March 20, 2009

Head Coach Kelly Graves

Opening Statement: “Well first off myself and the Zags are really excited to be here.  I know people are saying that this is basically a home game for us I do not know if that’s true, but we are happy and glad to be playing in Seattle. It is home to many of our players, including one to my left [Courtney Vandersloot].  We were excited when we found out we were playing Xavier.  They are a great program, I have known coach McGuff for quite a while and he has done wonderful things there.  Again we are really excited to be here and I am especially excited to be here with these three girls sitting next to me.”

On guarding and attacking 6-foot-8 Ta’Shia Phillips: “The good thing and the bad thing about this week was that I got the chance to play.  I don’t get a chance to play very often, but when you get the chance to play against someone like Ta’Shia Phillips the only person on our team who can somewhat be like her is me.  That’s the good news, because at least they got to practice against me a little bit.  The other side of that is that I am not very good, and certainly not as good as Ta’Shia so I do not know how well I was able to simulate her game.  It is obviously a very difficult matchup for us; she is a great player and what has made this week so difficult for us is that we are facing two great post players this week.  One is tough enough to handle, but when you have Ta’Shia Phillips and possibly Amber Harris that is quite challenging.  To tell you the truth I am a little beat up after last week.”

On if he thinks it will be like a home game: “I sure hope that we have enough fans for it to feel like a home game.  The one thing about Gonzaga fans is that they travel well in mass and they are very vocal and excitable.  We hope that a lot will come out and support us.  We have a lot of alumni on this side of the mountains, but obviously we are glad that we are pretty close to home and we have been on this floor before when we played University of Washington in the second game of the season.  The majority of my team is from the Northwest and they host a lot of tournaments here in the summer time so I think a lot of my players have played and feel comfortable on this floor.”

Junior Forward Heather Bowman

On going against her coach in practice and playing Amber Harris in high school:  “I did have a chance to play against her twice back when I played for the Spokane Stars basketball team and I played against her when she played for a team called The Family.  We matched up with them and it was the same situation, we had some undersized posts and we matched up well with them.  I can look back on the game and somewhat remember what it was like to play against her.  As for playing against coach Graves at first it was fun because we were able to take our heads against coach, but also it was good because he is physical and he knows how to play us so we get ready for that physicality that we will face tomorrow. ”

On if there is anyone she has faced this season comparable to Ta’Shia: “We have definitely had a couple of games that have gotten us ready for this game.  Earlier in the season we played Virginia and they have some strong physical post players that we had to match up with.  We also played Tennessee and even though we have not faced Phillips we have faced people that have gotten us ready.”

Senior Guard Jami Schaefer

On what this game is going to be like being one of two seniors on the team: “This is my last tournament that I will ever play in so it just makes me that much more excited and I know my teammates are as excited as me.  Just that much more excited to play tomorrow.”

Sophomore Guard Courtney Vandersloot

On how it feels to back on is Seattle:
“It feels good.  This is what I wanted especially from the time when we found out that we were coming to Seattle.  I am really excited not just because it is close for us, but also because I have a lot of friends and family that I am excited to play in front of.”