Jan. 4, 2013
CALIFORNIA HEAD COACH Lindsay Gottlieb
I expected that this would be a really tough game, which it was. We struggled to score in the second half. Obviously that's a concern, but I knew it was going to be a tight game. I liked the way we responded down the stretch. They can't all be pretty.
On Getting Utah's Michelle Plouffe into foul trouble
No question, we got in a good flow when she was out. I don't think that was a coincidence. She's a big part of what they do. I think the pressure in the first half allowed us to get separation. The problem for us in the second half was that we weren't making baskets, so it was hard for us to get the press. I was proud of the kids for grinding it out. We're a team that scores a lot of points in the paint with our post players, and I thought they Afure Jemerigbe really stepped up and made big shots when we needed scoring from the perimeter.
On Afure Jemerigbe's night
We feel like we're a team that there are always five threats on the floor to score. That's rare. That's college basketball. I thought Afure really took what was there tonight. They focused on loading the paint to stop penetration by Brittany Boyd and post touches, and I thought we moved the ball nicely. Afure just found seams at the end of plays, which was huge for us. She's a big-time guard and to be able to have her to step up when we needed her was important for us.
On the opening Pac-12 stretch this season
We had no idea before the season started how tough this opening stretch would be. I credit Utah and Colorado for being good teams. It's particularly hard to play them here in the mountains, and obviously we play Stanford twice in one week, but our team responds to challenges. We're really happy to get this one. We know the road doesn't get any easier, but I hope our players are ready to step up because if we can successfully get through this stretch, they'll feel confident that we can get through anything.
On the team
I think we have a complete team in that we can score in the paint or the perimeter. I think it's making sure in 40 minutes that we stay in a rhythm regardless of what the defense is trying to take away from us. We don't want to go through lulls. The best teams don't go through lulls on the offensive end.
On the offense improving late in the second half
It was huge. We had trouble scoring in the second half. we knew eventually we'd need to knock down shots. Everything that was coming for us good offensively was coming off of ball movement. Whether that was late penetration or a late post entry or a late three-point attempt, I thought we moved the ball well.