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March 4, 2017

Tara VanDerveer

Erica McCall

Kaylee Johnson

Seattle, Washington

Stanford - 71, Oregon - 56

THE MODERATOR: Good evening, and we welcome Stanford Cardinal head coach, Tara VanDerveer, Kaylee Johnson, and Erica McCall.

Coach, an opening statement, please.

TARA VANDERVEER: First of all, I'm really proud of our team and how we battled. Oregon has a great, young team, and I just think that our seniors and our juniors, our upperclasswomen stepped up for us. We did not want it to be an all Oregon final.

So I thought that the difference was for us in the second half, our defense. The we really stoked up our defense in the second quarter and the rest of the game. And the rebounding, Kayl and Bird, they really battled in there. I'm really proud of how hard they played and just their determination. Kayl has been -- her coming back has meant so much to our team, so we're really excited she's been out there playing so well. And Bird's been hanging in there the whole time. Working really hard. Great passion for the game.

So it's really exciting that these two young women had such an exciting and great game for our team.

Q. Tara, I wonder if you could talk about what Briana did tonight. She's been a great defender all season, did a great job against Plum in the second half, she's been awesome against Sydney. What makes her such a great defender?
TARA VANDERVEER: Shh, don't tell everybody. She works really hard, and I think she really takes pride in our defense, as our whole team does. But when you have someone on the ball, pressuring the ball, being aggressive. You saw that today with Jordin Canada, how disruptive she was. I think Briana sets the tone for our defense. But both Kayl and Bird have her back, and they played great defense today too.

Q. Erica, how much do you think your experience came into play? Coach talked about junior and senior leadership. But you've been in tough games this season already, but do you feel your experience is helping you out a lot right now?
ERICA MCCALL: Absolutely. I think the fact that we've been in super tough games where we've been down really helped just boost us, especially in that second half and that late first half run. Really just proud of how my whole team reacted to us being down. We really just -- the upperclassmen really just pushed. I'm really proud of how my buddy here rebounded. I think that really helped us push the tempo and get baskets.

Q. Erica, I think Tara said it best, you played with tremendous passion for the game. Chiney is running around here somewhere, and she played with the same type of passion. Did you learn a lot from her? Did you feel that was going to need to be your role when she left?
ERICA MCCALL: Absolutely. When I came to Stanford, I really looked up to her. Saw how in every play she was going hard and she really loved the game. I really admired that. So when she left, I knew I had to keep going and keep the energy for my team.

Q. Coach, can you talk about Kaylee's performance. Every time Oregon was making a run, like she would get a basket or defensive stop and get that rebound. It really stood out to me.
TARA VANDERVEER: Well, she just brought a tremendous amount of energy, but also she was scoring for us, she was rebounding for us. She set some great screens. Those might have been not noticed and not on the stat sheet.

But she's -- Kayl is kind of the quarterback back there. She's talking and very knowledgeable basketball player, very high IQ. Someone that, again, she missed so much of the season and it's been frustrating for her. I just really kind of really enjoyed watching her grow and become a great team leader for us. Whether she started in the second half, whether she played, she got a couple fouls, she doesn't show frustration, she just keeps playing hard, and that's what we need our whole team to do.

Q. Coach, they made five of six three pointers, but they only got six attempts, and last night they shot it really well. Bando did not even get a three-point attempt tonight.
TARA VANDERVEER: That was Karlie.

Q. Is that something you tried to do, is take away that perimeter shooting of theirs?
TARA VANDERVEER: Definitely, definitely. There were a couple times where they did knock down -- going five for six is really good. But in the times that we've played them they had three, four, or five threes, and this is the most that they scored.

So I was upset with a couple of them because people -- we're not giving them threes. And that was something that we did get hurt inside a little bit early, but then we made some adjustments. That's the key to beating them. You can't let them get three-point shots, for sure.

Q. To look ahead to tomorrow night's match, you guys have had two completely grind-it-out games against Oregon State. First of all, is it a coincidence that perhaps the two most experienced teams in the conference end up standing in the end? And what do you expect from tomorrow?
TARA VANDERVEER: Well, I think coming into this tournament, who would know who is going to be in the championship game? I mean, you look at Oregon, it could be Washington. I mean, Cal, I mean, we have such great -- I mean, UCLA, we have such great teams in the conference and great players.

So I think sometimes it comes down to the match-ups you've had. We played well against Washington State. I think we played well in spurts. Not in the beginning, but 75% of the time against Oregon. And we're going to need to play 100% of the time well against Oregon State. They're an experienced team. They're a talented team and a very well-coached team. And we've lost to them twice. Our team's going to have to have a chip on its shoulder and bring it tomorrow night.

Q. Coach, you held them to 31 over the final three, what sort of adjustments did you make?
TARA VANDERVEER: We made some little adjustments, but I think it was more the leadership of our team -- Kayl, Bird, Karlie, Bri, Britt, Marta, just them saying we're going to buckle down and play hard.

That's what we talked about during timeouts. Just keep playing hard. Keep working, getting on the floor for loose balls. Rebound, be aggressive, try to get deflections. I don't think it was necessarily what we did as coaches, but what they did on the court.

Q. Looking to tomorrow, in the Oregon State match-up, what, I guess, was the reason there were two losses to that team in the regular season, and what's going to be the difference in tomorrow's match-up?
TARA VANDERVEER: I think our team really knows what the problems were, and I'm going to hope that I can talk about them maybe tomorrow. Basketball is not rocket science. Teams that win take and make better shots. So it's taking good shots. It's not doing things that are not part of your game.

Rebounding is always -- we were outrebounded. If we look at the stat sheet, I think the rebounding and not taking good shots were the keys to us not being successful. And quite honestly, we didn't make free throws. So, we could have won the first game with a free throw. The second game we're up with 19 seconds, and we didn't make a play. But we've learned.

I think that just as I think Mike referenced, you can learn, and we learned from that loss against Oregon State, and our team has listened since and I think we're playing better.

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