OU women’s quotes (NCAA Tournament)
Some quotes from OU’s press conference Saturday afternoon, the day before the Sooners open the NCAA women’s Tournament against James Madison.
“We are honored and blessed to be in the field again. Twelve years in a row is a significant feat and yet we’re not satisfied with just being here. We’ve never been satisfied with just being in the NCAA Tournament. We are honored to participate and happy to be in Charlottesville.”
On Final Four experience:
“It does a few things for us. The same thing that tradition always does; when you walk into your gym everyday and you practice under Final Four banners, you make certain that your players understand where they are and what the people before them have done. It’s something that those kids who come into the program grow up with – the expectations and the limitless lure of the season. For us there is no answer but to go to the NCAA Tournament, and but to win in the NCAA Tournament. Whitney [Hand] and Jasmine [Hartman] are two sophomores and all they know is to go to the Final Four. They’ve played two years of college basketball and that is all they know. Sometimes that’s nice. Gina said a few weeks ago that after a while, you don’t even think losing is possible when you’ve won as many games as they have. That is a pretty nice thing to have on your side even though it is not tangible.”
On defending JMU’s Dawn Evans:
“She is really good. She is a pro; she’ll be playing in the league. [She is] As complete of an offensive player that I’ve seen anywhere all year long. I knew she had crazy range and I know she could create and get to the rim, but I’ve been incredibly impressed with her ability to pass. That may be her greatest gift of all. She’s a very clever, crafty passer and that makes her extremely dangerous. And then you add into the mix the intangible of what she’s been able to do physically and the type of kid she obviously is, that character is something you build a team, a season, and a program around. And Coach Brooks has done that; they play on her wings. I wish I wasn’t playing them, because I’d be for them.”
On who Evans plays like:
“She reminds me of Andrea Riley who played for Oklahoma State for the past few years and graduated last year. Riley had such crazy range and such a quick release and you couldn’t give her a breath where she could get a shot off. She was a great user of ball screens and Dawn is the same way. Hopefully Danielle Robinson can recall the way she defended Andrea Riley, but we have to guard Dawn together. I don’t think there is anybody that will go out and lock her down; I think we have to guard her as an entire defense. Everyone has to help and rotate and be aware because she is so good at finding open players. We have to do it fundamentally together.”
On center Lauren Jimenez:
“Coach Brooks has put together nice pieces around her. As I watch film I see that she is a perfect sidekick to one player and a perfect complement to another. They are good together because they compliment one another. With Dawn’s ability to break people down off the dribble, you have to know where to be and be able to use your gift at that spot, and their post player does that very well. I’ve been the most impressed about the fact that she will bury you; she’s very good about knowing her angles and when to post; she doesn’t work early which is very impressive. What stuck out to me on film is that she always knows when a shots going up and where it is coming down to. She positions herself very well and she is not easily moved from the spot she chooses either. She is a handful.”
On making shots in the NCAA Tournament:
“I think the key is not trying to make them. As crazy as that sounds, if you go into the game focusing on that, you’re not going to make them. Our guys can shoot, we’ve made 17 three’s in a few games this year. We make baskets; it’s what we do everyday in practice. I think what you get your kids to concentrate on is all the things that lead up to those shots. We have to run hard basket cuts and we have to center the ball, we have to set good ball screens and our movement away from the ball, we have to watch our defenders. All those things lead up to shots. That is what you think about this time of the year especially. The shots will take care of themselves.”
On having a young team:
“We have a nice balance. We have three seniors who understand entirely what is going on and how important it is. We have Whitney Hand who is a sophomore who is, like, 42 years old when she talks so she knows exactly the magnitude of every pass and every close out and every rebound. And then you have [Aaryn Ellenberg] and Nicole Griffin who are just running around and are just happy to be alive and playing as hard as they can and trying to do the next thing right. If you throw all that into the locker room, suddenly those guys that are squeezing tight relax a little bit and those guys that are sort of giddy get a little edgy because the upperclassmen are there and if you stir the pot a little bit you just might get the right recipe. I’ve liked being in their midst all year because of their range of experience and personalities and emotions. We have a very central character about us but a lot of different personalities and dispositions so it’s been fun. Sometimes it’s a riddle, and I’ve always been able to find the right key to them, but I love coming to work everyday and trying to see what they can become because of who they are together.
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