UCLA's NCAA Pre-Tournament Press Conference Quotes

March 20, 2010

Minneapolis, MN -

Coach Caldwell press conference video

Press Conference Quotes - Head Coach Nikki Caldwell
On being a head coach in the NCAA Tournament for the first time:
'It's a great experience. I've enjoyed every moment of it. I have been very fortunate to be a player. Now I am a little more behind the scenes. A little bit more involved in the organization, so that is the biggest difference.'

On her relationship with N.C. State Coach Kellie Harper:
'I was a grad assistant her senior year at Tennessee. So I know her game well.'

On both coaches being from the 'Pat Summitt Academy':
'I don't know if it is a coincidence, but maybe since we are such new coaches. There are probably 54 players, team managers, or practice players (from Tennessee) that are in the coaching profession. So it is just a matter of time before one of these matchups happened.'

On whether there are similarities in their coaching styles:
'Yes, definitely. I think there are a lot of similarities in what Kellie (Harper) has brought to her team. They are a team that defends and will get after you and they will switch defenses. They run the '12-Back,' like we ran when I was playing at Tennessee. She has established a very versatile team. You have guard play that can shoot the 'three' or penetrate. Those are trademarks you look for when you are putting a team together. She has done a phenomenal job recruiting those type of players to N.C. State.'

On Erica Tukiainen's comments on Bruin basketball:
'She sounded like a coach up here. She was right on the money. This team needs to establish its running game and we do that through our defensive pressure and board play. We want to control the tempo of the game and limit our opponents to 'one-and-done.' Offensively, we do have a lot of versatile players, (Markel) Walker and (Jasmine) Dixon can play on the perimeter. We look to isolate and give them the opportunity to play off the bounce. She was definitely on the money on what we want to establish.'

On the best thing she has learned from Coach Pat Summitt:
'The biggest thing I learned is that you need to evolve. She will do something in the beginning of the year that she will decide to change later in the year. She evolves her action around the players. We know we go as our players go. It's about recruiting. You don't want to take a mule to the Kentucky Derby. You want to take a thoroughbred. The recruiting side of it is huge. You need to have those playmakers that will make plays during March Madness.'

On what it will take to beat N.C. State:
'We have to have ball-assuredness. We have to limit our turnovers. Our offense becomes very stagnant and choppy when we don't take care of the ball. We also need to control boards and control tempo of the game. We match up very well as far as size and athleticism, so it is going to be interesting to see what team goes out and executes their game plan. Ours is going to rely heavily on our defensive play and board play.'

On her relationship with N.C. State Coach Kellie Harper:
'When you go through the (Tennessee) program, there is a mutual respect. You know the sweat equity you need to put in under Coach Summitt. So we are always going to root for each other because of that connection. I am very happy for her. I am very happy for her program. It's March and she is going to get her team fired up to play us and we are going to do the same. But when I first saw her here this morning, it was a huge hug and just (being) happy to see a former player, especially one that I had the opportunity to spend a year coaching.'

On the Pat Summitt mentality:
'We have played into that mentality all season. Last year was my first spring break ever. So I was a little crazy. I told the team coming into the season that we will not have a spring break. We will either have NCAA play or they will spend it with me. This team is definitely focused. Hopefully we can use what we have learned in the Pac-10 Tournament and in the regular season to succeed in NCAA play.'

On UCLA's seeding:
'The seeding is up to the committee and what they see. I thought we could be anywhere from that 6- or 7-seed. I just try to put it into perspective. Last year, our name wasn't even called. ... .I do think the Pac-10 is a very strong conference. We are going to do our part and represent the Pac-10.'

Press Conference Quotes - Guard Erica Tukiainen
On her first experience in the NCAA Tournament:
'I'm excited. This is what you look forward to when you are a freshman. This is what you work for throughout the year. From the beginning of the season, in the summer, even in high school you look forward to this. We've been working really hard on the court and off the court. It's such a pleasure to be here. We just want to do our best and win.'

On maintaining focus during UCLA's finals week:
'Our coaches have done a pretty good job. Obviously we had finals last week, but before practice and after practice, we were doing our work, going to study hall, seeing our professors so once we got into practice, the coaches made it clear that this is your time to be here and to prepare and be focused. So you need to separate what you do on the court and off the court.'

On the reaction to Monday's selection show:
'I'm a senior and I haven't had a chance to experience that yet. We didn't know where we would be, but it doesn't matter who we play, we are going to play Bruin basketball and that is what we are here to do.'

On playing North Carolina State:
'They are a team that is athletic. They can shoot the ball, they can penetrate well, so they are a well-rounded team. Our focus is defense, boarding, we are going to focus on the little things we can do to control the game. They are going to bring their game and we are going to bring our game.'

On what Bruin basketball means to her:
'We like to run the ball. We are a transition team that likes to get up and down the court. At the same time, our coaches really want to be disciplined on defense. It's about all five of us being on the same page and being able to help each other out. Getting the ball inside to Jasmine (Dixon) and Markel (Walker) and getting our outside shots too. So we have a unique team with a lot of players that can play different positions like Rebekah Gardner who can go from '1' to playing '4'. Jasmine (Dixon) can play from outside and hit the jumper. So we have a lot of different ways of attacking on the court.'

On what Coach Nikki Caldwell has told the Bruins about the NCAA Tournament:
'Coach Nikki Caldwell has basically done it all. She and (Assistant Coach) Tasha Butts have been to the Final Four. She really wanted us to take in the experience. Enjoy each moment with the team on and off the court. She wants to know that once you get on the court, that you gave it your all and that you are exhausted. No matter what the outcome is, that you gave it your all and you did your best. She just wants us to play hard and have fun.'

Press Conference Quotes - Forward Jasmine Dixon
On her first NCAA Tournament experience:
'It's a great feeling to be in the tournament. Being part of this program in my first year and being able to contribute is great, and to end up in the NCAA Tournament is a wonderful feeling.'

On the Bruins' recent hot streak:
'It's team play. We know that if we play as a team, we are unstoppable. A couple of times late in games, we were able to pull together and get it done. Just making the extra pass or getting the lay-up, just team play.'

On the matchup with North Carolina State:
'We are similar to them in a lot of ways. They have a lot of shooters, we have shooters on our team. They have post players that are undersized, we have post players that are undersized. So I think it is going to be a great battle. We just need to go after it and play Bruin basketball and hopefully come out with a victory.'

On what Coach Nikki Caldwell has told the Bruins about the NCAA Tournament:
'The NCAA Tournament is nothing like the Pac-10 Tournament or like the regular season. Teams will bring out another level in themselves. So when you go out there, you can't leave nothing behind. Where you are from has nothing to do with the outcome.'

On California weather vs. Minnesota weather...
'Actually, this week the weather has been amazing (in California). 80 degrees, its beach weather. Then we come here and it is desperate weather.'

Locker Room Quotes - Forward Markel Walker
On being back in the tournament for the first time since the 2005-2006 season:'I am excited all around, because going my freshman year is a big accomplishment and going with a young team helps us prepare for next year.'

On the chances of facing Nebraska in the second round:
'We never want to bypass teams, but we look forward to coming out and playing our game.'

On the advantages and disadvantages of UCLA with no tournament experience:
'The disadvantages would be the atmosphere and the advantages are us having nothing to lose and going out there to make history.'

Locker Room Quotes - Guard Doreena Campbell
On entering the 2010 NCAA tournament:
'For the team it is a big deal, but for us, we have never been in the tournament.'

On the advantages and the disadvantages of UCLA with a no tournament experience:
'I think that one of the advantages is that our coaches have been there before. They have seen it and know what it is like to be in there. They (coaching staff) expressed to us that it is a lot of hard work and continuous effort. Basically it is not who is better than who, but who wants it more.'

On finishing second in the Pac-10:
'We'd like to have finished first, but we had couple of losses that should not have happened, like to USC. Stanford is a good team, it is a reason why they finished No. 2-ranked for a reason, they are dominant in the post.'

On the outlook against North Carolina State:
'I think we match up pretty evenly with North Carolina State. I think it is going to be who wants it more. The main point for us is to have rebounds and give them one-shot opportunities.'

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