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UTEP Pre-Game Quotes
March 23, 2008
Head Coach Keitha Adams
(Opening Statement) "We are excited to be here. We are coming off of a good win last night. We enjoyed that and we had a lot of fun. Today it is about turning the page and getting ready for the next one. We have a big game tomorrow night against a very good Stanford team and we are looking forward to getting to play in this tournament against a team with great tradition. We understand that we are going to have to come out and play very well."
(On matching up with Stanford) "These three (Hughes, Lacy, Piekarska) ladies have brought great play to our team this year. We have a great point guard in Jareica and Natasha Lacy has been an outstanding three guard and played point guard as well. Izabela has played the five for us. All three of these young ladies have been fantastic for us. It has helped us to be a team that has won twenty-eight games. We are going to go out there tomorrow and do what we have been doing this year. We are going to go out there and play our game. With Izabela being 6’5" and Claudia being 6’2", that gives us the size to go in there and challenge their post game. I am very confident in our young ladies. We are going to have to play very well against a good Stanford team."
(on Stanford) "They (Wiggins and Appel) are a one-two punch together. When you also put Candice Wiggins in the equation then she is a tremendous guard. Their point guard does a great job of running their system and getting them into their stuff. I think all of their players understand their roles. They are just an excellent team. They are well coached. That is why they are in the position they are in. That is why they have done what they’ve done."
(On Appel) "We have a great deal of respect for her game. She is a great player and we understand that. We are going to try and challenge. She is the type of player that you are not going to keep from scoring. She is too much of a difference maker. What you want to try to do is make her earn it. We are just going to challenge to the best of our abilities to make her earn the points that she scores."
(On analyzing the competition) "We just prepare. We go in and play. We had a 23 game win streak that everyone was talking about except us. We just focus on who we are playing and play."
(On team motivation) "The year before we did not get into the NIT Tournament and we practiced all week. That was a tough night when we did not get into that tournament. All year long we used that as a motivator from last years experience."
UTEP Center Izabela Piekarska
(on guarding Appel) "I know what I need to do is just come out with my best defense and try to guard her and not let her score easy points. That will help out the team."
UTEP Guard Natasha Lacy
(on prior NCAA experience) "I just serve as a leadership role. Showing them (teammates) when it is crunch time and adversity comes not to get rattled and be calm. They see that in me and also do it.."
(on forcing turnovers) "I’ve been saying it all year. Jareica starts us on the defensive end with her quick and outstanding defense. When she is up there pressuring the ball, it gives Kasia and I more room to play the passing lanes. When we do that we get steals, we get turnovers. That is what gets our running game on. Defense leads to our offense."
(on playing against Wiggins) "Not just one player can shut her down just because she is so offensively explosive. We are going to try to play great team defense on her, limit her touches and not get her going. We would hate to see her get 30 points because that probably will not lead to a victory for UTEP."
(On UTEP fans) "I think they are wonderful. I think as of late, UTEP fans have done a great job of being behind us and backing us. We fit about 7,000 people in the Don Haskins Center. For them to follow us all the way out to California is just wonderful. When we are at home they are like our sixth man. During crunch time they were really there when our backs were against the wall and they helped us pull ahead.
UTEP Guard Jareica Hughes
(On her small stature) "My brothers have gotten me mentally prepared. I am going to have to play people who are going to be taller than me, 6"0" and up. I have to concentrate on my game and on being a leader. I have to take the role and roll with it. I never think about how they are bigger than me. The biggest part of my game is driving and I am going to continue to do it. (My size) is something I really do not think about. My teammates know what role I play and they know I am going to play it."