Women's Hoops: Quotes from afternoon press conf.

Sunday afternoon Vanderbilt Head Coach Jim Foster and the Vanderbilt starters met the press prior to Monday night's game against Arizona State. Here's what they had to say.

The Press: Zuzi and Jillian, you were both at La Tech when you knocked off Kansas in that 8/9 game then almost beat #1 seed Louisiana Tech on their home court. How does that help you prepare for Arizona State?

Jillian Danker: Just that we need to be ready to play. We came ready to play against Louisiana Tech, and we gave them a run. Arizona State is going to do the same thing. Only good teams are in the tournament, and we have to be ready to play at all times, no matter who you're playing. Everyone's done something to prove that they belong here, and so we need to be ready for them. Upsets are happening all over, so we need to be ready for it.

The Press: Ashley and Chantelle, I don't know how much you've seen of the game against Stanford, but what has Arizona State done to turn it up a notch?

Chantelle Anderson: I didn't see the game with Stanford, so I didn't see them play till last night, so I can't really say.

The Press: What matchup problems do they present?

Chantelle: I don't know, I'm sure I'll know after we watch film and scout them. I really was just watching the game last night, so I can't answer that. Ashley can answer that better than I can.

Ashley Mac: Actually, I just got through watching a little film on them. I think they're all around a great team. They've got guards and post players that do a great job on the offensive end. We've got to come ready to play defense, bottom line. Like I said, they got players who can play.

The Press: What about Melody Johnson? What did you notice about Johnson last night? She had a point where she got them back into the game with 10 points.

Chantelle: I know that she does a great job of using her body to seal defenders, and she's got good hands. She catches the passes that are thrown to her when she does seal her defender, so I know that I'm just going to have to work hard to get around and move my feet.

The Press: Chantelle, how much do you watch what some of the other games, like what happened to Florida to help you know that you we can't overlook anybody?

Chantelle: We've said that from the beginning, that we can't overlook any team in the tournament, there are no bad teams left. We just have to come in with the mindset that every game matters because lose and your season's over so we can't take anyone lightly. I didn't get a chance to watch the Florida game, but I was definitely surprised at the score. They obviously didn't take that team too seriously. We're not going to make the same mistake.

The Press: For any of the players, when Arizona State did beat Stanford, how much did that victory and Stanford's loss get your attention at the time?

Ashley Mac: Obviously Stanford has a great team, and Arizona State stepped up that night ready to play and beat them. And, yes, that's going to catch your attention. You know they're in the tournament for a reason, and that's the way we've got to look at it tomorrow night.

The Press: For Chantelle: Is this the most kind of team to dangerous team to face in the tournament. A low seed that's on a roll going in?

Chantelle: I think any team from this point on is dangerous just because upsets happen every day. But I do think they got a lot of confidence from their win against Stanford and obviously being able to come through in the clutch times last night and pull out a really tough game. I think they have a lot of confidence coming into our game tomorrow, and we just have to be ready for that. I think that in this situation our start of the game is very important because we don't want to give them any added confidence.

The Press: For any player, if you think back to last night's game, what are some things you'd like to improve on, either for yourself or as a team?

Jenni Benningfield: I think last night our defense really stepped up, but as far as offense, we really need to take it to another level tomorrow and not be tentative. We were kind of hesitant last night, and we really need to go out there and execute what we know and what we practice every day and get our offense rolling like we got our defense to do last night. So I think that's probably one of the major ones.

The Press: For Zuzi, last night was maybe not one of your better games. Does that put a little extra fire going into tomorrow?

Zuzi Klimesova: I think I need to relax a little bit. Coach Foster said I was back to rushing a little bit, which I haven't done for a long time. So relax and go in. I believe in our entire team the entire season. I think that when we go and we play our game, we are doing just fine. So for me to contribute what I can contribute, I just need to take it easy.

The Press: Ashley, they've been asking about Johnson. Can you comment on Levens?

Ashley Mac: Yeah, she's a great player. I know she can shoot the ball really well. She penetrates, too. She can do just about everything. We've got to stop her tomorrow night. I think she's kind of the key to their game. She makes them turn, and we've got to come ready to stop her and the rest of them.

The Press: Do you think that you have an advantage coming from who you've played this year compared to who they've played?

Jillian: They're a great team, as we've all been saying. We've played tough teams in the SEC. We've played the competition this year, so we need what we have to do to play against teams with height, teams that are quick, all sorts of teams -- the SEC has it. We just have to figure out which one fits ASU and come ready with that game plan.

The Press: Arizona has come back from 8-14 points down in each of their last 4 games. How dangerous is that make a team? What do you do to keep pedal to the medal?

Ashley: I think that shows that they have team composure. They're able to come from behind. They don't give up. They don't quit. It seems like they don't get rattled too much. If we get a lead, we can't let up either at this time of year. Teams come back when you don't think they can, and Arizona State has done that. We just have to keep going tomorrow night.

Zuzi: I think we have learned our lesson in the SEC tournament. We have had big leads in both of the last two games, and we let the team come back, Arkansas from 20 points, and at the end it was a really close game, much more stressful than it needed to be. So we definitely need to start when we do get a lead to keep it for the entire game.

The Press:Jim, can you just address facing a team like ASU how they played down the stretch?

Coach Foster: I don't think it's any different than anybody else. I think every team's that playing -- like Oakland won their conference championship, and they came from behind to do it. And Arizona State won their conference championship, and it's the first one they've ever had in the Pac-10, so there's a great deal of significance to that. They're a good, solid basketball team. They're well-coached. Their strengths are obvious. I'm really of the belief now that, whoever it is, every game gets tougher in this tournament. Every game gets tougher.

The Press: It seems like it's been all year long, whenever somebody has a down game someone else picks it up. Is that why this team has been successful?

Coach Foster: Yeah, we don't live or die with one player. We've won games without Chantelle. We've won games without Zuzi. We have an offense that finds opportunities within the framework of it, and if we're patient enough we'll get good shots.

The Press: How important is a good start?

Coach Foster: I don't know. I think at this time, at this point in the season, it's about 40 minutes. It's about playing 40 minutes. We've already played 34 games. I think I might have a different answer in November, December, maybe even January. But you reach a certain point in time where your frame of reference is there, and it's just go play. Pick something out that you had success with against something similar. In November you might not have worked very much against a press and get a quick team, and you can't handle a press. But, by gosh, I don't think there's anybody left in this tournament that can't handle a press.

The Press: Is there anybody in the SEC that ASU reminds you of from what you've seen?

Coach Foster: Nah, I think because Levens is different than most dominant guards. The other kid handles the ball, too, but she has the ball so much and scores so much. Bigger and stronger than a Brandi McCain. Has more resposibility for distributing the ball than a Kara Lawson. Better offensive player than the Wright kid at Arkansas. Better shooter than the Johnson kid at Alabama, but a penetrator, none the less. She's got a little bit of a lot of people that we've seen. She's a very good player.

The Press: Can you comment on Johnson and Carvalho?

Coach Foster: Johnson looks like she could be a post player in this league. This league is known for big post players. Good hands, run the floor, solid finisher. She is probably a lot different than a lot of the post players in the Pac 10, but is a lot like post players in our league. Very skilled. And the other kid, I don't know how Vince let her get off the island. She can play, and the Hawaiian kids he's always kept home. She's very talented. My phrase is, "She's got a game." She can shoot a three, she can post you up. She can score off the dribble. She knows who she is. She's comfortable with who she is.

The Press: Coach, does your mindset change from being the hunter to being the team with the target on your back?

Coach Foster: Nah, some of the questions you guys are asking . . . I don't think these kids ever look at brackets or look at games. It's a whole culture out there now -- you know, "bracketologist" -- where did that word come from? It's a creation of somebody's and you need a lot of talk. And fortunately these kids they've got pretty stringent academics, so they're not up at midnight watching that Stanford-Arizona State game or Stanford-Weber State game. Hopefully they're studying. They just roll out and play. Just roll out and play. That's been our philosophy. We schedule a lot of people. We're going to out there playing Purdue in Tempe. And our schedule prepares us for this time of year, and our kids don't look and read this thing like a lot of other people do. It's just -- Who's in front of us? Who's next? If you look start to look ahead, we're in a league that if you look ahead, you're going to have your head handed to you. So if you don't come into this with the mindset that who's in front of you is important, you haven't learned the lessons of the league.

The Press: You mentioned you're going to play Purdue in Tempe? Is that like when they played Tennessee in that outdoor game? Did you watch that game? Do you think they have a tendency to rise up to the occasoin?

Coach Foster: Yeah, we're not playing outside. They're a good basketball team. I don't think there's a tendency to rise up. You don't win 25 games just rising up to play big games. They play every game. They play hard. They've got a style of play. They're consistent with it. They know what makes them good. They stick with it. I don't think it matters to them.

The Press: How would you describe their style?

Coach Foster: Well, they know how to use their bodies. They know how to free up their guards with their screens. They're very disciplined. If there's a breakdown, they'll come to back what works for them. You don't see a lot of bad shots because they take quality shots. They're a good offensive rebounding team.

The Press: Does their comeback ability concern you, when they're dead they don't stay dead?

Coach Foster: No, we've shown similar traits over the years. The game's 40 minutes. As the season winds down, you've to have the ability to close down gaps. You've got to have the ability to hold leads. You've got to have the whole package.

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