand the offense a lot better now and the defense a lot better, and I understand what the coaches are asking from me so I think that I am better at communication between the coaches and me."
Brittany, you are a confident and aggressive player, how does that impact you game?
Boyd: "I believe that when you step out on the court you have to be confident, that's just something that you have to have. It helps me in a lot of ways, it can motivate me at times."
Gennifer, how have you improved since last season?
Brandon: "I would say that I am trying to be more attentive to what the coaches are saying and just hustling for everything."
Lindsay, can you talk a little bit more about how you challenged the team coming into this year, what areas of growth are you looking for?
Gottlieb: "The constant message since last year is that we want to be better this year not simply because we didn't graduate anyone, but because the players and the program are better than they were. So it started from last spring. If you see some of their bodies they are in better shape. I think we are stronger from a skill set point, things like saying okay Gennifer you can jump out of the gym and you can score every time going right, let's work on you going left. Brittany, let's get in the gym and work on you shot, your mid-range game. We are finishing little detailed things individually across the board. As a group, we want to be much better defensively, not only pressuring the ball, pressuring on the strong side, making entry passes tough, but also being a really good help side team. If you get past our line of pressure, that it's not a basket, that we have a second and third defensive options there. I think playing faster than we did last year, converting when we play fast, but then knowing the difference between when we have early offense and when we have to set up and I think you will hopefully see that even more so as the year develops."
Reviewing the film after the Notre Dame game in the tournament, do you see a roster that can be a program of that caliber fairly consistently with the way that you are tweaking it growing this year?
Gottlieb: "I don't think that I need to watch that film to know that. I think that I believed it going into that game and the way that the kids were looking at me in the eyes as we were getting ready for that Notre Dame game. And that's what our challenge is this year, to become one of the elite programs. I thought that we had a really great program last year, now we want to jump into the elite and it doesn't happen over night, but I think that process has begun at Cal for a couple of years now and I think that it is our mission, with this group and this coaching staff, to say are we doing the things day in and day out that are going to help us to be that top ten team? And Talia (Caldwell) said something interesting to me the other day, she said none of us have been there, but we are eager to listen to whatever you say so that we can take that next step. And I told them, sometimes that's going to be me making them uncomfortable a little bit and whatever was good last year isn't good enough anymore. And I think as long as they stay with me on that journey and that process I have no doubt that we can get there. It's not going to be easy, but we have the people in this group to do it."
Gennifer, do you have confidence this year to score in the post? I know that one of the things that you struggled with in games like Ohio State; there were so many opportunities under the basket where the ball just wouldn't fall for a lot of you guys. Do you have that confidence to consistently put it in underneath?
Brandon: "I'm still gaining confidence to do that, but I'm just trying to go with the flow and trying not to force too many shots. I'm trying to be patient and take what's comfortable, for now."
Gottlieb: "One thing that has been an area of focus is that we know that our posts have a ridiculous advantage over people most of the time, and if they can score in transition, they are really good at that, but I do think they have responded really well to Katy (Steding), our new post coach. And now we are saying okay, if you don't get what comes easy to you Genn or Talia, what's next? I think Gennifer's post game has already developed a lot. We saw some of the moves tonight, but I think she might not say that, I think she is much more confident already to say I have a go to post move if I don't get the lob and the dunk."
Can you talk about the impact that Katy has had on the front end?
Gottlieb: "It's been remarkable. I think in a couple ways, first you have a coach who essentially been everywhere and done everything that all these players aspire to do, to be an Olympic gold medalist, to be an W.N.B.A. player, I think immediately they are going to go okay, that's someone that I want to listen to. And the physically on the court, she can show them "when I was guarding Lisa Leslie, this is what I had to do. Or when I wanted to create space against Lauren Jackson when she was a rookie in Seattle and I was on her team, this is what I did. That's important, and I also think that she has a really good way with them where they are very responsive and I see them developing already and it's only been several weeks of practice, so that's been huge for us.