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March 25, 2016

Erica McCall

Karlie Samuelson

Tara VanDerveer

Lexington, Kentucky

Stanford - 90, Notre Dame - 84

THE MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us for the Stanford women's basketball team press conference. We're joined by head coach Tara VanDerveer, Erica McCall, Karlie Samuelson and Kailee Johnson. We'll begin with an opening statement from the head coach.

COACH VANDERVEER: First of all, think we beat a really, really good team, and I'm really proud of our team how we came out really focused and just people really playing hard together. I think that it just when we came out and played well in the beginning it gave our team confidence, and we just continued to play with that kind of confidence through the rest of the game.

Q. Karlie, the bank 3, in your mind what were you thinking? What was the situation, and take us through that whole four seconds that seemed to lift you guys there at the end when they were making a run?
KARLIE SAMUELSON: he shot clock was going down, and Britt (McPhee) didn't have a shot and she threw it to me, and there was only one second left and I just threw it up there.

Q. How important was that? I mean, because they were on an 11-3 run. They get the ball back and you even -- you're 25 -- I feel like you were 25 feet away from the basket. You move to the right or to the left, and it was just like a heave, wasn't it?
KARLIE SAMUELSON: Yeah, it was a great three points to have and a good time to have it, so yeah.

Q. Erica, you were saying yesterday you all were calling yourselves the party crashers because you wanted to crash the party and pull the upset. How confident were you going into this game, and just what were your emotions after this game? Were you surprised that you were capable of it?
ERICA MCCALL: Yeah, we felt pretty good coming into the game. We had a great game plan. We watched a lot of video, walked through a lot of their plays and knew what to do on every situation. Got a shot at the pace. She had a great scout.

But I think our team felt confident. We didn't have the pressure on us and we just wanted to have fun. That was the biggest thing. Whether we were down or up, we were always having fun, and I think that let us play loose. After the game we were ecstatic. Who wouldn't be? They just beat the No. 1 seed in their section. I think we were capable. I don't think we were too surprised. After the game we were excited, but it wasn't a big shocker. I think we're showing the country that Pac-12 basketball is strong.

Q. Either or all three of you guys: Now you have Washington, a team that you've played twice. I don't know if you saw it in the game beforehand, what do you know about them, how do you think you match up? Because I believe you split the two games.
ERICA MCCALL: We know they're a great team. They have great role players. They know what they have to do. So we just need to go out there and focus just like we did for this Notre Dame game. Buckle down and pay attention to our scout, and I think we should be doing well.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for coach.

Q. I believe the bank 3 was out of a timeout, was it not? That possession was out of a timeout. I'm sure that's not what you tried to explain to your players in that situation.
COACH VANDERVEER: Yeah. Well, I think that up until. Great teams are going to make runs, and Notre Dame was making a run. I think that that might have kind of been a burst-your-bubble 3. Just because they were on a big run. It got down to a three-point game, and by knocking that shot in -- but sometimes people have done that to us, last-second 3s. Karlie is very capable. I thought Bird (Eric McCall) should have shot it, actually. But our team was really focused and worked really hard, and I'm proud of them. We're really going to work hard ask get ready for Sunday and playing Washington.

Q. Coach, congratulations on a great run thus far. You've seen Washington so many times. Is there anything you can possibly imagine that you might see that you haven't seen that you might need to prepare for?
COACH VANDERVEER: Washington? I think we both know each other pretty well, and I think it will come down to -- I think it should be a good game because teams are very familiar with each other. I'm sure everyone will have a little wrinkle. You know, you can probably bring a new wrinkle to the game.

Q. But nothing you can imagine that you need to prepare for?
COACH VANDERVEER: My imagination is not working in that direction right now.

Q. Erica McCall, the Most Improved Player in the nation. What caused that and where did that come from?
COACH VANDERVEER: I think, first of all, Erica, -- Bird has -- she's passionate about the game of basketball, so for her it's not working on her game. She's having fun. She's in the gym. I have to throw her out after practice. She's there, she's working on her shot, she's working on her free throws. She loves the game of basketball. I don't know that I've coached any player that loves it more than she does. And I think her playing on the USA team helped her confidence a lot. And in fact, on that USA team, to have the team win the game, she had two free throws and she missed them both. Tonight you saw her go to the free-throw line and make them both. So I think that her improvement is based on the work and time that she's put into it, but also because she's so passionate.

Q. What was so good about your spacing and offense and passing? Because it seemed especially in the first half you're moving the ball around and that seemed to be the key.
COACH VANDERVEER: I think that all week long our team watched -- first of all, we played against a great team in like -- I think all the tournament teams, we've played against great competition all season long. But Notre Dame is just a phenomenal passing team. And I think our team watched them and said, well, we can do that too. And at first they had 22 assists. Lili (Thompson) had nine assists. Marta (Sniezek) can usually get two assists. Kaylee (Johnson) with two assists. Bird with two assists. They watched theirs and said we could do it too.

Q. How do you think you faced the challenge of Brianna Turner?
COACH VANDERVEER: I thought we did really well. I don't think she scored the first half. She came out motivated. I thought there were some real key points to the game where there were defensive lapses and that's where Karlie got her 3. They made four 3s. You know, they're a team that we made 11. I think that's the biggest difference right there. Only having seven turnovers and getting 22 assists, that's a big thing for us there. For the most part, with the exception of Lili, everyone shot over 50 percent, not counting Kailee's one shot. But it was really, I think people were really focused and moved the ball really well.

Q. The 1 seed lost tonight, two number 7 seeds won tonight. What's that say about where the sport is right now?
COACH VANDERVEER: I think that for years and years and years we kind of wanted this. I don't know that the Kentucky fans want this right now, but I think it points to more parity. It points to more quality players and programs -- universities recognizing, wow, this women's basketball is a great thing and supporting women's basketball at a higher level.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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