2004 Pac-10 Women's Basketball Media Day Quotes

Oct. 26, 2004

Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen
'I'd like to thank you all for being here today. The Pac-10 is having a wonderful fall. We want to remember that Pac-10 football didn't get much pre-season national acclaim, and we've had great success. I think the same thing will happen with women's basketball... We're returning 62 percent of our starters and we have excellent coaches. I want to welcome the new coach of USC Mark Trakh. We're going to have 21 games televised, including of course our tournament here in San Jose. So we're looking for a strong year. I think women's basketball will be one of our strong sports this year.'

Washington State Coach Sherri Murrell
On turning the program around:
'When I took over the program in 2002 the first thing I looked at was 'how are we going to win' and 'how are we going to eliminate losing.' I think our program is going in the right direction... We're taking positive steps. The kids had to believe that we could win, they haven't had any winning. My first couple of years have been tough, because it was close, and they weren't used to winning. You can get used to winning but you can also get used to losing.'

'We've always talked about small victories in our program, but now we're talking about bigger victories. I don't like moral victories... We just have to recruit, we got to get kids that are skillful and competitive and I believe that we're doing that.

On playing in Italy over the summer:
'It was great for us to go over. They produce a lot of good teams over there. It went down to the wire in each one of those games.'

On the team's outlook in 2004
'Our problem in our program is that we have good starts and we have good ends, but it's that middle that we're forgetting... Our lack of size is going to be our biggest factor, but we're going to be much more athletic than in the past.'

California Coach Caren Horstmeyer
'Tom mentioned how the Pac-10 has been young, and there are so many returners in the Pac-10 this season... Our team is similar in that way. We have five seniors that are the foundation of our program, and they have set some standards for the younger kids. We want to build on the way we ended the year last season, when we won 3 of our last 5 games.'

'I think it's really important that (the players) know what their goals are. I think they felt that last year we were a good ball club, and they want to work off of that... Although winning is a habit, losing is a habit as well, and I think the way we finished last year will help us this season.'

On dealing with adversity last season:
'When you deal with a lot of adversity, and these kids are young and resilient, they've really been incredible. I think they feel that when you deal with a life situation, you learn to handle some things. They've grown up. They're probably the most grown up seniors I've ever had.'

On using the triangle offense this season:
'I think our personnel fits (the triangle offense) really well. I also think our new players complement our returning players really well. We've really become less predictable - reading, reacting. And we have more quick hitters.'

Oregon Coach Bev Smith
On preseason polls:
'Certainly Stanford, Arizona, UCLA have the top spots this year. And I think Arizona State, with the five seniors have a very veteran team... But I don't think our players are looking at any kind of polls, they just know where they want to be, and that's near the top at the end of the year.'

'I think one of our strengths this years is that we're really deep... We not only have the numbers, but we have experience at each position as well.'

On Catherine Kraayeveld's return:
'Catherine has an unbelievable, undefeatable faith... I think she's very healthy, she's fit, and I think going to Australia helped her. She was a little bit game rusty. So I think that Australia trip really helped her.'

On the effects of touring Australia
'Certainly you want to win games when you go on your tour, but I think progress and process are important... You do some things that you do has a family, and you don't have time to do those things during the hectic season.'

Oregon State Coach Judy Spoelstra
'We're excited about this team. We have a lot of inexperience on the team, so we're really trying to up that level as soon as possible. I think that we're going to do that on the rebounding and the defensive end, and let the scoring come to us.'

On selling Oregon State basketball:
'I'm not worried about he sell, really. I think our players really want to get out there and play the game... I really believe that you have to put the backbone in first, before you put the arms and the legs. And that backbone is rebounding and defense. We're just going to fight, play the way we can, and be scrappy.'

On the upcoming season
'It'll be a little bit trial by fire because our preseason schedule is very tough. I hope the writers realize how many good teams we have in the Pac-10 this year.'

Washington Coach June Daugherty
'We are very excited about the new era of basketball at the University of Washington. This team is very excited about building upon our (past success). We have a very different team, because of our 15 players, seven of them did not play college basketball last year. This team is going to be exciting. We're going to be pressing, playing up tempo.'

On the return of Kristen O'Neill and Kayla Burt:
'Kayla Burt and Kristen O'Neill are our captains. And there is a real sense of urgency with both of them, not having been out there. You're going to see a lot of things from Kristin. She could be at the point, she could be at the forward position, you never know. Same with Kayla, she'll play at the one, two, three, and maybe a little bit of the four... We're excited and looking forward to big things this year.'

On the influx of new players:
'You felt like the first day you might have to put name tags on them. There were a lot of new faces. We've recruited kids so that we can play up-tempo basketball and get into the pressure defense. We feel like we've got that type of athleticism in the program to play that up-tempo game for 40 minutes.'

On Washington's fan support:
'It speaks well of the support of women's basketball in Seattle. We're thrilled to see what the (Seattle) Storm did in the WNBA, bringing a championship to Seattle... We've led the Pac-10 in attendance in back to back years and we want to make it three in a row.'

Washington State sophomore Kate Benz
On lessons she learned playing the international style in Italy:
'It was definitely an eye-opener. There are no rules over in Italy... Coming out of the Pac-10, every day was intense, everything was real physical'

California senior Leigh Gregory
On improving post play
'It's definitely a challenge, but something that has to get done. But Jessica (Lawson) is looking really good, so hopefully she'll hold things up for us.'

Oregon senior Andrea Bills
On playing in Australia
'There were a lot of younger girls, so they play really fast, up-tempo game... It was just a good way for me to get stronger in the post.'

Oregon State senior Shannon Howell
On changing her game this year as compared to last season
'I'm going to keep it the same, so I can come out and surprise the coaches again... I've been working on my pull-up jumper and my outside shot.'

Washington junior Kristen O'Neill
On sitting out with injury last season
'I learned a whole bunch from watching. It was a tough situation, as anyone who's been injured would attest to. It's great to be back out on the court, especially with Kayla back, we had too many players on the bench last year.'

USC Coach Mark Trakh
'It's an honor to be coaching in this Conference. Our first few practices have been about feeling everyone out and seeing what they can do. It's a great group of kids and we are really excited what is going on right now.'

On Philosophy
'Offensively, we run the motion and run up and down the floor. The transition has been smooth. We are putting our emphasis on both offense and defense. Practice has been fun for all the coaches because the effort is there.'

On Goals
'Just concentrating on our process. Basically, everything is a short-term goal right now.'

On Ebony Hoffman
'We do not have any great players but we have good players. Hopefully if we do all the small things. We have good senior leadership this year.'

On being at USC
'I am happy to be here. It was the right place , right time. I have had great female athletes in the past and if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be where I am today.'

On the UCLA/USC rivalry
'Naturally it's an important rivalry. It is great and the crowd has been great. We are looking forward to it.'

UCLA Coach Kathy Olivier
'To be honest, I was really excited to start practice after the finish last season.'

'It was a great experience for us to get back into the tournament. Now they realize how important preseaon is to get into the postseason. Our team felt very confident and felt we could compete with anyone in the country.'

On losing 3 players--Jamila Veasley, Whitney Jones, Gennifer Arranaga
'All three played different types of roles and they are already missed. They are missed but they are very much still involved with us.'

On trio-- Nikki Blue, Noelle Quinn. Lisa Willlis
'They are as good as anyone I have coached, both as coach and assistant. They have a commitment to be good and that is what separates them from the rest.'

Arizona State Coach Charli Turner Thorne
'I am really excited about our own team but I am also excited about our Conference. We have verteran teams and we are going to be healthy this year. I feel that all of us have the preseaon schedule that can put us in the postseason. We have positioned ourselves to make a statement nationally, for our conference.'

On the rotation
'We have a lot of great depth and team speed and more multiple defenses to build on the offensive system. This is most experienced team I have ever had and it's so much fun. We are much further ahead and our team is in the best shape they have ever been in.'

On the potential this year
'We are hoping regionals this year and if we can, we will make the Final Four. We know we can compete and we can beat anyone in the nation. We have very high expectations and we are at that point in our program and that is where we expect to be.'

Arizona Coach Joan Bonvicini
'Great players make great coaches and I think experience if very important and i think talent is very important too. This season is going to be great in the Pac-10 and when you do it once, you want to do it again.

On Dee-Dee Wheeler
'The biggest change is her vocal leadership and I want her to be that coach on the floor and she has done a great job at practice this year.'

On Shawntinice Polk
'Polkey made an impact right away to our team. She is a very good player.

On the team
'It is pretty competitive at practice. We will be a deeper team this year but i also think everyone else has that too. We have high aspirations and once you have done something, it gives us that confidence to do it again.'

Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer
'We are very excited this year. Our team has been practicing and we have a very different team; a whole new show.'

On different team this year
'We have five seniors and our seniors have really set the pace in practice and they do not leave anyone behind. We have executed well and our team has won with great three-point shooting in the past but we are going to be a much more athletic and aggressive team this season.'

On Nicole Powell's absence
'Nicole is a great player. In some ways the limelight is going to be shared with a lot of players. We have an extremely competitive situation.'

On energy from NCAA tournament
'Our team played great in the tournament and we can compete with anyone. We did well but obviously we wanted to do better.'

USC senior Rachel Woodward
On having a new coach
'It doesn't seem like it's such a new start, it's going great. Everyone really enjoys him.'

UCLA junior Nikki Blue
On this year
'I think this year we are going to pick up right where we left off. This year, we are going to do what UCLA does best.'

Arizona State senior Kylan Loney
On having a veteran team
'We are not having to re-teach our program this season. It has been a great preseason being a veteran team. It's just great. We are jumping back into the season and we have had a great off-season. Having the experience and the knowledge of the program is great.'

Arizona senior Dee-Dee Wheeler
On an experienced team
'The moment was great at Washington last season. I think we have a great group of players. We have more mature players and our newcomers are very talented and want to learn. We are eager to play; it's a taste we want to feel again this year.'

Stanford senior Susan King Borchardt
On deciding to come back and play
'It came down to realizing I have the opportunity to play at a great school that not every person gets and i am very excited to be here and this year is going to be awesome season.'

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