March 22, 2013
2013 NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Gampel Pavilion · Storrs, Connecticut
Friday, March 22
PRACTICE DAY QUOTES - #1 seed CONNECTICUT
Geno Auriemma, Connecticut Head Coach:
On what you are looking for out of your roster for the NCAA tournament:
"At this time of year you can get too philosophical or too analytical about what the path looks like or what you're missing or what happened during the regular season. What we need to get out of tomorrow, we need to get a win over Idaho and have an opportunity on Sunday to come to practice and prepare for Vanderbilt or Saint Joseph's. We would love to come out tomorrow and have seven players who play the best game we have played all year, but I don't think that's going to happen. Idaho is going to come out and play inspired. I remember being in their situation before, I know what it feels like to have that kind of team playing against our kind of team. I'm just worried about making sure we play well and win. Who plays well and who doesn't, I don't know that's going to matter that much."
On the experience Idaho will have over the next two days:
"I was talking to some of their people this morning at the organizational meeting. I remember our first NCAA tournament in 1988-89, the difference was we played LaSalle, which was a four-hour bus ride. It's a completely different world that exists today than back then. I remember the excitement of being in the NCAA Tournament, I remember the lead up to it was the best. The practices leading up to the game were the best part of the whole thing. We just wanted to win that first game and see where that takes us. I am sure they feel the exact same way. In terms of being in awe of us, that might last the first five minutes of the game."
What are your thoughts on Idaho's team:
"They remind me a lot of the team we had when we went to the Final Four in 1991. Five players that nobody had heard of, we all handled the ball really well, we passed really well, we shot really well. We all took advantages of mismatches and when I watched them on film that is what they looked like. You're probably dealing with guards that are really good and you need to take advantage of that. Because of that, they can be in any game and win any game. I hope we can take advantage of our size against them."
Kelly Faris, Connecticut Guard:
What is the mindset of the team?
"There are expectations here. There are times that we take it for granted that we are a part of the tournament every year. But it goes back to what is expected of us and expected of this program. We're a part of something that very few people get to be a part of. These are times when we need to take a step back and be thankful for the position that we are in."
Do you feel you have something to prove?
"Maybe to ourselves. If you sit there and think that you have to prove something to everybody else, it doesn't really matter. For us, I think we have to prove to ourselves that we can do it. We've been in some situations where we've had the game won and we've handed it over. I think that's our biggest thing. We want to put ourselves in positions where we know we can pull it out in the end."
What did you know about Idaho before this week?
Personally, I knew absolutely nothing. We watched some film, and at this point, when you make it to the tournament, every team is going to come out guns ready and ready to leave it all on the court. We expect the best from everybody no matter what the name on the jersey says."
Stefanie Dolson Connecticut Center:
Does this team need a leader like Maya Moore to be successful?
"I don't think we necessarily need one person. I think with the team we have this year different people have been able to step up at different times. I think we have the ability where any one of us can step up. I think that we all take different roles each game depending on what needs to happen. It really depends on the game."
As a junior do you feel more pressure?
"I don't think so. I think we all are ready and prepared enough that we are going to come out and play, knowing that if we lose, we are done. Not winning the last two years doesn't add more pressure, but makes us want to compete even harder."