Post-Game Quotes: California v Northwestern

California Post Game Quotes vs Northwestern
By Cal Athletics on Sun, November 24, 2013

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Head Coach Lindsay Gottlieb

On the game
“I thought it was a good win for us today. (Northwestern’s) a team coming in with a lot of confidence, 4-0. We talked a lot this week about being able to dictate, get stops and use a bit of a smaller lineup to be destructive, and I thought we did that. At times I thought we played through some adversity. Obviously we didn’t expect Boyd to play 14 minutes and foul out. I think other people stepped up.. I was really proud of these two (Reshanda Gray and Afure Jemerigbe), working on some things we’ve been talking about all week. I thought Afure was really aggressive getting to the rim, getting to the free throw line and finishing, knocking down those free throws. Obviously Gray’s been our go-to presence in the middle. She did a really good job of playing a ton of minutes and handling that. I thought we saw some of the young kids are growing up as we go, and these minutes are going to be valuable down the road as we start to get everybody back. We’re working to be a great teamn I don’t think we’re there yet, but I thought there were some positive steps today, and I’m happy to get a win against a very good Northwestern team.”

On how to adjust with the tighter defensive officiating this season
“You go deeper into the bench. If one of your best players is going to be out, we’re fortunate to have multiple ball handling guards this year. Two of them are freshmen, but they’re coming off the bench and handling it…the fouling hasn’t been as much of an issue for us. Today was the first day it really got us in a significant way. I don’t think anyone wants to see star players sitting for a majority of the game, and I thought (Brittany) Boyd has done a really good job up to this point of playing through some of that. She moves her feet so well…she just got caught for a couple really quick ones, some contact that was a little bit off. So I don’t think we’re going to change the way we play, I think we’re just going to make sure that we aren’t picking up cheap fouls (and) we can continue to be aggressive with our feet. I’ve said all along I think the rules are good for us because our guards can really defend with their feet. We just got caught with a couple cheap ones today.”

On how they were able to shut down Northwestern’s Nia Coffey
“We talked about her all week. Courtney Range heard me say Coffey, Coffey, Coffey, freshman averaging 18 and nine. I had the chance to be on the USA Basketball committee that picked a team, and Nia was on that team, so I’ve seen her in situations against great players do a lot of good things. I’ve been really impressed with how she’s begun this freshman year to come in and shoot such a high percentage, and really utilize her versatility, which is inside-outside. We knew it was going to be a big challenge, so the first thing we did was switch every screen, one through four, which is something that we can do with a smaller lineup. This week we had time to prepare for that. Going into D.C., we didn’t know we’d be down a couple post players early enough to do that. So we worked on that. It was a collective effort. We know she likes to go left, so there was a lot of scouting report stuff on it. We wanted to force her into tough shots, and I think we did a really good job on that. She’s a great player, and she’s going continue to get better. I think Joe (McKeown) is going to have a really good team…we did a nice job on her and it was the focus of our scouting report defense.”

On out-rebounding Northwestern 47-39
“The number I’m still looking obviously at is the 12 offensive rebounds we’ve given up. It’s been an issue for us all year, and we have to continue to work on that. In the past we haven’t had to box out, we could just go up and rip rebounds. Now being a little bit smaller, we have to make sure we’re taking care of box outs. That being said, I think 18 offensive rebounds for us is great, and I think holding them to a low enough shooting percentage where we’re getting a lot of defensive rebounds is good, but we want to see that number at even a greater differential. I think we’ll get there. I keep saying to our kids, I think we have a chance to be very, very good. There are so many areas we can continue to improve. It is a lot more teaching, a lot more weight loss for me this year, and a lot more effort everyday, but we’re going to get there, and I keep telling them that. It’s fun in a different kind of way from last season.”

On struggle finishing shots
“We took a lot of shots that should’ve gone in and didn’t. It’s been a focus. We do something in practice, I created it a few years ago for Boyd, it’s called finishing clinic. Boyd has an ability get to the paint whenever she wants to against anybody and we talk about finishing. Now I’ve got about nine players who need the finishing clinic. But it’s just a matter of young players getting used to playing at the pace we’re playing at and finishing, finishing through contact and being relentless on the glass when you do miss. It’s something that again, I feel like it’s a positive that we’re getting those looks, and a positive that Courtney (Range) has ability because of her length and her savvy to get good looks, and then it’s just a matter of putting them down. Obviously Boyd can slice through. We’re putting a lot of the rhythm of game in her hands, and I think she makes good decisions on when she goes to the rim, but she’s going so fast. I think she’ll settle in and knock those down. Obviously we want to play a certain type of attacking style and finishing those baskets are going to help us improve, but it’s clearly a focal point of something we need to get better at.”

On looking ahead to the game vs Wake Forest
“I think right now it’s continuing to get better on us. I know my assistants have started scouting the opponents for that tournament, but I think if anything that this game shows - and this is a positive - that if we play they way we want to play, and we do the things we want to do better, we’re going to improve more quickly. Of course we always scout opponents, we look to take things away, but I think right now it’s about going with this identity and finding a rhythm with how we want to play and getting better at those things. We do hope to have Justine (Hartman) back soon, which will give us more depth in the post, a little more size. Obviously (Reshanda) Gray’s been doing a great job, maybe use some mismatches with on her with a smaller player, things like that, but really just to continue to keep working with this team and get better at the things we know we’re capable of.”


On her mentality today
“I just tried to be aggressive. We had a little lull midway through the first half, and I just tried to do what I do best…take it to the rack, and (if) they foul me, make my free throws and just focus and do little things.”

 On freshman stepping up
“I think they did a great job, Hind (Ben Abdelkader) - Boyd had 5 fouls, she’s a great player, and she knows how to pick up from there - but Hind stepped up. She’s smart with the ball, she handled it. It didn’t seem like we had Boyd out because (Hind) was very attentive. she knew where to pass it, and knew how to handle the pressure when they were pressing us. I think (Mercedes) Jefflo did a really good job on defense, still staying aggressive on press and I think they did a really good job.”


On her game
“We’re down post players, so I knew I had to step up and be a leader. Plus (Brittany) Boyd was out and everything runs through her. So when she’s off the floor, then the next person, which is Afure and myself had to step up and lead our team and keep them calm.”

On her game as it’s improved this season
“I definitely put in a lot of work. I know I’m going to play a lot of minutes this year, so I have to raise my level up to the next game.”

On playing with Courtney Range
“It’s great to play with her because I think it’s a bonus for us. She’s really a guard playing a post spot, so she can handle post players, and if you have a small guard on her (Courtney) can post her up. She runs the floor really well and also she knows how to throw dimes, so as a post player we love catching passes from our guards so it’s great playing with her.”


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