Nov. 15, 2012
Lindsay Gottlieb Opening Statement:
“I thought that this was a really good win for us. Our journey this year is going to be a little different, and various challenges, and what we are looking to improve upon. And I challenged the team, after Lehigh, to be even more energetic for forty minutes and to jump on teams and be able to assert our will and dictate play, and I thought they took that game plan and ran with it. I am really proud of our collective group. I thought that we started the game really well and we sustained it. I didn’t look quite the same in the second half, we didn’t force as many turnovers, but we actually held them to less points and I think that’s a sign of maturity with us that we can dig in and do what we need to do. I loved the balanced scoring, that’s how we can play. I can’t say enough about how Afure (Jemerigbe) played. She was just in the zone, she looked great, she has looked really, really good in practice, I think her contributions are huge for us, but I really liked the defensive effort from the whole group and thought that it was a big step forward for us. This is a good Saint Mary’s team that’s really going to contend in the WCC. They just came back from a good trip to the Northwest so we knew that it would be a challenge and I think we made a statement tonight just about us and how we intend to be this year, we want to be really good and I think that this was a step forward.”
- Afure, would you say that this was probably your best game?
Jemerigbe: “This year, definitely.”
- What got into you tonight?
Jemerigbe: “I think it started off with a steal. It gave everybody a bunch of energy and I think that I fed off of that and it felt good in my hands when I had it and I just was in a rhythm.”
- Where are you most comfortable? On the wing, attacking, would that be fair to say?
Jemerigbe: “Yeah, I am definitely comfortable on the wing”
- Lindsay can you talk a little bit about what happened between Lehigh’s game and today.”
Gottlieb: “They are so responsive, I mean really it was just the way that the schedule worked out. We had practice on Saturday after, usually we have a day off, but we wanted to give them Sunday off. So just in that practice, we didn’t watch any film, I said “I think you know what’s going to be on the film, except we did a lot of really good things, but we want to still get sharper and be more excited for each other and play through the second half.” I know that this may sound strange, but we need to learn how to play sometimes with a thirty-point lead and not changer our energy level. We talked about coming out of a timeouts and just having a bounce in our step. We just have great leadership on the team this year we have a really collective group. So, it was more just focusing on those details and getting our energy level up and they do all of the work, we just point out what we think needs to be better. I will say, and I really credit the assistant coaches and our players, they are always in the gym doing extra. So, Afure’s three pointer looks terrific, that’s not by magic, she’s in there getting extra shots with Kai (Felton) and we do finishing with Boyd (Brittany) and Charmin (Smith) and obviously Katy (Steding) has been tremendous with the posts. So the players put a lot of work in everyday and because they understand what I want from them schematically, we do more time on shooting and skills and it’s really paying off so far.”
- Coach, since you only have ten players, have you reached out around the campus to see if you can pick up a double-double machine if you need it, or if someone got hurt?
Gottlieb: “You don’t think we have enough double-double machines? I don’t have enough minutes for the double-double machines that we have now. I mean we have Brittany Shine in practice; we have a tremendous group of practice players. To be honest, I think with ten we try to spread those minutes around and there are players that can go. Eliza had the most with 28 minutes, and we have Gennifer (Brandon) with a double-double in twenty three minutes and Afure only playing only twenty three minutes, and they are ready to go thirty if they need too, but we feel good about the group that we have and the way that we balance it out is with practice guys. What I am able to do, and I’ve actually talked with “Monty” (Mike Montgomery) about this quite a bit because he’s not able to do this, he can’t get guys on campus to challenge his starters, that we can do our real rotations in practice, so I never go us against us, I go first group on, second group on, mixing combinations, small line-up, the big line-up so it actually works really well.”
- Can you talk about the full court press in the first half, and how you held them down to only seventeen total shots and you guys had thirty-nine?
Gottlieb: “I looked at that stat a half time and I said wow. Afure referenced it, we call it silver, even though he thinks it’s named after him, it’s not named after him Mike Silver, who is a friend of mine and a Cal grad. But it’s silver, and the players have been running our Black, which is a different kind of press, and we put in silver two days ago. It puts our post player on the ball. So all of a sudden you have Gennifer Brandon in a trap with a guard and then the other guards get to read and react and I thought our players bought into it, they made it look great. We certainly have athleticism and we have speed and we want to utilize that so we just rattled them and our players converted, I thought that they got into a rhythm off of it those kinds of numbers, like holding them off to seventeen shots and turning them over seventeen times in the first half is exactly what you want.”
- So is the Silver different than you’ve shown in the first game? Is that why Saint Mary’s seemed flustered?
Gottlieb: “Correct. We didn’t put silver in until conference last year because we are a little bit more experienced we were able to put it in earlier so we haven’t used it all year, this was the first time, we put it in two days ago and they remembered, did a couple of drills with it, Gennifer almost forgot on the first possession and Boyd pushed her into her spot and she still got the steal. Those will be our two presses that we go with for a while.”
- Afure, what is it like playing in such a big lead? You guys were leading by thirty at the end of the first half, how do you keep up the intensity?
Jemerigbe: “For the most part, I try not to look at the score. We are an elite team now and we can’t worry about that and just keep pushing and going hard no matter what the score is, just going 100% all of the time. It feels good to be up by a lot, but you try not to focus on that.”
- Do you think that it was 100% all of the time in the second half?
Jemerigbe: “Yes, definitely.”
Gottlieb: “Like I said, it looks different sometimes. Saint Mary’s is a good team and they put in counters to us and we were also trapping ball screens at the half court early on. They put in a counter at half time that got us a little bit off kilter, they are obviously better than what we made them look in the first half, so we are not necessarily going to score fifty-three points and press the same way the whole game, but what I liked is that they actually scored less points the second half and I think that’s what we’re leaning. We didn’t decrease our intensity in the second half, we didn’t hit quite as many shots but we still looked like we were engaged and focused.”
- Speaking of intensity, you got a little bit chippy there in the second half, and even last year against Saint Mary’s it was a really intense matchup as well, was that the type of matchup that you prepared for?
Gottlieb: “The way I looked at it, and what we included in the scouting report was that for Saint Mary’s, I imagine, this is a really big game for them. Coach Thomas is a great coach who likes to challenge his team against Pac-12 schools, but I’m sure they circle Cal. We are ten miles away and it’s a bit game for them, and they play hard, we really appreciate that. I wasn’t surprised that they came out and were aggressive with us. I think if you’re in a deficit you are going to play even harder. Obviously you don’t want to get in any type of situation where there are technical, but our players are always going to have each other’s backs and they are going to play hard and tough and we obviously didn’t want that to cross any lines, but that’s the way it went for a couple of minutes and I though we regrouped and finished really cleanly.”
- Do these players see each other in the gym over the summer? Do you guys know each other at all?
Jemerigbe: “Not at all.”
- Coach, UCLA beat Oklahoma, can you talk about why that’s important and if you’re paying attention to that kind of stuff?
Gottlieb: “Yeah, I watched it last night. I think it’s great for the Pac-12. I got a couple of text message from people I know in basketball saying this is good, it doesn’t surprise me. They are very good, they looked terrific last night, they were really aggressive to the offensive boards, they reminded us of a team that I look at every day, but I thought that was a great win that helps the conference RPI. We root for all of the other Pac-12 teams. I’m sure a lot of us will be kind of tuned into the feed of Stanford against Baylor tomorrow. So we all root for each other until it comes to conference because it helps our RPI and I think it also gives some notoriety to the Pac-12 that we play some good basketball out here.”
- Afure, coming into the game, Saint Mary’s had a 20(?) point rebound advantage over their opponents, was that an emphasis for you guys?
Jemerigbe: “We knew from the scouting report that they were a good rebounding team, their guards are great rebounders. The coaches made an emphasis that we should make sure that we box out. So yeah we were aware of that, we tried to box them out a lot throughout the game. We know that we are a good rebounding team.”
- Coach, was there any concern going forward about Brittany fouling out? [In future games]
Gottlieb: “I think the way that we are going to play, it pus all of our guards in an opportunity to foul because we are so aggressive. She is such a heady player, she has such a high basketball IQ, I love that she plays so hard and so aggressive and I’ve talked with her about being able to play through if you get one early foul and how that changes how you play while still being aggressive, and yet not putting yourself in a situation to foul. I talked to Reshanda (Gray) about that too because she has had some foul situations too and that’s something that I’m sure will continue to develop. Tonight I was able to let her play through it and kind of see how that went because we had such a big lead and I want them to learn things, so I am always trying to work on different combinations or who needs to play through fatigue, who needs to play through foul trouble. It is something that we are aware of and we will work with her on how to manage when you have an early foul or when you have three fouls in the second half.”
- Justine seemed like she was in the flow much more today, it seemed like there were a couple of set plays where players were looking for her, was it something that you guys worked on for her?
Gottlieb: “Justine works hard everyday. Katy works with all of our post players everyday. Justine missed two weeks of practice early on, so maybe that effected her rhythm and her timing early and she as all of our players are, is going to continue to develop and get better, but I thought she got in a great flow tonight. She obviously has a tremendous skill set and I think she felt good, had a good balance, but she’s getting better everyday and I think Katy does a great job, Justine works hard, our whole post group is continuing to develop and Justine gives us a dimension that is a little bit different than the others and is really, really valuable so I loved her minutes tonight.”