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March 9, 2012

April Cook

June Daugherty

Sage Romberg


California – 64
Washington State – 49

THE MODERATOR:  Coach, a few opening comments, please.
COACH DAUGHERTY:  Just congratulations to the University of California.  A great year.  Lindsay's really to be commended, taking over the program.  Obviously her players have really bought in.  We wish them a long and very successful run in the NCAA Tournament.
Just really proud of our program.  We took enormous steps.  We've arrived as a program in women's basketball again at Washington State.  I couldn't be more proud of my seniors, and obviously, my underclassmen here.
I thought with about eight minutes to go, we kind of ran out of gas a little bit, three games in three days.  That's not anything against Cal.  They have a tremendous front line.  They just keep coming at you with their five different post players.
But it was an exciting week.  We learned a lot about ourselves, and we're just going to build on this.  But this was a great statement about Washington State basketball and where we're at.

Q.  I know yesterday we talked about the three‑point shots.  But my question to you, do you think because of the different arena settings from the Galen to Staples kind of affected the shooting tonight as far as your three‑point shots?
COACH DAUGHERTY:  You never know.  If we could have gotten in and practiced a little bit longer, could have, would have, should have.  I think it's more of a residual of three games in three nights for us.  The fact that we had lost three guard this is year.  Early on we had the depth to keep rotating and keep them a little bit fresher.  You know, we didn't have that luxury here at the tournament.
Obviously without Ireti Amojo and Tia Presley being able to go.  But our players that were able to go, so amazing to watch them give every ounce that they had.

Q.  Sage, what's it like trying to battle this Cal team on the boards?  They obviously excelled in rebounding.  What is that experience like?
SAGE ROMBERG:  Obviously they're great rebounders.  It was our big focus going into the game.  You just had to work hard and try to get them off.  But they're very athletic and can jump really high, so it was tough.

Q.  What was the biggest difference between this game and the game that you played which you lost by five?  And April, the kind of attacking defense and your team's quickness, how did that affect Cal from what you could tell?
APRIL COOK:  I think we just tried to go out there and drive and kick and get them moving around.  That was our game plan going into it, so we can get open for threes and just get to the basket and get fouled.  So it was good in the first half to us, but we just tried to get it done again in the second half, but it was a little more difficult.
COACH DAUGHERTY:  I think playing Cal the second time around, the difference, because you're right, it was a five‑point ballgame in Berkeley, and we certainly felt like we had control of that game for a long period of time.
But tonight I thought they really got out and challenged our shooters.  They were really up in Sage's grill.  Same thing with Brandi Thomas, April Cook.
I think that we could have maybe put it down and got to the hole a little bit more, got to the free‑throw line.
But to their credit, they made some very, very good adjustments, defensively, according to our personnel.  That's a little bit different than it was the first time they played them just because of the emergence of our younger players of the season.
So great job by Lindsay.  I thought our match‑up, you know, we turned them over 20‑some times and we gave ourselves an opportunity.  But unfortunately, I think that they were a lot more tenacious on the glass than maybe the first time we played them, if that could be possible.  They lead the country in offensive‑‑ defensive rebounding differential.  That's going to win them a lot of ballgames.  It will continue to.
Like I said earlier, I wish them all the best in the tournament.

Q.  Do you think Cal has a shot at Stanford?  And what do they have to do to be in that game and have a chance to win?
COACH DAUGHERTY:  Yeah, that's a great question.  It's always that third time game too.  Playing someone for the third time.  I think it's for Cal.
But I think that they're going to have to play a lot harder on the glass earlier.  I think for 32 minutes we were right there.  It seemed like the high‑lows, they were really effective with the high‑low, and the isolation a little bit with Boyd going to the basket.  It just seemed like they just keep bringing new fresh bodies in with their five front line players and keep it fresh.
But if they can rebound the way they did tonight with a plus‑25 differential, they've got a chance.  They've definitely got a chance, because they've perimeter shooters that didn't shoot it tonight.  That was a little bit of a credit to us getting out on the shooters and playing the personnel that way.  We allowed them to get to the line off penetration more.
But Lindsay's got some real good three‑point shooters over in the wings that didn't get a lot of looks tonight that might be getting some good looks tomorrow night.

Q.  What do you think this kind of a run maybe could do, if anything, as far as more postseason play for you guys?
COACH DAUGHERTY:  I think that it's more the confidence that we have now that we know that we can play at a very, very high level.  We knew that in the preseason, playing the strength of schedule that we played and all the road games that we played, and now they're conference winners, whether it's San Diego State, Penn State, the list goes on and on.  Louisville was a tough game, Gonzaga.  I don't think they won their league or maybe won their league but lost the tournament, and Ohio State and all of those.
So we knew early on we could play with anybody in the country, and we knew we were very, very close.  Obviously, we went through some adversity with the injuries.  But to our kids' credit, our seniors kept leading, and our young kids kept stepping up, accepting the new responsibility, the new roles of the playing time that they had, and that's the big reason, that combination and leadership with the seniors and the underclassmen improving, why we were where we were at today.
It's a great motivator.  They're already talking in the locker room about next year, and that's a great sign.

Q.  April, can you talk about what it means to you to have gone through the adversity after the injuries and everything and then to come back and make this kind of run with your team at the end of the season?
APRIL COOK:  It was hard when Ireti and Tia got hurt, and then I was out for a couple days with my back.  But I'm just proud to be part of a group who really changed the program.  We came in here.  We had a job to do, and we got as far as we could.
Even through the adversity, like June was saying, our underclassmen stepped up big time like Sage and Brandi Thomas.  Everybody just played their role, and we got all the way here.

Q.  What is different today now as you guys leave this arena after a couple games into this tournament now?  What is different?
COACH DAUGHERTY:  Cougs are here.  We're back in women's basketball.  It's going to help us, obviously, with the super motivation, the confidence for the returners.  We have six very, very good signees coming into the program.  I know from the text messages and phone calls I got in the last three days and a couple were here, they're really proud to be joining this program.  They want to take it to the next step.  They want to be in that final game.  It's obviously going to continue to help us in recruiting.
Being on national TV and playing as well as we did at times, it's a great statement of the style of play, and what kind of neat teammates you'd have coming to Washington State to play with.  It's all really, really positive.  Like I said, a great statement for our program, and a great motivator.

Q.  April and Sage, what kind of feedback have you and your teammates received from other players in the conference or maybe back home from what you guys have been doing the last couple of days?
SAGE ROMBERG:  The Cougs are always supporting us, but I think they're very excited for us that we got this far and made it to the Staples Center.  I mean, the Cougs are always there to support us either way.
APRIL COOK:  We've gotten a lot of support back at home.  I heard that they put our game on the big screen in Beasley for everybody to watch.  So everybody's really proud of us at home.  And a lot of the other teams in the Pac‑12 congratulated us and showed us a lot of respect.

Q.  April, they had a ton of Southern California players on the team.  Did you know many of them or play against them?
APRIL COOK:  Oh, yeah, yeah.  I've been playing against Eliza Pierre, and Layshia Clarendon and some of the big kids for a long time, since AAU.  We all know each other.  Before we were all buddy, buddy, but during the game, it's a war.  They already know.  But everything's good with them.  We're all friends (smiling).

Q.  I heard that you guys went swimming last night?  Can you talk a little bit about that?
COACH DAUGHERTY:  I wasn't in the pool.  I was in the film room.  You guys have to fess up.
SAGE ROMBERG:  We were in there.  After ten minutes we were supposed to get in the pool, and our staff decided they wanted to jump in.

Q.  They had no suits on?

Q.  Was that a bet or anything?
SAGE ROMBERG:  No, we were just excited.
COACH DAUGHERTY:  Thank you to the Pac‑12 and the media.  We've really appreciated all the hospitality.  It's been a wonderful experience.  Thanks for your coverage as well.

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