Stanford-UCSB Quotes

Potentially, the post-game press conference following Thursday night's 81-47 romp over UC Santa Barbara could have been boring. Talk was instead lively, discussing a coach's ejection from the game, a pair of Stanford bench players who played big, and an eye turned toward Saturday's matchup across the Bay.

Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer

Opening comments:

I thought we got off to a slow start. It seemed that we were missing a lot of easy shots in the first half and we didn't have our focus.  I was really excited about how well Ezi [Okafor] played.  I thought she gave us a great spark – came in, scored, rebounded, and played great defense.  She really gave us great energy.  I thought Jill [Harmon], coming off the bench, gave us great energy.  It seemed like some people might have ho-hummed it a bit, but these two didn't, and they had a great game.  Candice [Wiggins] really sets the standard for our team.  She plays really hard, and it was good to see some other people step up in the second half.

On Stanford's trend of starting slow:

Maybe with Santa Barbara, this is a team that we didn't know that much about.  You are into your routine of playing Pac-10 games… I really don't know.  Maybe I'm just starting the wrong people.  I really don't have an answer to that question.  Maybe people are tired or not excited.  Maybe I'll have to reevaluate it.  We changed it in the second half, though.  I really felt like we went with people who gave us great energy, and I'm just glad we have people, those kind of players, who can come off the bench, like Ezi and Jill.  Maybe we just have to shake things up.  It's late in the year to be doing that, but if we need to, we will.

If any other players distinguished themselves to become apart of the main rotation:

We play a tight rotation of six, with our starting line-up and Jill.  In my mind, we have a starting six.  But Ezi is knocking right at the door, and I loved her energy and how she finished.  There are some situations where, with her injuries, she isn't a real experienced player, but she brings so many different intaglibles – her hustle, her aggressiveness and those are things we really need.  Cissy [Pierce] and Clare [Bodensteiner] I would put in that group of getting more minutes and doing well.  I thought Cissy did a good job at the "one," pushing the ball.  She missed some easy shots, and then she got two fouls.  Six, plus Ezi and then Cissy and Clare make nine, and that's a nice rotation.  We were able to get valuable minutes for Christy Titchenal, 'Kish [Coleman], and Morgan [Clyburn].  If we play three games in three days, they'll be able to help us, I hope.  But these two [Okafor and Harmon], they are doing great and I'm really excited.  If they want to get out there, they know what to do and they did a really nice job.

On Mark French's ejection:

I'm not sure what he's really upset about.  They are a really aggressive team.  I actually thought Krista [Rappahahn] had been fouled.  I don't know what they called.  It's disappointing.  I felt bad that he got a technical and then he got a second technical, but we just had to keep on playing.  The refs are in charge of that.  I thought their team really battled well, and I thought Katherine Suderman did really well for them.

On Stanford's 56-30 rebounding edge:

What I have found with our team is that if there is anything we ask them to do and they focus on it, they will do it.  I think this is great evidence that rebounding is a big priority and that people are getting on the glass.  Maybe they would rather not run; maybe that has something to do with it.

Senior Forward Ezi Okafor

On preparing for Cal on Saturday:

I think for us players, [today's game] showed us we need to come out harder because Cal will come out really hard.  We can't have a slow start like we did today.

Freshman Forward Jillian Harmon

On the Cal game this Saturday:

Cal is one of the most aggressive teams we've played, and we must start out aggressive.  I think it's a great rivalry with Cal, and we just need to start out aggressive.

On playing an out-of-conference match mid-week:

I guess it could be like a tournament game, a team we haven't played over and over again.  It was a nice opportunity to play a team we haven't played before, but we're excited to play Cal.

UC Santa Barbara Head Coach Mark French

Opening comments:

I'd like to apologize to my team for my lack of discipline.  It reflects very poorly on our program, and I'm very proud of our program.  I'm very sorry.  You'd think after 27 years, things like that wouldn't happen.  My apologies.  Other than that, any questions about the first half I can answer.  Second half - all I know is that it is really, really frustrating and boring to be sitting in a locker room to be listening to that announcer scream good things about Stanford.

On having starting center and leading scorer Jenna Green in foul trouble for much of the game:

Well, under normal circumstances, it would have been not an optimal situation.  With our other two power forwards out, Autumn Nichols and Shantel Thomas, we were really strapped in the post.  We ended up playing one of our small forwards in the post; Whitney Warren played a lot in the game.  I think she tried really hard, but it's really hard to become a great post defender or a great post offensive player for that matter.  But we knew that coming into the game.  Jenna got a hand check 17 seconds into the game, and I think an offensive foul for displacement, which I think is pretty atypical for her.

On why Nichols and Thomas didn't suit up:

Nichols has a bad back and has been out for a couple of weeks.  She actually got hit by a car, which exacerbated her bad back.  Shantel Thomas, our 6-2 freshman from Sacramento, sprained her ankle against Cal Poly in our Big West game last weekend.  We're hoping to have both of them back next week.

On why he was upset that led to his double technical:

I am not really sure.  I wish I could tell you.  I frequently tell our team that when we go onto home courts, it's going to be difficult from a officiating standpoint.  It happens to other teams when they play at Santa Barbara, and it happens to us when we go on the road.  I've always asked the players to ignore it, and I think that's why I am so embarrassed.  I wasn't able to do that myself.

On being tossed from the game:

I don't think I've ever been tossed before.  I don't think I've ever seen a women's basketball game where the coach has been tossed out.  It would be unfortunate if I were to be the first.  I've been in over 1,000 games, and I don't think I've ever seen anyone tossed.  I don't think I've ever seen one tossed on T.V. before.

On the play of Okafor and Harmon:

I thought Tara and the coaching staff did a nice job isolating Okafor on Whitney and attacking down low.  Again, that's very difficult for Whitney to compensate and play in the post when she hasn't played there all year long.  And of course, we all know that Jillian Harmon is an outstanding player.

On putting Jessica Wilson on Candice Wiggins:

Well, I can only comment on the first half, but if we did our job on the defensive boards and made our free-throws, it would have been an eight- to 10-point game.  Could have, would have, should have.  But you always worry about Wiggins going off for massive numbers, and if she needed to, I think she might have.

Sophomore center Kat Suderman

On her 15-point, 9-rebound performance:

I think I got lucky because they were really focused on Jenna, and I was able to capitalize on those opportunities.  I was pretty excited to play this game, and I wanted to come out strong.

On whether they will be able to recover from this loss:

I think we'll take what we need to take from it and apply it to the reset of the Big West, and then try and come out in March.  I'm focused on Davis now.

On what she can get out of the game:

Definitely rebounding.  And being strong with the ball.  I think we need to not let their defense dictate our offense.

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