|AN INTERVIEW WITH: STANFORD COACH TARA VANDERVEER & PLAYERS|
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with the media conference. Take questions for the student athletes after an opening statement from the coach.
COACH VANDERVEER: I thought our team played a much better second half. Made some good adjustments. We did a really good job of getting the ball inside to Jayne. I thought Kayla stepped up big. I was really for the most part our shot selection was good, and our defense especially on our double on Walker was really strong. I thought Candice really plays really well within herself when she didn't force things, she really made nice passes to other people. J.J. hit some big shots. Roz hitting some big shots.
And I was really disappointed with the call against Candice having watched it, I saw it the first time, but when I saw it the second time, it really I thought it really put her at risk to get hurt and that was something that had me really upset.
THE MODERATOR: Take questions for the student athletes.
Q. Coach, expanding on that, what's it like as a coach when you see your player on the ground like that taking a hard foul?
I just think that when, there's a lot, people put a lot into it, this is a situation where in all games sometimes things happen that's very emotional, but as a coach it's really hard when you see someone go down like that. You watch your whole season kind of flash before your eyes. And with Candice having such a spectacular career at Stanford and we want to keep playing. And our team obviously depends on her a lot. So I was, you just, I think I just kind of had to kind of pull my heart off the floor for a minute and I ran out there.
Q. Candice, you're going to play the team that is a number one seed that maybe you feel look you guys should have or could have gotten. How much mileage, how much motivation have you got from that throughout this tournament?
Q. J.J. you also got knocked down, can you talk about the Pitt game and it was just a really tough battle for you guys and how that is going to translate into playing another team that's going to be tenacious.
Q. Jayne, what do you guys need to be prepared for in terms of Maryland and what they do?
Q. For anybody who wants to tackle it, the Vanderbilt players said they thought that Maryland resembled Tennessee in terms of their style and their athleticism. From what you've seen in film or what you've heard about them, is there anybody on your schedule that Maryland reminds you of?
Q. Candice, last night you guys were the team with all the experience that had gotten through that round, now you're going against a team where a lot of the players have passed the Elite 8 and gone to the Final Four and won a championship. How much of a difference does that make, the fact that they know how to get past this round and this is the round you guys have not gone past for awhile.
CANDICE WIGGINS: I think it helps a lot having the experience and knowing what it feels like to get to the Final Four. But it's a game. You have to still play. Maryland's in the same position we were in last year, losing early, so they're motivated just as much as we are and I think that its just going to come down to who wants it more. It's really, you know, experience it means a lot, but I think that it's just going to be who is hungrier.
Q. For anyone, your coach during this selection show alluded to the fact that maybe a lot of people don't get to see you play especially for those of us on the east coast, what are we missing out on not being able to see you guys play that much on TV?
Q. Kayla, Jayne was talking about the fact that she was at the Pan American Games, she has seen Humphries, she's been around a lot of the great post players. You're going to see one of those great post players tomorrow, how are you preparing for that and what do you think about all that?
Q. Tara, how much benefit is it that Candice knows some is of these players really well we really well and that they have crossed paths frequently and might know each other's game?
So but the fact that they know them and they're friends, that's, that will I know from guarding Candice my two minutes in practice that won't matter, because she will go after anybody.
Q. Tara, you guys were in this position two years ago, how is this group different from that group that wasn't able to get past LSU that year?
We really have been preparing for being in this position all season long. I think our team's win at Rutgers let our team know right away, hey, we're going to play with the big women. Our win against Tennessee, our win against Baylor, even though we lost some players to our ACLs, everyone else has really rallied and believed in themselves.
We did have a bad weekend, but everyone came back and rededicated themselves and I think that that's where someone like Jayne just said hey, what do I need to do to help my team. Roz is in the gym more, Candice, J.J., everyone stepped up their game. So I feel like this team is ready to be in this position and I just we have watched more, we're way ahead of where we have been in past years in terms of preparation. We have been working for this day and I just have confidence that our team will come out and give their absolute best effort.
THE MODERATOR: For the post players, Kayla or Jayne, both can answer if you like. Last night you had, you two individually and as a team had an outstanding rebounding night. Out rebounded Pitt 54 30. Now tomorrow night you take on a team that's known as fierce rebounders, I think the last couple seasons maybe the best rebounding team in the country. Just maybe just talk a little bit about how you go in and rebound with a team like Maryland.
KAYLA PEDERSEN: I feel the same way. I think rebounding is going to be a key part to this game and winning it.
I think that if we all box out and don't rely on jumping out jumping people I think we'll win that margin.
Q. Candice, do you have any soreness or after affects from the foul last night?
Q. Jayne, can you talk about you've had 75 points in three tournament games and the offensively is sort of running through you. Can you just talk about the success you've had offensively he in the tournament so far and what you think it means going forward?
I think it's very important for me and Kayla to easily establish the inside and force them to guard us so that our guards have pressure taken off of them and can just really relax, shoot the ball and have fun. And I think that will be a big key for us tomorrow is just relaxing and playing ball.
Q. I'm guessing this might be for Rosalyn, talk about Kristi Toliver a little bit of the she had a great game last night without scoring. What do you do to slow down her floor game?
THE MODERATOR: All right. They will be going back to the break out room and in just a moment we'll resume the interview with coach. Take questions for coach.
Q. Can you address Jayne's import to you offensively, how important she is to what you guys do offensively and what you guys do generally?
We do run our offensively through Jayne. And we do come down and look for Jayne before we take other perimeter shots for the most part.
She's a great passer, she's a very intelligent player, she scores well. She pretty much demands a double. And when teams do that, then she passes out as you've seen her get like seven assists in a game.
I think some of it is her size, her hands, her court awareness. The fact that she's incredibly unselfish, she doesn't care about scoring but she just cares about winning.
Q. Since 1990 nine schools have won championships but only three of them have won more than one and you're one of them. In your mind what are the components to winning more than one championship?
And, but then when you start all over again you're like, whoa, this is hard again. And I think that having been there as a coach and our whole coaching staff has been to the Final Four and won a National Championship. I think that our players kind of just realize it's not impossible and it's do able.
So I think that having, when you do it once then you feel like well you can do it again. And it's something that obviously we hope to do another time, but it's a really special accomplishment and it just to go to the Final Four is really special. To win a National Championship once would be enough. But once you get it, I think you just, you want to do it again.
Q. What do you think the pace of the game is going to be the tempo? Obviously both teams can score, they tend to just seem to run up and down the court. How do you think that's going to play out?
What I find a lot of times is that players I call it kind of uphill/downhill. People really run faster on offensively and kind of go slower on defense. And as long as we're running fast on defense, I'll be happy with that tempo.
But that's going to be our focus is going to be our defense and our rebounding. Then if we can get out and get some easy baskets or get Jayne on the block before there's a lot of big crowd there then I'm happy with that. But we don't want it to be just a flat out kind of run and gun show. For our team we want to really make sure that we're playing with a purpose and that we have the shots that we want that we're taking the shots that we want.
Q. Just curious, I saw a story you called Jayne the franchise and you have Candice Wiggins who is everybody's All American. Could you elaborate on the franchise tag you put on her?
So we're really fortunate to have Jayne, because we can build a team around her. And as much as we're going to miss Candice next year, which we will miss her terribly, to have Jayne as a foundation of your team is a great starting point. She is I think she's in a lot of ways the rock to our team. We go to her and she delivers.
THE MODERATOR: Looking back and I asked you a question similar to this on Friday about just coaching for as long as you have, but Coach Berenato of Pittsburgh talked both yesterday and the day before about just the growth of women's basketball and how important it is and thanked the writers and you started down south in Moscow, Idaho and now an at Stanford, just kind of curious from the AIAW tournament at Idaho to here today, just what you've seen in growth in the sport.
COACH VANDERVEER: Well, I think that we have always had very talented female athletes and what we have now is more opportunity for them to play and improve and grow and do things that some of them never got a chance to do. With scholarships, with basketball camps, with so many summer teams and high school tournaments, I just think sports is just besides being so much fun, I think it's very valuable to the experience of both young men and young women. And we have seen a boom, but we also know that we have a very, very long way to go.
We just I'm really thankful that I work at a university that values women, that values women's opportunity to play and we just I love my job and I just, I can't even, sometimes I'm just really thankful that I wake up every day as a basketball coach. Especially this morning. It felt really good.
Q. Sort of dovetail off that, are there structural things that the game needs? One two or three things that this sport could use to sort of move it up, move it forward?
Q. Milton Kent.
But I think that it's really important if there were things to do, I would say institutionally that each place, whether it's Stanford or universities to really value the experience for women as much as they do for men. To put the resources and put the focus and give the women the same opportunities to have great competition, to have great coaching, and to really grow the game. That would be I think institutionally we should do that.
And I think that across the country you see different places, different pockets really promoting and really working hard to make women's basketball a big time sport. Which I think it should be. That would be my first kind of idea.
I think another thing is that to get away from kind of east coast, west coast. I see it in so many things like we play east coast style and women's basketball is going to be better when everyone is included in the conversation. That in fact it's that women's basketball is great nationally. And not just this conference or that conference. And to get away from also the kind of a labeling of well this is the best player and this is a best program, but that there's more depth and breadth to the excellence of women's basketball. And then I just think that my third thing would be to really work on developing coaches that really make it a quality experience for student athletes. That we don't get into just pressure, the pressure of coaches to win or not to lose their jobs, and that they don't make it a quality experience for the student athletes.
I think that their experience should be the number one thing. And, yes, I am proving, but, and yes, you want to win as a coach, but really the education and mentoring of young women and more women in women's basketball.
Q. If I can follow up the last part up particularly. Is it possible though as more money comes to the sport and more demands come to coaches, obviously there are more high six figure, more seven figure contracts coming, can a coach really afford to spend the time sort of making the experience better when the principal function seems to be now to win?
And I think it's do able. But I think that it will take, it takes, I don't know, some strong leadership, whether it's in the NCAA or institutionally, and people really saying that this is important. That the student athlete's experience is the key ingredient in the whole.
Q. To develop the game, women have 15 scholarships, men have 13. That probably plays a role in more Mid Majors or more upsets among the men. Is that something that the women should consider or is Title IX make that impossible?
Q. Yeah, so the talent is spread out again farther so there's more interest.
So we could probably work it with 14. And like right now we only have really 11 healthy players, but I think that somewhat based on injury and if you didn't then you would have less opportunities for women and more male practice players.
THE MODERATOR: All right, coach. Thank you.
COACH VANDERVEER: We got into philosophy here. Dang, I got to just think about Maryland.
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