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March 30, 2008
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started take an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student-athletes.
COACH FRESE: First of all I tell you, just we're extremely happy to be here. We appreciate every single time that you get to advance and move on and to be able to play tomorrow.
I'll tell you, just very proud of how we came out and played what I thought was probably pretty close to a 40 minute effort from our end, from a defensive end. And just the unselfishness we displayed together as a team and just being able to execute the scout and the game plan almost to perfection yesterday.
So quick turn around, obviously, with the tremendous Stanford team. And as always, they're extremely well coached by Tara, do a phenomenal job and we have got to continue to execute our game plan and be ready to play. And obviously both teams are very, very talented and we have just got to be ready to come out and play 40 minutes of inspired basketball.
THE MODERATOR: Take questions.
Q. Brenda, did you have a chance, I'm assuming you scouted the Pitt/Stanford game. And Pitt tried to disrupt Candice that was sort of seemed to be their game plan. How will you try to stop her?
COACH FRESE: Candice is obviously an extremely tall especially talented player, very versatile, athletic, that's why she's an All-American. But I think by committee, obviously, being able to run so many different looks at her and players, just because she's extremely talented, again, I think we need to have tremendous team defense tomorrow.
Q. For Nebraska, start with coach, talk about your defensive effort last night. Where you got contributions from everybody. How do you get to that point where you get the unselfish nature and get these girls to buy into that.
COACH FRESE: Well I tell you, we were really locked in together as a team. I thought our hustle plays really were the difference in terms of our energy and our intensity. But just the commitment. We talked about it leading up to this game, we talked about it in the locker room and you could really see the focus and the concentration that was there that we really wanted to defend for 40 minutes.
Q. Crystal, how much through the course of this year has last year's NCAA exit sort of motivated you and driven you guys?
CRYSTAL LANGHORNE: I think we were really just disappointed with how our season ended last year and this whole season we have been using it as motivation to push us through and I think that right now after we got through that second round now we're just a whole different team and we put that in our past. We're concentrating or we're not concentrating on that too much any more.
Q. For whoever wants to tackle it. But with Kristi and Crystal being such an amazing inside outside game, have teams will many underestimated everybody else. I know that you guys almost all of you score in double figures and that is been a little bit under the radar for the other guys and that's helped them pick it up?
CRYSTAL LANGHORNE: I don't think so at all. As you can see when you listen to people talk they talk about how deep our team is well, how balanced our scoring is. I think that that is what makes us so good just how anybody can come out and score 20 a night. So I think we really use that to our advantage our balance offensively.
Q. Laura, talk about the post matchup tomorrow night with Jayne and Kayla inside that rebounding margin that they had last night probably made an impression.
LAURA HARPER: Definitely. Seeing such a strong rebounding advantage that they had I don't want to say pressure but it puts a lot of focus on post players as we know it's something that we're going to have to be focus and be ready. We have played against very good post tandems before and so we'll just have to come out and play our game tomorrow.
Q. Who is the quirkiest on the team and what makes them so goofy?
MARISSA COLEMAN: That's a tough one. I would probably say each and every one of us have our moments. I don't think one single person gets the award. I think everybody at different points in time has their goofy moments and does certain things.
LAURA HARPER: I don't know. I think Jade has her moments where you just don't know what to expect from Jade and she just keeps us all kind of smiling and guessing what she's going to say next.
Q. Do loose moments like that help you guys especially when the stakes are so high right now in this tournament do you need those kind of loose moments to relax?
LAURA HARPER: For sure. We play our best when we're playing loose and having fun. And last night was just a prime example of just not even thinking, just playing, playing D, playing offensively, just doing all the little things. And that's just when we start to flow the best.
Q. Laura, follow-up with the post player. Who does Stanford remind you of teams you played so far their tandem?
LAURA HARPER: I mean, personally I think it's like UNC, just because with Larkins and Pringle just being both daggers and you can't just stop one. But also coach also compared them to Oklahoma too, so.
CRYSTAL LANGHORNE: I think they're pretty different. I really can't compare them to anybody. So it's kind of tough.
Q. Can you just from a matchup perspective what are the things you need to do, what are the things you cannot afford to do tomorrow night against Stanford?
COACH FRESE: I think that we obviously have to be able to come out and play another tremendous 40 minutes of defense. We understand that. Stanford's offensively, the number of sets they run, it's extremely complex. So we have got to be able to defend and obviously we have to be able to rebound. The two staples we have talked about all season long. And it's exciting that I really feel like those two areas are going to be a main focuses and keys of the game.
Q. Crystal or for anyone else, this is kind of your coach described it as a bracket that's been a little overlooked and I know you guys have been motivated by being an underdog and Stanford feels very much that they're the underdog, they wanted the number one seed, you guys got it, do you feel like it's kind of a grudge match between two underdogs?
CRYSTAL LANGHORNE: Kind of in a way. Our team always loves being its underdog and I know Stanford wasn't happy about getting it the two seed, but a lot of people still don't think we deserve it and we want to prove a lot of people wrong.
Q. I want to ask a completely goofy question. The Happy Days, you guys ran into the actually Happy Days members. By a show of hands how many of you had ever heard of any of those actors before? Okay. All of you. Okay. But is it true now that we heard that the only way that you knew who Henry Winkler was the Fonz was because somebody had seen it in Family Guy?
CRYSTAL LANGHORNE: I knew him from the Water Boy. That's how I recognized his face.
Q. Tell us a story about that for those who don't know about how you ran into them?
MARAH STRICKLAND: We were in the hallway and walking toward the elevator and all of a sudden everybody was like, that's the Fonz, that's the Fonz. And everybody was, hey, hey, hey. And so everybody turned and looked back and we are like, oh, yeah, that is him and everybody started running over we're like, can we get a picture with you. It was very exciting.
Q. Where was this?
MARAH STRICKLAND: In the lobby right near the concierge desk?
COACH FRESE: The funny thing with that story as well one the age gap, kind of that you alluded too, and then my husband and I spent my husband probably spent an hour up in the room laughing about the Fonz, just thinking probably through the course of his life when I ran up to get a picture with him it was here, with my thumb, you know. And just the poor guy what he must go through in his life with the excitement that we all showed when we got our pictures taken with him. So it was a great moment. Light. And just what we need to just to have a lot of fun.
THE MODERATOR: Stanford got Cuba Gooding and you got the Fonz. All right.
COACH FRESE: Yeah.
Q. You recruited Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, can you just talk a little bit about what you saw in her. She said she narrowed her choices down to you and Stanford?
COACH FRESE: Yeah, it was a really intense recruiting effort. It came down to both schools. Just a great kid, tremendous family, she had visited campus numerous times her and her mother and we did a home visit with her. And just a special player whose had a tremendous career for Stanford.
THE MODERATOR: All right, ladies, while you go behind us here and take questions for coach.
Q. When you had your last meeting with Kristi after last season what are the things that you wanted her to improve upon and has she come through on those?
COACH FRESE: Yeah, I think that obviously it continues to be a process with each and every player and for Kristi we really felt like from her sophomore year to her junior year we wanted to, Kristi is someone who always leads by example. She has a tremendous work ethic and passion for the game. But we really wanted her to get more vocal and really display more leadership. And probably more consistency kind of like you saw last night in terms of her not showing frustration.
I think that obviously it sums it up, the floor game that she played last night for us shows you just how far she's come and how far she's grown and again it's a credit to Kristi from all the hard work she put in an and in the summertime to going to the point guard college, to just all the little things that she's done to put her game into this position to be so coachable is really a credit to Kristi.
Q. Can you talk about a little bit about the season, I asked about that second round loss and how much you guys have gotten out of that, but this was a season where you were in and out not on the road with the team the assistant coach was there, how did the kids sort of handle all the changes that were happening in your own structure while they were trying to sort of keep this going?
COACH FRESE: I think that our players have shown through it all just the ownership that this is their team and this is their season and we really talked about it from day one with our first team meeting when I announced to the team that I was pregnant and just we knew kind of how the season at times was going to unfold that I was going to be in and out wasn't it.
So can't say enough about the leadership of our upper class men and really taking that to heart. And the ownership there. And I think that this team has really displayed what a team is really all about. Just in regards to it was an uncharacteristic season to have your head coach not travel on road games, be in and out. My assistant coaches, I can't say enough for Daron Park who, with the way that a new coach coming in, coaching this team, all my assistants, Erica Floyd, Diane Richardson, everyone really stepping up to the plate. Coaches and players alike.
Really that's what a team is all about, really pulling for each other and helping each other through it.
Q. Was it bumpy ever? It sounds like it went very smoothly but was it?
COACH FRESE: Well I think like throughout the course of any season you're always going to have different patterns and flows to it. And I just feel really fortunate of just all the great people we have in place. And you are uncertain the first road trip I didn't travel to was UCLA and UC Santa Barbara, two very difficult games for us. UCLA we were down 17 and to be able to watch the comeback that our kids displayed I knew that you could just see something special with this team this season, the lessons that we took from it a year ago, to heart.
Q. You guys are playing for a spot in the Final Four. Both teams are. That should be motivation enough. But it definitely seems both teams have an edge about the lack of respect angle. Will that play a part in the motivation tomorrow as if the Final Four isn't enough?
COACH FRESE: I think that both teams know where it's at at this point. I think that it really comes down to getting out on the court and executing. And which team is able to execute their game plan or is allowed to.
I think once you tip up the ball, all that goes out and we're just going to play.
Q. This is the round that has stopped Stanford three of the past four years. And two years ago you advanced past the Elite 8 and won the whole thing. How much does that experience matter right now that your kids have won a National Championship, played in that game and Stanford's just been trying to get to the Final Four?
COACH FRESE: You would like to say that you should, that you can count on your experience, but at the same point the year that we advanced we didn't have the experience, we just played. So again, I think that it really, I would have to say that you just come out and you have to be able to play and you have to play for 40 minutes and it can come down to a possession, it can come down to a lucky break. But just wanting to come out and play as hard as we possible can for the 40 minutes.
Q. We asked the kids earlier, I'm going to ask you about the rebounding and the battles after you saw what Stanford did last night and what your girls did too. Talk about that inside battle?
COACH FRESE: It's going to be a battle on the boards, absolutely. A hundred percent I would agree with that. And a battle of the bigs. It's going to be exciting to be able to see from both teams. Just special players, amongst both teams.
So getting on the glass is going to be key, I know Stanford's focusing on it so is Maryland and so it should be a lot of fun to be able to watch them amongst both teams and just the competition that's going to be out there.
THE MODERATOR: Coach I'm guessing maybe your first experience with Stanford was as a player at Arizona. Just curious looking back 15 years, 15, 16 years ago, what you remember about Coach VanDerveer's teams then Stanford and learning from that.
COACH FRESE: Right. Well I tell you when I was a player at Arizona, Stanford just like they are now, they were rolling. It was it was back with Jennifer Azzi and the National Championships that they had won. And always just remembering and continue to have the utmost respect for what Tara's done with her team and program, as an Olympic coach, what she's done for our game has been truly special. And she's one of the best basketball minds in the business. And she continues to have dominant teams each and every year.
Q. Did you win any games against Stanford when you were at Arizona?
COACH FRESE: No. Not, not those years. They were a special team, special group. That had just had done so many things in that era when Jennifer Azzi was a Kodak All-American she was actually an idol for me. It's kind of hard when you're playing against her and you think of her as an idol. But just they were a lot of fun to watch.
THE MODERATOR: All right coach, thank you.
COACH FRESE: All right. Thank you.
End of FastScripts