Stanford, Idaho State NCAA Pre-Game Quotes

In advance of today's NCAA Tournament first round game at Maples Pavilion, Stanford and Idaho State players and head coaches took the podium on Friday to address the assembled media. The Cardinal answered questions about the advantage and necessity of playing well at home, while the Bengals discussed using their perimeter play and shooting to counteract Stanford's size.

Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer

Opening statement:

"We are very excited to be playing in the NCAA Tournament.  We know it will be a great tournament and we just want to do our very, very best.  And that's what our team will do."

On Stanford's gameplan against Idaho State's shooting:

"I think they are shooters.  Not just three-point shooting, but their free-throw shooting is great.  I think we have to play great position defense and like Candice [Wiggins] said, the players are up for the challenge.  We know they are really good at that.  We can't let them do what they really like to do, so we have to get out on their shooters.  At the same time, they have great post players, so we might have to 'pick your poison' a little bit.  I have a lot of confidence in our team that they understand the scouting report.  We are very impressed with what Idaho State does, and we just have to come out and do the things it will take to get the job done.  But we're not focused as much on the other team as we want to do the right things.  We want to do our gameplan.  It's not so much about Idaho State, but about Stanford, what we need to do."

On the other side of the offensive game plan:

"I mean Candice, obviously, is a great three-point shooter.  I had our statistician from practice check, because we keep stats everyday in practice of all the three's we shoot.  We've shot over 37,000 three's [this year].  It's not just Candice, obviously.  We have some really phenomenal shooters and, whatever way, Kristen [Newlin] can face up and Brooke [Smith] can face up.  We're going to look to run the floor.  We're going to look to get the ball inside.  We want people to take good, open perimeter shots, and they will.  I have confidence in our players.  A lot of times we have gone into a Tournament with some gaudy percentage shooters, and all of a sudden, they go way down the tubes.  We are not dependent on three-point shooting, so I think that favors us right now.  We're going to take the perimeter shots, and I'm confident we'll make those shots.  We're going to get it done on the defensive end, and we're going to get it done on the glass.  The other thing is we're shooting in a gym that we're comfortable with.  If we can't shoot here, what hope is there?"

On the Minnesota loss at Maples Pavilion in 2003, regarding protecting home court:

"At Stanford, we've lost in the NCAA Tournament.  I can remember three times - it says four - but I can remember Harvard, Purdue and Minnesota.  There's a fourth one, but I can't remember if I was here or not.  Those games really stand out because, to me, that was a wasted opportunity.  We were hosting a regional, and to come and watch all the other teams play in your gym, it was really hard.  I thought the same thing.  I looked down here and see this.  We want to be playing on Monday, and we have to do everything we can to make that happen.  It is painful, and there's some extra pain attached when you lose in your own gym."

Junior guard Candice Wiggins

On taking care of business at home:

"I think it's very important, especially tomorrow's game.  We want to set the tone for how we want to play in the Tournament.  We really want to make a statement.  We are not going to take it for granted, also.  We are going to play real hard."

On not overlooking Idaho State:

"I think it's very easy for us.  We know that we only have one game guaranteed.  This whole time, this whole tournament atmosphere, we haven't even been thinking about our next round game.  Our focus is on Idaho State, so it's not really difficult for us to not overlook a team."

On maintaining momentum after not playing since the Pac-10 Tournament on March 5:

"I think it's just the excitement of playing in the Tournament to get us to start - to do well.  We haven't been able to play for a long time.  We've just been practicing.  The opportunity to play with each other and to have fun - I think that's going to help us keep the momentum going."

On Stanford's defensive strategy:

"Get out on the shooters.  That's the number one priority.  Our defense is really going to be tested tomorrow.  The players here, the guards on our team, we're excited about it.  We love the challenge."

Fifth-year senior center/forward Brooke Smith

On recognizing that the NCAA Tournament is actually beginning:

"I think definitely coming today to the gym and seeing all the other teams.  Also, just having all the men's games on TV the past two days.  It really feels like Tournament time now, and we are so excited to play again.  It's been almost two weeks now, so I really just can't wait to play."

On playing at home to start her final NCAA Tournament:

"I think it's definitely very exciting.  We really have a great opportunity, getting to play at home with everyone - fans being close by; our families can come to the game.  It's just a great opportunity that we really need to take advantage of.  Obviously, we learned a lesson earlier this year.  We lost two games at home, and we know it can happen, so we're prepared and we are not going to take this opportunity for granted."

Senior forward Kristen Newlin

On the focus of Stanford's preparation for Idaho State:

"We know they are a very good team.  They have excellent shooters.  Our focus is really on what we can do.  In practice, we've just been setting the tone, trying to be enthusiastic.  Just getting ready for the Tournament.  Coming in, we want to be energetic, and like Candice said, we want to set the tone.  From the start tomorrow, that's what we want to do."

On Stanford's frontcourt having an advantage:

"Definitely - our strength our entire season, rotating in and out.  We love playing against each other in practice, so that makes it more fun in games.  I just want to keep playing with those two in the post rotation as long as possible."

On Stanford's past NCAA losses at home and how they will make sure it doesn't happen again:

"I was a senior in high school the last time they lost, and I came out to watch.  I just remember just how disappointed everyone was and felt.  I wasn't a part of that team, but I could still feel the disappointment.  We understand that we can't take anything for granted.  We've already been beaten twice this year [at home], so we know what we have to do to come out.  It's one-and-done in the NCAA Tournament, so we just have to come out with everything we have.  This is our last chance.  I have no doubt that we will do that."

Idaho State head coach Jon Newlee

Opening statement:

"It's been a great week since we won the Big Sky Tournament - a lot of excitement back home.  I'm very excited for our team, especially for all the people coming back.  It's a great way to build for next year and a great way for our lone senior, Jeni Boesel, to go out.  She's really deserved it.  She's worked so hard - everybody really has - and I'm just really excited for Idaho State to be here being able to represent the Big Sky."

On playing Stanford in Maples Pavilion:

"We are going to have to keep our poise, as it is going to be loud.  I was here with SMU back in 1995 for an NCAA game as an assistant coach, so I know how loud Maples Pavilion can be.  I also came here when I was with St. Mary's, so I kind of know what the atmosphere is going to be like.  We also were able to play in some tough places; we played in Missoula, Montana with 5000 people in the arena and it is extremely loud, so I don't think it will be much different from playing in Missoula as far as noise level and the crowd being involved.  We just try to take the experiences we have had in the past, and we try to schedule tough teams on their home floor so we get the opportunity to play these quality teams.  Because they don't want to go to Idaho, we have to go play them.  From the standpoint that's what we try to focus on, but we know they have a fantastic program.  Tara is a legend in the game, and the players are a bunch of All-Americans.  They're going to be ready to play."

"I don't think any team should be able to play at home in the NCAA Tournament.  I think the Tournament should be opened up and played on totally neutral sites where everyone has that 50-50 shot, but that hasn't happened yet.  And until that happens, there will be teams like us playing on other teams home courts, and we will just have to play our game."

On avoiding the mindset that this will be a one-and-done Tournament:

"That is a lot of people's mindset; it certainly hasn't been our mindset.  We come in and we want to play the game.  We are in the Tournament, but we are not satisfied to just be here.  We think we have a chance.  We know it is tough to come and play Stanford on their home floor, but our mindset is we are trying to win the game, not just show up and be one-and-done.  We have prepared for this game like we have done for any game this season; our preparation level has been the same."

On stopping Stanford:

"We definitely have to stop their inside game; they are big and they do a great job of finishing inside.  I also believe that Candice Wiggins is the best guard in America, and we will not be able to totally shut her down but are going to try to make things as difficult as we can for her.  Candice is a great player, and they are loaded at every spot.  So our priority is to play good team defense and get as many stops as we can."

Junior guard Andrea Lightfoot

On going up against Candice Wiggins:

"I don't think it's intimidating.  I think it's a great opportunity to go up against a great player and just go out and play and have fun."

"Obviously playing solid defense.  You can't shut her down.  Just get in her face and make her take tough shots, and just make everything difficult for her offensively."

On how to be successful against Stanford:

"We have to play with confidence and shoot like we've shot all year and just play our basketball."

On Idaho State's perimeter play:

"Knowing that Stanford has a great inside game, we know we will have to establish it on the perimeter.  We will have to be able to drive and hit the open player and play our game, up-tempo, and do what we have been doing all year."

Senior guard Jeni Boesel

On Stanford's success in Maples Pavilion:

"There a great team; they are always Top 10 in the nation.  We know they have had a lot of success with great players and great coaches.  We just have to go out and play our game and see what we can do."

On past regular season and postseason tournament experience:

"Playing in the WNIT last year we have definitely seen different kinds of competition, and I think it will prepare us for tomorrow's game."

Junior center Natalie Doma

On how to be successful against Stanford:

"It is important that we have good perimeter play and really move the ball around.  It is important to have our inside-outside game working, and just pretty much pass the ball and hit the open player."

On matching up with Stanford's post players:

"It's going to be tough, but I have played against taller players before, so I am ready for it.  Play tough defense and make moves on them and play them tough defensively.  It's just a great opportunity to play against taller players because I don't get that opportunity a lot.  But I've done it before and I'm ready."

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