Stanford-ASU Quotes

The two best teams in the Pac-10 squared off Saturday at Maples Pavilion, and both showed their abilities. Arizona State completely dominated the boards and shot well from deep, while Stanford forced a slew of turnovers and made their way frequently to the free throw line. Cardinal players and Tara VanDerveer talked about the see-saw affair afterward, as did an edgy Charli Turner-Thorne.

Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer

Opening comments:

I think this is an excellent win for our team.  I thought Arizona State really gave us all we could handle.  We didn't come out in the beginning of the game with the aggressiveness or intensity in the plays that we needed to make.  In the second half, we really played well, and that might be some of the most intense 20 minutes we've had in maybe… We had that kind of situation in Oregon were we played well, and the Tennessee second half.  Candice [Wiggins] made some good shots; [Krista] Rappahahn hit some big shots; Brooke [Smith] got it going inside.  Ros [Gold-Onwude] had some key steals and baskets.  Jill [Harmon] playing defense and getting blocks.  I thought it was a great team effort.

On being outrebounded 41-20 and hitting 4-of-14 from long range:

I'm not happy about that.  I'm sure our team's not happy going to be happy about that all week.  The rebounding situation we really have to deal with.  The perimeter shooting - I think a lot of the shots were missed in the first half, and you can't always expect people to be 50 percent from three.  That's not realistic.  I think our team showed something that doesn't always show up on the stat sheet, and that's heart.  It showed they wanted to compete, and I was proud of how we played in the second half.  We've got Candice and Brooke, and they led the way.  They put the team on their back, and other people made big plays too.  Ezi [Okafor]'s scoring, Brooke's scoring, Ros' scoring… and our defense really stepped up in the second half.

On what she said at half time to turn up Stanford's defense during the final 20 minutes:

These are intelligent women.  I don't have to explain too much of the situation.  I basically said we have to hustle for plays.  You can't print some of the other things I was thinking.  I was disappointed with just showing up and thinking we could go through the motions and make it a finesse game.  This is a tournament game.  This is what I call "Smash Mouth Basketball."  I really think our team did what it needed to do and battled in the second half.

On ASU's intensity in the first half:

I think sometimes you can tell people things, and they can watch it on tape, but until they are really out there and experience it… I told our team that Arizona State was coming in after a tough loss to Cal, and they were hungry.  I think our team has to be the type of team to get a bloody nose before they start fighting.  I think whether it's Brooke or Candice who have to talk to people like Jill or Ros and explain to them this is how it is and how its played here.  Again, we are really fortunate we have some mentally tough kids - someone like Candice who stays with things and rallies and encourages Ros, Rapp…  I think they hung together really well.

On Stanford's defense and whether their aggressiveness paid off:

We had 10 turnovers and they had 25.  That's the difference right there.  We became the aggressor.  It's not how you start, but how you finish, and I'm really pleased with how we finished.

Sophomore guard Candice Wiggins

On Stanford taking the lead after coming so close throughout the game:

In the game of basketball, there are always runs and spurts.  So I knew once we got near, and the crowd got into it, the tide definitely changed.  We were up one, and Rapp's three definitely, I think, was the biggest change because it gave us a lot of confidence and momentum.

On getting to the free throw line 19 times:

I think when you are playing a team that climbs all over you, you have to take advantage of it.  I personally like it when teams are on me tight because then you can get by them quicker.

Freshman guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude

On playing against Arizona State:

[Arizona State] is a real aggressive team.  I've been prepped.  I took a tape home of their team to watch, what our team did last year.  Basically, you have to take it to them first.  You can't be a reactor.  That's what we did at first, I think, and at the end of the first half, we got a little stagnant.  You have to play them the way they play you.  You have to go right at them.

On what triggered Stanford's increased intensity on defense:

I think it was the encouragement from teammates, and I felt like I needed to do my part as well.  Brooke was like, "C'mon, we need you."  I felt like I could put more pressure on the ball, and I don't think I was doing that in the first half.

Junior forward Brooke Smith

On her thoughts after her baskets took the lead, and then Rappahahn's three extended the lead:

Rapp hit big shots for us all year, and she did it again today.  I have so much confidence in her shooting.  3-for-10 is still 30 percent, which isn't that bad.  Every shot she takes I think is going in, and you could feel the momentum shift.  The crowd got so into it, and it was a fun game to play in the second half because we got so much fan support.

On how she improved her play in the second half:

I don't think I was finishing well.  It takes a minute to adjust to the physicality, and I don't think I did as well as I could have in the first half, so I really tried to be prepared for it in the second half.

Arizona State head coach Charli Turner-Thorne

Opening comments:

I think we got hesitant down the stretch, particularly our backcourt.  Youth, youth, youth.  When we were more aggressive, we were winning.  And when we lost our aggressiveness, it led to turnovers.  It's disappointing, but very correctable things.  The things we are not doing right now, it can be corrected.  We have two freshmen and a sophomore in the line-up.  We're working on it.

On Stanford's comeback:

We knew they were going to make their push; we knew Smith and Wiggins were going to take their shots.  We knew we were scoring fairly well on them.  I felt good in our ability to get stops down the stretch.  We just turned the ball over.  That was the difference.

On the turning point of the game:

We turned the ball over.  To me, I had no illusions to it coming down to one possession.  You knew they were going to fight back; their home crowd was into it and they are a great team.  We were prepared for that, but we just weren't prepared for executing poorly down the stretch of the game.  That's where the difference was in the game.  They stepped up and hit some big shots, and we came down and didn't execute and turned the ball over.

On what stood out for her on the stat sheet:

The rebounding.  I thought we did an awesome job with that.  We've been a pretty good rebounding team, but the turnovers are disappointing.  Stanford isn't a pressure team.  It was terrible decisions on offense on our part.  People kept on driving into traffic when we had wide-open shots.  And we were shooting well.  That's the disappointing thing for us, and we've had a tendency to do that this year.  And we did it again today, and that hurt us.  Stanford did a great job today.  They hit some shots, some big shots.  We gave Rappahahn a step, and she knocked one down.  And Smith knocked some down as well.

On where her team goes from here at the start of the second half of the Pac-10:

We go 9-0.  We've seen everybody and we know what we can do.  That's our goal.  Whether we do it or not remains to be seen.  We feel good; we've got five of our last seven at home.  We've got this Washington trip to deal with and then a good break at home.  We're pretty excited about our team and where we are at.  We haven't shown it in the first round, but we showed it in the preseason, and we'll be showing it again in the second half.

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