#AztecWBB-Fresno State Postgame Quotes
March 16, 2013
LAS VEGAS -
San Diego State Quotes
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by San Diego State. Coach, some comments on tonight's game.
COACH BURNS: First I'd like to congratulate Fresno State. I think they'll be terrific representation. I've said this all week long, I think that the top three teams in our league not only could get in but they could get in and they could win.
So we wish them the best of luck as they head out into the NCAA tournament.
We picked a bad time to have a bad time. I think Fresno State had an awful lot to do with that. We're very much a physical rep team. We work really hard to try to do things the way we want to do 'em. And we just, out of the gate, even though we had a lead, it was very much not San Diego State basketball, it was more Fresno basketball, matching baskets, up and down the floor.
I say that because it was more an offensive game going both directions. We really didn't have our normal sense of defensive presence, and frankly, really didn't follow many of the rules that we had aspired to going into the game.
We usually start and finish halves really well. That's been a trademark of our team. And obviously what happened to us at the end of the first half, which was just an end result of our lack of defensive composure the majority of the half, really hurt us.
With that said, I couldn't be prouder of the five seniors that we have on our team, our entire team. The effort that we showed. You know, at halftime it's more a matter of, all you can do is two at a time, play as hard as you can, shots and stops, shots and stops. I thought we played our guts out to put ourselves in a position to win the game.
I would hope, although I'm old enough to know better, that our body of work and what this team has accomplished from January 10th until this point will at least have some value come Monday afternoon.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the student athletes.
Q. Courtney, you got off to a fast start, then things changed. What was it that Fresno State did that maybe caught you off guard?
Courtney Clements: Well, to credit Fresno State, they didn't miss a shot. I don't think that they missed. When they had an opportunity to knock down an open shot, they took the opportunity. All the credit goes to them.
They found the flaws in our defense and they did what they had to do.
Q. Obviously this is a surprising result after all that you've accomplished. If you could put it into words right now.
Courtney Clements: Well, uhm, how do you answer a question like that?
It is disappointing that we lost, but I think we can be proud of the fact that we fought back. We didn't give up. We did everything that we felt that we could to try to get back in the game. We didn't just let them just win the game outright by 20.
I think our young kids showed a lot of fight. Desi, Erimma, Kiyana she's not very young. I think that just goes to show you what kind of team that we have.
If we do get the opportunity to get into the NCAA tournament, this is just a lesson learned. You know, better to lose today than if we get the opportunity to lose in the first round.
All we can do is learn from this and hopefully get the opportunity next week and take it from there.
Q. Chelsea, can you make an argument for you guys to get in based on your whole body of work?
Chelsea Hopkins: Most definitely. I think what we've done these last couple months is just really special. Not too many teams could say they were on a 17 game winning streak.
Credit to the teams in the Mountain West. I feel like in our defense it's hard to beat the same team over and over again.
Fresno State was excellent tonight. They made more plays, that's why they ended up winning the game. Like Courtney said, we never gave up. Third time playing Fresno. We've done great up until this point. I think the NCAA should take that into account.
We played good teams. Even teams we lost to early in the season, we played them competitively. I think that shows we belong in the NCAA tournament.
Q. Chelsea, there's obviously disappointment. I assume this redoubles your resolve to get this out of your mind as quick as you can?
Chelsea Hopkins: Most definitely. But it is what it is. At the end of the day, I'm proud of my teammates, what we've been able to accomplish this season.
Like Courtney said, hopefully there's bigger things to come for this team. Monday night hopefully the Committee will select us. We can go from there. We can't live in the past, dwell on this game.
When we get to San Diego, we're going to focus on what's ahead. We pray it's the NCAA tournament. But you know what, if it's the NIT, we're going to take that tournament by storm, too.
Q. Courtney, was there ever any doubt you could overcome the deficit?
Courtney Clements: Not at all. We're a defensive team. We know when you get stops, you find ways to come back. There's no quit in this team. So nobody on that team planned on quitting, whether we would have got down by 20 or 30 or 40.
Unfortunately we weren't able to come back. But you can see that we didn't quit. No matter what they did, we still tried to come back. We didn't come back till the clock hit zero.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions for Coach Burns.
Q. You talked a little bit about composure at the end of the half. With a senior ladened team, did that surprise you a little bit? Did they get more rattled than you thought they might have?
COACH BURNS: Well, we have a lot of talented kids that do what they do well when you put it together. But Chelsea's our Superman.
You know, hindsight is 20/20. We can't win this game without her playing this game. We'd been able to, even though we hadn't done much of anything we set out to do, manage a game. And I thought for two minutes we could.
But they're a good team. They're a good team. They're an aggressive team. Credit goes to them. But you can't live backwards. You got to live forward.
Q. You've been around for a long time so you'll be sweating the next 48 hours to some extent. If you didn't make the NCAAs, what would that do to tarnish or not this season?
COACH BURNS: Well, you know, you reflect most on what immediately happens, right or wrong, because, trust me, when you're in the midst of it, the only way you can accomplish it is just to hit the next game. You can't think of it as how many in a row or by how many points or whatever.
You know, I said on our initial day at our press conference, no one's happier about our streak than Raegan Pebley and Joe Legerski, because short of an opening loss at Boise for Wyoming, those two teams have been crushing everybody by double figure points all season long. But because of the nature of ours, first we lost, then we won, everybody made us out to be this giant killer.
I've said from the beginning that I thought all three of us beating each other should have an opportunity to play.
So I think Fresno is a really good team. I think there's no shame in losing to Fresno. Today it hurts. Tomorrow it hurts. Monday we won't know. But we won't reflect on the season till a couple weeks from now.
This hurts. Conference tournaments, right or wrong really wrong are really special. They're really special. Walking up that ladder is really special. I say right or wrong, because it's a heck of a lot harder to go two months and win games than it is three days.
We started out a little bit sluggish. I thought Courtney played her tail off with her ankle. The young kids came off the bench, gave us a spark. We'll focus on the positive. But as competitors we can't feel joy tonight.
Q. Have you ever seen a stranger stat sheet? It looks like you win this game.
COACH BURNS: We've had lots of games where I know we've won a lot of games. But we've had a lot of games where we might get out rebounded. The one thing we consistently do is we take care of the basketball. We don't turn the ball over.
Like in any sport, whether you're shooting well, if you take care of the basketball, even though tonight it looks like we took care of the basketball, those miscues led to offense for Fresno when we already didn't guard well in the first half.
Numbers are overrated. The only one at the end of the day that counts is the one on the left.
Just like to thank everybody. Thank the Mountain West Conference. Thank the people in Thomas & Mack. This has been a terrific experience for our student athletes and I'm sure everybody else's. This has been a first class operation and we're proud to be a part of it. Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
Fresno State Quotes
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Fresno State. Coach, your thoughts on tonight's game.
COACH PEBLEY: Oh, it was so fun. That's my thoughts. So fun (smiling).
I'm really, really happy for these girls, that their story didn't end with an amazing shot by Ki Ki. It's even more special that that amazing shot led to just an outstanding game.
You know, we challenged them before the first game, make these the three most memorable days of the season so far. And I think absolutely they were. I apologize for my attire, but I got a whole thing of water dumped on me in the locker room (laughter).
San Diego State is a very, very good team. I'm hopeful that this means two teams from our conference are going into the NCAA tournament. I think San Diego State's body of work is pretty impressive, what they've been able to accomplish, especially since January, since our game at their place. To do what they did is so hard.
Hats off to them, their whole team. Their posts beat us down the floor tonight. They had a point guard that could hit crazy threes. They have an incredible shooter in Courtney Clements. They were so hard to beat and we couldn't put them away. They're a great team, and great teams don't get put away.
In the end we're so grateful we were able to pull off the win.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. To be in this position again, what's going through your mind right now?
KI KI MOORE: Just excitement. Just to come to a new conference, to win the championship after splitting the regular season with them, them being the defending champions, I think it's excitement for our team and coaches as well.
ROSIE MOULT: Definitely the same. It's been a tough year. We fought hard. We played so well. Now we're going to the NCAAs.
Q. You were able to get on a 23 0 run over them. What was going through your mind then?
ROSIE MOULT: We needed to keep our composure because we knew San Diego State is a great team, they were going to come out hard. We had to make sure we were still being tough and physical on defense, and creating shots on offense, and we did that well.
Q. In the beginning of the game it looked like it was going to be a blowout, then all of a sudden you turned the game around. What did you do? Was something said?
ROSIE MOULT: We just became more aggressive on defense. I think we've done that really well this tournament. We need to make sure we caught San Diego State by surprise because I don't think they were ready for our aggressiveness and that's what helped us.
KI KI MOORE: Same. I think we took away some of their second shots. At the beginning they were getting a lot of second chances, making the easy shots. Missing the first one, letting them get the second one, we knew they were going to make the shot.
Q. When San Diego State drew close in the final minutes, what were you able to do defensively to take them out of their game?
KI KI MOORE: I mean, we just played good on ball defense. We knew who was going to take the shots, who they were going to pass the ball to. We played hard defense, one on one, switches, made them take a tough shot.
Q. Against Wyoming, you weren't able to shoot the three ball. Here it really seemed to be the difference maker. What was it like to get that game going?
ROSIE MOULT: Yeah, obviously it's a great confidence booster for our team. We're a great three point shooting team. When you're hitting them early, it always helps, you know, the lead.
Q. Ki Ki, being named the tournament's most valuable player, what does that mean to you?
KI KI MOORE: It's exciting. Without my teammates, none of this would have been possible. Them giving me big shots when needed, big plays. Without my teammates and coaches, I don't believe any of this would have been possible.
Q. Rosie, knowing that you really had to win this tournament to likely get into the NCAA tournament, how rewarding is it for you?
ROSIE MOULT: Yeah, it's an awesome feeling. It was a very hard game. We were very well rewarded with straight to the NCAAs. We hope to do our best at the next level.
Q. On the three pointers. If you look at the stat sheet, second chance points is when you caught up to them. Did you know early in the game you had your stroke?
ROSIE MOULT: My shot was feeling a lot better. It's been off the last two games. It was nice to hit a few. My teammates were attacking when they either helped off or if they didn't help off, they were getting a drive, so it was good.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions for Coach Pebley.
Q. What did you say to your team to slow everything down?
COACH PEBLEY: Well, we just talked about rebounding, number one. We felt like there was a couple mistakes we made defensively that we trusted we weren't going to continue to make. We had to change the face of the game through rebounding. We couldn't let them get second chance opportunities.
The other thing, we felt like we got good shots, they just didn't fall. Just like we talked about with the Wyoming team, when threes are being shot, no lead is safe, their lead or your lead. We were able to get some threes. That helped. We limited some of their scoring.
Definitely that run going into half, extending the lead beyond 10, just making them have to go into timeout and discuss how to break our press instead of dealing with our halfcourt defense.
Q. This was not only your first year at Fresno State but your first year in the Mountain West. Talk about being a first year head coach coming into a new conference.
COACH PEBLEY: Well, my first year here at Fresno State, I've been blessed with great opportunities at Utah State, as well. I think those experiences, helping lead a team, we fell short at Utah State a few times.
But really helping a team stay focused. A lot of times we were under manned. We had less talent than who we were playing against, which was Fresno State and La Tech. You had to find ways to still win the game. I think San Diego State top to bottom probably has more talent than we do. So we had to find ways.
The girls had to believe in themselves. That's absolutely how we won this game, is their belief and absolute will and determination.
Again, I have to give a lot of credit to our trainer, Kelly. Kelly has been phenomenal all year. We have this thing before the game, everybody gets to say something, what they believe's going to happen tonight. The thing she said, If you break it, we're going to tape it up and you're going to go back out there. They nearly broke Taylor. And Taylor was able to get back out there. That was important, because their press without Taylor could have really impacted this game.
Q. Can you talk more about that. What does that say about her to come back?
COACH PEBLEY: It's just Taylor. I mean, I don't know if that's being Oklahoma, small town, fight for everything you've got, blue collar. Her parents are here and they've done an amazing job raising an amazing woman, that is a woman among children and she's 10 feet tall and bulletproof. She loves this team and is going to do everything she can.
I have no idea. There could have been somebody telling her back there, You're not playing. She would have stormed right past through them if it was possible.
Q. One of the common variables was Alex's performance.
COACH PEBLEY: You can check my text to her mom all the way to Australia. Hi, Deb. We knew that Bree and Alex Sheedy were going to have to be big in this game. We used them as on ball screeners, really defend Ki Ki and Taylor. We were going to pop them instead of rolling them. Let them facilitate offense. They were going to have catch and shoot threes, get to attack off the dribble, or continue to attack and to handoffs and what we call at action.
They knew coming into this game that we were going to have those opportunities. Kudos to them for taking advantage of it.
Q. Can you talk about how your players have adapted to playing in your system.
COACH PEBLEY: Yeah, everybody's adapted to each other. I didn't make them adapt to me. I adapted to them, too. Our staff adapted to them. We didn't want to come in and change everything. They were pretty good at how they were built.
We still shoot the three ball. Just different ways we got it. I think we get to the foul line a lot more. That helps us get to team's benches, foul some of their better players out.
Having Chelsea out, that was a big part of our run. She was out of the game with two fouls to finish that half.
Q. Could you talk about the performance of Ki Ki Moore over the balance of this tournament.
COACH PEBLEY: All season. She just is a major factor. She's a great talent. What we wanted Ki Ki to know and really believe when we came in is that great players are going to be good and great in any system. You don't have to just be good in one system.
If you're going to have an opportunity to go on and play beyond college, you're going to have to know how to adapt to different systems. And she really did.
I thought she and Taylor and Rosie did such a phenomenal job in the locker room of leading this team, on the bench, the way they communicated.
Q. You came to a program that already had been successful. What does it mean to you to be able in your first year to win the conference tournament title and send the team back to the NCAAs?
COACH PEBLEY: I think it means to Fresno State that Fresno State has the ability in football, in men's basketball, I think Rodney is doing a great job, women's basketball, all of our sports, that we can compete in this league. It's not just about women's basketball. It's pretty awesome to see that Fresno State was prepared to be successful in the Mountain West.
The baton was just handed off to me. I had a responsibility to keep it moving and not take steps backwards.
Q. In terms of the NCAA tournament, the teams seem to get out physical. Do you feel good about your chances going in, that this could be the year you take that big step and win a first game in the tournament?
COACH PEBLEY: Well, I don't know who we're going to be playing. But I think no matter who we're going to be playing, we've got to go in with the attitude of we are going to find a way. You just have to have the attitude of: It shall be done.
It's the drawing board. It's the confidence of the players. It's making sure we're healthy. It's making sure we're smart. Just having that find a way attitude.
Q. I want to talk about the preparation for the NCAA tournament. You're going to be facing someone you haven't seen at all. How does your preparation change over the next couple days?
COACH PEBLEY: We're going to get on that bus and this is going to be a great bus ride home. Our preparation, there's nothing we can do really until we see what the seeding comes out. Once that comes out, we're going to prepare like we do for any and every game.
You just got to believe in how you do things, approach everything with poise and confidence. I think that bleeds and spills over to your players.
Business as usual, but we'll enjoy the experience. This team has talked about how they wanted to not just get in, they want to advance. That's the next step that our program needs to take.
So, I mean, we're going to go for it.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, coach.
COACH PEBLEY: Thank you.