USC Post-Game Quotes

Stanford respected USC heading into last night's Pac-10 Tournament semifinal, after the Trojans nearly upset the Cardinal in the teams' last meeting. When the final buzzer sounded at the end of Sunday's 73-44 drubbing, the Trojans had nothing but high praise to hand to the Cardinal. Second year coach Mark Trakh in particular was adamant in his appreciation for Stanford's players and play.

USC head coach Mark Trakh

Opening comments

"Stanford played very, very well.  They played great defense.  They really ran their stuff.  I went to a clinic one time and heard the guest speak say, 'For you coaches out there - there's going to be a game that comes along where the other team plays awesome.  Everything goes in.  Nothing that you shoot is going to go in.  All you've got to do is forget about it and move on because there is no need to even critique the game.'  That is what we are going to do.  We are just going to move on after this game.  But I'll tell you what: that Stanford team... that's going to be a heck of a game tomorrow.  They deserve all the credit in the world for the way they've played.  I was just very, very impressed by them.  I mean, wow.  Holy cow.  They're a very good team.  They're a great team."

On his confidence in USC's prospects for an NCAA bid

"Oh, yeah.  It doesn't change your body of work.  With the loss, our RPI is 47.  We're 6-7 against the Top 50.  So we have a Top 50 RPI and are 6-7 against the Top 50.  And we're 18-11 and made the Pac-10 semifinals.  So I'm confident that this should not change a thing.  One bad game - you have to look at the whole body and overall year.  I think we're in.  Yeah, definitely."

On fatigue as a factor

"I'm one who doesn't like it when we get a win, and then I look in the paper the next day and there's excuses for why the other team [lost].  We just didn't play well, and they played out of their minds.  There's no excuses.  There are a lot of teams across the country who play seven people.  It was just a question of Stanford just being a monster out there tonight.  We need to play better.  We need to work on some things in the next couple of weeks.  But, you know, a lot of things were working well for us.  Our defense was starting to get a little better.  Our rebounding was starting to get a little better.  We were shooting the ball well.  It's just one game.  It doesn't mean that all those things are gone.  You just have to forget about this and just move on and get ready for the next game."

On a strategy to try to defend and beat Stanford

"Man, I don't know - hope that they miss the team bus.  Brooke Smith commands a double-down.  Okay, so you double down, and she's an adept passer.  She can find [Krista] Rappahahn and [Candice] Wiggins.  So you take your chances.  If you double down and take that away, they're going to get an open 'three'.  If you don't double down, she's so skilled.  Her footwork is so good.  That's the thing.  You know, you watch a lot of great post players, and they get a lot of stuff off powers, off dishes and off offensive rebounds.  This kid is an old-time player, a George Mikan.  A Lew Alcindor - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - where, back to the basket she's got all the moves.  You don't see that a lot.  You watch a lot of games, but you don't see a kid that can put their back to the basket and throw up sky hooks, then step-throughs.  That's what makes them so good.  They have that inside-outside combination, and they execute.  So you've got to take your chances.  And of course, then Candice Wiggins can break you down on the dribble, and she's got three-point range.  How do you defend her?  If you back off, she's going to shoot the three.  If you go out and try to get her, she's so athletic that she gets to the rim.  And she passes real well.  So it's a real, real difficult team to defend.  It'll be a good match-up because the three UCLA kids are very, very difficult to defend also.  I just think that Stanford would have the advantage inside tomorrow, with Brooke Smith and the other big kid - Kristen Newlin.  Newlin's playing well, too.  I think that's what makes them so difficult to defend.  I think they're going to make a run in the [NCAA] Tournament.  I think they're playing really, really well right now.  They're what we aspire to be.  We're working to get there, but that's what we aspire to be - hopefully to be real competitive with them.  We're starting to get there.  The game at our place - our kids played really, really well, and it was a really competitive game.  But, I'll tell you what: it's tough.  They're just really, really good.  They've got good talent, and they're extremely well coached.  Where do you beat them?  They've got all the ingredients.  It's a very impressive team."

On Stanford improving versus USC running out of gas

"I think Stanford is better.  As far as having the tough night last night, Stanford played a game, too.  It was a tough game, but you've just got to play again.  It's like I said: a lot of people play seven players.  Hopefully we won't have to do it again, and we'll be deeper next year.  But you can't use that as an excuse.  You've got to be ready to play every night.  I think that's a lesson that they will take into that NCAA Tournament.  We want to win a game.  I'm sure that the kids really, really want to show basketball people that we're a better team than they saw tonight.  I know that they're going to work hard.  They're asking me when they're going to practice next.  We're going to give them some days off and let them heal a little, but they're excited about the challenge.  I think that you're going to see a different team in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament when it comes around."

On a desire to see the Pac-10 Tournament rotate locations

"We've got a new facility.  We'd love to have it.  It could be held in the Galen Center every year - that would be cool.  You know, it doesn't really matter because you have to play somewhere.  As far as I'm concerned, we'll play anywhere.  That's never been a big concern for me - where we're going to play in the Tournament, who is in the stands, or how many fans anybody has.  You've just got to play and put all of that out of your mind.  Just go play."

Senior guard Meghan Gnekow

On her final Pac-10 Tournament reflections

"You know, the Pac-10 Tournament is always fun and it's really competitive all the time.  I was really confident going into today, and unfortunately our shots just weren't falling.  But hopefully this is definitely not the end.  Like Coach Trakh said, we're just going to forget about this game, move on, and hopefully start preparing for the NCAAs.  We'll look forward to that."

On the need for the USC roster to have the upcoming two-week break

"I don't really think that seven players makes that much of a difference.  You look at our team, and we just have a group of fighters.  This is the hardest working, toughest team I've ever played for - all four years that I've been here, high school, club or anything.  We're going to stick it through.  It's nice to have a couple days off, but no matter what, we're still going to be there fighting.  There are a couple girls who do need to rest, but we'll be there in a couple weeks.  We'll be good and ready to go."

Junior point guard Jamie Hagiya

On the difficulty of Stanford once rolling

"They're just such a good team.  When they get going, we just have to stay positive and stay together as a team to try to hold them.  Try to get back in and stop them on defense."

On what Stanford did differently from the last game vs. USC

"I think a lot of their shots were falling.  There was one point in the second half, or maybe the first half, where they were just draining 'three' after 'three' after 'three'.  Our defense just wasn't quick enough on their feet to get around to all the shooters, moving fast enough to get to them."

Junior guard Eshaya Murphy

On the difficulty for USC to make shots against Stanford

"They're a great team, and our shots just weren't falling.  We had a lot of good looks early in the first half.  We were working the ball around and running our offense.  We were prepared for it, but our shots just weren't falling.  I think our coaching staff and the rest of our team did a good job of continuing to take shots.  Stay confident.  I know I kept shooting, obviously.  I really tried, but they just didn't go in."

On the mood of the team

"We're a little embarrassed right now.  We didn't play to the best of our abilities.  But our coaching staff tells us, 'Hey, it's okay.  You're going to win some; you're going to lose some.'  But we're going to try to forget about this game and put our best foot forward.  Hopefully, we get into the Tournament and continue to work.  I think our team is going to come back the next day of practice, whenever that is, and come out and be ready to go.  We know that the season is still not over, and we can still make our run because we're willing to work and have that much heart.  But, we're a little embarrassed."

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