March 21, 2005 - NCAA Tournament Press Conference Quotes
Head Coach Joan Bonvicini
(Opening statement) “We’re excited to be playing in the second round. We were fortunate to win against a good Oklahoma team yesterday. We were balanced and played smart yesterday, and we’ll need all of that to play a very good LSU team tomorrow.”
(On common opponents) “Obviously, LSU has had unbelievable success this season. They have had two losses by two points each. We don’t play like Tennessee or Rutgers (the two teams that LSU has lost to). We have to do what we do best. We’re familiar with LSU since we have played them the last two years. We have respect for what they’ve done. They’ve earned it. It’s not by talk. They earned it.”
(On whether she felt at ease with their size match-ups with LSU) “I don’t know if I’d say that I feel at ease. We match-up well with their size in the post. We don’t have anyone like Seimone Augustus. I don’t know that anyone does. She has a great feel for the game. Temeka (Johnson) has a feel, particularly for Seimone, but for where everyone is.”
“Sylvia (Fowles) is an outstanding player. She has made a big impact for them. She blends well with their team. She’s as athletic as any player there is. She works extremely hard defensively as well as offensively. Polkey (Arizona’s Shawntinice Polk) is more experienced. They both affect the game so much. They have different strengths.”
(On physical nature of the game) “The officials determine how much you can do. Yesterday, they were consistent. It’s a physical game. Both conferences are physical.”
(On keys for the game against LSU) “Rebounding is a key. It’s one of the keys. We have to get the ball and limit their second chances. LSU can leap. They go to the boards hard.”
(On comparing LSU to Oklahoma) “It’s difficult to compare Oklahoma to LSU. Oklahoma went with four guards and sometimes even went with five guards. That might be more difficult for us. LSU is more traditional. That’s not to say that they’re not very, very good. They have great athletes inside. We have to control what we do best, and understand what LSU wants to do.”
(On scouting LSU live yesterday instead of watching on tape) “It was the first time that I saw Sylvia (Fowles) in person with LSU. Last year, they had (Doneeka) Hodges. Sylvia gives them a different look. Over the past 24 hours, I watched a lot of tape. They’re awfully good. They’re very, very athletic. They’re a very, very good team and are deserving of the accolades ?- player of the year, coach of the year.”
(On Arizona’s performance against Oklahoma) “I was very pleased with how Dee-Dee played. It was one of her best leadership games. She was smart, heady. I challenged Natalie (Jones) at halftime. We took care of the ball. That was huge. We only had 10 turnovers.”
(On playing at a neutral site) “Playing at a neutral site is important. LSU is good wherever they play.”
(On LSU’s defense) “They sag a lot, playing a sagging man. They almost dare you to shoot. Their wingspan makes you think twice. They make you do things that you don’t normally want to do. They’re athletic, but they’re also very smart.”
“We’re just happy to be in the tournament. I have no complaints about the seeding or the format. The new format is what’s best for women’s basketball. It’s where men’s basketball was 20 years ago. This is a great site. It’s great to be in the NCAA Tournament here. It’s great that (Tennessee coach) Pat Summitt has the opportunity to break the record (for most wins in NCAA Division I basketball) at home. It is a privilege and honor for us to be here.”
(On playing LSU now compared to the last time they met) “They have a great guard-oriented team. Temeka Johnson is one of the best point guards I have ever seen play for her size, and Seimone Augustus is one of the best players I have ever seen play. They are surrounded by players that get them the ball, and it makes them better. I think they are a quick team in transition, and they rebound well. They also have great leadership.”
(On the versatility of Seimone Augustus and LSU’s guard play) “It is going to take a great team effort. But I think playing teams in the Pac-10 with players like Candice Wiggins and Nikki Blue have prepared us to guard just about any guard in the country. Seimone is a great player, and you can’t really stop her. The thing you can do is try and slow her down and limit her touches. Temeka is amazingly fast, and I think we need to slow her down in transition. It is the same thing we did against Oklahoma’s Dionnah Jackson. Slow her (Temeka) down and slow down Seimone.
(On any one thing Arizona has to do to be successful against LSU) “I think we have to execute. We have to take care of the opportunities that present themselves. I think we need to really focus on Arizona and not LSU. They are not a team with a lot of weaknesses. We need to focus on Arizona and exploit our strengths and try and do what we do best. When we get those opportunities, we need to take advantage.”
“When we came into the tournament we felt like this was a second chance for us. And yesterday’s victory gave us the confidence we needed to go up against a team like LSU. Our main focus is Arizona. We need to do what we do best and stick to our strengths. I think we cannot worry about the name on the uniforms, but worry about the players that are out there. I think we have a young team and with great leadership, and poise it should be a great game tomorrow against LSU.
(On playing LSU is more about the name and tradition and status, or is it something else) “I think they have gained respect throughout the country more than anything. We need to focus on the players that are out there. LSU has had a great season and they have been in and out at being No. 1 all year. They have a great coach and great leader and to be able to do what they are able to do. Temeka is able to lead her team, and Seimone is just phenomenal. She is an all-around great player and person.”
(On her thoughts about Polk’s passing ability) “Polkey does a great job of passing the ball. She is probably second on the team in assists. She is a great passer. That comes from being aware of when a double team is coming and she is able to do a touch pass, which is one of her better passes. I think that comes from having a lot of practice and being able to see those double and triple teams.
(On being able to exploit any LSU weaknesses) “With a team like LSU they really don’t have any weaknesses. They are a well-rounded team. For us it is going to be executing. If we can execute to the top of our game then I think it is going to be a good one. Finding a weakness in a team like LSU is really hard because you cannot really pinpoint anything.”
(On playing against Sylvia Fowles) “She is really talented. We watched a little bit of the game last night, and she has game. She is good offensively and defensively. She is a great leaper. I am really interested in seeing what it is going to be like because last night they let us bang a little bit and it should be fun banging with a big post. I am excited and the team is excited, but you can’t focus on any one person or match-up because that is not going to determine the game.”
(On her passing ability) “You have to be a good passer. After the first half of my freshman year people were double and triple teaming me and I had to learn to get the ball to the open player. I have to kind of se the floor from Dee Dee’s eyes. I have to be able to see everything. It is a big job and it is what I have to do when three people are on me and one of my teammates is open. I do pride myself on finding the open teammate because shooting an open shot is a lot better than shooting a shot with three people on you.”
(On her recent memory of playing LSU) “I remember it being a close game. I remember me, Polkey and Dee-Dee were freshmen and it was a close game. Seimone was also a freshman. We came out with a loss but I think we battled well. LSU was a great team back then and I think for the past three years they have just gotten better. I think it will be a good match-up.”