Pre-Tournament Quotes

March 21, 2003
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

March 21, 2003

2003 NCAA First Round
Ted Constant Convocation Center - Norfolk, Virginia
Friday, March 21, 2003

Wendy Larry, Old Dominion Head Coach:

"We are very excited about hosting the first Women's NCAA Basketball Tournament at the Ted Constant Convocation Center, but we mostly want to showcase to the nation that women's basketball has made it here through the years. Our women's basketball program is important and has survived among some of the bigger conferences and big schools."

"Throughout my coaching career it has always been presented to me that you work hard for a higher seed so that you are able to host. The pre-determined site has to do with attendance and support from the area and we are pleased that we were selected among the sixteen schools."

"At the beginning of the year, defending our home wasn"t a team goal. As we started winning we became more comfortable in the Ted and defending our house has now become a team goal and it is very important to us."

On the war:
"Being here in Norfolk, such a military based city, we are very much aware of what is happening in the war. It becomes a statement of sport, that we are somewhat of a release and a distraction, but we have not forgotten our servicemen and we know who the real heroes are."

On tradition of having fans sing National Anthem:
"We just wanted to start a new tradition in our new home to have our fans sing along with the national anthem before the game. This is only a request. It is a personal choice whether or not to participate. It is a statement about how strongly we feel about our military home and about how strongly we feel about being free."

On Boston College:
"They have great senior leadership. They are very methodical and disciplined. They have played together for quite a long time and they know each other very well."

On team pressure:
"We have to take the next step. There was a lot of pressure in winning our twelfth CAA Title and now I would like to see our players a little more relaxed than they were during the (CAA) tournament."

Kim Giddens, Old Dominion Senior Forward:

On defending their home court advantage:
"Getting a feel for our home was a gradual process, but now we are more comfortable. The Delaware game in the (CAA) tournament made it feel like ours and we have to continue to work hard to defend it."

On pressure:
"This is a whole new game, everybody is starting 0-0, so now we can go out and just play ball."

Boston College Head Coach Cathy Inglese:

"We are very excited to be here in the wonderful facility and we are looking forward to an exciting weekend."

On the war:
"The focus has been on the tournament, but there are a lot more things going on. But at 11:10 tomorrow morning, all we can focus on is what we can control on the court."

On playing on the road in Norfolk:
"This is a great facility. Traditionally you play for home court advantage, but we aren"t really focusing on that. Our players like playing on the road and this is a great environment here."

On this weekend's competition:
"Anybody beating anybody is possible and our conference schedule has been getting us ready for this tournament. We just have to do what we are capable of doing."

On Old Dominion:
"They certainly have some tradition here and I love watching Wendy on television. They play well together and are pretty well balanced. They have the versatility to get inside and they are a great rebounding team. They have quick guards and nice size inside, especially their 6-6 center."

Becky Gottstein, Senior Forward Boston College:

"We like playing on the road. I think we had the fourth hardest schedule in the nation and the Big East conference has different levels of play. Scheduling has definitely been a positive for us this season. UConn plays up and down the floor, Villanova plays a slower, half-court style, and Rutgers is a great defensive team. We've played against so many different types of teams and that definitely makes up prepared."

Liberty University Head Coach Carey Green:

"We are very excited to be here. Coming from a conference where you need to win your tournament to get in, it means a lot to get here. Our hearts are heavy with everything going on, but we are focused on our goal."

"We have a very talented and deep team. All we can control is our ability to play the game and we realize that we are playing a good Vanderbilt team."

On the neutral site:
"That is one thing that I am very thankful for, the biggest and greatest positive for the tournament this year, is to have our fans close by. It is definitely an advantage to be playing in front of your home fans."

On practice:
"We use guys in some of our practices. They are typically quicker, stronger and better at running the floor. Our girls are glad to compete against somebody else instead of each other all the time."

Kristal Tharp, Sophomore Guard, Liberty:

"God has really given this team amazing ability and depth. We are able to go fourteen strong while Vanderbilt only goes about seven deep. It is like going out there and playing with your sisters.

Meribeth Anderson, Senior Center, Liberty:

On advancing:
"It has been frustrating going into previous tournaments and not advancing, but I am confident this is the best team I have been a part of."

Katie Feenstra, Sophomore Center, Liberty:

On Vanderbilt's Chantelle Anderson:
"We are just going to have to stay with her. We feel confident and know what we have to go out there and do. We have some very talented athletes and I am excited to play against her. She has some experience with being a senior, but I am going to work hard and see what I can do. "

Vanderbilt Head Coach, Melanie Balcomb:

"Like everyone else this time of year, we are just happy to be here. It is a beautiful arena and we are just happy to play."

On Liberty:
"We know a lot just from watching tape, but until you play each other, you never really know what is going to happen. I can say that I think both teams are prepared for each other."

"Our goal is to play Vanderbilt basketball. We are taking this as one separate tournament and trying to win each game in it. Our primary focus is to do what we do."

On playing at a neutral site:
"It is all about how you go into it. Some of our best games are on the road. It is something that you go into that you can"t control and so you can"t focus on it."

Chantelle Anderson Senior Center, Vanderbilt:

"Our last six practices have been the best we have had all season. If we can continue to play hard everytime, we can go all the way."

On inside play:
"It is going to be a great game on the post. I feel very confident in this match-up and I think that my game has really stepped up at the end of the season. We are a five person team and it will be our five against their five. As far as the one on one match-up goes, I feel very confident. We have faced big players all season and I"m used to playing tall post players, so I am not going to change my game plan too much."

Ashley McElhiney Senior Guard, Vanderbilt:

"The team and the coaching staff as a whole believe that we can go really far in this tournament. The last six or seven practices have been great."

On head coach Melanie Balcomb:
"She was willing to come in and take over the team and go with it. She and her coaching staff are very competitive and that is what makes a team. She is very intense and you need that intensity on the floor."