2007 NCAA Women's Tournament Press Conference Quotes

March 18, 2007

2007 NCAA® DIVISION I WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPGalen Center • Los Angeles, Calif.Sunday, March 18, 2007Press Conference Quotes

Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair

Opening statement

'It's beautiful still being here. Give Terra Wallace a lot of credit. She wanted the ball and she was their go to player. We worked a lot onmaking decisions because when we go against George Washington, it's going to be tough because as most of you know, Coach Joe McKeown is my best friend in coaching and it's going to be tough going against your best friend. We've done a lot of things together and we've talked a lot of basketball together. It's going to be fun but it's still about George Washington and about Texas A&M. The girls on the court are going to decide it--not us coaches. If the coaches are going to decide anything, we're going to decide it on the golf course.'

On his relationships with George Washington head coach Joe McKeown

'He won't be my best friend tomorrow night. He'll just be an opponent and a very well respected opponent. I like their basketball team. They should not be a #5 seed. They rolled through their conference schedule undefeated and they get beat at the buzzer [in the championship game]. Eventually, we're going to have to play each other anyway so you might as well do it out here in Southern California.'

On matching up against George Washington

'Their guards are large and these kids can shoot over us. They're excellent at shooting. They have an excellent transition game and weneed to get back. I think again, you're looking at a great point guard battle between Kimberly Beck and A'Quonesia Franklin. We're going togo into it trying to play A&M ball.'

On George Washington sophomore center Jessica Adair

'I had no idea Adair was that good until yesterday when I saw her in person. She's not Courtney Paris [Oklahoma Sooner center] but she'sa pretty doggone good imitation and she will be an All-American before her career is over.'

On La Toya Micheaux's development this year and the match-up against Adair

'She's learned how to play defense without fouling. This year, she's able to get 25-32 minutes depending on personnel. She's not afraid to throw a body in there and protect the paint and she's turned into a better passer than scorer this year. Her assists are double from last year. We need to get her involved more on the offensive side mainly to keep Adair from playing the entire game. She works hard in practiceand never takes a day off.'

On George Washington defensive pressure'We're just going to outscore them. I'm not going into specifics on what we're going to do. We just find a way and that's all we're going todo. The adjustments made in the ball game are what is going to decide the game--not necessarily what's going on in the practice court today.'

On Morenike Atunrase's injuries

'Morenike doesn't make excuses for herself. Look at Ohio State yesterday. One of their players was out and they still had one of the topcenters in the game and still lost. We don't make excuses. We give opportunities to other girls and Starks and Gant have really taken overthat role. Depending on match-ups, we've got five kids that can do it. We talk consistently about getting over it and getting through it. I thinkall it's going to take is one great defensive game to get it in her head that she can play at the level that she has played at in the past twoyears.'

On longer layoff since conference championship helping

'The time off does not help. I've listened to coaches talk about that. Everything's new to us. The good thing about having played Iowa Stateis that it might help us get ready for George Washington. Joe is going to do what he always does. He's not going to change what he doesfor us. The winner is going to go to Dallas and the loser is going to go to the golf course but we want to go home to Dallas and play.'

On George Washington's defensive intensity, going 19-0 to start against Boise State

'If we're down 19-0, I will go down to the end of the bench and throw coach McKeown's crutch up into the stands. I don't know what it willbe but we'll have to do something different.'

Texas A&M Sophomore Guard/Forward Danielle Gant

On her role in tomorrow's game

'I think I'll be playing more on the wing. If I do play down low, I'll just have to use my inside pivot. Guarding their guards, I'll just do thesame thing.'

Texas A&M Junior Forward Katy Pounds

On George Washington's defense

'I think George Washington is a solid team and I think for us to be successful, we have to make the right decisions. We have to block out.We need to attack that zone if it's a zone.'

On using the last win to boost experience

'I played on a high school team that had a lot of success. Both Morenike and I were part of state championships teams and we both knowthat to get to the next level in the NCAA tournament, it's going to take our team stepping up. Each game can be your last and that's theattitude that you have to take with it. You have to look at it from that standpoint and that you have to go out there and control the game fromthe tip.'

On setting the tone in the game

'We play in the second best power conference in the country. We play teams like Texas, Oklahoma and Baylor and it's always important for us to come in and set the tone in the game. You won't find it very often that we'll go into a Big 12 game and we let the opponent set the tone for the game. It doesn't matter what gym, it depends on the heart and the character of your players. We want to go out and we want to set the tone for the other players. When we're up and playing defense, Coach Blair's heart rate is not as high.'

Texas A&M Junior Guard/Forward Morenike Atunrase

On defending the George Washington guards

'It's just another game. It's the same thing I've been doing the last few games. I have to go out and defend. I trust in my teammates to helpme. I don't have any doubt in my mind that my teammates will step up. Coach Blair goes out and recruits players like myself such asDanielle Gant. It's not about scoring all the time but just to use my quickness to help my teammates to the best of my ability.'

On being prepared for George Washington's play in general

'I think one thing we've always done as a team and that goes back to all the veterans we have on the team and that's that we don't panicwhen we get down. We practiced yesterday in the gym as if we had to miss a free throw, get the rebound and go back up with it. I think withGeorge Washington, we need to keep up our defensive energy and it will continue through out the game.'

Texas A&M Sophomore Center La Toya Micheaux

On what the team needs to work on in the next game

'First off we need to work on our transition defense. Second off we need to work on our rebounding. Last game we allowed them to havelike twenty-five offensive rebounds. We need to have the bigs get in and get some rebounds. Plus, when we get more offensive reboundswe get more possessions and more opportunities for us to score. We need to play our style on offense and defense and just come out andplay hard. George Washington is a great team. They have a nice point guard and a nice post player and if we can just contain those twoand control the game then I think we will be alright.'On the overall team feeling going into the second round game'Last year when we came to the NCAA we were just happy to make it there. This year it is more like a business. We are here to get thejob done. Our major goal is to just get back to Dallas. Once we get there we will be playing for our fans. It will not just be about us. Peopleare waiting for us back at home.'

Texas A&M Junior Guard A'Quonesia Franklin

On opponent George Washington

'They are a great ball club. They were like 16-0 in their conference. They lost one game in the conference tournament but they are a very great team. Their zone is outstanding. It is one of the best in the country. They are an outstanding team and are well coached.'

On some of the keys to getting a win

'One of the keys is to adjust to the match-up zone that they have. We will have to rebound and get the ball inside. They have a great pointguard and a great team altogether. We have to limit the touches of their post player inside and our main thing is to adjust to the zone.'

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