First Round Notes and Quotes: Middle
First Round Notes and Quotes: Middle Tennessee vs. GonzagaMarch 16, 2007
Head Coach Kelly Graves
(Opening Statement) We feel honored to be in the Tournament and represent the West Coast Conference. Were excited to be in Palo Alto simply because we are familiar with the Bay Area, three of our conference teams are within 45 miles and when we heard it was going to be at Stanford we were very pleased. Middle Tennessee State is an excellent basketball team, I didnt know much about them until Monday night but we gotten a lot of information on them and have practiced in earnest and we are looking forward to the challenge of playing in the tournament.
(On MTSUs pressure defense) We dont really have a lot of teams in our conference that play that kind of style. We scheduled up and played a lot of good teams in the non-conference to try and show us that defensive pressure. It is difficult for us to try and simulate that kind of defensive pressure, as we dont do it ourselves. Pretty much all week we have been practicing 5 on 7 with a couple of rovers out there and just try to run around there and trap the ball. We have done it that way to try and give us an idea of what it might be like, but the kind of pressure that we will see for 40 minutes is just something that we dont see that often.
(On how the team has been this week) We have better on Tuesday than on Monday and Wednesday was better than Tuesday, we actually maybe have taken a step backward today but I definitely think we will be ready for tomorrow. You have to be able to do a few things against pressure primarily be confident as all of our players will have to handle the ball against a double team. We will also have to have all of our players ready to push the ball and we also have to be able to maintain space on the court, as our players will have to come back to the ball. The two most important things though are to never relax, even after you break the pressure and number two is you have to attack. I hope we will be able to do all these things tomorrow.
(On comparing Givens to a previous opponent) It is tough to compare here to any one person, we have watched enough tapes to see that she is really good and it will take a team effort. We will definitely focus on her, but at the same time we are a team defensive team and if you look at how we have done the last month, we have certainly been able to limit our opponents better players. We have played some very good small forwards this year and have had some good experience at it. If our game plan will work tomorrow remains to be seen but Givens is definitely up there in terms of better players we have seen. People seem to forget that Holt is pretty good player as well; inside-outside combination, we have our work cut out for us no question.
(On being on the big stage) You do your best explain what it is going to be like, but it is something they will have to experience themselves. We have tried more than anything we have tried to keep our team loose, at times I think we have been tight, but overall I think we will be ready for tomorrow.
Gonzaga Guard Katy Ridneour-
(On stopping Chrissy Givens) Were definitely going to have to put a lot of focus on her as she is their leading scorer. We are going to have to have a team effort on her, everyone is going to have to help and just try to prevent her from getting open looks. It is just going to have to be a team all around effort to stop Givens.
(On facing MTSUs full court press) That has been one of our focuses as they forced a lot of turnovers. We have tried to prepare for that the best we can and we have tried our best to remain focused. We have to remain calm and try to get into our offense the best we can.
(On being a senior in the tournament) Hawk (Stephanie Hawk) and I have been playing together for so long even before college and to be able to make the tournament our senior year is what you work for and what you look up to as a child. Im just excited to be here and hope to make everybody proud.
Gonzaga Forward Stephanie Hawk
(On being a senior in the tournament) Its exciting, it is a great honor to be here and throughout our four years here at Gonzaga we have been working for this moment and to finally make the NCAA Tournament our senior year is an amazing experience. We are very excited to be here.
(On the MTSU post players) They are very athletic all around, very strong inside, Holt (Amber Holt) is very good and there second leading scorer. We have to be patient and be able to get into our half court offense and we will be fine.