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NCAA WOMEN'S FINAL FOUR


March 28, 1997


Charmin Smith

Kate Starbird

Tara VanDerveer

Jamila Wideman


Cincinnati, Ohio

TARA VAN DERVEER: This team is very disappointed. I thought we came out at the beginning of the game and did a good job playing the way we wanted to play. Unfortunately, didn't take care of the ball the way we needed to in terms of turnovers. I thought we had some real breakdown at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half. It really hurt us when they had an 8-0 run defensively. We just didn't step up defensively. Going into overtime, it was big free throws by Charmin and had some real breakdowns in key times and actually had a chance to win and not playing our best. Congratulations to Old Dominion. I thought their team was extremely aggressive, extremely physical. They did a great job on the boards, and I just thought we had some real individual excellent performances, and then to some people we count on, didn't have the type of nights that we needed from them.

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Q. Kate, what made you play differently in the second half?

KATE STARBIRD: In the second half they changed zone. In terms of stopping me, I think I was a little too hot the first half and went cold the second half. I'm not sure. They did step up their defensive pressure on us but I missed shots in the second half. And maybe I got a little tight as they came back. The big old D, and when they caught up, I got really tight.

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Q. Jamila, you guys take care of the ball generally very well. You got 29 turnovers in each game before. Is there anything about this team?

JAMILA WIDEMAN: They are a very physical team, very athletic team in almost every position. They play it probably more aggressive on defense than any team I can think of right now that we played this season. I think part of it is they helped very well. They invite you to take them out for dribbling, and then help pretty fast that sometimes makes it difficult.

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Q. Jamila, can you describe that sequence in the last four or five seconds. It looked like you had time to act and you got off the shot. Can you tell us if you made contact or not?

JAMILA WIDEMAN: Well, I cut the ball and cut open for a 3. Just gave a fake and she was flying out. Took her up with me on my left side. The shot just didn't go down.

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Q. Were you fouled, Jamila?

JAMILA WIDEMAN: I think there was contact. There was contact all game, though. Sometimes they called it. Sometimes they didn't. You know, there was contact inside on the rebound. There was contact on the end check around. I just didn't get the call.

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Q. Charmin, your thoughts going in to save the game in overtime.

CHARMIN SMITH: I was just happy because it seemed like it was getting down to the end. It was something to give us a chance and went up for the rebound and she knocked me down. I was excited that we had another chance. You know, I felt good about going to the line but I told -- we worked our butts off just in case it didn't go in. I was just happy that we had another chance.

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Q. Jamila, it seemed like you guys were pretty confident even toward the end of regulation. Was there a point where you thought that it really was running away?

JAMILA WIDEMAN: They went on a great run to catch up and we lost all of our momentum. We kind of came down and weren't running anything offensively. No, there was never a point when we gave up or thought that the game was over. With 12 seconds, that's a long time. Fortunately, we were able to get the ball back and Charmin stepped up and hit some huge free throws.

DEBBIE BYRNE: We will release the players now. Thank you very much, ladies. We will take further questions for the coach.

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Q. Coach, we spoke about the first half. You shut Clarisse out in the first half but she filled in in the second half down the stretch. What were they doing to get the ball to Machanguana?

TARA VAN DERVEER: We were dead behind and she stepped up really big and got up on the block and went right over people. She was very physical. We finished inside and they have a real good connection with Penicheiro looking to get her the ball. I was just saying over and over, "get in front." The way we played Henderson, we just didn't do it.

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Q. Coach, defensively they seemed to pick it up after they were so far behind maybe because you couldn't get the ball inside. Were they just overplaying passing lanes?

TARA VAN DERVEER: Not being able to get the ball in hurt us because running out-of-bounds play. Not only did we want to get in. We wanted to score. Taking timeouts when we can't get the ball inbounds. Again, I think it relates to maybe just our lack of aggressiveness, not cutting hard the ball, not moving quickly the ball. And I think some people were really taken out by the aggressive play. I look at Vanessa as really hurt us and having a lot of pressure; she turned it over. Obviously it wasn't just her. They really keyed on Jamila a lot. Charmin came in and helped us. If we got a rebound, they collapsed on people so that it was tough for us to make out in any kind of transition. And got back on people.

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Q. Tara, did it seem like the Old Dominion team has your number, and how did it hurt you?

TARA VAN DERVEER: That was a nice block. She had all ball on that one. You are in a situation where I think we probably had given up an offensive board on a free throw. Basketball is a game of spurts and I think Kristin had some -- she obviously helped us tremendously, but she had situations where she didn't foul. I didn't think that one was. She was the gutsy player down the stretch and not having her in there hurt us a lot.

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Q. Tara, on the last possession, did you want to get the ball to Kate at all or was that not possible?

TARA VAN DERVEER: Probably the hard thing in that situation was, at the free throw line, we didn't know if we would be looking for a three or a two. When we ran a play at the end, both of them were for Kate. We didn't get maybe Kate the shot but we did execute. As far as I know, Vanessa got a shot. Who had the first one? Jamila, Vanessa and then Jamila on the third one, and Charmin underneath had a chance to take it up. But personally, I felt that the time we were in the best position was when we were up five and really lost a lot when Kate fouled a girl for the 3, hit 2 and got the rebound and scored on it and maybe even got a foul out. That to me was what really hurt us, that one stretch right there. Just a lot of different times where very uncharacteristic play and Kate has the ball in open court and rolls out of bounds. People taking the ball out of players' hands, and Jamila starting out. The turnovers that we had.

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Q. Can you just quickly evaluate your season for us?

TARA VAN DERVEER: I think it is really hard because this team had gotten to this point three years in a row, really wanted more. I think we had a great year. I think that this is a team that's improved and grown and has some really very, very special people out there, but at this point it is hard to keep it in perspective when there is, I guess, 268 other schools, obviously, that aren't here. And you have a shot to -- you are one point away and overtime away for playing for the National Championship. I am extremely disappointed, and just felt that we could have done better. That's the hard thing. Just really believing that you could do better.

DEBBIE BYRNE: Coach, thank you very much. This would conclude the Stanford press conference. For additional interviews, see the sports information staff. Thank you very much.

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