March 1, 2002
Head Coach Chris Denker
Just an absolutely great college basketball game. It was crazy. It was fun. We were battling, we were up, down, this, that, it just was a blast. Even when we were behind, we've been behind in games before, but we just didn't have a doubt. We just kept saying chip away, chip away, chip away. Our goal was to get under ten at half, and we ended up getting it down - I thnk Caroline said in a huddle, 'forget 10, let's get it under 5'and we got it to 5. They had 47 points with five minutes left [in the first half] and I turned to [my assistant coaches] on the bench and said I guess it's first to 100 wins.
The bottom line is, I absolutely love my team. They play so dang hard. They fought back, it was great.
The last three or four weeks we've been working real hard and have been improving a lot and my attitude with St. Mary's making all those shots and going on a run a little bit I still felt like we had something in us and if we could just manufacture some baskets and get ourselves back into it figure out where to get some stops, we could then start playing again. For awhile it was jut play catch up, get back in the game. Once we got it within 7 it was doable, you know, it was all up to themselves. We just tried to stay together and keep playing and we kept saying the best team is going to win.
On SMC: I was amazed at some of the threes they were making in the first half, even with hands in their faces. You talk about big nights, [Danielle] Ferris, that's got to be hers. She was hitting shots from all over, some of those were difficult for us, there have been times when we sagged or tried to help on the Dostys and she didn't look to shoot but tonight she did. Those were things we weren't quite ready for.
On Pepperdine: I think it's great we're playing Pepperdine. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mark and they have a good program, a great team and we were first and second in conference this year so the top two teams get to play it off and I think it's great.
On the NCAA Tournament: We [WCC coaches] think definitely two teams should be in the [NCAA] tournament right now.
If you can make it to the final, it's got to help you. You never know what the committee is thinking. You have no idea, you can't predict. The best way is just to win the tourament, and thank goodness we get a chance to do that.
Senior Guard Becki Ashbaugh
On Caroline's Shooting: Once you see someone gets hot like that, just try to penetrate and find Caroline. She really kept us in the game the first half.
On Being Down in the First Half: We were thinking there is still time left. Luckily we got down early in the game, we just kept saying chip away, chip away.
Senior Guard Caroline Gruening
On Her Shooting: I wasn't thinking, I was just shooting. Early on they were sagging way off me and taking away my left hand, so coach called a time out and called a play to kind of take advantage of that and I kind of got it going I found myself open a lot so I kept throwing them up there.
On Being a Walk On: I was recruited to some schools in Alaska, not really anywhere down south, I was one that had to get out there and talk to people and it came down to Santa Clara and University of Portland and Air Force Academy and I had a good feeling about Santa Clara, it was a good program. nd it's worked out really well. I love these guys.
Junior Forward Kendra Rhea
We've been really focusing this game on rebounding, crashing the O boards and crashing the D boards, that was one where I happened to be in the right place at the right time and got an O board.
St. Mary'sHead Coach Michelle Jacoby
Obviously it's a disappointing loss for us. I thought we were prepared and ready to go. Credit goes to Santa Clara. They played harder toward the end of the game and gutted it out for 40 minutes and we couldn't seal the deal. I thought Danielle played with the heart of a champion, I thought she did a tremendous job. Extremely disappointing loss but the credit goes to Santa Clara.
Gruening was a big part of their offense, she was being assertive, taking her shots, the shot right before the half really hurt us, could've been up by 8 instead we're up by 5. We tried to stay with her, we tried to contest her shots, and she was making them. Big players make big plays and she did that for them all night long.
I think the NCAA tournament is pretty far fetched, I think the WNIT, we could still get a bid there.
I've definitely seen the twins play better, but we've rode their coattails for four years so I guess they're allowed to have one bad game.
Guard Danielle Ferris
I think we came out ready to play, we got a good lead and got a little confidence and we started relaxing and they [Santa Clara] got right back into the game.