Senior Courtney Clements and the Aztecs prepare for the Mountain West Tournament this week.
March 11, 2013
COACH BURNS, CLEMENTS, HOPKINS QUOTES
SAN DIEGO -
Head coach Beth Burns
"Momentum is a great thing in basketball. We didn't just want to win (against Boise State) on Saturday. We wanted to win, get better and have the ultimate amount of confidence going forward. Everybody is back to square one. We'll find out who we have to play in a couple days, but I couldn't be more proud and pleased with how we were able to finish up (conference play) with a 15-game run. Now it's time to take a deep breath. I think one thing that's been really good about our team is we've been able to put in a lot of new stuff and work on stuff the past 2-3 weeks that we haven't used in games. But I feel we're ready for what we could potentially face."
On facing teams that now have a new opportunity in the tournament:
"A year ago, we won the league and went to the tournament with a big target on our back. Every lower-seed team except us was upset by a higher seed. We have a veteran group that is used to having a target on them. We're used to that. As a competitor, that's the role you relish. But you have to expect that other coaches are going to try things that they normally wouldn't do."
On how they'll prepare for three games in three days:
"I think it's a challenge in November, not in March because you're running on adrenaline. I think with our team, the closer we get to the prize, the better we play. So I wouldn't expect fatigue to be a factor at all. They know what's on the line."
On if there's extra pressure on the team since the conference has been weak this season:
"We scheduled hard, we competed hard. We don't have a bad loss, and we just really have to cheer for every (higher seed) in every tournament that's out there. I think we have to go game to game, and I don't think there could be any more pressure on us than there was all season long. We've been playing with that pressure night after night. I don't think it will change. We won't be any tighter or any looser. We want to win the (MW) tournament. We'd like to be cutting down the nets on Saturday night."
On if their current 15-game winning streak adds any internal pressure:
"Streaks really aren't something basketball players think about. To me, that part of the season is closed. We've got a three-day tournament that we have to win to go further. So it doesn't matter. I'd rather be streaking with momentum than anything else. We find ways to win and when you're in that situation where you have to get one more rebound or make a shot, we all believe one of us is going to do it. You build a trust and confidence. We have an experienced team that understands what's at stake and how we have to play.
Senior Courtney Clements
On if they're approaching the tournament as a must-win:
"I think we are approaching it like we have to win the tournament because there's nothing guaranteed for us and we're not in the top-25. So if you're not in the top-25 and you haven't won your conference tournament, you're not guaranteed (an at-large berth). So we're approaching it like we may not have a chance at all of making the NCAA Tournament."
Senior Chelsea Hopkins
On maintaining their edge every game:
"I think you're playing off mostly adrenaline now. You know what's at stake. We know that these games are must-wins. I think when you're in any situation like that, it gives you the extra focus and energy you need to perform. We've been in that situation before and we've been successful."