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 31, 2019

Tara VanDerveer

Maya Dodson

Kiana Williams

Alanna Smith

Lacie Hull

Dijonai Carrington

Chicago, Illinois

Q. I'm guessing there's absolutely no secrets about Notre Dame as players, you're familiar with them. Does that help you, or at this point is it just a matter of knowing about them and stopping them are two different things? Is it just at this point of the season you just have to execute?
LACIE HULL: Yeah, I think definitely it's all about executing. We're going to be spending a lot of time on scout today and tomorrow, and I think that focusing on that is also really important but also focusing on our own game is going to be a key of the game.

DIJONAI CARRINGTON: Yeah, I'd agree. They have great players on their team, and we have great players on our team, so it's just going to be a matter of who shows up tomorrow.

KIANA WILLIAMS: I'd agree with my two teammates. Like we know who their top players are, and like D said, we have great players, also, so we're just going to come out and execute our game plan and play hard.

Q. Just for any of you guys, how much did that game against Oregon on your home court kind of change things for you? Maybe you've been asked this about 20 times and I apologize, but how did that affect you guys, if at all?
MAYA DODSON: Yeah, definitely was a wake-up call. We didn't shoot well. After that game we just had to regroup and move on, and the second time around, we played how we were supposed to play. It's always just about learning.

ALANNA SMITH: Yeah, obviously having a loss like that, you don't want to lose like that again, and I think, like Maya said, it's a learning opportunity. But then again, it's also in the past. I think if you look at that game and then look at us playing now, we have improved. We're a different team.

It's important to look back at games like that to learn, but it's also important to move forward from them.

Q. Yesterday Notre Dame, they had four scorers in double figures, but again, I think they only really went five deep. At this stage of the season, do you think your depth might help you?
DIJONAI CARRINGTON: Absolutely. I think that's a strength that we've been able to use all season, just knowing that any 14 of us can step up at any moment and each of us has confidence in the others to make big plays. And like you saw last night, a lot of us were off, Anna stepped up and she had a big game. Multiple different people have stepped up in multiple different big games, and none of us care who steps up, just as long as someone does it.

So I think just knowing that we can go deep, deep into our bench and we don't have to play five people for 40 minutes; we can all get some rest.

Q. What kind of a physical presence does Jessica Shepard provide, and how do you stop that?
ALANNA SMITH: Obviously she's a very talented, strong player, and she does present a challenge in the paint because of her skill set and her strength. But we've played against, I think, some of the best post players in the country, being in the Pac-12. I think that's prepared us really well. We've played against Kristine Anigwe, we've played against Ruthy Hebard, both very, very talented post players.

So we're prepared for the challenge, and I think our post players are ready to step up to it. We're going to watch a lot of video. We're going to scout hard, and we're going to put in 100 percent effort.

Q. For any of the players, is there anything you can take from the game two years ago against them, and also, when you're going against another traditional power, is there anything extra involved there, just when it's two powerhouse programs like that?
ALANNA SMITH: Yeah, we definitely look back at that film. It was an exciting game, and I think that was an exciting year for us, too, and I think it's really important to look at how teams were successful against them, and looking at our own team is the best example that we can get.

But you know, again, we're a different team now, too, so yeah, we're watching film, and we're watching what was successful, but we also want to keep in mind that we have other weapons now, too.

DIJONAI CARRINGTON: Yeah, I'd agree. I think just looking back on that game, one of the things that stands out to me is the fact that we were down 16 and we battled back and won that game, and so I think, like Alanna said, we are a very different team this year, and they are a different team, as well, different strengths, different weaknesses, but that's one thing that has remained the same is that grit and that fight within us. Just being here at Stanford, it's something that I think is a part of our culture, and so I think they're going to go on their runs, we're going to go on our runs, but it's a matter of just sticking with it.

Q. One thing you said that changed a little bit in two years, they're a different team, you're a different team, but I believe -- I think at the end of that game they had the ball in Arike Ogunbowale's hands again, which she did again last year. At crunch time they seem to get the ball to her. What's it like to play against her?
KIANA WILLIAMS: I've never played against her, but it's going to be fun. She's a great player. She's done so much for her program, and it's going to take a collective unit to stop her, stop their offensive weapons, and I'm excited for tomorrow.

DIJONAI CARRINGTON: Yeah, Kiana said it best. We're going to all have to come to the party tomorrow. It's not going to be any half effort that's going to get the job done, by nobody. I think just sticking together, making sure it's a tag-team effort on her and on the rest of them.

THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and start with an opening statement, Coach.

TARA VANDERVEER: It's very exciting to be playing in the Elite 8. I'm really proud of our team. This is just a spectacular venue with a tremendous opponent, and we're going to have to work very hard, but we're really excited to be here and want to play very well tomorrow night.

Q. I think this is the fourth time in five years you've met Notre Dame at the regionals, either the Sweet 16 or Elite 8. Obviously there's no secrets at this point. Do you worry about their players, or do you just have to execute?
TARA VANDERVEER: Yes, it is the fourth time. I don't know that it's been the Elite 8 every time, but it is -- we've been in their bracket. We play them -- I do feel like we do know their team very well. They have a tremendous team, their coaching staff is outstanding. They're just really elite at everything that they do. They're really obviously very experienced players. They're very physical. Everything -- they're fun to watch when you're not trying to prepare for them.

But like you said, we have to -- we just have to do the best that we can. We have to be able to come out, and our players have to really understand taking good shots, working hard defensively. Rebounding will be a real big key, and just -- I think that last night's game was -- again, we're very excited to be playing in the game, but was really one-sided event. Our defense was awesome, and our offense needs a lot of work. That can't happen tomorrow night. We're going to have to bring both our defense and our offense and our rebounding. Pack it all.

Q. Brianna Turner in particular, what dimension does she bring to them, and what does she allow them to do on the perimeter defensively because she's in the back to clean up mistakes?
TARA VANDERVEER: Well, we played against Brianna Turner her -- I guess it was her freshman year and her sophomore year, and then unfortunately obviously she was out with an injury. But having her back adds great size and athleticism to their team that already were national champions. She's the recipient of some tremendous passes. The fact that they have four people that have over 100 assists is -- I don't even know if I know another team that has that.

They're a really unselfish team. They pass the ball really well. And you know, you can't -- you have to kind of, quote, pick your poison. She's inside with Shepard, and then you've got Ogunbowale and Mabrey, and they're all extremely talented players.

She does add, I think, a different dimension to this year's team than last year's team. I think she's also shooting about 65 percent, so...

Q. What does Shepard bring to the table for them?
TARA VANDERVEER: Well, she -- I think a couple things. First of all, I think she's a tremendous passer. She has great vision and understanding of the game. She runs the floor well for -- she's lost weight this year, so she looks more mobile. She runs the floor really well. She hits mid-range shots. She rebounds the heck out of it. She gets on the glass. You know, they're really -- she's very physical, gets on the O-boards especially well.

But I think her basketball IQ is really elite basketball IQ. She's really a very smart player out there.

Q. How much time will you spend looking at the video from two years ago, and is there anything you can take from that game that would apply to this one?
TARA VANDERVEER: I'd like to spend all my time watching two and three years ago, but that probably won't help us that much tomorrow. You know, they have experienced players, and we have played against them a little bit, but this is a new team for them, and we've got to get ready for this team.

You know, I think there are things to be learned just coming into each of those games, we were clearly an underdog, and I'm really proud of the effort and the confidence that our team played with, and there are things that can be learned from both of those games.

But it's a new day in terms of who they have playing and how big they are and how physical they are and just really -- it's not so much that they're doing new things, but they are a different team than the teams that we've played. They go inside with a real vengeance. Their bigs are just really big and physical, and that's a bigger part of their game than maybe in years past.

Q. What's it like to go against Muffet on the recruiting trail and her people, and how often do you find that the case that you guys are after the same type of players and type of characters, and the Fran battle in particular, was that fun, and have you ever shared anything with Muffet about what that was like?
TARA VANDERVEER: You know, that's probably one thing that coaches probably don't talk about, recruiting. There are some players that we have gone head to head with, but I think that players -- they really figure out what's the best fit for them. And they have a great team and great players. We're really excited about -- obviously we're excited about Fran and Haley Jones, who both visited Notre Dame. Our other two didn't. But we do bump into them a little bit.

A lot of women are looking for a great education and great basketball, and I think that Stanford and Notre Dame fit those bills. But there are a lot of other really, really good choices for women. So we go up against a lot of different schools. But we're really excited about the kids that we have coming in next year and just how much they will add to our program.

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