First Round Notes and Quotes: West
First Round Notes and Quotes: West Virginia vs LSU Pre-gameÂMarch 18, 2007Â
West Virginia Head Coach Mike Carey
On season-opener against LSU: Needless to say, us coaches, we showed them some of that film, but not a lot of itsome clips from that film. You know at that time, it was the first game of the season. We were running a totally different offense than what were running now, and we were playing a lot of people off the bench. We were going 10, 11, 12 deep at that time. You know, I just think, weve cut down the play off the bench. Weve cut down our bench play. Were isolating a little bit more. You know, even though we played so bad offensively, I thought defensivelyI cant remember the scoreI think it wasI try to forget the score, to be honest with youbut I think it was, you know, they scored in the 60s or low 70s, so, I think the key tomorrow is weve got to find ways to score. I think thats just as important as stopping them from scoring.
On teams feeling after disappointing loss to LSU in season opener: Well, Im sure our players are very excited about playing them again. You know, needless to say, we didnt play our best game. They probably didnt play their best game either. Both teams have gotten better throughout the season. Both teams have developed offenses and defenses throughout the season. You know, I look for our girls to come out and play extremely hardcome out and battle and come out and go right at themand hopefully, thats going to be good enough. You know, LSU is a great basketball teama great basketball team with great players, great athletes on their teamand they play great defense, and theyre very aggressive, so were going to have to match their intensitycome out and play just as hard as they do.
On difference between LSU now and the beginning of the season: Theyre still very good. You know, they havent changed in my opinion. Theyre playing extremely hard. We watched them yesterday, and they played extremely hard, and theyre very active on both ends, and they go in to (Sylvia) Fowles, and, you know, (Erica) White makes them go. And then they have some shooters on the perimeter. So they have a lot of weapons. They come off the bench with weapons, and were going to just have to play a solid game, defensively and offensively. Again, Im concerned about their offense, but Im also concerned about their defense. We have to have opportunities to score. Theyre so quick, and theyll double you. Theyll set on ball picks. Theyll trap at some times and hedge pick. We just cant have a lot of turnovers out of those situations. If we can take care of the ball and get some good looks, then well take our chances. Hopefully, we can make something of them.
On LSUs perimeter game: You pick your poison. If youre going to try to take (Sylvia) Fowles out, then youre going to leave (Quianna) Chaney and them open on the perimeter. We want to mix it up a little bit. I think were going to try two or three different things and try to mix it up a little bit on them you know, try to take certain things away at certain times, and then other times try to play it straight upjust try to get in different looks a little bit.
On score range: Well, you look at that two ways. Wed like to get out, get our running game going, try to get some easy looks, but, heck, then weve got to give them the ball back. So we have to pick and choose on offense, tooon our breaks. In our favor, probably in the 60sa game in the 60s.
On playing predominantly a man-to-man defense: If you saw our game last night, we played 2-3 matchup majority of the game, so, again, were going to see what we can be effective with defensively, and were not going into this game thinking we can play them one defense the whole game at all.
On the importance of point guard play: [LSUs junior guard] Erica White is a very good point guard. She does a lot of things for the team. She creates a lot of shots for a lot of people. And then you have to know where shes at when the shots taken. She gets in there and [grabs] offensive rebounds and sets the tone. Defensively, very quick. You know, I think were going to have to control the ball some. I think were going to have to handle their pressures and handle their hedging on ball picks and that type of stuff. If we can do that and limit turnovers, and move the ball and try to get some isolations, try to get some penetration, and be able to penetrate and kickyou know, theyre so active, so athletic, that they can make a mistake defensively and recover before you can make them pay for it. You know, well have to be very smart offensively tomorrow, and defensively, well have to be very smart also. You know, theyre a great team. Theyre well-coached. Theyre well-disciplined. Were going to have to be the same.
On whether it is an advantage to have already played LSU this season: Well, I think both teams have an advantage by having seen each other. You know, its just like conference playyou get used to seeing somebody. Youve already played them. You know what to expect and the type of talent they have and what their tendencies are offensively and defensively. You know, us getting beat so bad, theres no doubt in my mind that our players are going to come out ready to play this game, and theyll give everything they have. Hopefully, thats enough.
On job opportunities for male coaches in womens basketball: You know, I dont know. I really dont know how to answer that. I did know (LSU acting head coach) Bob (Starkey) before. You know, he was coaching in the West Virginia Conference before, and I was also. So I have known Bob before this. You know, he does a great job. Watching them last night, they came out and played hard for him. Thats to his credit. They came out and played hard. He got everybody involved in the game and did a great job.
You know, I guess it is. I dont know. I really dont look at it that way. Im worrying about the players. Im worrying about (Sylvia) Fowles and all them. I really dont look at it that way. I really never have. We try to prepare for teams. I dont get caught up in that hardly any. You know, theres great coaches out theremale coaches out therein womens basketball, and theres great female coaches out there, so I just know that the team is going to be well-coached, and were going to have to be ready to play.
On LSU being weighed down with problems: Absolutely not. They looked like the same team that I saw the first gamevery active, getting after it, playing extremely hard, and very disciplined, so I didnt really see any difference in the first game that we played to last nights game. On familiarity with LSU acting head coach Bob Starkey: BobI think he was an assistant at that time at West Virginia State in that area there. I was at Salem, and I was on the mens side in the West Virginia Conference the whole time. Anytime you go out and recruit and all that, I had the opportunity to get to know Bob.
Jr., Center, Olayinka Sanni On the game tomorrow night: Its going to be a real aggressive game tomorrow. I just feel like we all have to play together as a team. For me personally, I just have to go at it and go strong. On playing against Sylvia Fowles: She is 6-foot-6 and I am 6-foot-2 and just knowing that my opponent is taller than me, I have to be aggressive and go out strong and try to stay out of foul trouble. With our defense, I am going to have to front and try to get around her, and on offense, go up strong and aggressive.
On what she has learned from playing against taller post players like Sylvia Fowles or Amber Harris: Just to go up strong and actually squaring my shoulders up to the basket. Last night I kind of felt like I opened up to my defender for an easy block, just because you use some of the up and under moves or the shot fakes, [but for the game against LSU, I need to] just to go up strong and aggressive. LSU Quotes
LSU Head Coach Bob Starkey
On whether he plans to play all 12 players on Monday: I wouldnt say were locked into it but I feel a lot easier doing it. It was nice to get everybody out on the floor yesterday and get some experience under the belt. And I think thats very important as we go along. I think some situations could evolve where we use different combinations. For instance we talked about [West Virginia forward Chakhia] Cole. Shes a four player with perimeter skills. If we wanted to go small we could use some of the players that played well for us last night. Im not sure I would lock in and say were going to play all 12 players in the first half like we did the first game, but I think playing them all and getting some experience under the belt will allow us go to them when we need them.
On if he is anxious about how his team will shoot from the three-point range: Im not sure I would say anxious. The game was pretty tight I think when we started making shots. As a matter of fact I think Q [junior guard Quianna Chaney] got us started off with a three when the game was tight. Obviously when the game is tight you want to be able to make shots, but it may or may not be a three depending on how West Virginia defends us. They play some man-to-man defense and they watched the game like everybody else yesterday and I am sure they are going to try and contest the threes either through their zone or through their man. So if the shots are there I feel confident in our kids especially the ones who do shoot the three well. I think it was nice to see Q hit the shot because she has been in a little bit of slump, but Tae-Tae [junior guard RaShonta LeBlanc] has consistently knocked them down for us all year long. We will do the same thing we normally do, if the shots falling thats nice. If not, we will try to be a little more patient on offense and see if we can get a little bit closer in.
On what he thinks West Virginias offense key to the game will be: I think the interesting thing about West Virginia is watching them evolve. For those who dont know it, I was born and raised in West Virginia so even after we played them I followed their team. Anytime a team from West Virginia does well it means a lot to me. So anytime they were on TV I got to see them play and it was nice to watch them evolve.
The biggest difference I have seen in West Virginia is the play of [junior guard LaQuita] Owens. She has really stepped up to be a prime time scorer. She is a lot more aggressive than lets say the first time we played them. She is shooting the three real well and she is looking for it real well and they are doing some nice things where they are putting her into place to get some shots. I think they do an excellent job of using their post players to screen in for their shooters and then flare them out on the perimeter so they can get a shot or use their athleticism. I also think [Chakhia] Coles play is really important to them. There is not too many four players that you are going to play that can step away from the basket and shoot the three and equally as well drive the basketball with their right and left hand. They really have some nice components and you have seen their team gel and elevate their play as the season has gone on. I am really impressed with where they are at right now and how they are playing.
Jr., Center, Sylvia Fowles On her impressions of junior center Olayinka Sanni: Just her athletic ability. Just being strong in the post and being able to step off the block or put the ball on the floor. Since the first time we met Im pretty sure she worked on a couple of things that she needed to work on, but Im just looking forward to the game.
On if she thinks that part of the West Virginia game plan is to come at her: Im pretty sure that is part of their game plan, but we are going to be ourselves. We are going to be LSU and play our defense and if they choose to drive it at me Im pretty sure I would be smart enough to block it or let it go. It really doesnt matter what they do.
Jr., Guard, Erika White On how she enjoys scoring versus playing defense: I dont really look to score that much. If the shots there and Im open, I want to knock it down. Scoring is what it is. Everyone loves offense. I do love defense as well. Defense is what I fell in love with early on in my basketball career being so small. With defense I always knew I could bring it. Offense is something that you cant always control. Sometimes the shot is just off. But defensively you can always go out and get after it. So I love the defense.
On how early in the game she looks to score: Its early on. If I see a teams not going to guard me Im going to shoot the ball. I think Ive done a pretty good job of recognizing that this year. If they arent going to guard me that means Im going to be open. If Im open Im going to shoot the ball.
Jr., Guard, RaShonta LeBlanc On whether she plans to shoot more on Monday: Im just going to try to play within our offense. If the shots there Im going to take it. If not then were going to work the ball, try to get a better shot. But if the shots there Im going to take it. Im just focused on the offense.