NCAA W. Basketball Second Round Pre-Game Press Conference Quotes

NCAA Tournament Quotes
UCLA Press Conference
Monday, March 20, 2006

UCLA Head Coach Kathy Olivier

Opening statement...
'This is going to be a great match-up tomorrow against Purdue. I think you'll see a lot of people here. I think having a big crowd will be as much an advantage for Purdue, our team likes playing in front of big crowds; we're used to that. It's something our team welcomes with open arms. It makes me more comfortable because they like it. We're going to have to play better than we did yesterday.'

On preparing for Purdue...
'They're a very solid basketball team. You can tell they're well-coached. They have excellent fundamentals; they know the game of basketball. They don't try to go too quick, they have excellent spacing, good shooters, big girls that know how to play basketball.'

On friendship with Purdue coach Kristy Curry...
'Kristy and I go back three or four years. There are not a lot of people in the profession you get a bond with and Kristy's one of those special people I trust. We share things, bounce things off each other. We kind of help each other through certain times. It's nice to have someone in the profession as successful as her that I can bounce things off of and learn from her and hopefully she learns from me.'

On friendship with Purdue alum and UCLA legend John Wooden...
'We went over this summer to coach Wooden's place and visited with him. He loves this place (Purdue), he said so many positive things. It's like yesterday to him, talking about being at Purdue. He's been to one of our practices, he talks about our players. He's so supportive, he loves what UCLA basketball is about right now and he loves winning. I'm sure he'll have something to say if we take care of business tomorrow.'

On improved defensive play...
'About six weeks ago, people were saying we were up and down. I never felt that way because we have such a competitive schedule, but we realized you can't give up 85 or 90 points a game and try to win, as much as we have a lot of offense. We talked about it as a staff, and the team really bought into the system.'

On how Purdue will defend the Bruin offense...
'I think everyone who plays us is going to pay attention to our perimeter game, but I think our posts actually have been doing a very good job lately. We have different looks in the post, which is a huge advantage for us.'

UCLA guard Nikki Blue

On last year's game vs. Purdue...
'I remember them being a really solid basketball team. I vividly remember (Katie) Gearlds, she's very good. I remember it was just a foot race to the finish. I don't remember how we won, but we did.'

On Purdue's defense...
'They're very good defenders, so I would think that they would try to slow our transition game down, try to make us play in a half-court set. We know they're very solid offensively and defensively, so we have to go out with our same game plan as always.'

UCLA guard Noelle Quinn

On Purdue
'I think they're a very solid team, very tall. Katie's a great player; I think she has one of the purest jump shots in the NCAA right now. She's a great player. They don't make a lot of mistakes.'

On cold Indiana weather...
'It's cold, not like home. We're used to warm weather, green leaves on the trees and being able to walk outside without a jacket. But we're not here for the weather, we're here to play basketball.'



Purdue Head Coach Kristy Curry

Opening statement...
'We're excited to survive and advance. UCLA is going to be a handful with their Triple Threat (Nikki Blue, Noelle Quinn and Lisa Willis). It's going to take an A-plus effort on Tuesday night. We have to be aggressive from the opening tip and jump out to a fast start.'

On UCLA's Triple Threat...
'I could go on all day about how great all three of these players are. I don't think any one is better than the other - it's like pick your poison. Nikki Blue is a special point guard who understands her strengths and weaknesses, and when the game is on the line, she will make the play. Lisa Willis is an amazingly gifted athlete; I got to see her win the gold medal with the World University Games team.'

On using the Big Ten's physical style of play against UCLA...
'We like playing physical, and they like using their quickness and athleticism. So we'll have to wait and see what style is able to win out. Of all the teams we've played, Ohio State is probably the most similar in style to UCLA, and we've seen that style in certain players like Iowa's Kristi Smith.'

On controlling the tempo against a high-scoring team...
'We're going to have to pick and choose our spots when to move our game up-tempo, and get some transition baskets. I think if we can keep the score in the low 60's, and defend well against the 3-pointer, then we have a good chance to win.'

On an improved perimeter game with the return of Jodi Howell...
'Jodi is a great fundamental player. She understands tendencies and sets, and she is a person who is capable of winning games with her head and her heart. It's good to have her back in the lineup, and we'll need both her and Kiki Freeman to help us win.'

On relationship with UCLA head coach Kathy Olivier...
'We're both moms, so a lot of the time we're both talking about our kids. She's very outgoing, down-to-earth and a good person. I look up to her as a mom, coach and mentor.'

Thoughts on Tennessee's Candace Parker's dunk in the NCAA Tournament...
'I haven't seen or thought much about it; I've been thinking too much about UCLA. I think it's a great part of the game and with the girls getting bigger, faster and quicker - this is where our game is headed. She is a great player.'

Purdue guard Katie Gearlds

On playing another perimeter-based team in the NCAA Tournament...
'I think we can use the experience to our advantage, but we have to remember that they have some good post players too. We need to keep their guards in front of us and make them do things they don't want to do.'

On the play and style of Noelle Quinn...
'She is the Magic Johnson of our game; she can do it all - make the big shot, rebound, and run the ball up and down the floor. Noelle's also a great person, and I'm looking forward to playing against her and rising up to the challenge she presents.'

Purdue guard Sharika Webb

Memories of playing against UCLA last season...
'I remember them being very athletic. Nikki Blue did a great job of running that team, but we committed 29 turnovers, which was ridiculous. We need to do a better job of controlling our possessions.'

On playing another perimeter-based team in the NCAA Tournament...
'I agree with Katie (Gearlds), we need to keep their guards in front of us, prevent dishes to the post players and limit Lisa (Willis') touches. If we do all of that, I think we'll be okay.'

Purdue forward Erin Lawless

On scoring frustrations in the regular season...
'My earlier struggles have become a source of motivation. The postseason is a good time for me to get going and score a lot of points. I'm going to leave it all out there on the court, because I know that any game could be my last.'

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