Stanford Players Talk About the Matchup With West Virginia
March 18, 2012
STANFORD HEAD COACH TARA VANDERVEER
ON FINESSE VERSUS PHYSICAL PLAY STYLE:
I think that we have different players. There is a place for physical basketball, but philosophically finesse women's basketball creates more of a fan base. You want to see the athleticism and skill of players and if they are smashed on the floor and holding and being penalized people do not want to see that. I am a finesse basketball fan personally.
WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN IN WVU?:
We have watched a lot of their games, and they have a strong inside game with Bussie and Dunning and have some great outside shooters. They execute well and I think this game will be one of those grind out games.
She was fine at breakfast, and we have not done anything on the court yet. She did not say anything about so I think that she is good to go.
LOOSELY OR TIGHTLY OFFICIATED GAME:
I think there is some debate on how the women's game should be played and called, and I believe in the John Wooden philosophical style of play. Basketball is not football or rugby, but there is a place for physicality. We want our best players out there and we want a game where pushing, shoving, and grabbing is penalized. We want to see basketball, and I have told the officials before every game that they should let the players play. In the women's game where we are pushing so hard for fan support we want to see basketball not a wrestling match. For us, it is really important to play our top players.
WVU POST DRAWS ATTENTION:
As I said, they have a nice inside and outside game. They have perimeter shooters and big aggressive post players like us. I do not think either of our teams are lights-out three-point shooting teams, but we both have people that if you leave them open they are going to hit some shots.
ON WVU BUILDING A COMPETITIVE PROGRAM:
You know, I think Mike has done a great job with this year's team. They are a great young team. My attitude is you have to keep knocking at the door to get that national championship. You have to think that we are going to the tournament, not, oh, we made it to the tournament. I think what you are seeing with West Virginia is that yesterday was another great 8-9 matchup, and they have a good system and work really hard at the game.
Senior Nnemkadi Ogwumike
Talk a little bit about the physical vs. finesse styles of play. How do you deal, personally, with the physical defense when you see it?
I think we actually play more physical than finesse but we've seen a lot of different defenses and physical styles throughout the season. We've been in some very physical games. I thought every game in the PAC 12 Tournament was physical, against Washington, ASU, and Cal. I think finesse is a lot more fun to watch, and sometimes a lot more fun to play. Obviously, you don't want to be getting beat up all the time, but we're ready to step up to the challenge. I think we're preparing and we're continuing to prepare well right now. I look forward to playing different defensive styles. It's not fun when people play you the same way all the time so I'm looking forward to playing tomorrow's game in a more physical manner. However, we never want to get away from being an up-temp team, we can play physical but still want to keep the game fast, that's what our style is and I think that's where the finesse component of Stanford basketball comes in.
How cognizant are you of the importance of staying in the game, in terms of fouls, there were a few games early in the season where you maybe got into foul trouble but there hasn't been anything since then. Have you made an effort to make sure that you are staying in the game?
I think it's kind of the untold truth for me to stay in the game. It's not something that I'm really worried about because, in terms of the coaches preparing us for the game, if I follow my rules then I'll stay in the game. If I'm lazy and don't do what I'm supposed to do then I'm going to get fouls. I think usually, if I am getting into foul trouble, it's not because I'm just whacking at people. It's mental mistakes, mental lapses. If I just follow my rules, I'll be fine.
Do you feel any pressure to win a National Championship?
I wouldn't say pressure; I think it's just motivation and determination. I get this question all the time, 'You've been there three times, this is your last hoorah, if you get there, what are you going to do?' Well I'm going to play. I don't think it breaks us down, we use it as a motivator, and I don't feel any pressure really. I have complete and total faith in my teammates and my coaches. It's more so a sense of urgency, that is kind of exacerbated because I am a senior and I have such a special squad here.
Sophomore - Toni Kokenis
You play very closely with Amber [Orrange], how would you describe her development as a player during her freshman year and in what specific ways has she gotten better?
She's just making better decisions with knowing where to get the ball and being able to hit open teammates. She is seeing lanes for passes that a lot of other players don't see and making plays that others wouldn't necessarily think were there. She is becoming really fun to watch.