Stanford-Oklahoma Sweet 16 Post-Game Quotes

After a big win like Stanford's control of an Oklahoma Sooners squad that had won 19 straight, there is plenty to ask in the press room. Tara VanDerveer revealed the Cardinal's five-point defensive plan to limit high-octane Oklahoma. Kristen Newlin explained the tactics of the double-team. And there was universal praise of Brooke Smith after her career day. Read on for all this and more from Stanford, plus Oklahoma's post-game reactions.

Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer

Opening comments

"It was a huge win for us.  I'm proud of our team.  Oklahoma has a great team with talented players.  Our team came out strong and established confidence early.  Our defensive scheme was very effective.  Kristen Newlin was huge.  Brooke Smith scored well, and Candice Wiggins is saving her shots for the next game.  We did a great job at the free throw line and I'm tremendously lucky to be coaching for the third [straight] year in the Elite Eight."

On Brooke Smith's game

"Brooke is tough to stop one-on-one.  On the bench the Assistants said, 'Keep going to Brooke.'  She has great moves.  She's a very intelligent player.  They didn't double her a lot.  She's very talented and capable of this kind of game."

On Stanford's five-point defensive plan for the game

"Number one, we did not want to limit their transition shots.  We wanted to take away easy baskets.  Number two, we doubled Courtney Paris.  Part of doubling her was not fouling.  Number three, we didn't want to give any three-point shots to Erin Higgins.  Credit Krista Rappahahn for that.  Number four, we didn't want to give them a lot of second shots.  Number five, just being relaxed and playing our offense."

Redshirt junior center Brooke Smith

On the attention given to Courtney Paris and Oklahoma

"They deserve all the attention they've gotten.  She has had a phenomenal year and deserves all the attention and praise she's gotten.  She's a great player.  Being on the West Coast, a lot of people don't see us play much.  We just want to show people we can compete.  We're excited to be here and to be going on in the Tournament."

On how she felt having a career game

"It was a career game for me.  I'm really excited to be here.  It was the same sort of game [like we've had all season].  I just shoot the ball when I have good shots.  My teammates found me when I was open and on the move, which is how I like to get the ball.  My shots were dropping."

On guarding Sylvia Fowles of LSU in the next game

"She's a great player.  She's extremely athletic.  She jumps and rebounds as well as anyone.  She runs the floor well.  We're just going to try and limit her touches like we did Courtney Paris.  We're going to make shots tough for her.  Just like Courtney Paris, we're not going to be able to shut her down; we just need to make it tough."

Sophomore guard Candice Wiggins

On Brooke Smith's career game

"There is no other post player in the country I would want on my team.  She's an amazing person.  I've learned so much from her.  She's not just a great person, but a friend.  Now the whole nation will get to see what we see in practice, and that's how great she is."

On their performance and expectations going into the game

"We just came together as a team and said, 'No one expects us to win so all the pressure is on them.'  This is the last part of our season, so we just want to go as long as possible."

Junior forward Kristen Newlin

On preparation for this game

"Give credit to the coaching staff for preparing us for this game.  We knew Courtney likes to go right, so we double-teamed her from the left."

Head Coach Sherri Coale

Opening comments

"I would like to congratulate Stanford, first and foremost.  They played extremely well and extremely hard.  Our team had a remarkable run; they did some extraordinary things.  Unfortunately today we got a knock-out punch from Stanford in the first five minutes...  We did some remarkable things this year - much, much to be proud of."

On defensive match-ups and Oklahoma's defense a step slow

"I don't think it was necessarily being a step slow; I think we kind of halfway did some things.  You have to sell out to take a kid out, meaning you don't leave Rapphahan.  You don't leave her.  We kind of did that halfway.  We didn't really stop Wiggins on the drive, or we were too far from Krista.  We got caught halfway in several things early on, like double on Brooke when maybe we didn't need to."

On the difficulty of defending Brooke Smith's offensive moves

"I think that experience defensively was exposed a little bit because what they do together is really good.  I felt like we were exposed a little bit, but as the game went on, I think Courtney got better and better and better at defending it.  Being in that situation where she's got to learn, and in the last eight to nine minutes, she guarded her extremely well."

On Erin Higgins' difficulty and Ashley Paris' performance

"I thought Ashley was terrific.  We needed to get some threes - [that] is the only reason she didn't play more in the second half.  We just needed to try and stretch the defense.  I thought Ashley was terrific.  She rebounded.  She was aggressive.  She is going to be really really special...  We didn't really try to get Higgins shots.  She shot two air balls in the first half, and we kick it to Courtney.  We keep her over there, and what she does is take one defender completely out of the game, and we are playing 4-on-4.  And I like those odds with Courtney on the block.  Hindsight is 20/20; looking at it now, maybe we should have run a few screens for Higgins to try to get her going a little bit.  That is one of the things that make Courtney special and such an anomaly.  You can't put somebody on her and stop her.  You just can't.  Two or three times tonight she got the ball and she had two or three defenders on her, and I think that is what separates her from most."

On the advantage of Stanford's experience, and what Oklahoma has ahead

"I do think that their experience gave them a bit of an advantage.  This is a place not one kid on our roster has been to before.  There's nothing like going and getting a feel for it.  It's extending your season by one more week.  It's huge.  You get there and get there, and you get that taste in your mouth.  We will be back.  This is a special bunch, and the things we accomplished this year is extraordinary.  They'll be back; they'll be wiser; they'll be tougher; they'll be stronger; they'll be more experienced; and maybe we can extend it by another week."

On Britney Brown

"Britney Brown is a warrior.  I tell you what, she is a kid you love to coach.  She's a fighter.  She never goes away, and she's learning how to motivate, lead, and push upon her teammates.  Continues to get better at that.  She has made Courtney Paris better, too.  Those two have really locked up their souls and united them into something special together, and to have that back next year is great."

Freshman center Courtney Paris

On Stanford's double-team defense

"I was double-teamed a lot this year. It was a little different with the two girls they have."

On the difficulty defending Brooke Smith's offensive arsenal

"Yeah, she is just thorough. She can shoot from the left side, she is a big girl, she tried to post me up and you have to pay attention to that situation. She got a lot of opportunities and converted."

What she said after the game to Beky Preston

"We know it's no secret - Oklahoma will be back.  Beky won't be able to come with us next time.  More than anything, you look ahead, and like Coach Coale said, the road ends for every other team but one.  We have a good class of seniors."

On the experience of this year

"I had the best year ever.  I mean not even on the court.  I mean growing up, meeting new people, taking a chance coming to Oklahoma, having the time of my life."

Junior guard Britney Brown

On the inability to get Erin Higgins involved

"We tried to get a kick-out to her, and we tried to get her going.  We tried to get her shots to take, but just couldn't get the pass."

 On this year's accomplishments

"This whole year has been a great run.  Going undefeated in the Big XII, to run the table at the [Big XII] Tournament, and to make it here - it is just amazing."

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