Beth Burns talked to the media about the last week of the regular season.
March 2, 2009
Women's Basketball Head Coach Beth Burns
Aztec Athletics Center
Weekly Press Conference Quotes
"Happy March Madness to everybody; it's officially here. We obviously are really excited about what we've been able to do these last few weeks. From (wins over) Utah to New Mexico and now TCU, the top three teams we've been fighting with have come into Cox Arena (and have fallen). I think it's just a tremendous accomplishment for our team to finish 14-0 in Cox Arena. When you look at the caliber of coaches and teams that we've had in here, in my lifetime here, I know we've only had one other team that's done this (gone unbeaten).It was our '97 team and it speaks to a lot of things (about this year's team). It's just a tremendous accomplishment to how far our team has been able to go. With that said, we were able to jump over TCU with our win on Saturday and with the uniqueness of our tournament this year, we still potentially could drop to third or we could win the whole thing outright with (UNLV) knocking off Utah last week. We are still in the hunt, although we do of course have two challenging road games ahead. We have everything to play for. Our RPI has now jumped to the number one in our league. We have an opportunity to protect that and put ourselves in our best position, which is play Friday instead of Thursday in the conference tournament and only need two games to guarantee a front door entry into the NCAA tournament."
On the team's NCAA tournament resume:
"I'd be the first to tell you, who knows? Our resume is good. I think that after we lost to Wyoming, I talked about the fact that we had one bad loss prior to that and it was in November. That (loss) has long been eradicated with what we've been able to accomplish. Wyoming has also helped us by continuing to win. They're moving up in the standings. The TCU win loomed so large because TCU is already national. Utah is also already national so is New Mexico and we're the new kids on the block. When you're the new kid on the block you can't just politely ring the doorbell; sometimes you have to be smacking at it and disrupt them and try to run around the back door and climb in. I've heard a lot from people the last two days; they (TCU) have beaten Cal and they've beaten Maryland. I think that in itself lets you sleep a little bit better at night, but I still can't be privy to what's going on all over the place and in these other leagues to know. It still comes down to how many upsets happen in conference tournaments in multiple-bid leagues to see who's bumping people."
On the success at Cox Arena this year:
"I would say from a conference standpoint, we're at sea level and that's huge. We're a speed team and it always amazes me when we get off a plane and come to practice the next day and I think, 'Hey, we are fast; how about that.' I think that this is a challenging league with challenging length and distance and time zones and things like that. You play better when you're at home and then once you get on a roll, then you really start locking in. Once we beat Texas, it was like, 'Hey, we've got to be 8-0 in the Mountain West Conference.' As you get closer to it, I think they put more urgency on it. If there's a magic wand, I don't know. It's hard to do."
On how big it would be to play in the NCAA tournament at Cox Arena:
"I said to our seniors on Saturday, I've had this final home (game) day 18 times over in my career and I've never had an opportunity to look my seniors in their eyes and say if we do what we're capable of doing, this will be your senior day, but these won't be the final games that you play in Cox Arena, which is just beyond words in terms of getting our program to a level that we want it to be at. It's kind of that simple. We live in a Pac-10 state, and (it's) an opportunity for so many prospects to get in their cars (and) come down here (to the NCAAs). For us be here, for people to see our team for the first time from the community, it's so far reaching it's unbelievable."
On if it is getting easier for the program to be recognized:
"You're as good as your last game that night and then it's your last game. Two weeks ago everyone was doom and gloom; they beat Utah and then they turned around and they couldn't win it in Wyoming. Everyone who made those comments had never had the joy of taking a jog in Laramie. Then we came right back and tightened things up. Basketball is about being hot at the right time and I think we're playing as well as anybody. Jené Morris is proudly player of the week again; that's about our eighth player of the week that we've had in the Mountain West Conference. I think our players are getting individual attention. Obviously Paris (Johnson) has won it four times; Q (Quenese Davis) just won it for the first time. All of those things collectively help make people notice. Is it getting easier? If we take care of business this week on the road, then I feel very good about it. I do feel that we have to take care of business this week at CSU and at Vegas."
On how big a factor it is going into the MWC tournament that they've beaten every team in the league once:
"I think, especially going into Saturday's game, where it's ourselves and TCU that have kind of been jockeying in the two-three slot, the odds are pretty high. When we shook hands after the game as coaches, it was, unfortunately we'll both be seeing each other in about a week. The odds are pretty high that we're going to see them again. I think it's psychologically really important that you know you can draw back, just as I've drawn back on some of our bigger nonconference wins before we were able to have big conference wins. Knowing that you can, versus me telling you that you can, is huge. I think you can see the maturity in our team. Obviously when I broke down our game on Sunday, our team is playing. We're playing well, we didn't get lucky. I think we're confident. I think we'll pack that and take it with us."