Stanford Opening Quotes - NCAA Tournament

March 16, 2007

NCAA Women's Basketball
Press Conference Quotes
Stanford University, March 16, 2007

Stanford Cardinal

Head Coach Tara VanDerveer:

Opening Statement:
'We are very excited to be playing in the NCAA Tournament. We know it will be a great tournament and we just want to do our very, very best and that's what our team will do.'

On Stanford's gameplan to slow down Idaho State's three-point shooting:
'I think they are shooters. Not just three-point shooting, but their free-throw shooting is great. I think we have to play great position defense and like Candice said, the players are up for the challenge. We know they are really good at that. We can't let them do what they really like to do. So, we have to get out o their shooters, but at the same time, they have great post players. So, we might have to pick your poison a little bit. I have a lot of confidence in our team that they understand the scouting report. We are very impressed with what Idaho State does and we just have to come out and do the things it will take to get the job done. But, we're not focused as much on the other team as we want to do the right things. We want to do our game plan. So, it's not so much about Idaho State, but about Stanford, what we need to do.'

On the other side of the offensive game plan aside from three-point shooting:
'I mean Candice, obviously, is a great three-point shooter. I had our statistician from practice check, because we keep stats everyday in practice of all the three's we shoot. We've shpt over 37,000 three's. It's not just Candice, obviously. We have some really phenomenal shooters and whatever way, Kristen can face off, Brooke can face off. We're going to look to run the floor. We're going to look to get the ball inside. We want people to take good, open perimeter shots and they will. I have confidence in our players and a lot of times we have gone into a tournament with some gaudy percentage shooters and all of a sudden, go way down the tubes. We are not dependent on three-point shooting, so I think that favors us right now. We're going to take the perimeter shots and I'm confident we'll make those shots. We're going to get it done on the defensive end and we're going to get it done on the glass. The other thing is we're shooting in a gym that we're comfortable with. If we can't shoot here, what hope is there?'

On the Minnesota game from several years back regarding protecting home court:
'At Stanford, we've lost in the NCAA Tournament, I can remember three times, it says four, but I can remember Harvard, Purdue and Minnesota. There's a fourth one, but I can't remember if I was here or not. Those games really stand out because, to me, that was a wasted opportunity. We were hosting a regional and to come and watch all the other teams play in your gym, it was really hard. I thought the same thing. I looked down here and see this. We want to be playing on Monday and we have to do everything we can to make that happen. It is painful and there's some extra pain attached when you lose in your own gym.'

Candace Wiggins:

(On taking care of business at home) 'I think it's very important, especially tomorrow's game. We want to set the tone for how we want to play in the tournament. We really want to make a statement. We are not going to take it for granted also. We are going to play real hard.

(On keeping team from overlooking Idaho State) 'I think it's very easy for us. We know that we only have one game guaranteed. This whole time, this whole tournament atmosphere we haven't even been thinking about our next round game. Our focus is on Idaho State, so it's not really difficult for us to not overlook a team.'

On keeping momentum after not playing since Pac-10 Tournament two weeks ago:
'I think it's just the excitement of playing in the tournament to get us to start, to do well. We haven't been able to play for a long time. We've just been practicing. The opportunity to play with each other and to have fun; I think that's going to help us keep the momentum going.

On what Stanford's strategy is on defense:
'Get out on the shooters. That's the number one priority. Our defense is really going to be tested tomorrow. The players here, the guards on our team, we're excited about it. We love the challenge.'

Brooke Smith:

On the fact NCAA Tournament is actually beginning:
'I think definitely coming today to the gym and seeing all the other teams. Also, just having all the men's games on TV the past two days. It really feels like tournament time now and we are so excited to play again. It's been almost two weeks now, so I really just can't wait to play.'

On what it means to play at home for your last tournament:
'I think it's definitely very exciting. We really have a great opportunity getting to play at home with everyone, fans, being close by, our families they can come to the game. It's just a great opportunity that we really need to take advantage of. Obviously, we learned a lesson earlier this year. We lost two games at home and we know it can happen, so we're prepared and we are not going to take this opportunity for granted.'

Kristen Newlin:

On what the focus has been on the team's preparation for Idaho State:
'We know they are a very good team. They have excellent shooters. Our focus is really on what we can do. In practice, we've just been setting the tone, trying to be enthusiastic. Just getting ready for the tournament. Coming in, we want to energetic and like Candice said, we want to set the tone. From the start tomorrow, that's what we want to do.'

On Stanford's frontcourt having an advantage:
'Definitely. Our strength our entire season. Rotating in and out. We love playing against each other in practice, so that makes it more fun in games. I just want to keep playing with those two in the post rotation as long as possible.'

On Stanford's past losses at home and how they will make sure it doesn't happen again:
'I was a senior in high school the last time they lost and I came out to watch. I just remember just how disappointed everyone was and felt. I wasn't a part of that team, but I could still feel the disappointment. We understand that we can't take anything for granted. We've already been beat twice this year, so we know what we have to do to come out. It's one and done in the NCAA Tournament, so we just have to come out with everything we have and this is our last chance. I have no doubt that we will do that.'

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