Jan. 8, 2002
On Felecia Ragland (OSU) and Shaquala Williams (Oregon)
Felecia Ragland and Shaquala Williams are going to get their points, but you have to make them work for their points and not give them easy baskets.
Then, the other part of that is that you don't let anyone else go off.
Shaquala was the Pac-10 Player of the Year two years ago, and Felecia was last year. Those players are very talented. You hope that you can take them out of what they want to do and make them do things they're uncomfortable with. You want to make people score that are uncomfortable being put in that position.
One thing we need to do is to play the basketball. Those two are going to have the basketball a lot of the time. And, if you don't play them, and it's a whole team, they're too good one-on-one. Your whole team has to be ready to step up and play them.
On Whether Oregon State was Underestimated This Year
I don't think that they got underestimated. If they did, I wasn't aware of that. I think last year there were some higher expectations, and it's basically the same team coming back. I would think that after being in the NIT last year that people would not overlook them and think they're a pretty good team. I think they are a pretty good team.
On Scouting Shaquala Now Vs. Before Her Knee Injury
Two years ago, I didn't play against her. I have played against her, but just in one game a year (before coming to Cal). I'm probably not as familiar with her as two years ago. I think she's the same kind of player. She's definitely the key to her team. If anything, the style they play is a little bit different than the style they played with her before. They run a lot of clear outs and one-on-one plays and two-man games for her and with her and the post player. It's clear she has the green light.
On Cal Growing as a Team
I always do in terms of experience and in terms of getting a breather with these last two games away from the Pac-10. I think that was good. We had that one stretch where we just didn't have a lot of practice time. So, now for us to have more practice time is really important.
On Cal's Focus After Losing Five Games By Six or Less Points
Our goal is that we need to be able to defend teams the last five minutes of the game. I know that's a big focus for me. Our mental toughness needs to be at a level that's tougher than any team that comes to play us in the last five minutes. As a coach, a month ago I was taking more of an offensive focus because I felt that we needed to step up and find scorers and get other people to score and not be afraid to shoot. Ultimately when I look at our three and four point losses or six point losses, ultimately, we didn't stop people in the last five minutes of games. And, we're good at getting offense off of our defense.
On More Players Looking to Shoot Late in Games
When you play Lipscomb, you get such a lead that people loosen up. I'd like people to loosen up whether we're playing Lipscomb or Bucknell or playing Oregon. One, that takes pressure off of Ami (Forney). It takes pressure off of the team as a whole. Ami was struggling against Lipscomb, and I don't mean for that to be a negative comment about Ami. For whatever reason, there was a lid on the basket, she would get called for travelling, and it wasn't her night. She was in Barbados all summer. She should have been used to the Bahamas. I liked the fact that we had so many other people step up from a scoring perspective. I think if we did that and didn't rely on Ami, that would make us a better team. I thought we relied on Ami too much in the next game at times.
On Being Concerned About Cal's Scoring
We know our bread and butter is our defense. I don't think our defense is where it was a month ago or a month and a half a go. If that's our bread and butter, we need to get back to where it was. I'm not saying we're not going to work on our offense. We need to work on our offense. But, our bread and butter has been our defense.
On The Development of Cal's Perimeter Shooters
I think it would help Ami if some people would help take the scoring load off of her. We can talk about some of the other post players, but the bottom line is that you have to have people that can score on the perimeter. We need some people to shoot it (from the perimeter), and ultimately, that's going to take the pressure off of Ami.
We know Jackie Lord can shoot. We've known that for a long time. For her, some of it is confidence. She hasn't had a lot of practice. We've thrown her to the wolves in games where there wasn't a lot of practice time. We wanted her to be in the games for a number of reasons. We all know she is a shooter. I have a lot of confidence in her ability to bring the ball up the court and be pretty tough about bringing the ball up the court and not getting it stolen and be able to enter us into offense. I'd like to see her confidence continue to grow because I do think she has a scoring mentality, and I know she can score. It's just a matter of time.
On Teaching Defense vs. A Scoring Mentality
I have my own philosophy on scorers. I think you recruit scorers, and you can teach defense. Some people disagree. They think you need quickness. I disagree. I've had slow people who have learned how to play defense. If they don't want to learn to play defense or they don't really care, then I don't think you can teach them. I think it's difficult to teach a scoring mentality. What I see is that you need to play a very good team game, and you put people in positions where they're able to score the ball. Audrey Watler has a scoring mentality. Janet Franey has a scoring mentality. LaTasha O'Keith has a scoring mentality and Leigh Gregory.