OU-Pepperdine Pregame Quotes

Sherri Coale, Erin Higgins, Courtney Paris and Pepperdine head coach Julie Rousseau talk about today's game.

OU head coach Sherri Coale Quotes:

On the start of the tournament
"We're excited to be playing in Denver. This is definitely Big 12 country. This (Pepsi Center) is a remarkable facility and a great place for women's basketball."

On the strength of the region
"As a coach, it is our duty to just look at the next opponent. There is a lot of tradition and prominence in the region. With Stanford and Iowa, this is a great regional. And Pepperdine had a remarkable end to their season. It's a tough and challenging field."

On staying sharp during the conference season
"It helped us stay sharp giving us something (16-0) to shoot for. All competitors have an internal drive, but it doesn't hurt to have that external drive either. We said, 'Let's do something no other Big 12 team had done before. Let's win 19 straight games, something no other Big 12 teams has done before."

On Courtney Paris
"We knew that she was extraordinary when she was in high school. When you get to know her and see how sharp she is, you'd think that this is going to be a special thing. I told her, 'If you don't get a double-double in every game, we are both in trouble.' But I don't think that anyone could have imagined that she'd have this level of consistency. Whether we're up by 30 or down by two, you see the same consistency from her."

Junior guard Erin Higgins Quotes:

On the key to their success so far this season
"One of the best things for our team was that we felt like we could win the Big 12 Championship midway through the season. The pressure we put on ourselves to win every game, drove us to the Big 12 Championship."

On what turned the season around after consecutive losses to Illinois and Michigan State
"We learned to play together more since those losses. We're playing harder for each other. No one is caught up with individual statistics. Now, it's more, 'How can we play for each other?'"

Freshman center Courtney Paris Quotes:

On her expectations for this season
"I've had a lot of fun this year. We won some games earlier, then we lost some and got down. But we figured it all out and went 16-0 in the conference - now we're having fun."

On dealing with the extensive media exposure
"All the things I see on TV are nice. I know, growing up, my sister and I would watch this tournament and dream off someday being mentioned on selection day, or being shown on the TV and in productions and commercials. All that is nice and it is flattering, but what really counts is what happens on the court."

On when did this team really start to take off
"I have so many people come up and ask me, 'Hey Courtney, is this your team? Do you have to carry it?' And I always have to answer that this is Britney's (Brown) team. We did not become the team that we have become until Britney became the player she has become. Make no mistake — this team is Britney's team right now."

Pepperdine head coach Julie Rousseau Quotes:

On overcoming a slow start and making the tournament
"This shows the character of our young women. They didn't wraup up the season early. We challenged our freshman not to play like freshman. We kept pressing forward. A lot of credit should go to our staff for keeping our team motivated and focused on our goals."

On if Courtney Paris, and lower seeds sneaking up and upsetting higher seeds
"If you look at the men's tournament, I don't think you can sneak up on anybody anymore. Does anyone have any ideas on how to stop Courtney Paris? I got to know her while I was at Stanford. She was a fine player. She comes from great parents and I'm happy for her on her great year."
On having only one player with NCAA Tournament experience
"This is an exciting time. We're excited for everybody in our program, but we're trying to stay in our normal routine. Kelsey Ball is the only player on our team who has been in the tournament, and she went her freshman year. She has talked to the other players and given them a players perspective on the tournament."

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