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Cal News Conference Quotes

March 23, 2014

 Head Coach Lindsay Gottlieb

On playing at Baylor:
"I think it's really cool. It's great. We are at a stage in our program when eventually we want this and we want you to be asking the next team what it's like to go play Cal. I think our players embrace a stage like this. Two years ago, Brittany (Boyd) and Reshanda's (Gray) freshman year, we were at Notre Dame in the second round and they were a one seed and we were in the eight-nine spot and it was tied at halftime, so I think they have been in this situation before plus all the experiences of last year. I think the number one thing is you appreciate communities that really value and love women's basketball and you saw how loud it got last night. They love their Lady Bears here and that's exciting for us to be in that environment. There's also a reason I'm pretty conscious of what we do scheduling-wise. We played UConn at Madison Square Garden and we played Duke at home in front of a 10,000-person crowd at our place in order to set them up for games like this. You can't completely simulate it. We'll have to get ready for the noise, but in terms of the competitive level, I think that's something our players embrace and they want to be on the stage. That's why they want to be at Cal, at a program that's kind of on the verge of that and opportunities like this give us a chance to take another step."

On getting the rust out last night and playing better tomorrow:
"I think for us, from a coach's standpoint I was thinking about that a little bit but I don't think our players think about it, but I was happy to get that first one from that standpoint. A lot of what you maybe consider rust was Fordham's game plan. They did a good job defensively on us, but no question about it getting back in that game rhythm for us is positive thing and hopefully the rhythm of that and having a game under our belt will help us tomorrow night."

On tomorrow's point guard matchup:
"From a fan perspective, from a women's basketball and ESPN perspective, anytime you have Odyssey Sims and Brittany Boyd on the court I think that's something to watch. Odyssey is tremendous. At the worst she is a top three player in the country, if not the best through the season this year. Odyssey by herself is electric. Brittany may be one of the only players in the country who from an athletic standpoint and with her size and speed and the way she affects our team is similar in any way so that's kind of neat. From a coach's perspective, I think it's about Cal against Baylor. It's about your team and while they have a tremendous superstar, I think they've won so many games because of the play of Nina Davis and Makenzie Robertson. The way the team has stepped up and I think that's been the story of their season as much as the spectacular things Odyssey has done. We have to find a way for our team to be better than their team. In the middle of that, if people tune in to Brittany and Odyssey, I don't think they will be disappointed because you have two really spectacular guards on the court at the same time, but it's going to be how we game plan and what our Cal entire team can do."

On Baylor's fast-paced play:
"I think the way we want to play is fast. Fordham did a great job of slowing us down a little bit, but I don't think it will be a problem for us to kick back to a higher gear. We have to try and limit Baylor's production in the open court and their easy baskets, which is similar to what they'd probably say about us. I think that's more the concern for slowing down a fast team, but for us to speed it up and play fast again, you don't have to ask us twice to do that."

On what they can take away from Western Kentucky's game plan against Baylor:
"I think the main thing is that those players came out here with a lot of confidence. They were in attack mode, they didn't get rattled I don't think by the crowd or the name on the front of the jersey they were playing against. I think that's the main thing. I always feel like the film work that we have done ahead of time when you can press pause, rewind and see where people are is the most effective tool in terms of teaching our players what the game plan is. From a live-atmosphere feel I think our players sitting and feeling how loud this arena gets is the best thing you can take from it because our style of play may be more like someone else we've seen in the Big 12 or in their non-conference schedule. From an atmosphere standpoint, just the way Western Kentucky competed is something that we can really take away from."

On the difficulty of using a press against Baylor:
"The one thing is - and I don't want to over-state it because obviously Odyssey (Sims's) numbers are unbelievable - but there are a lot of similarities to (Brittany) Boyd. We've played against Boyd in practice all year, so I think the way our players think it is tough to press Boyd it is similar to Odyssey. She is so good at just being able to individually be able to overcome whatever the game plan is against her. I think you have to be aware of that. That doesn't mean you can't do things in the full court to change the rhythm of the game or to get the ball out of her hands. There's no question that we have a lot of respect for their guard play. Going into it, while you want to press a team like Fordham to get them out of their rhythm, it may not be the exact same game plan for a team like Baylor who when sped up might be to their advantage. We have to mix and match what we're doing. We've watched a lot of film, but you also have to rely on what you do well at this time of the year and play to your strengths. Pressure and pressing is a part of who we are, so we have to figure out what the best formula is and let your players do the work of making it happen."

Senior Guard Afure Jemerigbe

On surviving a close game, and how this motivates the team moving forward:
"Fordham was a really good team, and a very difficult match up. They gave us their everything, and I think coming out on top is just a confidence booster. It gives us a lot of energy going into the Baylor game. I think our team needs the little confidence, because we do have new people playing, new freshman playing major minutes. I think it is a confidence booster for sure, and we would love to have that going into the Baylor game."

On playing a program like Baylor:
"It is humbling and at the same time it is exciting. There are a lot of great players that have come through the Baylor program. I mean you can see it around their arena. I think it is just exciting to be in a position to play a team like that, and we are going to come out and play aggressively and as hard as we can, and hope we get the win."

Junior forward Reshanda Gray

On the post-match up with Nina Davis tomorrow night:
"She is a great player. We are just going to have to stick to our defensive principles of just staying balanced and playing regular defense and not letting her get the shots that she wants."

On what she intends to do offensively against Baylor:
"I am just going to play my game. If they try to double team, I have confidence that I have other teammates that I can look for."

Junior Guard Brittany Boyd:

On playing against Odyssey Sims:
"Odyssey is a very good player. I'm just excited to be able to play against Baylor, a very good program. I don't really know how to answer that question. I'm just excited to be able to play with my teammates and that's what I'm focused on; that and coach's game-plan and how we can come out on top."

On playing more an up-tempo style against Baylor:
"I think that's kind of how we play - up-tempo. We really don't like the slow-paced game and I think this is going be a track meet, running up and down the court with both teams pushing and I'm excited for it. I think we've been preparing all season for a game like this. It should be interesting."



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