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March 10, 2012

Layshia Clarendon

Lindsay Gottlieb

Reshanda Gray


Stanford テや 77
California テや 62

THE MODERATOR:テつ Coach, some opening remarks, please.
COACH GOTTLIEB:テつ Thanks all of you for being here and covering us.テつ First thing I'd like to do is congratulate Stanford.テつ Such a terrific basketball program.テつ They do things the right way.テつ They have great players.テつ They're well coached, and they deserve, obviously, this Pac‑12 Championship tonight.テつ I said to anyone who will listen, recently, the more film I watch, I'm more impressed with Chiney and Nnemkadi.テつ I think they may be the best on court ever in terms of what they are relied on to do.テつ And that's before Nnemkadi started hitting threes from 30 feet.テつ So obviously, all credit to them, we wish them well in the NCAA Tournament.
The second thing I'd like to thank the Pac‑12.テつ This has been a first‑class event, and I really wanted our young women to come into this championship game, which is something you earn.テつ You don't get that opportunity very well and really compete and give ourselves a chance to win and cut down nets.テつ I couldn't be more proud of our effort today.テつ I thought that we did that.
I think we represented ourselves and our university well.テつ I have really passionate players and talented players, and they're disappointed because they want to win, and we didn't come here for second place.テつ But I think the future of our program is bright.テつ I think we've got a really exciting couple weeks in front of us.テつ And I know this group will be back here and maybe we can do some really special things down the road.テつ We leave with our heads really high.

Q.テつ Can we talk about Nnemkadi in the face‑up game?テつ There were threeテや冱 and there were also shots that were inside the line.テつ Talk about, did you expect that from her?テつ She's been hinting toward that, but she brought this out big guns today.
COACH GOTTLIEB:テつ Yeah, as such a basketball junky, I've been following for years.テつ We played them in the NCAA Tournament her freshman year, my first year in Santa Barbara, and I've been watching them since.テつ The thing that's so impressive is she's kept improving every single year.テつ This year her face‑up game has been really dynamic all along, and that allows Tara to do some things with her.
The first game at Maples, we got hit on that ball screen on the perimeter.テつ Now we learned to switch that and take that away, now they're bringing off her stagger screens and almost playing her at the three, when they had Tinkle and Chiney in there.
So I think when you have the combination of sort of ridiculous athleticism, skill, and then a will to get better, that's just a credit to her.テつ Then obviously, her coaching staff puts her in position to take away mismatches.
I think it also speaks to their respect for our postgame, that they know their best weapon with her against us is to face her up a little bit, maybe against somebody else.テつ To leave her on the block all game is a nice option to have anyway.

Q.テつ Lindsay, I know you are a basketball junky.テつ I'm curious about something.テつ ESPN and a lot of people have anointed Brittany Griner as the "Player of the Year" in the United States.テつ What do you think of Nnemkadi's chances of being "Player of the Year"?
COACH GOTTLIEB:テつ I think if there's no Brittany Griner, it's a runaway, no question about it.テつ Obviously, the three of them, Nnemkadi and Brittany Griner.テつ They're all incredibly brilliant.テつ They all have winning teams and they're all transcendant in terms of their ability.
So it's a pretty neat year for women's basketball in that sense.テつ Having faced Nnemkadi all these times, it's hard to say if there's anyone better.テつ But I also think Brittany Griner changes the game of basketball on the defensive end and offensive end.テつ So that's a really difficult question, so maybe I would split my vote three ways.

Q.テつ Coach, what do you feel you're going to need to get over the hump to be back on the championship side next year?
COACH GOTTLIEB:テつ We can be a lot better, which is fun.テつ It's encouraging.テつ The first thing is obviously, sometimes we miss free throws and sometimes we turn the ball over.テつ I think the more chances we give ourselves to put points on the board, the better we're going to be.テつ We can play in that tempo.
Stanford's a particularly tough match‑up for us because we score through the post so much and we have an advantage there that kind of negates that a little bit further.テつ But I think as our players mature a little bit and take that next step, I think our competitive fire is there.
It's at an elite level.テつ I think our depth and versatility is at an elite level.テつ I think the next step, talk about beating Top 10 teams is having all of that come together on a consistent basis and maybe shoring up some of our weaknesses.

Q.テつ Can you just talk about Sunday's‑‑ last Sunday's game in relation to today?テつ Were you guys able to put that away or did any of that carry over?
LAYSHIA CLARENDON:テつ We definitely had to put it away or we wouldn't have to then to where we are today.テつ We put it in the back of our minds and scored it in our bank a little bit as we went through the tournament knowing we've got to beat Colorado.テつ But if we want to get to Stanford, we have to beat Washington State.テつ Want to get back to Stanford and get this chance.テつ I think the biggest difference was just our fight and our toughness.テつ Knowing that we're going out with the fight we're going out with.テつ No matter what, we're going to hang our heads high.テつ I don't think we could hang our head that's high after last Sunday.テつ We just kind of knew we didn't bring it all.テつ So we just brought all we could, and that's the way it goes.

Q.テつ Layshia, can you talk about the disappointing start you guys had?テつ They jumped on you 17‑4, and that's about the final margin of the game.テつ You were pretty competitive after that, but it put you in a hole.
LAYSHIA CLARENDON:テつ How exactly did they score?テつ How were they scoring?
COACH GOTTLIEB:テつ They made a lot of shots early.テつ We talked about getting stops because I thought when we could get stops, we could play the way we wanted to play.テつ But we just didn't get enough stops early.
LAYSHIA CLARENDON:テつ I think any time you put yourself in a hole, it's hard to dig yourself out.テつ Even if you play even, you've already put yourself down.テつ So that was a tough start.テつ But we solved that problem.
COACH GOTTLIEB:テつ The thing I'm proud of, if you look at the toughness category, we had 23 offensive rebounds.テつ We went to the free‑throw line 25 times.テつ I think it took‑‑ they had just an unbelievable super human performance from a player, and the rest of them played the roles and that's what they do so well in their program.
But we thought the key was stops.テつ We just didn't get any stops.テつ I felt like today we really wanted to focus on that, because we thought if we could grind it out on the defensive end, we could play the way we wanted to play on the offensive end.テつ We didn't get enough stops.

Q.テつ Reshanda, Coach, can you talk about the wall they built in the paint?テつ Reshanda, you were going against it all day.テつ Twenty three offensive rebounds, you didn't get a lot out of it.テつ But you stayed in character.テつ You always talk about being in character.テつ You guys got in there in the paint, but it just didn't pay off.
RESHANDA GRAY:テつ We just had to fight through it.テつ We just had to be strong and not worry about any calls or anything.テつ Just do us and do what we do best.
COACH GOTTLIEB:テつ We made a conscious effort.テつ I don't think any other two games we made them work hard on defense.テつ And we didn't want to be afraid of getting the ball inside.テつ They do a good job.テつ I think Chiney and Nnemkadi can't foul.テつ They can't because they rely on them so much.テつ They do a great job of staying straight up.テつ They allow a lot of contact sometimes, and our players are used to having an advantage because we do against 95% of teams in the country inside.テつ I think that's where you'll see our growth and development.
We have young post players that are so talented, and they're just continually adding pieces to their game.テつ You've got to do some things differently when you have those two in there.テつ So I credit their defensive effort.
We knew to beat them we had to get easy post touches where we could in transition and hit shots from the outside.

Q.テつ At the end of the game, particularly you two were especially energetic and there was a lot of energy from the bench as far as we can do it.テつ We can do it.テつ Let's go.テつ Let's go.テつ You guys never gave up one time.テつ Where's that come from?
RESHANDA GRAY:テつ Just us.テつ Just us being together.テつ We're a family.テつ When we have our heads down low we pick each other up.テつ It's not the end for us.テつ We've still got the dance.テつ We're going to go dancing, so we've just got to finish strong.
LAYSHIA CLARENDON:テつ If you watched us play all year, I was still believing.テつ With the last 3:00 minutes, you've seen us come back.テつ Ohio State, Stanford the first time.テつ I was still like we just need something.テつ Something to get us going.
You've got to fight till the end.テつ Like Coach said, we're competitors.テつ We're going to go to the end.テつ That's just who we are.

Q.テつ To clarify an early quote you had, "I think they might have the best front court ever."テつ Just want to clarify if you meant in the nation ever?テつ Pac‑12 ever?テつ And if you could just talk about the two sisters?
COACH GOTTLIEB:テつ I'd love to actually engage someone in a debate with that.テつ I'm talking with my friends and stuff and saying let's go all the way back.テつ Some people have a better basketball history than I do.テつ But who did Chamique play with at Tennessee and that was that combination like?
Even going back earlier to Katrina McClain, back in her day.テつ But Charmin and I were sitting at a high school recruiting event and saw Jenna Fraser, and we asked her.テつ She said Lisa Leslie and Katrina McClain were the Olympic team posts.テつ I said that's the Olympic team.テつ I know Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson played together.テつ I'm just kind of throwing that out there.テつ But I'd of love for someone to say these two were better.テつ Some of that is circumstance.テつ Some of that is Chiney and Nnemkadi play 40 minutes most games when needed.テつ They have good guards, but they play through the post, so maybe that has something to do with it.
In other years, when you have Jane and say Nnemkadi when she's young, you also had Candace and other people.テつ I just think the way the performance, I'd like to look at numbers of other front courts.
I think they're really, really good.テつ They're incredibly well‑coached.テつ They're relied on, and they've stepped up in those situations.テつ It's not that my statement is not to be a be all, end all, but it's fun to debate it and put it out there.

Q.テつ How does this tournament prepare you for the NCAA coming up?
COACH GOTTLIEB:テつ Well, I think Tara says it all the time, the Pac‑12 you know your opponents so well, it should prepare you for what you're going to face next.テつ I think we give them challenge that's make them better.
On the flip side, I absolutely feel like the way we competed today should make us even more dangerous in that tournament next weekend than we were coming into this.
We're not often faced with that type of post play, a team that's so well prepared, a team that plays really hard.テつ You want to raise each other up.
I talked when I got the job about making Cal women's basketball one of the elite programs in the country.テつ I think there are a lot of pieces that go into that.テつ I think we're on the cusp of that.テつ Absolutely having Stanford in our backyard or across the bay is something that helps us from a mental standpoint and a physical standpoint.
If we bring this type of intensity and focus against whoever we're matched up with, I think we can do some special things because Stanford poses problems for us that we have to deal with that makes us better.

Q.テつ I know you can't read the selection committee's minds.テつ But how high a seed do you think you're going to get?
COACH GOTTLIEB:テつ Do I think we're going to get?テつ Do I think we should get?

Q.テつ Both.
COACH GOTTLIEB:テつ First of all, our RPI is in the 20s.テつ I hope it still is after this.テつ I haven't looked in a little while.テつ I think the thing that's good about the women's committee is they watch a lot of film and do the eye test thing.テつ I think we're a team that they should put, I don't know, six, seven.テつ We want to be off that eight, nine line because that's harder to deal with.テつ And I think we've earned that.
We've clearly set ourselves as the second best team in the Pac‑12.テつ We've challenged some of the top, top teams.テつ We're going to be excited to go wherever.テつ It's so much about match‑ups.テつ I'm not going to be too upset about it if we're somewhere or a number that I didn't pick.テつ But I think we've earned something in that mid 20's RPI kind of range.

Q.テつ The season isn't over, but you have a lot of young players on your team.テつ How do you feel about your chances next year and in the conference and in the tournament?
COACH GOTTLIEB:テつ Yeah, we're really looking forward to next weekend.テつ We still can do some special things this year.テつ It's really neat to think that we have everybody coming back, and we're only going to get better.テつ I think the sky's the limit for this group.テつ They're so coachable.テつ They want to be good.テつ They're committed to Cal basketball.テつ They're committed to each other.テつ I think that, gosh, what we can do is really up to us, and that's a very, very fun prospect to have in our heads.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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