Jan. 27, 2013
CALIFORNIA HEAD COACH Lindsay Gottlieb
"I guess it's going to look a little different every game, but I'm really proud of our players for finding a way to win this game. I can't say enough about how bought in they are to California basketball and to each other and to the coaching staff. I said to them at the half, I'm getting out coached, we weren't ready for the triangle and two, and I'll take that, but you all need to do what you do well. We need to have a little bit more confidence, we need to play Cal basketball, we need to push the tempo, and I didn't know exactly what that was going to look like and it ended up being the four guard line up, with Eliza playing the post spot at the top of the press. And that's what we're about; let's find a way and let's get it done. And I think that was obviously the shift in the game, when we upped the pressure, got a bunch of steals, and made plays the way that we like too. Obviously Layshia [Clarendon] knocked down critical shots, it's almost like a quiet eleven for fifteen, Reshanda [Gray] was huge; but I think it was everyone else in the roles around them that made it happen. Eliza [Pierre] was tremendous Mikayla Lyles was terrific, I thought that [Brittany] Boyd, while she had a rough shooting night, made a lot of good decisions and got us going. So I was just happy with the win, especially against a very good Utah team who is much better than their record because they have had a rough stretch of tough teams to play."
On missing Gennifer [Brandon] and Utah's reaction to it
"It looked to me like a triangle-and-two (defense), but I know they were mixing it up a little bit. So we've faced things that looked like that before, with sagging off some of our people. So it was a matter of us seeming out of rhythm, I think with it; I was trying to run our man sets against it. But ultimately we were able to find some seams. Reshanda did a terrific job of ducking in and getting post ups late in the possession and I thought our players were really patient with when do I have the open jumper and when can I get it into Gray? Obviously we want all of our players healthy and on the court, but I think this team is built to say okay, if one All-American is out, we have other people who can step in. Gray brings in a little bit of a different element than Gennifer. They are both great on the boards, Gennifer likes the plain space where as Reshanda is a low post duck in kid, so it was very valuable for us tonight."
On making adjustments in practice with players out
"When we knew that Gennifer was going to be out, I thought about foul trouble and us needing to have a guard cover the four spot. We did it maybe for five minutes in practice and I asked Mikayla [Lyles], "Hey, do you know this?" and she is so smart, she really knew what we were doing. We had Afure [Jemerigbe] in the four offensively, but we didn't really think about it defensively because Utah runs to a point where we can guard them. I didn't think about the press. So then we had the small group in and I knew that we wanted to press and while Mikayla had been playing Gennifer's spot offensively, I said, let's go silver. And Eliza said, "I can play the top." You have so much confidence in a kid like that. Gennifer has about six or seven inches on her, but Eliza is the other person who is as disruptive as Gennifer. And as soon as she said that, I was like "that's genius!" She can play the top and it was great. And I said to them in the locker room after the Colorado game, "You do not win championships without someone like Eliza Pierre. I'm not saying that we are going to win a championship; I hope we do, but I know that if you don't have someone like that, and it didn't show up in the stat sheet as much on Colorado, but she just did everything to give us a lift and tonight the rebounds, four assists, one turnover, knocking down a huge three, it's fun to watch kids buy into those roles and do what they do well."
On Reshanda Gray's injury
"It was her hamstring, she tweaked her hamstring. I thought it was a cramp but she strained/pulled a hamstring."
On Gennifer Brandon's injury
"She'll be back, it's day to day. She rolled her ankle. You saw it at the end of the Colorado game. I think that it was with about four minutes to go, but she got up and played through it. Which I think, I didn't really even know at that time, so it was aggravated a little bit, so we just want to be really cautious and hopefully she will be good in the next couple of days."
On dealing with changing the gameplan with Utah's Taryn Wicijowski out
"I think that it was a great job by Utah coming in here. They loose their five player that everything goes through Wicijowski and Plouffe and so they essentially played without a five player. They played Plouffe at the five kind of and then Crozon moved to the four and it actually was a match-up problem for us. I'm asking our bigger posts to defend of the perimeter and to guard three point shooters. So it was a great adjustment by him not to try and say let's go with our backup post players and match up against Cal, let's change the game a little bit and I thought that was really good and ultimately I had to adjust to that and we played four guards and we changed a couple of switching things that we were doing on defense to match up with them. But I credit them coming in and not loosing a beat with a kid who is a really great player and I hope she's okay. You want for the conference for it to be a short term thing.
CALIFORNIA SENIOR Eliza Pierre
On her performance, especially on the offensive boards
"I think that we have been working on box-outs, Gray did a great job of boxing out, I just went to go grab the ball; almost every rebound I told Gray, "hey, good rebound Gray" because she was doing most of the work and it just kept falling in my hands. I think that the team was just on a hype, we wanted every loose ball, and we were fighting for something. I think we were fight for our season and everybody can see that when it comes down to the team and facing adversity, you always have one person who steps up and it's not the same person every night. It's great that we have that on this team because you don't have that on every team, and tonight I guest that it was me on rebounds." On what she does to be a "spark plug"
"I just try to do whatever the coach tells me to do and whatever my team needs me to do. If we need to get a stop, it's "hey, yo, let's get a stop." It's just trying to be a leader on the floor. I think that my team really responds to that and they help me. I think that if I'm down on myself from a poor shooting night or my leg hurts or my knee hurts, they are always telling me that I can push through it and I think that really helps."
On creating turnovers with the press call in the second half
"Coach made a great call, putting me at the top of the press, with Layshia (Clarendon) in the middle. We had a great pressing team in, so it was a little hard to get past our front line and when they did, we just did a good job in white, and getting stops or getting a rebound."