McCallie Praises Both Sides

Michigan State head coach Joanne P. McCallie threw plenty of bones both to the Cardinal and to her Spartans following her 76-69 regional final victory in Kansas City.

Opening statement:
"It was just a terrific basketball game. I thought our team played very hard and focused very well on attacking, particularly in the second half at critical times. These girls deserve a chance to soak up the moment."

On her key players:
"I thought the leadership of Kristin Haynie was critical. I'm so proud of the courage with which she led. I sometimes question her shot selection, but not for more than half a second. Liz Shimek was awesome, All-American all the way. I thought Kelli Roehrig was a little unlucky with regard to the fouls called against her and she handled it beautifully."

On joining the men in the Final Four:
"We're very excited. Michigan State is a special school and the people there are amazing. We're thrilled to join our men in the Final Four and represent Michigan State nationally. I've talked to men's head coach Tom Izzo so many times, and it's something that's so well-deserved."

"We have great respect and admiration for the men's team, but we felt it was our own journey. We are on two very different journeys. They're similar in that we get this opportunity for two more games. After we left in Indianapolis following the Big 10 tournament, we looked around and said we're coming back. Our posters say "Driven" and it's an Indianapolis theme. This is not something that came up yesterday. The poster that came out in September is an Indianapolis poster and I'm waving a checkered flag."

On the Cardinal:
"Stanford is an unbelievable team. They played hard and aggressively. It was a classic that was great for women's basketball. They're a great team."

On guard Lindsay Bowen nailing a jump shot that put the Spartans ahead 72-69 with 29 seconds to go after missing her first seven attempts:
"I thought it was money and in absolutely. You don't understand. Lindsay gets mad at herself and percolates inside when she perceives herself as not doing her best. I've never been so sure of a shot. You can try to hold her back but you can't hold her back when it's so competitive."

On what she would have thought had she been told before the game that Bowen would finish with only four points:
"Susan Borchardt - she's a great player. They did a great job on her defensively. I would have said, 'I bet someone else picked it up.' You can try to take away or aggravate somebody but you can't do it to everyone. Liz Shimek got lay-ups. You can't give Liz lay-ups. I told Lindsay to keep attacking and I'm really happy she could turn the corner and make the shot."

On building a tradition:
"Our players are amazing and they have created something very, very special. It's a little overwhelming. Five years ago, I gave birth. Now there's a berth to the Final Four and it's a little overwhelming to our family to think about how fast we built the program. All the players that came before share this opportunity. It's a program thing and a family thing and it's a great thing for Michigan State. We've always talked about creating a culture. Tom Izzo always said 'You're too impatient. It takes time.' We've kind of bickered back and forth like a brother and a sister. Here we sit and he's in and were in, too."

On her team at halftime:
"They were pretty upset at halftime. They did not feel great. They felt good about the start. They challenged themselves first and then I did what I normally do: yell a lot, point out things that are not positive, and continue to challenge them."

On her team's resolve and mental approach:
It's been exciting. Of course, we did see this earlier in the season. We find a way. Inherently, these kids are fighters and the object is to find a way. Lots of people want to win basketball games. These kids don't think about that. They try to find a way. You have to be a bit objective about this. You have to bring objectivity to this game to try and solve it and figure it out. It's a resilience that's absolutely necessary to go at it at this level

On her pregame checklist:
Rebounding was on it. Being very physical was on it. Attacking, being very aggressive in what we did and getting to the basket was on it. I didn't expect to take care of the ball as well as did. I think five turnovers and 20 assists is a unusual stat that caught my eye immediately.

On whether it was critical Stanford didn't take the lead in the second half:
"I don't know if it's critical. We had some moments where we got a little soft and I thought our team was really fighting to maintain that intensity. I think what's critical is that we gained some measure of confidence again. Timeouts can help, but so can a little adjustment defensively or something just to try to gain control of the game again. At this time of year, you're getting runs all over the place. You will get runs. Don't think you're going to knock people out easily."

On two first-timers, Michigan State and Baylor, in the Final Four:
"I'm so thrilled there are two new teams in. I think women's basketball had been ready for this. I think people want more stories. I'm very excited for Baylor and for Michigan State, obviously."

Daniel Novinson is a freshman at Stanford University. He's broadcasting women's basketball on KZSU - listen along at kzsu.org or 90.1 FM.  Daniel welcomes any feedback at dannovi@stanford.edu.


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