March 7, 2007
2007 MWC Women's Basketball Tournament Post Game Quotes
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by University of Wyoming head coach Joe Legerski, and student athletes Jodi Bolerjack, Hanna Zavecz and Dominique Sisk.Coach, if you want to begin with some general comments on the game.
COACH LEGERSKI: It was a first round ballgame. There was nervousness on our side. We had to try to find a comfort zone where offensively we ended up getting a little more focused.But, more importantly, we had to make some shots just to be able to get back and be able to defend in a halfcourt game as well as possibly just relax our shooters, and I thought we were able to do that in the second half.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q: Was it nerves? Seemed like that first half, 16% shooting, I know you're much better shooters. Something defensively from San Diego State? What was happening there?
Hanna Zavecz: I think it was a mixture of both. San Diego State are really intense on defense. There were some nerves on our part.A mixture of the both led to our poor shooting. They were getting us out of our game. But we turned things around in the second half and were more relaxed.
Q: Any of the players, it looked like a pretty physical first half. Did you make some adjustments in the second half to sort of be the aggressor? Jodi, on one drive I saw you getting hounded. You went to the lane, made a layup. Did you make a decision at the half to be more aggressive?
Jodi Bolerjack: Yeah, coach told us we needed to keep going strong, just take a little more time on our shots, make sure that we put a little extra umph on it because we were getting pressured all the way down.
Q: You finally caught them, and then had to play with a lead. They made a run at the end. What did you have to do to hold off that run?
Dominique Sisk: We just had to keep our composure. We knew they were going to make a run because they're a very intense ballclub. No one's ever going to back down, you know.All we had to do was keep our composure, be strong, keep the ball in our possession, have as many possessions as we could, stay strong with the ball.
Q: Hanna, at one point in the game you were crying, visibly upset or hurt. How do you keep your head in the game? How did you pull yourself through?
Hanna Zavecz: I don't know. I just have to refocus. Yeah, it is a mental thing. I just have to pull myself together, realize that lots of people play with pain, I know that. So it's really just a mental thing. Just stay in it for the sake of my team, for everyone.
THE MODERATOR: Ladies, we'll let you go. Thank you.
COACH LEGERSKI: Thank you, ladies.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Legerski.
Q: What was the key at halftime? I know you're guys are only scoring 14 points. You can't be please with that. Did you tell them anything? Was there anything you said or did to calm them down, to get out of that funk?
COACH LEGERSKI: I think one of the difficult things for a team, we've gone through a very difficult season, and to be able to, on the last Saturday, end up getting a second seed was a remarkable effort. You have to turn right back around and try to refocus for a tournament where the first game is always the most difficult from the standpoint of nerves and being focused.We talked at halftime about just hanging in there, shots are going to start falling. But you have to shoot with the conviction to make a shot. Try not to let the pressure bother you. I thought we started doing that in the second half. We also talked about having to go strong to the basket so you can get to the free throw line. That's where you can pick up some easy points.You know, I think San Diego State had a great deal to do with us scoring 14 points in the first half. Then we ended up getting on a roll in the second half. Once we got up to a seven point lead you could see the team relax a great deal, and we did very well in attacking the zone full court press. Elisabeth Dissen came through with three big shots.
Q: You've said all season your team needs to shoot the ball well from the perimeter, take care of the basketball to win. They didn't do either very well, but you're still moving on. Is that something positive to take away from today?
COACH LEGERSKI: I tell you what, winning's positive. That's the bottom line in this game: you win, you advance. That's what we were able to do.The big thing that stays with the Wyoming program is defense. In the second half, we were able to shoot 50% from the field. But defensively we got San Diego State down around 27%. Once again, to hold a team to 44 points is a big defensive effort. I knew we could get enough baskets to be able to get the lead and then to hang on to the lead.
Q: Talk about what's next. Now you have a day to prepare. Is that a good or bad thing? Do you need to catch your breath a little bit?
COACH LEGERSKI: Right now what's next is we enjoy this victory. One of the things we've always talked about all season long for this team is to learn to enjoy a win. We'll wait and watch the games today. We'll get to work tonight as a coaching staff. We'll have something in place for tomorrow to be able to play on Friday.But it's nice to be able to win and stay around in the tournament.
Q: I know you just talked about enjoying the victory. There's a possibility you could be playing New Mexico. Could you talk about the last encounter you had, so physical? Talk about what it's like going up against them?
COACH LEGERSKI: I tell you what, it's a challenge, because this league is very talented. When you end up taking a look at how many 20 win ball clubs we have, it really speaks volumes of what this league's been about.New Mexico is a quality ballclub. They are used to winning at this level, and that's going to be a big challenge for this young group. We're still a team that does not put a senior on the floor. We're still learning how to win. When I take a look at New Mexico, with Montgomery, Briody, they've been around. I'll be anxious to watch the next game and see if it's New Mexico or UNLV.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
San Diego State
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by San Diego State University head coach Beth Burns, student athletes Quenese Davis and Shanna Demus. Coach, if you want to begin with some opening comments.
COACH BURNS: Certainly. I think that what sometimes gets lost in Wyoming's team when you talk about what makes Wyoming work, they're such a fantastic shooting team. They run such great rhythm offense. I think what some people don't realize is that they also give up the least amount of points in the league. They're the No. 1 team in our league in terms of points.I think, you know, at halftime, my assistant coach leaned over and said, I think the winner of this game is going to a Bowl game because I believe it was 17 14. But what they did that was most critical and most challenging to us was they eliminated any easy points.We got nothing in transition. We have to get that in order to be able to score. They put a lot of pressure on our halfcourt offense. We had to work really, really hard for our points. I think as the game wore on, that was the difference in the game.With that said, I could not be prouder of our effort. We gave them everything we had and then some. I think that's a difficult offense to guard. I thought that we did just as good a job as we could. Tip your cap to them for really that run that got us on our heels. We stepped it a little bit, but we just really couldn't score enough points to put us in a position to be successful.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q: Either player, what did you do well defensively against Wyoming today? 16% in the first half is what they shot. What specifically did you do well defensively against them?
QUENESE DAVIS: I say we limited their outside shooting. They were, what, 0 5 for threes? Probably take away more shots than that. They average more shots than that making. That's what we took away from them.
Q: If you had known you were going to hold them without a three pointer in this game, would you have believed that you would have lost this game?
QUENESE DAVIS: I think it would take more than just us limiting them in threes. We stopped their inside game, too.
SHANNA DEMUS: I guess from the beginning, probably, because they're a great shooting three point team. I think they're leading the conference in three pointers. I think they're like 22nd in the nation.Of course, it's in the back of our head. Going into the game we were prepared and we were ready. But, hey, what can I say?
Q: How frustrated did they have you offensively just with the defense they played in this game?
SHANNA DEMUS: I don't think they had us frustrated more than just ourselves, the ability. I had open shots. Just the inability to knock them down or to make the open layups we did have. Not them more than ourselves.
THE MODERATOR: We'll let you two ladies go. Thank you.
COACH BURNS: Good job, ladies.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Burns.
Q: Beth, can you talk about the first seven or eight minutes of the second half. Obviously you couldn't do anything in transition. They kind of buckled you down a little bit. Can you talk about that stretch.
COACH BURNS: I think beginning, middle and end, we just didn't, couldn't, wouldn't rebound. You know, we are a team that works really, really hard to get in the high 50s. I mean, that's against anybody that we play. So that's a common theme.Our challenge is and has been our energy level has to be so high to be we got people guarding people that are six and seven inches bigger than they are, so our energy level has to be so high to prevent them from doing what they're doing.It does get a little frustrating, even though I guess these two weren't frustrated. I'll be honest and say I was a little frustrated. It gets hard to keep working that hard and coming up empty.I think it puts so much pressure on your offense that when, you know, who doesn't miss a layup? Layups get missed. For us, it's like Oh, my goodness. It puts so much more pressure on our offense because it was our first easy shot we had.That's credit to them. They're a team that has an opportunity to not only get into the tournament but to win in the tournament. I think they're older and they looked it. They're experienced and they looked it. They made a run and they never you know, I think we guarded them a little bit in the first half. I don't think they just didn't shoot well.Great ones never let you see them sweat. They never changed their composure, never came out of their stuff. That's a credit to Joe and to his team.It's tough for us to score.
Q: What was the feeling at halftime when you're up three, but at the same time they're only shooting 16%?
COACH BURNS: We did about everything we can do well. I will agree with Shanna that I thought we did get some nice looks, but they didn't drop. All we could do was to encourage them to keep taking those same shots to try to help us help each other getting on the offensive boards. But, of course, expect that we have to have the same kind of focus and intensity.Really I think in the second half it was they shot a lot of free throws. It was a great crew. But that was the difference, too. As you got a little bit more fatigued, a great shooting team is usually great from the stripe, as well, and they are. That was just too much for us.But we felt good. I mean, I had told the team yesterday that, you know, If we win 2 1 we still win. We still get to play on Friday. That's the way we think we have to play with our team this year.
Q: Can you recap this season in a nutshell, if you can, and what's down the road.
COACH BURNS: It went fast. Last year did not go fast. Last year went really long (smiling).It went fast. I think we improved tremendously. I think the opportunity for Quenese Quenese Davis has had a fantastic freshman year. We really didn't have a sub for her. She is 125 pounds with rocks in her pockets and we never took her out. I think we'll be the benefactor of that next year.She's seen it all, played against the great teams in this league. I think we lose two seniors. We have four redshirts that have been practicing with us in the gym. We had a recruiting class that we're proud of.I think right now, you know, I said to one of my coaches last week in practice, If you didn't know any better you'd think we were the No. 1 seed. And that's why the year went fast. Everybody likes and respects one another. We work hard in practice every day.I think you feel bad today, but when you look back over your shoulder, we've made great strides. We've won 12 games from three games. Now, knock on wood, injuries and things, we feel like we're ready. We haven't pulled our weight in the Mountain West Conference. We feel that we're ready to do that.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks very much.
COACH BURNS: Thank you, everyone.