Pac-10 Kicks Off Women's Basketball Season With 2003 Media Day

Oct. 30, 2002

October 30, 2002 - HP Pavilion, San Jose, Calif.


Washington State Head Coach Sherri Murrell
'The biggest thing is embracing the kids and the program right away. We're building a foundation, and laying the way for the future. The biggest thing you have to do is look at your personnel. Our system is an uptempo style. We're going to get the ball out and run a little more than last season. We just want to get better everyday, and wins are by-product of the work. We want to be a spoiler in the Pac-10. We have a cohesive group and were going to bottle that enthusiasm and go forward throughout out the year. I grew up around the Pac-10, its a great, well-respected conference. We want to climb the ladder, and get halfway there at least, right now, and get to the tournament. I'm excited to be in such a respected Conference.'

California Assistant Coach Kirsten McKnight
'We have seven players that were freshmen last year, and have learned a l ot and seen what it takes in the Pac-10, and they're hungry. They've worked hard in the offseason, and have improved. It's hard to replace a player like Ami Forney, however there's a lot of people that can step up and fill her scoring role. With seven returning sophomores we thought that we needed some experience. The thing we like about all of them [JC transfers] is that they are all winners. They know what it takes to be successful. With our personnel, we have the ability to score from the outside, so we won't be as reliant on our inside game. But we have players, like Leigh [Gregory] who can step up on the inside.'

UCLA Head Coach Kathy Olivier
'We're really excited to have Michelle [Greco] back. She's been an unbelievalbe workhorse, working on her shot. We have so much confidence when she shoots the ball. Our centers have worked hard on getting up and down the floor, they put in a lot of time in the offseason. Our group as a whole is a tight group, they've worked very hard together, they ahve good team chemistry, they're enthusiastic. I hope that they have great year as far as team leadership.'

Arizona Head Coach Joan Bonvicini
'I think our players are doing a good job, we have a good core of eight to nine that are confident that they can make a impact. This team works very, very hard, and it's a pleasure to coach. We've really focused on defense, putting pressure on the ball, getting up the line, now I've got a big girl in the middle who can really cause some problems. Respect is something that we want, we want to be back in the Tournament, we're young and we have a demanding schedule but this team wants to win. It's all about preparation and taking it a day at a time, you don't overlook anybody in the Pac-10.'

Oregon Head Coach Bev Smith
'I think that the postseason just gave a nice spring board into our Pac-10 season this year. The games in the NIT gave us an understanding of what we can accomplish. We feel very much in control. It started in the postseason, working together and settting the bar a little higher. It starts also with recruiting and working with our veterans. Our team committed to coming early and took ownership of our program. We improved the overall rebounding last year, i think we were alittle thin in the post. This year we've empahsized taht we need five players to the boards. We prob won' reb traditionally, our guards will do some of the work.

Susan Hammer, San Jose Local Organizing Committee
'We're excited about the enthusiasm of the fans and the community of San Jose. I think given that we are in the heart of women's basketball land, speaks a lot for what were going to be able to do in March. We are all very engaged in this process, and we're excited to be working with the Pac-10.'

Oregon State Head Coach Judy Spoelstra
'Felicia [Ragland] led us in so many different categories. She was willing to risk as a player to get the team going. We talked about filling that void in the spring, and as far as scoring goes, it will have to done by committee. The biggest things we miss is Felicia's defensive tenacity. But we've had our freshmen sit down and watch a lot of film. Because of Leilani [Estavan], our leadership has been outstanding, they committed to staying all summer and play together and be together, it passes the torch down to the incoming freshmen. We've seen some really outstanding things from our freshmen, they're going to have their good weeks and their bad weeks, but I think the other players are going to take care of them. Its' very key that our perimeter players are comfortable. I 'm happy with that progression so far. We want to be able to prove that we can be more consistent game in and game out. They have tremendous enthusiasn every day. Our new people, the moment you ask them to correct something, they are trying to improve.

USC Head Coach Chris Gobrecht
'I think Rometra [Craig] will definitely help us. She is a tireless worker. Her impact will be major. She is a terrific outside shooter, she can break you down. It gives us some depth at guard. Everything we do starts at guard. All three of our new people will make a difference. We signed JC point guard Tiffany Hicks, who acts like a point guard, and has the ability to drive. We've got lots of people that can score the basketball, but we needed a point guard. We just all needed to grow up. There's a lot of pressure on these young players to carry the load. We didn't have any older players for them to lean on. They're much more relaxed and much more confident.'

Washington Head Coach June Daugherty
'Going into our spring training, we evaluated where we were at. Definitely being more physical, rebounding and defensively is something we wanted to improve on. We saw remarkable improvement individually and as a team in those areas. We really wanted to make sure we mixed it up with other top conferences, so we upped the schedule. If we take care of business hopefully it'll improve our chances as well as the Conference RPI. I feel very confident with our five returning starters, there is much better balance both inside and out. More important is how we're going to defend down in the low block. And how strong we're going to be rebounding. But I've seen improvement. We take great pride in developing complete players. We just want to continue to improve. We've improved our ability to score more, but also to kick out and get shots.'

Arizona State Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne
'I think we'll have a good core group of leaders. I'm really excited, I think as always when you lose a player, people step up. We're going to more of a transition team. We've been recruiting year after year to run. We're going to be faster, hopefully run more and extend our defense. We're going to be doing some new things and we're excited about it.'

Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer
'We're really proud of the season we had last year. For us our health is critical. Our whole question is being helath. We are a totally different team. This is the most versatile team we've had a Stanford. With all the things we're capable of doing, its really fun. No one works harder than Susan King. We're running things differently, so it takes advantage of basketball sense of anything else. Guards are heaven for coaches, we have guards that make our team so different. We play in a great league, our defense last year was big, I think we can be a lot more aggressive defensively. We're not necessarily counting on our freshmen to lead the way, but our sophomores and juniors, when they're healthy will do that. It's really exciting with the versatility we have. I think we have a great schedule, because we have players that want to test themselves. Leadership comes from really believing in each other, and they just stick together.


Washington State Sophomore G Jessica Perry
'She [Coach Murrell] has brought an up-tempo style to run the floor to get the wings out, and an aggressive defense. She's given us the attitude to get out and push the ball. The team is in a learning process, but we trust them and know what they're doing, so we're just taking it in.'

California Sophomore F Leigh Gregory
'The biggest difference is from a confidence standpoint. This year after some experience we have a confident, winning mentality and are ready to step up. We have a great outlook and have learned so much from last year, and we're excited to get out there and show how much we've grown. The biggest thing in the offseason was to get healthy, and after that I worked on my quickness and my shooting.'

UCLA Senior G Michelle Greco
'Last year having to sit out was very frustrating, it was a tough situation, but I was able to turn in into a positive and learn how I was able to work on my game. We have a very talented freshman class, very quick and very athletic. I think they're going to make an impact.'

Arizona Sophomore G Dee Dee Wheeler
'I 'm really looking forward to this season because last season was more of a learning experience. But I came back second semester of summer school and worked out and played basketball everyday.'

Oregon Senior G Shaquala Williams
'There's something special about being senior. I wanted to opportunity to be a senior leader on my team, and I know my teammates will look at me on how to work and how to be the best they can be. I think we have a special team, this team has the intangibles, with people coming back early, our focus is better, our chemistry is better, this team wants to win so bad, that we'll do whatever it takes to do it. '

Oregon State Junior G Leilani Estavan
'I feel a lot more comfortable, I get confidence from our coaches and players. I think playing together all summer helped us learn, about playing together. We have that work ethic where we're going to go hard every time. I focused on my jump shot, trying to get it consistent so I feel confident shooting. Our defense is going to be the main thing. Since we started practice we've been focused on defense.

USC Junior F Ebony Hoffman
'If we play like we're supposed to play, we're going to the top. My team motto for the team is 'stop talking about it and just do it. In the summer everybody was doing their part, and if they do that we'll win. We've really grown as a team, and our chemistry as a team is there. When we practice, everybody is on edge every time down the floor. This is the year for USC to show what we're all about, we're going to show our game this year.'

Washington Senior G Loree Payne
'We still have the taste in our mouth from last postseason. We're a step above where we wanted to be. We put a lot of effort into our offseason training. Australia was incredible. It gave us a chance to fine tune our skills on offense and defense. We had a chance to build as a team, traveling together and working on different aspects of the game. Our coaches have given us confidence, knowing your coaches have confidence in you builds team confidence as well has individually.

Arizona State Sophomore G Kylan Loney
'These girls came in this summer and trained, worked on strength and conditioning. I think we are definitely passing down the tradition to the new girls, and they expect to win. Personally, I'm working on 3-1 assist-to-turnover ratio and working on my shot selection. Last year I didn't hold back on shooting, but I had such capable teammates. I'm ready to take the next step in my game and be more of a shooter.'

Stanford Junior F Nicole Powell
'This year the challenge is finding out who's going to to be that steady person, to fill that hole [left by Lindsay Yamasaki]. I worked on my defensive stance all summer. For me, I just wanted to be a better player, thing was working on the mental aspect and how to approach the game and take advantage of match-ups, seeing the game and making my teammates better.'

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