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NCAA Mideast Regional Underway; Pre-Tournament Press Conferences

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: March 27, 2004
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March 27, 2004

2004 NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
MIDEAST REGIONAL - NORFOLK, VA - TED CONSTANT CONVOCATION CENTER

Saturday, March 27, 2004
#1 Duke Press Conference

Head Coach Gail Goestenkors

Opening Statement:
"I'm elated to be here. This is a tremendous regional. We're very excited to be here at this point and Louisiana Tech is a great team. I feel they're here to prove and get the respect they deserve. I've always respected them. There's nothing worse than playing against a great team that feels like they have something to prove."

On Leadership Comparison to Past Years:
"The fact that we've been to two final fours has given them a lot of confidence. They have a lot of experience with different kinds of pressure in the past couple of years. They're very comfortable. We're more business-like this year. We've more focused. We've had a talk with the underclassmen, to tell them to play for the seniors. Take some of the pressure off our three seniors."

On Matching Up With Louisiana Tech:
"We're both going to do well on the boards. We need to get some help on the strong post game they have. We're very similar."

On The Impact of Senior Guard Vicki Krapohl:
"She's a tremendous leader. She started and lead us to two final fours. She's the most positive player we've got. I can't say enough about her."

#33 Iciss Tillis, Sr., F

On Feeling Pressure Playing In Final NCAA Tournament to Win Title:
"We don't feel any pressure, really. The way the team's gelling, we don't think we need to feel the pressure. I wouldn't really call it pressure, it's just your last effort."

#20 Alana Beard Sr, G/F

On Feeling the Pressure to Win NCAA Tournament:
"It's not any sense of pressure. Our chemistry now is as good as it's ever been. We're confident."

On Her Decision Not to Attend Louisiana Tech:
"In Shreveport (Beard's hometown), Louisiana Tech was the place to be. They were in the picture, and sometimes you're blinded by them and don't know a lot about the other schools. I prayed about it and I felt Duke was where God wanted me to be. I don't think I would have grown as much as a person or as a player at Louisiana Tech.

On Seeing Fans Wearing Her Jersey:
"It's an honor to have people wear your jersey. It's definitely a blessing."

On Sense of Failure if Duke Does Not Win NCAA Tournament:
We've grown so much together. We started from nothing, really, so it wouldn't really be a total disappointment if we didn't win it. At the beginning of the season, we set our goals so high, we want this, but it's not a total loss if we don't win it.

On Matching up With Louisiana Tech:
"It's two very physical teams. We compare them to North Carolina, who we played three times this year. They're very athletic. Their defense keeps them in the games."

#12 Vicki Krapohl, Sr, G

On Sense of Failure if Duke Does Not Win NCAA Tournament:
"If you look at what we've done as a class, I don't think you can say it hasn't been a success. We've really bonded as a team and the friendships and experiences we've had, it's not going to be a disappointment if we don't have the title to show for our efforts."

#5 Louisiana Tech Press Conference

Head Coach Kurt Budke

Opening Statement:
"33,000 miles later, 10,000 miles in the post season alone, and we're finally here. It's a beautiful city, beautiful facility; I didn't realize how nice and new it is here. We have a very confident team and we're excited about opening it up tomorrow."

On Tournament Ranking:
"We have known that we're not in a power conference (ranked #7 in the country, ranked #5 in the tournament.) When you get to the Sweet Sixteen you know you are going to have to play a great team and why not start off with the best (Duke.) We match up pretty well with them."

On Duke Seniors:
Everyone's feeling the pressure right now and those two seniors (Alana Beard and Iciss Tillis) are definitely felling the pressure. They are a great team."

On Previous Head Coach, Leon Barmore:
"Barmore is a great supporter of the program. I wish he could come to every practice, every game, sit on the bench with us but he respects our space and we appreciate it."

On Strength Comparison:
"They are very comparable. They all match up very well and it should be interesting in the paint."

#4 Erica Smith-Taylor, Jr., G

On Duke Senior Alana Beard:
"Alana's a great player. She's All-American for a reason. We'll go and try to defend her as best as we can."

On playing on the road in unfriendly environments
"Throughout the season, we've played in the WAC, played in the tournament. We're used to traveling. I don't think it'll be a disadvantage. We're ready for the challenge."

On Why She Came to Louisiana Tech:
"I didn't want to go too far from home and I wanted a chance to win the NCAA Tournament. I wanted to win and I think we have a great chance of winning the tournament."

#50 Trina Frierson, Sr, F

On #5 Seed:
"I wouldn't say it's a chip on our shoulder, but we are playing to show we're a good team. We're looking forward to playing Duke. We're up for the challenge. About the #5 seed, we've dealt with it."

On Why She Chose Louisiana Tech:
"They have such tradition. You have all these players in the WNBA. The coaches are awesome. The fans are awesome. It's just an awesome place to be."

On Their End-of-the-Season Winning Streak:
"I feel we're peaking at the right time. We are a post team, but for our guards to come in and step it up, it's just awesome. I'm so happy we have balanced play."

#34 Amber Obaze, Sr, G

On Guarding Alana Beard:
"I have to contain her. She likes to drive to the basket. Hopefully I won't get into foul trouble or anything."

On Why She Chose Louisiana Tech:
"I liked coming to a program that felt like home."

#3 Boston College Press Conference

Head Coach Cathy Inglese

Opening Statement:
We've obviously very excited about being back in the Sweet 16 for the second straight year. We feel very comfortable here and we're very familiar here, with playing in the Tournament here last year. It's just good to be back.

On Playing in Norfolk:
We'll play anywhere and anybody. It's just a familiar setting here. Our players know the city now, downtown, we're just comfortable playing here. We obviously had a lot of success here last year, so it's great to be here.

On Playing Minnesota:
Minnesota runs some similar plays. Our general styles are very similar. They pass and distribute the ball like we do. Pam (Borton) wants to push defense there, as we do.

On Lindsay Whalen:
I really felt for Pam (Borton) when Lindsay went down with that injury. I really did. You feel sorry for any coach when something like that happens. I knew they were pretty down. I was happy she came back and I'm happy that she worked so hard to come back like she did.

On the team's toughness:
I'm really pleased with how the players are playing now. I think we're playing as well now as we ever have at this point in the game. I think a lot of it has to do with the Big East, playing against the big and tough teams, like Virginia Tech, Rutgers, UConn. We've gotten a lot better playing these tough, physical teams. In the beginning, we would get knocked around.

#00 Jessalyn Deveny, Jr. G

On Playing Against Former Coach:
"I don't think we are at any disadvantage; we know her as well as she knows us. We are just going to go out there and play like any other game. It didn't really hit me until today when I saw her getting off the bus. The game will definitely be enjoyable and it will be fun."

On Playing at the Constant Center Last Year:
"The obvious is that we've played on this floor. After winning against Old Dominion last year, their fans came back and cheered us on and we hope they will do it again. In a way, we feel like we're playing at home."

#11 Kathrin Ress, Fr. F

On Minnesota's Jr. F/C, Janel McCarville:
"She is real aggressive. She uses her body well. She's big but we are going to play defense against everyone, we going to play hard."

#23 Amber Jacobs, Sr. G

On Defensive Team:
"Coach (Cathy Inglese) has really stressed defense and she takes a lot of pride in our defense. Our defense spills on our offense. We do an exceptional job on the defensive end."

Being a Team in the Big East:
"When you beat the best of the best, a team like UCONN, it shows that you're just as good. We showed people that we are a good team. This game is going to prove a lot and it's going to be a big game tomorrow."

On Last Year's Tournament:
"Last year's experience was one that will always be memorable in my mind. It's good to be back. This great facility and the exciting atmosphere kind of makes us feel like we have a home court advantage."

On Playing Against Former Coach:
"We are excited to play against someone that used to be apart of your program."

#7 Minnesota Press Conference

Head Coach Pam Borton

Opening Statement:
"It's great to be in Norfolk, VA, in the Sweet 16 for the second straight year. We're excited to be here, but we're ready for the games to begin."

On Minnesota's Transformation Into a Defensive Team:
"There are a lot of similarities between us and Boston College, but there are a lot of differences as well. They're very disciplined, and we're getting there. The transformation has come a long way the past two years. I feel our kids have the mindset that you have to play defense to win championships. I think that's 90% of the battle."

On Remaining Focused for the NCAA Tournament:
"The story the past couple of weeks has been Lindsay's (Whalen) hand and the Minnesota-Boston College connection. This is just another game as far as we're concerned. We've conducted ourselves as business-like as possible. The build-up of these stories have been on the outside."

On Lindsay's (Whalen) Hand:
"Lindsay usually goes down about four or five times a game, so I didn't realize she was hurt until she was carrying her hand with her as she walked off the court. The team grew a lot when she wasn't playing. We played through her injury and in the past couple of games that we've played, it's just been making us a better team in the tournament."

On Making the Sweet 16 Two Consecutive Years:
"We're not satisfied to be here. The team is very hungry. We've never been to the Elite 8 or the Final 4. We're very anxious to get it to the next level."

On Shannon Bolden Making Transition to Offensive Player:
"Shannon's always been a great defensive player. Even the other day, the other coaches and I were talking about how she's improved so much offensively, gotten a lot better. She's really improved a lot throughout this season."

On Impact of Sweet 16 Appearances to Recruiting:
"We're able to recruit a little more nationally now. They'd seen us on TV, so they knew about us and they knew the coaching staff. It's March Madness and kids hear about the teams and see them on TV. Kids today want to play for a top program."

On Why Boston College is Doing So Well This Season:
"Cathy (Inglese) is a great coach. She gets the most out of her players. The team has a lot of experience and they've been playing like that."

On Keeping Pressure From Not Getting to the Freshmen:
"Hopefully it won't get to them from here on out. I've expected a lot out of them this year. Three out of four players on the bench are freshmen. We're going only as far as our freshmen take us. I said that at the beginning of the season. They're winners, they're all great players."

#04 Janel McCarville, Jr. F/C

On Playing at a Neutral Site:
"We have a good following. We are more experienced and lately we have been rising to the occasion. We've come together as a team and realized that defense wins games."

On Personal Game Plan:
"I'm just going to have to play smart and stay out of foul trouble."

#11 Shannon Schonrock, So. G

On Playing at a Neutral Site:
"We are more comfortable at home but it doesn't matter. When you are playing in the Sweet Sixteen, you just have to play hard. We saw that defense carried us and we really grasped on to it."

On Boston College Comparison:
"Our teams are very similar. We mirror a lot of the stats. Both teams play hard and play strong defense. It is going to be a good match up."

#13 Lindsay Whalen, Sr. G

On Playing at a Neutral Site:
"It's the NCAA Tournament. It's no advantages or disadvantages. You just have to go out there and play and see who is better."

On Boston College:
"After watching the film, we do match up well and mirror each other. We definitely can't make any mistakes."

On Defense:
"In the NCAA tournament, it (defense) is not a variable, it's a constant and it's something that we really focused on this year."

On Hand Injury:
"I basically had to wait, keep it in a cast, and keep it elevated. It is doing fine now. At this point, if you're not fresh you need to fake it and play hard. To see other athletes come back from similar injuries really encouraged me."

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