2006 MWC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP POSTGAME QUOTES
March 7, 2006
Question: Can you comments on that what it felt like, not panicking and staying cool under that situation?
Vanessa Espinoza: That's staying calm. You know, half time we talked about getting out rebounded and that's what we would focused on. And went out and I thought second half we kept our composure and played well.
Question: Vanessa, after those two steals and maybe there was a little frustration if you thought you might have been fouled when they were stealing it, you came back and hit the huge 3. Was that a lot of determination because of what just happened with the steals?
Vanessa Espinoza: Yeah, I mean, we were only up by I think 9 at the time, and you know my teammates set me up, great job giving me the ball, set me up and great pass and lucky shot.
Question: Vanessa, for you and your classmates, obviously you guys have been through this a few times, but it being your senior year, is there a little bit more desperation to it? Is there a different kind of mindset you're bringing to it?
Vanessa Espinoza: Definitely is. Every year we're one and done. This year we want to go as far as we can. You know, the determination, we're ready to go for BYU for tomorrow.
Question: Coach, do you feel like you're kind of looking at a similar program across the floor? I mean, you're both new coaches. What are your thoughts on that?
Coach Jen Warden: I think your initial thoughts are you know no matter what you're doing or who you're doing it against, you're jockeying for a position. And as Beth and I kind of start at the grass roots level, I think we see each other initially and we're competing. And you know, then you move up on Air Force, and you move up on Wyoming, and then UNLV. But first and foremost it as competitive 8/9 as it is competitive in 1/8 or 3/6. And I think that you really got to take heart that you've got a position and you got to recruit and you've got to teach. You have to be out working the other guy whether it's Wyoming State or BYU.
Question: Maybe other teams in your situation knowing that they're going to have to play a number one seed and the team that's only lost three games I think all year would be kind of a not as confident, but after the way you played BYU last Thursday, what do you feel like you have to do maybe to turn that around and get an upset tomorrow?
Vanessa Espinoza: I think if we play like the other night, a few adjustments, I thought the team played hard and each game we're improving. We are feeling extremely confident right now. And you know, rebounding is going to be a big key for us. They're great inside and out. We have to do the little things to beat BYU tomorrow.
Molly Nohr: They're a real tough team. We need to out hustle them, get all the loose balls to really get ahead of BYU.
Question: Vanessa, I just wonder what your mindset was in this game after all the frustrations of this season? And you were saying to your teammates, I'm not going to let this one get away?
Vanessa Espinoza: Definitely, we had a bad showing in Air Force. And that kind of was in the back of my mind today. You know, we didn't show up to play. And tonight we weren't going to let that happen. The atmosphere before the game, everybody was just the intensity, the fire, you could see. You know, for these seniors, we're not going to be one and done. Every year you know we come in here and we lose. And you know, again, that's just in the back of our mind.
Question: Molly, can you just talk about what Vanessa meant to and the energy she brought?
Molly Nohr: It's really nice knowing you can go to a player, especially like Vanessa, and knowing she's going to get the job done. I have all the confidence in the world in Vanessa. I mean, towards the end of the game, and we ran all the plays towards her, and she hit everything. I mean, the rest of the team did a really good job setting her up and she did I mean, she was 5 for 5 from the three point line. Especially down towards the end of the game, we were only up by 6 points and she hit that 4 point play. I mean, she just I don't know. She's kind of the heart of the team I think. Really whenever we get in the huddle, everyone looks towards Vanessa. I don't know. She keeps her composure really well on the floor.
San Diego State Quotes
Coach Beth Burns: Certainly I think first congratulations needs to go to Colorado State. This is a game that neither team aspires to be in, and I think that it was a tremendous effort by them obviously. There was a couple little stretches in the second half, but you can't say enough about the performance that Espinoza had today. She hit some back breakers. I think for us, she was 5 for 5 from three, including an N one. We had Veronica Shaw on her lot, who is a very good pressure defender but we really had no answer. They did some any things. I was proud of our team. I think we competed hard. I think that 44 percent in the second half is the best shooting percentage that we've had all season long. We've struggled with it all season long. So, I give us credit that we walked in here with our heads up and we're going to walk out of here with our heads up. THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Question: Coach Burns, is this a situation where you're kind of looking more at the process than the outcome, the improvement of your team throughout the season?
Coach Beth Burns: That's a great question. I'm going to have to put a plug in, they had a great stringer who came in today. You're exactly right. The real positive is how great the Mountain West Conference is. We're proud that we're the 6 RPI league in the country. That's something that you know for us we spoke a lot about having success, what we can do day in day out, game in game out to have success, because in a lot of the contests winning wasn't a conceivable realistic option. It didn't mean we didn't strive to do that. But the process was and we have improved tremendously. But I think it's the level of our competition which is kind of the reason why you see the result.
Question: Follow up question for you, Michelle. What do you feel like you're legacy will be for those who are coming after you? Are you happy with the foundation that you've laid?
Michelle Strawberry: Yes, I think I did a good job laying a foundation. They have a good recruiting class coming in for next year and the returners have improved so much. The foundation that me and myself some of the seniors, Veronica and Lindsay, the foundation we laid was pretty much hard work. And Coach Burns is going to continue to make everybody work hard. Foundation is pretty much laid, and next year's time, get some wins.
Question: Looking at the box score, the stat line and rebounds, the same, everything was pretty close. Can you talk about the difference, what it really came down to today?
Coach Beth Burns: You know, coaches know their teams obviously better than anybody else. And I think that, you know, everybody has to make adjustments. And I think one of the adjustments that we have as coaches is that there's some things we can't do. Maybe a logical adjustment, if you will. They put some new wrinkles into the triangle. We hadn't guarded it yet. We guarded them pretty well both times we've played them. And I think that was the difference. You know, the wrinkles that they had, we didn't adjust and give credit, you can wrinkle all you want; you still got to make shots. And that's why I say Espinoza made some huge shots. But they were doing something new. And in a game that was this close, where we really tried to make the game ugly and tried to take some air out of the ball on the offensive end, because we don't go very deep, that was huge. We just couldn't seem to adjust to what we had to get done, perhaps to put ourselves in a position to eliminate some of those three point shots.
Question: Michelle or Erin, can you talk about the four point play? Espinoza, you kind of clawed your way back into the game. Talk about what that play meant.
Michelle Strawberry: Well, obviously that was pretty much a back breaker because we were trying to contain her. She just hit a couple of threes on us. We were trying to put the ball in the basket after that. We knew we were down and we knew she was hot. We tried to contain her as best as we could. As Coach Burns said, they did put some wrinkles in. For us, it was pretty much mental. We had to adjust. We had to talk and switch. That's where we kind of lost focus, it was because of that. She hit a couple shots.
Question: Michelle, you've been here for a while. Can you just reflect on the season?
Michelle Strawberry: I think this is a good learning season for me. I had a great time. I love my teammates. The new coaches coming in did a great job. I think we advanced and we played better every game, and we've learned a lot of things. Like he was saying, we built a foundation and we'll be able to win the next coming up years.