Inside the Locker Room: Washington State

The Cardinal's Trent Johnson, Brook Lopez, Lawrence Hill, Anthony Goods, and Fred Washington, along with the Cougars' Tony Bennett, Kyle Weaver, and Derrick Low speak with Daniel Novinson and the media following Stanford's 75-68 win over Washington State.

"See you guys in the Final Four,"– Disgusted Washington State fans to some Stanford faithful, heading out of Staples

Notes from Los Angeles:

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute rolled an ankle in the first-half of UCLA's 57-54 win over USC. He had to be carried off by two teammates and did not return to the game. He was on crutches after the game. X-rays were negative, but his health has to be a major question mark for tomorrow.

Washington State's 10 made three-pointers were the most Stanford's allowed all season.

Brook Lopez scored 14 of Stanford's first 16 second-half points.

UCLA's starting five are probably better than Stanford's – but Stanford has more depth and, as a result, should be better rested for tomorrow. Four UCLA starters played at least 36 minutes against USC. Their bench scored just three points in the game. Mbah a Moute's replacement, James Keefe, went scoreless in 23 minutes.

Meanwhile, only Mitch Johnson and Brook Lopez played over 32 minutes for Stanford. The Card bench scored 11. Washington State had four players play at least 36 against Oregon, and perhaps that's why Stanford was able to pull away in the middle of the second half. Hopefully tired legs will help out the Card again tomorrow. Credit Trent Johnson with doing a great job of keeping his guys fresh.

Trent Johnson:

Well, another hard-fought game possession by possession. I'm just glad we don't have to see them, hopefully, anymore for the rest of the year. We were very, very good with our poise and defending the ball at crucial times there. Lowe was really in a rhythm and Anthony came in off the bench and kept him in control.

On Brook Lopez:

Good.

That's it?

Good. It's Brook. It's what he does.

On the game plan against WSU:

Our game plan, regardless of who we play is to go inside-out and pound the ball in the post. It's how we've played all year long.

On UCLA:

We need to play really well. It's obvious this is a basketball program with no weakness. We need to get off our feet defensively, rebound and make open shots. It's the stiff challenge without question we've faced all year long.

I ask about his usage of Anthony Goods – five first-half minutes (no start), but came in to shut down Low in the second:

Basically, Fred and Law and that combination in the first half was playing well. Anthony's got two problems with his wrists. I knew at that point in time, knew we would need him defensively because he's done good job on Lowe. Fred had him there but then he got in a rhythm. But we're only as strong as our weakest link and we are a team.

On the Pac-10 in the NCAAs:

I would be extremely disappointed if there's not seven teams and I base that on last year we were 18-12 and the conference RPI and Sagarin ratings were nowhere near as high as this year. Our SOS was nowhere near the SOS of this year's 7th-place team. Arizona, Oregon, ASU: are you kidding me?

Lawrence Hill:

On UCLA:

It's them again but I'm happy – it's a championship game, what we're trying to get to. It's not going to be easy. It's going to be one of hardest games of year.

Brook Lopez:

On Coach just saying his performance was ‘good':

I just really go out and play as hard as I can and do what I can for the team.

On a matchup with Love:

I'm always excited to play a really good post player. There are loads in the Pac-10. He's always physical, a great sealer and gets position, a great rebounder.

I ask about UCLA:

It's a completely different game. Completely different site and I just want to go out the same way every game, ultra competitive. So I'm just looking forward to play because it's going to be real physical.

Anthony Goods:

I ask about his hands:

It's good. I've just got a blister on my left hand and my right thumb's jammed.

I ask when he found out he wasn't starting:

Right before the game.

I ask whether he's more excited for tomorrow because of the nature of last week's game:

Oh definitely. It's going to be a big game, a chance to win the Championship. We're going to come out ready to play. We'll see who wins.

I ask about him coming in to shut down Low:

He hit some tough shots he was going to make regardless of who was on him. He was going to hit those. But I tried to get into him, tried to get my body tight with him when he caught the ball and tried to disrupt his rhythm.

Fred Washington:

On UCLA:

Going into the Tournament, there's not many teams better than that.

On how he'd evaluate Brook's performance:

Good, good. We throw him the ball enough. He better get 30. [Smiles.]

From Johnson on down, the entire team tried to downplay Lopez' night.

I ask about whether the UCLA game means more after last week:

Like I said, we let last week go. It's no consolation prize: we wanted to win the Pac-10 outright. So this is the next challenge in front of us.

I ask about what Mbah a Moute means to UCLA:

He's very versatile. He can play the four, the three, give other guys rest, which is important because they have a lot of young guys. He goes out and gets the job done. If he can't kind go that kind of sucks because they're not at full strength. But any one player, with or without him, it's still UCLA.

I ask how he'd evaluate his defense on Low:

He made three tough shots. There's nothing I can do but pat him on the butt and say ‘Good shot.'

Tony Bennett:

On the Lopez twins:

Brook had 30 and 12 and whenever we kind of got close he would have a big offensive rebound or make a real difficult shot. They are a good team. Brook was obviously a factor.

On the play of his team throughout the game:

I told our kids I respected our comeback, I thought it was a gutsy comeback. We made some shots and did some nice things, but I didn't feel like we played a real smart sound game. I thought we got a little out of our game and that is hard against a team of this caliber.

On making it to the NCAA tournament:

We are in the NCAA tournament, which is a tremendous opportunity for us. Every game now you play for your seniors. Every game has the possibility of being your last. I just hope that whatever game and whoever we play, that we play with a level of intelligence, toughness and soundness that has earmarked this program. It is what I think has brought these guys to a place where they wanted to be when they came to Washington State.

On the play of Stanford:

They are a different kind of team. They beat us three times this year and we obviously couldn't crack the code. I thought tonight was maybe our least impressive outing against them of the three.

Kyle Weaver:

On the troubles Brook Lopez creates:

Thirty points worth tonight. He was a load down there. It is tough when they space you and he is scoring and you have shooters ready to knock down open shots, they just strain you on defense.

On the team now looking ahead to the NCAA tournament:

I think we are going to be okay. We can learn a lot from this game. Definitely winning that first game in this tournament was big for us in that we came back to play another day. When it is win or go home, it is good to get that win and come back today and compete. Hopefully we can take some of our flaws that were exposed tonight and try to clean them up a bit.

Derrick Low:

On the team's play tonight:

I thought we gave it our all and never gave up. I think that is the most important thing, unfortunately we didn't win.

On the team's foul trouble:

[Aron] Baynes is our biggest guy down low and any time he gets into foul trouble it is hard. He is the one we count on to guard the big guys like the Lopez twins and when he went out of the game it gave Brook more looks out there.


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