March 14, 2003

Post-Game Quotes from WCC Championshp

March 9, 2003

Recap| Box Score

Santa Clara

Michelle Bento

Opening Remarks: "I thought it was a well played basket game. Both teams played very well. I am very proud of my team. It seemed that it was a Pepperdine-Santa Clara rivalry all year. We gave it everything we had, we just came out on the losing end."

On preparing for the possibility of playing in the postseason: "We'll give the players a few days off. I think were a long shot for the NCAA tournament. There's some hope for a bid to the postseason NIT. Hopefully we'll get to participate in that."

One tournament format: "I'm glad we got that first game under our belt. I would rather have played in that game than step right into a semifinal against a good team"

On the being a new coach: "We had a chance to go to Europe last summer. That was huge for us, especially for bonding purposes. The biggest challenge was getting the players to buy in to me and my staff and the system. I was very pleased with how they responded and how quickly they responded."

On Kendra Rhea being named tournament MVP: "I was happy, more than thrilled. She's been playing hard all season and I'm glad she got recognized. She was more than deserving of the award."

On momentum: "We came out and had the momentum early. We had defenders on Kelli Spencer, but she made tough shot after tough shot. The combination of their shooting and us not executing on offense really changed the momentum."

Kendra Rhea

On Pepperdine's late run: "They were up by about six and the clock was just running down. We might have felt the pressure of the clock and pushed it a little. Shots just weren't falling and the momentum really changed."

On physicality of the game: "It was a pretty physical game. We're two well-matched teams. You're pushing and shoving in the post, but no more than we're used to."

On adversity through the season: "There are always obstacles. It was all just adjustments we had to make and it made us tougher down the stretch"

On being named MVP of tournament: "I'm really excited about that. But you give me a chance and I'll take that championship trophy ten times out of ten over the MVP award."

Pepperdine

Mark Trakh

Opening Remarks: "We had one game plan and that was to sub and keep as fresh as possible. We figured they were playing their third game in three days so they would be tired. We wanted to play everyone. We have nine now, which is still a deep bench. We wanted to keep a pressure defense on their shooters. It was forty minutes of pressure. I knew the last few minutes would be pivotal. We knew that (Kendra) Rhea would be tough to handle, she's always tough to handle. All year long, any one of those nine players had stepped up. Kelli Spencer came up really big and made those shots in crunch time.

On defensive strategy: "We didn't want to leave Huss and Thomas. We wanted to take our chances in the post one-on-one. Our post defended very well in the last five or six minutes of the game. They are a tough team to defend. They run 25 different sets and d they run them well. They are an exceptionally well-coached team. I think it was the constant pressure. We have big guards who are relatively athletic. I think that is what our strength was."

On tournament format: "You have to reward the first or second seed. This is a good format. It rewards consistency in the regular season. I'd rather get the rest (being a high seed) than have the momentum. I think the format worked out very well."

Kelli Spencer
"Once I hit my first shot in the second half it felt good. My next time down, I was open and I made that one. After that it kind of snowballed. I didn't plan anything; it's just that sometimes you're hot. It's like coach says: any day, any of the nine can do it. Luckily it was me today."