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Cal News Conference Quotes

March 21, 2014

 Head Coach Lindsay Gottlieb

On a different mindset this year based on the Final Four experience last year:
"Brittany (Boyd) alluded to it, but nothing was easy for us last year. I think I could say to them, `Remember how we went to the Final Four, but remember how tough that first round game was?' We had a really difficult opponent in Fresno State, and obviously we went to overtime a couple of times and so you remember the joy of the Final Four, but I think it's really important for me to be able to remind them how tenuous success in this tournament is because it's a one and done situation. That's something that really helps us appreciate every moment. Then sometimes as a motivating factor, let's call it what it is, going to the Final Four is incredibly fun. It's a wonderful opportunity and it brings other recognition opportunities for a lot of people. When you've been there and you've tasted it, you want to get back, so I do think a lot of our returning players have an appreciation for how difficult it is to advance, but also an understanding of how fun that is. We clearly want to get back."

On last year's Final Four experience helping build the program:
"I think it helps a lot. There are steps along the way and you referenced a program like this--we want to be one of the four or five programs in women's basketball that people recognize. Now when we're sitting in a selection show, we're not holding hands saying `if we get in,' but we're saying `who and where and how and when' and I think that's a big step for a program. After the Final Four, the big thing was increased expectations and I welcome that. I want that. That's what you want. That's what I wanted coming to Cal--to make it a place where people asked, `So when are you going to get back there?' or `What are the goals this year?' That doesn't mean it's easy and that doesn't mean we expect to be in a Final Four necessarily every year, but I think the idea that that's the goal and championships are something we talk about is a big step in our program."

On Brittany Boyd:
"Brittany's had a tremendous year on so many levels. We talked about our team--while we returned a lot of good players, everybody was in a new role. Brittany, Reshanda (Gray) and Afure (Jemerigbe), who were very important pieces last year now had to play kind of the star roles, which were not only performing, but making sure other people were ready to perform and being leaders, and no one more so than Brittany. I would probably say she is the most important player on our team. She can control the game in a lot of ways. She is obviously a point guard who can score. She's big and strong and physical and fast, and defensively she's one of the best at stealing the basketball in the country. She really does present matchup problems. I think Erin Rooney is similar in that she is not just a shooter or a distributor or a passer. She really controls tempo for them. Similarly to Brittany, you can look at a game where maybe the stats aren't necessarily eye-popping, but she keeps control of the game. I think even though Brittany is very similar, their styles of play are very, very different. Brittany is fast and explosive and kind of the `wow' factor whereas I think Erin is so good but only because it's in a subtle kind of way. She just does the right thing and makes the smart efficient play. I think it'll be a good matchup of teams that contrast in styles, but it'll be an interesting point guard matchup."

On Fordham:
"I grew up 25 miles north of Fordham and went to Fordham camps when I was little. Their AD was actually the AD at Brown when I played, so I have a lot of connections to them and to see them now compared to where that program was six years ago with zero wins is impressive. They hired a tremendous coach in Stephanie Gaitley who had so much success at Richmond and St. Joe's and I've kind of followed her. They hired a great coach who obviously had a formula for creating a winning program and to do it so quickly--the turnaround from being at the bottom to having 25 wins and being an A-10 champion is really impressive. You know, from watching them from afar, I've been happy for them. Obviously now we'd like to end it this year, but I just have a lot of respect for what they've done and how they've built it. Those kids who chose a school, because they wanted to do something different and have made that happen, I just have a lot of respect for the way they've done it, the way they've played--they're a really, really good team."

Junior Guard Brittany Boyd

On what the team took from playing in the Final Four last year:
"To go off of what Afure (Jemerigbe) said, it's the experience. All the people who played last year have experience, and we are trying to teach our teammates who haven't been there what it does take. It wasn't an easy road. We know how hard it is to get to the (Final Four). I think that we all are learning, but I think it was mainly the experience."

On where she gets her success on the court from:
"I don't think that I would be the player that I am today without my teammates. I think that my teammates really do help me, especially when I don't have anyone to pass the ball to or couldn't pass it to me. My all-around game comes from my teammates and coaching staff believing in me and putting me in positions to be successful."

On going up against a similar player in Erin Rooney for Fordham:
"She's a really good player, and I'm excited to get to play against someone who puts up the same numbers as I do. It's very exciting, and I just think being in the tournament is very exciting. I don't want to be overly-excited, but I am just ready to play."

Junior forward Reshanda Gray

On what the team took from playing in the Final Four last year:
"I have to agree, it was definitely the experience and just playing as a team the whole way. We played until someone stopped us. That was the goal. Since we veterans experienced it, we want to bring our freshmen along with it and let them know that it is worth working for."

On building a program like Baylor has:
"Players want to go to a school where they can build a great environment and start a powerhouse there. It's great walking in here. It motivates me because I see national championships and trophies. I had the chance to play with Odyssey (Sims) this summer and she had her ring. My goal, and to help motivate my team, is to try and get a ring before my time is up."

On the difference of Baylor's Odyssey Sims' play from last season:
"The difference from last year to this is that she is the head of the team. She's the glue that keeps the team together and motivated. Last year she had the help. I think she definitely owned up to her new role this year of being a team leader and the go-to person. She's had a great year."

Senior Guard Afure Jemerigbe

On the experience from playing in the Final Four last year:
"I just think that being in the Final Four was a good experience. It was our first time last year and just having that experience alone is a good mindset having the experience coming into this year's NCAA tournament. We're ready. We've been through it before, and we know what it takes. I think our motivation last year was to keep going and keep pushing. This year's is we've been there before, let's try and get there again. That's our motivation."



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