March 14, 2002

NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Press Conference

March 14, 2002

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NCAA Press Conference

March 14, 2002

Santa Clara Head Coach Chris Denker

GENERAL: "Obviously we are very excited to be playing in the NCAA Tournament. I personally am not there yet, but I am sure the girls are very excited. Boulder is a tremendous host city, just as we expected them to be and they are really doing a great job. We are really anxious to play and we feel like we have been playing really well here towards the end of the season and we really want the chance to continue to do that. Obviously, this is a great honor and we are very pleased to be here. But as I think I heard the girls say earlier, we want to be a special team, not an ordinary team. Whether that is by Santa Clara standards, or West Coast standards or national standards, it does not matter to us. We just want to be special. And the first thing we are going to have to do in order to do that is win a first-round game."

ON LSU: "We know we really have a tough opponent in LSU. They are a very good team who is obviously coming off a big weekend of their own in performing well in the SEC Tournament, so this should make for a good ballgame. They just do a really good job and I think they are a very good team, very well coached. They have been able to pick their spots, whether that was to pick it up defensively or pick up and out score somebody, they seem to have been able to do both. The one thing that is so difficult with their match ups is that they have so many versatile players. They can step in and post, step out and shoot it and guard well and they can also put it on the floor and drive. So obviously that presents a little bit of a problem."

ON LSU'S ROTATION: "Obviously a lot has been made of their seven player rotation and really, basically, they have only been playing six. But I think the thing that gets lost in that is that the six (players) can really play and they play really well together. They have got a very good squad and they have been doing this for a long time. I think they are accustomed to playing that way and they don't seem to really get worn down. I think they do get tired a little bit, but their coach uses their timeouts very wisely."

ON THE LSU ROTATION AT ALTITUDE: "I suppose (the altitude) probably could be (an issue), but I told our girls that altitude doesn't work indoors and in an air conditioned building...so it doesn't matter. I don't know if they believed me or not though. I am sure (altitude) will probably affect both team a little bit."

Guard Becki Ashbaugh

ON FIRST RETURN TO NCAA TOURNAMENT SINCE FRESHMAN YEAR: "I think as a freshman we were just excited to be there, not really knowing what to expect...we have more experience now, both Caroline, myself, and Tammy (Annas). I think we show a little more confidence. We are ready to play, and not just excited to be here."

ON THE TURNING POINT OF THE SEASON: " After the losses to St Mary's and USF in the same weekend, I think that was the turning point of the season. After that, we had the choice of going up or down. We really feel like we are playing really good basketball now."

ON THE PLAY OF THE UNDERCLASSMEN: " As a team, we have had different people stepping up all through the year. You can tell by the different scoring averages we don't necessarily have one go to person... we have some who steps every night."

ON THE ALTITUDE: " We definitely need to attack, but attack smart... I think LSU is in the same situation as us...but I do not think it will be a major factor in the game."

Guard Caroline Gruening

ON THE LSU GAME AND TOURNAMENT: " I really am feeling ready to go...to get out there and play. Being a senior, this is the last chance to make some noise in the Tournament."

ON GETTING HER SHOTS: " If we play our team game, the shots are going to be there for me...I just need to knock them down."

Forward Julie Butler

ON THE "SENIOR LEGACY": " We have always had older leaders on the team, and Becki and Caroline have been leaders since they got here. They have told us (the underclassmen) how exciting it is (the tournament), and how much of an experience it is, so we want to be there as much as they do."