home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 29, 2019

Tara VanDerveer

Dijonai Carrington

Alanna Smith

Kiana Williams

Chicago, Illinois

TARA VANDERVEER: Our team is very excited to be in Chicago, and just what a beautiful facility. We're thrilled to be playing here, looking forward to our game tomorrow, and want to thank everyone from DePaul that has worked hard to make this a great regional. We're really looking forward to our game.

Q. Tara, it's very unusual to have a double-digit seed make it as far as Missouri State, but what have you noticed about them, the reason behind the success?
TARA VANDERVEER: We don't really pay any attention to seeds, and they're a very accomplished team. A lot of things stand out about their team. First of all, they probably play more people than any other team, so you've got -- you've got to really study in terms of their personnel. They play a really fun style of basketball. They move the ball really well offensively, they work hard at the defensive end.

I don't think they're a complicated team. I mean that in a good way. They really have an inside game, they have an outside game. They rebound very, very well. I think it's just something that's going to be a great challenge for our team, and we're going to have to work very hard.

Q. You've been through a lot of these Sweet 16 scenarios. You've faced a lot of mid-majors along the way. What is it about a mid-major at this point in the tournament that makes them dangerous in some ways?
TARA VANDERVEER: I don't think -- I guess I'm not a label person. I'm not going to label them a mid-major or a double-digit -- they're a great basketball team. They're in the Sweet 16 for a reason. You know, they have an excellent system that they run. Their players play extremely hard. They're very talented. You know, it's everything that you need to be doing.

So again, we will have our work cut out for us. We're going to have to defend well, we're going to have to rebound well, and we're going to have to execute offensively well. I think that they might have more people here than we will.

Q. Tara, when you look at this Regional, three of the four teams here have won National Championships, two Hall of Fame coaches, another with 700 wins. Is this Regional more loaded than normal, or is this kind of par for the course?
TARA VANDERVEER: You know, when I saw the bracket -- honestly, now every Regional is pretty loaded. Like you said, this is a really tough bracket that we're in, and we've had to work really hard so far just beating the teams that we've beaten to get here.

Looking forward, looking at the three teams that are here besides ourselves, very accomplished teams, have a lot of tradition.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but Missouri State used to be Southwest Missouri State.

Q. Right.
TARA VANDERVEER: So we go back to playing in the NCAA Tournament in 1992 with them. So every team here has a great tradition, has outstanding players. Just everything that make for a very exciting Regional.

Q. I know you're a huge advocate for female representation in college athletes and in head coaching positions, but across women's college basketball there seems to be a lack of diversity in those head coaching roles. What do you think needs to change in order for that to happen?
TARA VANDERVEER: Excellent question. I think whether it's women's basketball, coaching college athletics, let's look at who's playing the sport and help through a mentoring and develop a pipeline for young women to get into college coaching, let's say.

One of the things -- I think we could talk about it, but one of the things, I'm working with the Women's Sports Foundation to create a fund that would provide for hopefully 10 -- and not just in basketball, but hopefully there will be at least five in basketball -- internships for young women that maybe play professionally or play in college and want to go into coaching. Through the WBCA there's the So You Want to Be a Coach program, or they call it the "So" program. So there are programs in place, whether it's the NCAA, the Women's Sports Foundation, but I hope that other head coaches that feel the importance of mentoring and developing women maybe would contribute to the Women's Sports Foundation fund and let people know about the opportunities that are out there so that future players and former players can become future coaches.

Q. Is there anything over the last few days you've wanted your girls to improve upon after your first weekend in the tournament? What have you been focusing on?
TARA VANDERVEER: Well, I hope -- I'm always on them, and for the women on our team, I would just say that probably just to -- in our BYU game, I think that we kind of didn't play 40 minutes, whether it's taking care of the ball, taking good shots. We're not just saying, Wow, we're here, we're just going to keep playing. We're always looking at ways to improve. And specifically getting ready for Missouri State, I think you really have to do it all. You have to play really locked-in defense. You'd better rebound. You'd better play transition defense. You've got to take care of the ball against their traps and their defense.

You know, without -- I mean, without specific game plan things, it's always trying to up your game, always trying to improve shot selection, always trying to improve -- our free-throw percentage was abysmal, so that might be one place to start. But I have a list.

Q. Alanna, who are the players on this team that you guys feel are dangerous, on the Missouri State side?
ALANNA SMITH: I think what Missouri State does really well is that they play a lot of people, which can be difficult to guard because you have to know tendencies of eight-plus people. But we know that we're particularly aware of No. 1 and No. 22 and their shooting ability and their ability to shoot the ball off the dribble, too. But I think for us it's knowing tendencies of all players that get court time, yeah.

Q. Kiana, is there something magical about making it to the Sweet 16, and you guys seem to do it year in and year out? Tell us what makes this year different.
KIANA WILLIAMS: We just get along really well. We love playing with each other. Our seniors, they've been great leaders, so just playing hard for them. We do not want to stop playing with them. So yeah, we get along really well.

ALANNA SMITH: Yeah, I think what Kiana said is really important. We have really good chemistry. And I think every time we've been -- this is the fourth time I've been to the Sweet 16, and every time it's really special. Every other team who's not here wants to be here, and I think it's really important to acknowledge that and acknowledge that we're one of 16 teams that are still playing, still practicing.

So yeah, I think every time you're able to make the Sweet 16, it's special.

DIJONAI CARRINGTON: Yeah, I'd agree with both of them. I'd just say that we just feel that we have something special with this team, and when you have that, you never want to stop playing with each other. We're going to do everything that we can to make sure that Alanna's last game is a win.

Q. You guys have obviously all made the Sweet 16 each year, but DiJonai, do you remember your first experience with the Sweet 16? For your opponents, every one of them has never played in a venue like this. What do you remember about your first Sweet 16 experience, and how has that kind of gotten you ready for these moments?
DIJONAI CARRINGTON: I'd say, I mean, absolutely I do remember it. That was an incredible team, also, and I think just being in the moment, because you know that you'll never have that same moment with that same group of people ever again, and so to just cherish every second that you had, or have, together.

And I think it's just staying calm. There's a lot of obviously lights and cameras, and there could be a lot of pressure, but just remembering that it's still the same ball, the same basket, and reminding yourself that you know how to play basketball, you've played 30 some games, so it's nothing different.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297