FSU Post-Game Quotes: Tara VanDerveer

For a team that set a goal from the before the season of the Final Four, Stanford's exit Monday night in the second round of the NCAAs is beyond disappointing. Head coach Tara VanDerveer talked after the 61-68 loss to Florida State about what the Seminoles did physically and aggressively, while Stanford didn't adjust and played tight. Also shot selection, free throws and offensive rebounding.

Opening statement:

"First, I would like to compliment Florida State.  I thought they really came out and played very relaxed.  They were very aggressive.  I think right from the get-go, they knocked down some big shots.  I felt that through the whole game, we struggled.  Defensively, I thought we gave them - they broke us down off the dribble very well.  They're a very athletic team.  I thought they were extremely physical.  We didn't take advantage of that at the free throw line like I thought we could have or should have.  I thought they did a good job.  They got in some passing lanes.  They forced some key turnovers.  We made great runs.  The positives for us: to be up at halftime and we were really not playing playing very well.  I thought our team played extremely tight.  Not good shot selection, especially in the first half.  Then I thought Jayne [Appel] really got it going inside.  We struggled from the perimeter.  We are really, really, really disappointed.  This will rank up with all of the opportunities that we've wasted, but I think that this is a very unfortunate wasted opportunity."

The Florida State coach came in here and talked about "playing our style and getting down and dirty."  Can you comment on that?

"I thought they were very physical.  I saw people on the floor.  They really came in and battled.  You just have to adjust and have to play through stuff.  They battled."

You said that you thought Florida State came out relaxed.  Did you feel that your team was tight right from the start?  As the game wore on and neared the end, did you feel them get tighter?

"I don't know.  There are sometimes where the whole setup of being here and playing - yes, you're not traveling - but I feel and have felt before and said that we work hard to host but that puts extra pressure on our team.  This particular team has to scrape and scrap along and find out ways to get good shots.  Things really have to go our way.  We don't have a big margin for error.  I watched people looking up at the clock all the time in the first half.  I'm thinking, 'What's going on up there?'  We needed to really just relax and play.  Instead of people being relaxed and playing, they were playing tight.  It's hard to calm people down, but we did talk about it.  I think our free throws hurt us a lot, especially in the first half, and obviously going 0-for-9 from three.  We're not taking good shots.  We had people taking shots, when you're going to get them later in the shot clock.  We needed to be more patient; we talked about that.  I thought Jayne was really steady out there, except for the fouls.  I thought we could go to her, and she had a really good poise - very different from the other day.  I thought she did a great job."

You said you didn't feel you were playing well in the first half, but with their team in quite a bit of foul trouble and your team up, did you like where you were going into the second half?

"I didn't think we were playing well.  I knew we had the lead.  We weren't hitting shots; we weren't making free throws.  They were in some foul trouble, but then I thought in the second half there was a lot of physical play under the basket.  People were really getting pushed off of spots.  We have to be able to play through things, and we need people knocking down shots.  We need more offense than just Jayne on the block and just Candice [Wiggins] from three."

There were runs going back and forth in the second half.  A couple from Florida State came out of timeouts, and it looked like they were attacking the basket.  Maybe some of your players were backing off.  Did you feel there were stretches where your team lost the role of being the aggressor, which let the game slip away?

"I definitely think that Florida State came out.  I thought #22 hurt us; she was very aggressive.  #23 was very aggressive.  I talked to our team about this: this is a team we had beaten.  Think of the pain of losing in the NCAA Tournament.  A lot of their really key players are back.  Brittany Miller is much better.  They're very big.  They're very physical.  They play a tough schedule.  Their perimeter people like #22 really hurt us.  How many points did she have?  16.  They took us off the dribble.  They're very athletic.  They ran nice stuff.  They finished and banked in some big shots.  They hit some threes.  I thought [Mara] Freshour played well.  We did not get some of the defensive stops that we needed.  Even down the stretch, it's right there when we don't get O-boards.  We get Candice to the free throw line and we need three.  That changes it to a one-possession game.  Overall, we never got any transition.  We were never really on the O-boards.  We didn't get stops that we really needed.  And I didn't think we got good shots."

They had two big offensive boards there at the end...

"Jayne had fouled out at that point.  They're a very athletic team.  They're quick off the dribble.  I think our team worked very hard, but it's disappointing because we did not get it done.  On top of that, you're playing here.  It's harder on our team because you want to do well.  At halftime, I actually told our team, 'You're trying too hard.  Relax and play.'  I just felt people played with a huge burden on them."

Can you express your emotions for Brooke Smith and Kristen Newlin right now?  There was so much expectation for how they should finish off their careers in this postseason.

"I think that we did so well last year, and maybe some of that was that there wasn't the expectation.  The team did play loose and kind of relaxed.  As Candice said, it was a very close game [against Florida State].  We made two back-to-back threes.  Rap made one and Candice made one.  That kind of gave us the separation to go in and beat them.  This is a very good basketball team.  After the game, I thanked Brooke for a great three years at Stanford.  Kristen for a great four years.  Markisha Coleman and Clare Bodensteiner.  It is hard when it's over.  Some of the caliber of Brooke Smith, we're very fortunate to have her playing here at Stanford, and she's had a great career."


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