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March 8, 2014

Chiney Ogwumike

Lili Thompson

Tara VanDerveer


USC – 71
Stanford – 68

THE MODERATOR:  Welcome to the Stanford Cardinal and Coach Tara VanDerveer, Chiney Ogwumike, and Lili Thompson.  Coach, an opening statement?
COACH VANDERVEER:  First off, congratulations to USC.  I thought they played very well.  They have‑‑ they really have an excellent team.  I thought they had some people really step up big for them.  Vaioletama I thought played a great game, Crook in the beginning of the game especially.  But their big three were all in double figures.
Chiney battled in there.  She was a warrior for us.  This is something I think Amber and Lili both made some big plays for us.  But we did not shoot the ball well.  I thought we worked hard on defense, but offensively we really struggled, and that is something that I think we have two weeks to work on it, and that is our plan.  This can be something hopefully that we'll get our collective team's attention, and we'll work harder and be ready to go in two weeks.

Q.  Why did you struggle offensively, do you think?
COACH VANDERVEER:  Well, I think that sometimes it's almost like your strength is your weakness.  We go inside to Chiney, and she delivered for us so well.  But we have to have other people stepping up, or just being offensive contributors.  I think that was good for‑‑ we did not shoot the ball well.  We were not moving the ball well.  This has been something that I think really within the last, I'm going to say the last maybe month or so, we've been stagnant offensively and we need to really fix that.

Q.  Chiney, this is unfamiliar territory for you.  Can you talk about what you're thinking and what you're feeling right now?
CHINEY OGWUMIKE:  I think we played hard, but Coach told us before the game that playing hard sometimes is not enough.  You have to execute.  I think we didn't execute as well as we could have.  But I'm proud of my teammates for sticking with things and still being aggressive.  I think they played a really‑‑ they hit shots, timely shots.  That's always tough.  We'll learn from that defensively.  Offensively we'll just fine tune things.
It's unfortunate to not win a Pac‑12 tournament championship, but these are all learning points going forward.

Q.  Chiney, you had gone on a scoring run there from about the 12‑minute mark to the 7‑minute mark and you're held scoreless the rest of the way.  What did you feel changed from USC's defense that last seven minutes?
CHINEY OGWUMIKE:  I didn't feel a change, honestly.  It was just I don't know.  I missed a couple shots.  I was still being aggressive.  I honestly don't think that there was a change.  We just need to finish better.

Q.  You guys will be in the tournament.  What are you looking for to improve on at this point?  Kind of a tough loss tonight, but you guys still have a lot to look forward to here.
CHINEY OGWUMIKE:  Yeah, I was proud of our defensive effort, but I think offensively we need to execute better and play with a sense of urgency.  I think we played hard, but we need to take that to another level.

Q.  Tara, there is going to be conversation now about No. 1 seeds and lots of things have happened across the country this weekend.  Do you have any thoughts about how much it matters for your team to go in as a No. 1 seed?
COACH VANDERVEER:  The most important thing for me at this time of the season is to be healthy.  So losing a game is not the worst thing.  If something happened to one of your key players, that is the worst thing.  We're just going to‑‑ we're not going to worry about seeding.  We're going to worry about getting our team really running offense much better, working harder defensively, having people understand what shots we want them to take.  Just pick it up from here.  I like the fact that we have two weeks before the NCAA comes out.  We can do a lot of work in two weeks and improve a lot in two weeks.  That is what we've got to do.

Q.  The Pac‑12 said that there was a problem with a leakage from the roof here and there was moisture on the floor.  Was that any kind of a factor in this game?
COACH VANDERVEER:  No, they were right on top of it.  That was not an issue at all.  They had someone right there that was wiping it up.  One time it hit me during a timeout.  That is the only time I noticed it.

Q.  Was it coming down near you?
COACH VANDERVEER:  No, it was coming down right where our huddle was.  Right where I was standing where our huddle was.

Q.  What happened to Bonnie?
COACH VANDERVEER:  Bonnie got undercut, and her feet were totally out from under her and she came down flat on her back.  I think it scared her a lot.  To her credit, they checked her out and she was able to come back in the game.  I mean, I thought it was a very physical game.

Q.  Lili, can you talk about the last ten minutes of the game just in terms of you guys are down by ten.  You come back, you cut it.  You get ahead.  I mean, just kind of the back and forth?  Did you feel you were in a position pretty much that whole time to win this game again?
LILI THOMPSON:  Yeah, I think I felt that we were in a position to win it.  I think everybody just fought back.  We were down by ten, and we stayed positive and we fought back.  There were a few plays there toward the end that had gone our way.  We were up by three.  If they had gone our way, we'd be up by five or six.
So there were some key possessions in there that we didn't get that we probably could have changed the outcome.

Q.  Coming out of your first Pac‑12 tournament and heading into the NCAA Tournament for the first time, what are you going to take away from this since you were such a key role player at the end of the game with knocking down shots?  I mean, didn't come up with the win, but it must say something about your role and significance to this team?
LILI THOMPSON:  I think I have a lot of support from my teammates and from the coaching staff.  I know they'll get us prepared for the NCAA Tournament.  Hopefully this loss will help us turn around and let us go far in the big dance.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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