ISU Post-Game Quotes: Tara VanDerveer

As expected, Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer was pleased with her team's play in the NCAA Tournament opener against Idaho State. She talked afterward about the shooting of Cissy Pierce and Brooke Smith against the Bengals' zone, historical comparisons of Stanford's frontline, the passing of Jayne Appel, the NCAA debut of Melanie Murphy and more.

Opening statement:

"I'm really pleased with how we played.  I thought it was a great start.  We were here [in the interview room] yesterday, and it was Brooke [Smith], Candice [Wiggins] and Kristen Newlin.  They said they wanted to jump right on them, and we did.  I think Cissy [Pierce] wasn't here, but she must have gotten that memo.  Idaho State is a team that has been playing really well.  Obviously they have had a great season.  They have tremendous three-point shooters.  But I think our team just did what we needed them to do.  They played great defense.  [Natalie] Doma is a really, really talented player, so we might have to work on some better post defense, but I thought we stepped up to the challenge and did what we needed to do.  I am really proud of how we played."

You have wanted somebody other than Candice to get hot on the perimeter.  Was what Cissy did today what you had in mind?

"I think Cissy has had some really good games.  In practice, I anticipated that this is what we were going to play against.  I talked to Cissy about being aggressive.  What we didn't want to do was be frantic on the perimeter and just be firing away, and then have it be this train going down the tracks where we say, 'Oh my gosh.  We have to fire, fire shots.'  Cissy is a really good shooter.  They left her open, and she looked in rhythm and knocked down some shots.  As she made a couple, I think the basket got bigger for her, and it relaxed other people.  I think it really did in some ways take pressure off Candice and Brooke, and a lot of Brooke's shots were then face-up shots.  I honestly think that in order for us to get going offensively, we have to play well defensively, and it started at that end of the floor."

Can you comment on Florida State?

"I think it's a really different match-up than today's, but they had some people knocking down shots.  Watching their game, they have a very athletic team.  They have a great inside-outside game.  The coaches that scouted felt that could be the match-up that we play.  It's going to be a great game - it's going to be very different.  Their team is really athletic, and with their length defensively, they change things a lot.  It's not like playing against Idaho State.  Idaho State gave us a different challenge."

Of the teams you have had, is this frontline the most skilled?

"Obviously I like it when we have big, skilled frontlines.  I think that it could rival a lineup with somebody like Val Whiting, Trisha Stevens and Julie Zeilstra.  Those three were part of a National Championship team in '90.  Anita Kaplan was very skilled.  But I think the thing with this lineup is that they are very big.  They're skilled and big.  I think we saw four really good post players today.  I was extremely impressed with Doma.  You're just seeing women where the game is changing in a very positive way.  They have face-up moves and threes - all kinds of really skilled big kids."

Jayne Appel seems to love that touch pass.  Is that something she uses frequently?

"I think that Jayne is a great passer, and one of the reasons she is because she played water polo.  She is very aware of where other people are.  She catches it, and in water polo, you had better pass it or you drown.  In basketball, the only time she gets in trouble is when she dribbles, and then I'm ready to drown her [laughter in the room].  She really has great court awareness.  Thankfully, she has some really great upperclassmen to talk to her.  This wasn't Jayne's best game, but she certainly was the focus of their defense, a lot, coming down the court.  Her court awareness is excellent, and she has great instincts.  I think some of it is from her playing water polo."

When Brooke has a game like that, do you think, 'Oh geez, I only have a few more games with this one'?

"I would like to have five more, but I know there is just one more at Maples.  After the TV interview that's what I said: 'This really is your last game in Maples.'  I'm really excited for Brooke to have this kind of game because so much has been made of Brooke playing a new position or Brooke playing with Jayne.  She scored on the block.  She scored facing up.  I don't know if she made a three or took a three, but a lot of her shots were face-up shots.  I think that's what we need her to do.  I was really excited.  Brooke has had such a fabulous year.  I'm so glad for our fans, who totally appreciate her game, but also other people across the country get to see her when she had a great game.  I think she has more great games.  I think she can keep playing like that the whole Tournament."

Melanie Murphy played pretty well today.  How important is it for her to get her confidence going?

"Mel has been playing really well since she got into the rotation.  She got it going with some nice passes.  She hit her shot.  She doesn't take bad shots.  She looks for open people, and she finds them.  She is a very heady player and made her free throws.  I thought she worked hard defensively, so I think this was a really good game.  I think it's really important in the first NCAA game for your freshmen to get in there.  I put Mel in pretty quick.  I put Michelle [Harrison] in.  I put Jayne in pretty quick.  And I think all three of them did really well.  She is going to be really key for us."

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