California Head Coach Lindsay Gottlieb
On Whether it was Nerve-Wracking to Wait Before Seeing Cal’s Name
“A little bit. Even though I came in here thinking, ‘I’m not nervous. I’m excited to see where we go. Every bracket we have is going to be tough.’ And then as it was going and going, naturally it builds up adrenaline, in builds up some nerves, and I said, ‘We’re in it, right?’ But we knew we were going to be in that last bracket and going to Waco. It’s always exciting to see your name pop up. I’m excited for our players and the opportunity.”
On the Seventh Seed
“I thought we’d be a six or seven. When I saw Oregon State as an eight (seed) and USC as a nine, I thought maybe we’d be a six. But either way you’re going to have a tough first-round game and an opportunity to probably have to beat someone on their home floor. Whoever it is it doesn’t matter. It’s an exciting opportunity.”
As a New York Native, Her Thoughts on Playing a New York School
“It’s just a familiarity with them. I went to Fordham camps as a kid. I just always had more of an interest in them.
“I have a ton of respect for (Fordham head coach) Stephanie Gaitley. She was the head coach at Richmond and then St. Joe’s, so I know her for East Coast kinds of things. What she’s done with that program…six years ago (in 2007-08) they were winless. I mean zero wins in Division I, and now to be as good as they are, it’s exciting for them. We know it’s going to be a good matchup.”
On Being Familiar with Fordham
“I grew up 20 miles from their campus. I went to their basketball camps when I was young. I’m a basketball nerd, so I watched basketball games from all over the country but had a particular interest in the program that was kind of in my backyard. I took a recruiting visit there when I was young. I knew I was going to go to the Ivy League, but to have a familiarity with the program is neat. I’m familiar with the amazing job that Stephanie Gaitley has done there and the depths from which she’s brought that program to be a championship-level program and win the A-10, which is a great conference.
“For the players there’s no familiarity, but for me being from New York having a team right out of the Bronx to play against is kind of neat.”
On How Much Last Year’s Run to the Final Four Will Help This Year
“We appreciate the opportunity. We got to New Orleans last year, which was magical and a dream come true. But we had two overtime games before that, and we had a really tough Fresno State opponent in the first round, so I think this team understands just how tenuous success in the NCAA Tournament is. It’s certainly attainable. But it’s also very fleeting, so we’re looking forward to doing some special things again.”