March 3, 2002
Coach Mark Trakh
General Comments: I thought it was a great game, it was a great tournament for the West Coast Conference. Either team could've won this game. I told Chris and we both agreed that this game was just for the West Coast Conference championship -I really believe we're both in, if we're both not in the tournament it's a crime.
On Ashbaugh: Ashbaugh would not die easy, champions die hard and Ashbaugh was not about to let that game go. She hit big threes, freethrows, she did an outstanding job.
On SCU: They did an outstanding job as a team, it's hard to defend them because they run their patterns so well, they run 20 different sets and they run them so well. They play real well together, we're happy to come away with a win.
With Sarah, Damaris, Nadja Morgan, we executed, made some big shots. It was sure fun to watch.
Gruening really hurt us at their place so we knew we couldn't leave her. At their place Gruening and Ashbaugh hurt us with dribble penetration so we knew we couldn't allow that and we did a good job. We had to stop dribble penetration, we had to try to take Ashbaugh out of the game, she's just so smart. It worked most of the time but she just started taking over in the last ten minutes of the game.
We felt we had to stop Rhea and Butler and really do a good job on Ashbaugh and Gruening.
What he said to Damaris: With her lower back, she's been struggling defensively. We said we know you're hurting but you have to step up, you can't lose Gruening. I thought she really stepped up. She did a good job containing her [Gruening].
On the Freethrow that missed the rim: We were going to put our two big kids in, she was supposed to miss the freethrow, let them get the rebound, we were going to trap witn our two big kids, but she decided to she wanted to do a Shaquille O'Neal impression at that point.
On guarding Becki Ashbaugh: We tell her to pressure Becki Ashbaugh, so she pressured her and fouled her, so we said get off her, get off her! So she [Becki] comes back the next possession and hits a 3 and we're like, what are you doing? You've got to pressure her! So she looks at me and says you know, you're really confusing me. We couldn't figure out what to do with Becki Ashbaugh.
My guards were getting me the ball so I had to take it strong to the hole. We knew that to win this game it had to be a combined team effort, and we had 5 people in double figures.
Santa Clara's a really good team, it would be a shame if they didn't get into the tournament.
We've been in the championship three of our four years and had yet to come up with that title, so this means a lot.
It's a dream come true. It was a goal early in the season but we had to take it one game at a time. We are undefeated in tournament play. It was an early goal but it turned into a reality, it feels really good.
Coach Chris Denker
General Comments: That was a really good basketball game. I think the West Coast Conference is a real good basketball conference. I thought there were two good teams out there. I'm a big fan of Pepperdine, I think they've got a hell of a team. I think they're very good and we played hard, they were just a better team today. I'm not ashamed we lost to them.
I really love my team, the kids have tremendous heart, they play really really hard, they never say die, and I think they did that again today.
On the post-season: We're going to the NCAA tournament. We better. I'd like to see 64 teams that are better than us.
Look at the score of some of the [tournament] games. There are some high-caliber players and good coaching all up and down the league. This is a good conference. We deserve a couple of teams in the tournament. We're ready to keep playing, we're just hitting our stride.
One thing that's been quietly motivating our players all season is that we were picked 5th. To finish second in the regular season and then come out and play in the championship game, that says a lot for our kids. They have a lot of backbone, they did a good job.
Talking to Coach Trakh before the game: He came and shook my hand and said let's have fun, I think we should both be in.
We find out Sunday. It's going to be quite a week. My wife has a baby Thursday the 14th, it's truly March Madness. At 7:30 in the morning, a little boy, Christopher Quinn, our first.
On Nadja Morgan: I thought she made a big mistake not coming to Santa Clara. I think she's a really good player. You could tell early in the game she had her motor going, she was flying after rebounds. She's really strong, really aggressive, that's how she played all game long. One thing she doesn't do a tremendous amount is hit 17-footers and tonight she hit a couple, so you knew she was going strong.
G Becki Ashbaugh
The last minute, we were just trying to make the game last as long as possible, get a steal first or try to foul. Just try to get a quick shot or get a foul.
On only 2 shots first half: They were tyring to deny me the ball, get up and pressure, which Pepperdine likes to do a lot, so I was trying to move the ball around the first half and the second half I came out a little more aggressive.
Going into the game, I thought both teams were in the NCAA tournament. It's just disappointing to not get a WCC Champsionship. As far as the NCAA tournament, I think we definitely deserve to be in. You never know... we've played this waiting game before, but I don't think we've had a higher RPI and a better chance of getting into the tournament.