Aztec NCAA First Round Press Conference Quotes

March 17, 2012

San Diego State Women's Basketball NCAA First Round Press Conference Quotes

Head coach Beth Burns:

Opening Statement:
"We are very excited to be here. I know that's a shocking opening statement for all of you. I think the beauty of our game and some of the decisions that we have made to not only be on home sites, but to get off some of the men's competitive games is to go to a Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday format. The good news is that we are finally here, because it has been a long week from selection Monday to it being a Sunday tip. I know our team is very tired of hearing me in practice, and they are ready to get some games going. I appreciate the opportunity to represent the Mountain West Conference and San Diego State. I think we have four really good teams, really different teams, and it should make for some very good games."

On whether she agrees with playing on home sites vs. neutral courts:
"As I have addressed this question throughout the week, I always preface with how three years ago we had the opportunity to host. We were the lower seed and we got the opportunity to play DePaul University on our court and won. I thought at the time it was a brilliant plan to have home sites, so I don't really think it would be fair to fast-forward and say that it isn't. As women's basketball coaches, it is our responsibility to do what is best for the game. I think for us what is best for the game is that we need TV, we need environment. It seems our sport is more fan-driven for our team, not for this sport itself. I think we have tried it the other way. I have seen regional sites where you could shoot a cannonball and not hit somebody and that's not great for our game. I say to our team that every time you play someone, someone is going to see you play women's basketball for the first time. I don't think you can usually say that on the other side [men's basketball]. I think it is one of the biggest home advantage sports that there is. It's about atmosphere. Is it fair? Who knows. Is it best for the game right now? I believe it is. Until we can grow to where we can sustain and sell more tickets, I think that is the way we are going to have to go."

On San Diego State's attitude toward playing on an away game:
"For our team, if you're going to be a good basketball team, you've got to win games away from home. That is the mentality you have to take with you. We don't draw particularly well in San Diego. We draw really well in the Mountain West Conference on the road. We say, `I'd rather have 10,000 people hate me than have 10 people cheering for me.' I think we have learned how to embrace an environment and make it into a positive thing."

On LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell:
"Nikki Caldwell and (Penn State's) Coquese Washington are two up-and-comers in our game. They're the future of our game. Nikki came into UCLA three years ago and took it by the throat. She changed the culture of what they were about. I know it is a shock that defense and rebounding all of a sudden became all of what UCLA did (considering her background at Tennessee). I think LSU is lucky to have her; she is going to do a terrific job here. Her timing (in having a baby) is impeccable to go from the SEC tournament game to now. I expect it to be a great game."

San Diego State Players

On Chelsea Hopkins and Courtney Clements Playing Well Off of Each Other:

Junior guard Chelsea Hopkins
"I think Courtney Clements and I just developed a really great chemistry after playing so many games with each other. I think in the beginning of this season, we were still trying to feel each other out which led to some of our early non-conference losses. I feel like through hard practice and games and being in competitive situations against great opponents, we developed great chemistry with each other. Courtney is a great shooter. She butters our bread here at San Diego State. We know that she's going to score and she can score in bunches. I felt as point guard it's my job to distribute the ball to her. I credit my assist-to-turnover ratio to her putting the ball in the basket along with Kalena Tutt and my other teammates. I think obviously, it was just something that developed over time. I think it's a lot stronger now than it was in the very beginning of the season. We hope it just continues when we play here Sunday."

Junior guard Courtney Clements
"It's fun to play with Chelsea Hopkins. When you know that you have someone who has your back and who is always looking for you, it makes you work harder sometimes. I always know that Chelsea will be looking for me so I am constantly working to get open and to find the spot. I know that no matter where I am on the floor, she's going to see me. It makes the game a whole lot more fun. We have a lot of fun together and I think that is what has made us so successful."

On Playing In Front of an Intense Crowd:

Junior guard Chelsea Hopkins
"I think we take on every challenge that is in front of us. In our conference, we played in front of a variety of venues and environments. In New Mexico, we played at The Pitt. They have a very large fan-base. We played in Laramie, Wyoming where the crowd was pretty intense too. We just see this as a road game. LSU's going to be a great team to play. They are going to have a lot of support behind them. We thrive in these types of environments so we try not to let that be a factor."

On LSU's size:

Senior center/forward Kalena Tutt
"We take on the challenge of playing bigger players. We pride ourselves on our defense. We are just going to take it as a good challenge and meet it."