Feb. 28, 2002
Head Coach Chris Denker
On Team Effort: We had some really good performances from some people, five in double figures, so I was real happy there, I just thing it was a really good all around effort. Our kids were really focused - the last three weeks we've been practicing hard and they've really been improving the last couple games.
On Defense: Really we tried to treat everyone the same. We just really tried to do a better job on the ball so they didn't get any deep penetration and kick to [Nakamoto].
One Game At A Time: I think last year we had clinched the [regular season] championship at Portland in the last game of the year. We beat Portland by 25 on their home court and we're playing them five days later. I think our kids thought well, weve got a championship, we're playing the same team we just drilled, so it's kind of difficult. I even talked to [Portland head coach] Jim Sollars about it, he said he was able to get his kids' attention right away because they knew they were either going to get blown out by 25 again or they were going to have to play better. I don't ever accuse our kids of not trying hard, but I think it's human nature to think well, you know, just go in there, we've got three games, who's going to win, what if Pepperdine gets upset, and they start evaluating the bracket instead of playing the game. And so that was our focus, as Becki said, one game at a time. We absolutely wanted to focus on San Diego and only San Diego. We really don't care who we play tomorrow because whoever it's going to be, it's going to be a darn good team, it's a good basketball league, so whoever we play tomorrow we're going to have to show up and play good again.
On the WCC: People don't realize, even top to bttom with all the good wins this conference has had - Gonzaga beat two teams who are currently winning their conferences, Portla nd beat Oregon and Oregon State, Loyola beat Arizona State and they're second or third now in the Pac 10, add our wins you name it, there's been great wins from our conference all the way around across the country. It's a great basketball league but I don't think it gets any respect.
Our RPI is 7, 2 spots ahead of the Pac 10, which makes us the basketball league on the west coast right now.
Junior Forward Kendra Rhea (17 points, 6 rebounds)
On Playing in Her Home Town: The fact that it was down here was huge to me - of course I wanted to play well in front of my family and the town, but just the fact that we won was huge, we want to keep on going.
Caroline Gruening (13 points, three three-pointers)
On Three-Point Shots: We were both really excited, I think we all were, to find out we were going to get another chance to play San Diego at their place because we hadn't ever beaten them here and so we wanted to go out and play our game and take what they gave us, and in the first half that was a lot of threes.
Becki Ashbaugh (12 points, 9 assists, broke 200-assist milestone for season)
On Three Point Shots: One thing we talked about was making them pay for doubling. We stepped it up and made the shots. Jen [Bradley]did an awesome job, came in and gave us a huge lift.
On the Game Tempo: That's been a focus for us all year, to come out and get off to quick starts. We know how hard it is to get down and have to battle back the whole game, so it feels good to take control early. Today, which we haven't done in five games, is we kept pushing and kept building on the lead and they never really got back in the game.
Last year vs. this year: One thing we've been talking about the last couple days is taking it one day at a time. Last year we were looking at it as a three game tournament instead of as a one game must win situation.
Head Coach Kathy Marpe
I felt like to have a chance to win the ball game we had to come in and execute a good game plan, limit their good looks and shoot well. The opening minute of the game we were down 10-2 and we never recovered. We made one little run we made but that was the only one we made.
They did a good job defensively and they took us out of every offensive flow. We wanted to get a couple of good looks and they shut that down, and we had to stop and sort of reset. They took us out of our offense entirely and took Kerri Nakamoto out of the game.
I thought we had some good looks early on the inside that if we would've made those, we would've had a chance to win.
In that little run, we had three good looks, and they had four good looks - and they made theirs and we didn't.
We were frustrated, you could tell - they kept going on runs, nothing we could do could stop them. They took a lot of people out of their game tonight and that stopped our offense.
Reflecting: It's like Coach said in the locker room, you take all the things you learn in basketball, but more important you take all the things you learn in life. I've learned so much in the past four years here and this has put the cap on all the hard work - this team has worked, our coach has always said we're a blue-collar team and this game shows that sometimes hard work doesn't necessarily get things done.