Feb. 24, 2013
CALIFORNIA HEAD COACH Lindsay Gottlieb
"I told the team right outside that I am as proud of this win as any of how many this year, I don't even know, 20-something. I was as proud of this win as any of them because I think it tested who we are. And I said to them at halftime that we just have to show them who we are and not try to get everything back all at once. Really credit Oregon State, I mean I'll watch the film, but I thought it was more of them being good than us being not ready. I mean, we were ready; we had shots rim out, they had everything go in. They were tough. They had a great scout, they knew what they were doing and we faced major adversity. There have been other games where little things like we miss a couple of shots and then we get stops, or a team is hot and we are scoring with them. This was the first time that we were not scoring, they were scoring and all of a sudden we are looking at a 17-point deficit, and this team dug in and said "this is not happening today." Obviously, I rode Layshia [Clarendon] like it was her senior year of high school and I was going to have her shoot 50 shots, but as a team effort from Afure [Jemerigbe] to Talia [Caldwell] to Gennifer [Brandon] to Eliza [Pierre] - I mean all of the way down the roster to the kids who didn't play - I am really proud of how this team battled and said "we have got to fight this one and we are going to get it done" and that's exactly what they did."
On Layshia Clarendon taking over down the stretch
"I mean she does it with her demeanor and she does it with her play, but I've worked here, sitting on the bench with the coaches literally in my ear saying every single thing that we have running to (go to) Layshia. Charmin [Smith] was saying if this kid is on her, then let's run this; if this kid's on her then let's run that. So we obviously made a conscience decision to go through her, just as we were struggling to score. I thought that the run started earlier, with Brittany [Boyd] and getting some transition layups and steals. So then when it came down to court on court a little bit more we were going to go to Layshia all of the time. But I do not think that one kid on our team folded at any point; I was almost worried a little bit in the first half. They were trying to get it back into one thing and all of a sudden I just said "don't play that hard, but don't deviate from our game plan and what we do. Just do it better." Every time, we could have come back quicker, but Oregon State kept answering. They hit tough shots, and I kept saying, "alright, they are going to cool off, but let's have it happen a little bit faster.""
On Oregon State getting a big first half lead
"I thought that we were getting good looks. Obviously our energy and our aggressiveness always makes the ball go in more and that's on us. But I think that you know, things broke for them, kind of in that first half and they took advantage of every opportunity and it got us in a deep hole. Credit to them."
On Brittany Boyd's influence
"Huge. She let it start with her defense. I thought that she got a couple of steals in a row, she changed the feel of the game and got out in transition, got to the free throw line, which meant that we were in the bonus really early. So that effort at the beginning of the second half was tremendous. Again, this is why Layshia said, "If it's easy, then not everyone would do it." And then we can go back at the end of the game and say, "alright, when Boyd was having a little bit of trouble moving laterally, let's get Eliza (Pierre) in and get stops on defense. When you are a good team, when you can feed off of each other and have different people responsible for different things. Her minutes were huge."
On looking ahead to the Pac-12 or NCAA Tournament
"I don't care where we are seeded in the tournament, but we're trying to win a championship and that's going to take two wins next weekend; one game at a time. I think that this win is going to give us something. This team is so good about taking messages from every game, and I think this is about our toughness and our resolve and our commitment to one another. These players just love each other, and it shows on the court. So that's what we are going to try and carry. So, yeah, I think that even though this was more of a struggle than maybe you would have predicted, based on records, but I think this is going to give us a little boost. We are going to go up to Washington and win two games and then we will worry about the Pac-12 tournament and the NCAA tournament."
On her senior class
"How long do we have? They are just the most remarkable group of four young women that I could imagine. I think that what they've taught me more than anything is that you be there for one another. From Tierra [Rogers], who has never played a minute and might be one of the most significant people in this program's history, to Eliza (Pierre) who comes off of the bench and gives us everything she has, to Layshia (Clarendon) who shoulders a bigger burden than she would ever let on - she is a superstar without any diva in her - to Talia (Caldwell) who is just an absolute rock. They are remarkable kids off of the court. They have defined what this program is going to be about going forward and I think that's pretty cool. What they've done and how they've played and how they've approached their careers and specifically what they've done this year, with their consistent excellence is going to live on a lot longer than when they walk out of the doors here. That's really special to me."
CALIFORNIA SENIOR Layshia Clarendon
On the game
"Well, I'm a little bit in shock still, but we got the win. It feels good and I figured, `way to give them a show going out, rather than giving them a "boring game" going out.' It felt good to have the fans. It was loud. It was like they say back East where you feel the crowd, and I think that it affected them toward the end as well. It was a fun environment to play in."
On if senior day emotions played into the slow start
"Not at all actually. I think it helped us even. Sometimes we come out a little like "oh what are they doing?" and I think we came out firing and ready to go. And a testament to Jamie Weisner, she has a really high release and they were just knocking down every shot. I think that our emotions helped us even more."
On what sparked the turnaround
"I think that if it's easy (to come back), then everyone would do it. So at halftime I said this is why only so many people are champions, some people are great, there are only so many teams. I said that it is a testament to our character, and what are we going to do? Are we going to fold or are we going to respond and dig in? It's not easy. You hear all of those quotes about character during adversity and they are a little bit cliché but it's true. When it comes down to it, it's how do you react? How do you respond? I am just really proud of us."
On the memorable season thus far
"I think it's been slowly but surely (building). I piggybacked off of last year, kind of, where we had those almost signature wins but we just kept falling a little bit shot, a little bit short. Then this year, definitely, we had a preseason loss to Duke, but we were kind of winning those games that we needed to win to be elite. I think that it's a testament to our coaching staff, wholeheartedly, and being like, "I don't know how to do this whole thing. You (coaches can) take care of logistics and rankings and polls and all of that stuff, and we are just going to come and work hard every day," and that's all we know. There was no real moment, but seeing us (ranked) around 14 or 15, which was where we started, was kind of like "oh this is cool, I've never been ranked before." Then seeing us climb all of the way to the top, there are moments when I'm like, `We're sixth in the country? That's pretty cool'. So there was no real moment. Now looking towards the future, I'm really realizing how good this program can be and where we are headed."
On Coach Gottlieb building on the success of Coach Joanne Boyle
"I think that it is a testament to kind of where our players have been and where we were on the way. But our coaching staff, with Lindsay coming in, and just saying "follow me, I'll show you guys what to do. I'll take care of the logistics stuff, just come in and work hard every day, give us your all and we are going to go places." It's a testament to our team really trusting this Cal Bear coming in here and being like "alright, we just went through this big coaching change" and you know everyone is scared. We weren't sure if our recruits were going to still come, (Brittany) Boyd and Reshanda Gray, and us really just trusting in her."
On the end of the game after getting the win
"Like I said earlier, I'm a little bit in shock still, and then dong media with Mary (Murphy) and the kids (doing autographs) and so there is just a lot going on and I'll probable reflect on it later, kind of the last moments playing at Haas. It's bittersweet but it still hasn't hit me yet because we still have so many more practices in here and I'm not done playing yet. So it will hit me eventually, probably when I'm alone in my room."