Feb. 28, 2009

Oklahoma Head Coach Sherri Coale
• On the game:
“I’m really proud of our kids.  I thought the first of the game we were a little jagged and looked like we were playing with a little of the residue from College Station, but then we fought through it.  The last four minutes of the first half I felt very good about our offensive spacing, our movement and the rhythm that we had found.  In the second half I felt that continued.  I felt like the first four minutes of the second half would tell the tale and they did.  We flattened a little bit late, but overall I’m really pleased particularly since we were able to do this without Whitney [Hand] and for the most of the night without Danielle [Robinson] as well.  Also I’m sure you guys will ask me a lot of questions about Jasmine [Hartman] but I thought she was just fantastic.  It’s a big win.”

• On the impact that Jenny Vining and Jasmine Hartman made today:
“We’ve been talking all year about the importance of depth, particularly when it gets to post-season play, the conference tournament and following the NCAA tournament.  Your depth is critical and we felt like that’s a weapon we have that we maybe haven’t had in the past.  When Whitney went out we told our guys it might be uncomfortable for a while.  It might not be as pretty as we’d like it to be, but this is going to be a blessing in disguise because we’re going to grow, stretch some folks and have more weapons when postseason arrives than we have right now.  That experience -- you can’t put a price tag on it.  It’s not about, ‘Are they 10 times a better player than they were a week ago?’  No.  But you get those minutes under your belt and then you’re able to show what you can do.”

• On the team’s poise when they were down in the first half:
“I’m happy that we had poise and not so happy that we were behind.  The reason that we were pretty good at handling that is because we’ve been behind some and we’d like to eliminate that.  That’s a great weapon to have when you go into post-season play.  The poise of these kids has been the most impressive piece of the puzzle to me the deeper we get into the season.  We just continue to show resiliency, persevere and find ways to get back on top.”

• On watching Jasmine Hartman grow as a player:
“It’s fun to watch from possession to possession.  She’s a really neat kid to coach.  These guys can tell you that just as frustrating, as the day is long, she gets really, really down on herself because she wants to do things exactly right all the time.  But she has great courage, and that’s what I love about coaching her.  I don’t think she’s ever been afraid of a thing in her life, and she’s not going to be afraid of the next thing that you throw at her.  She’s just a real courageous kid, and that’s easy to coach.  It’s easy to put her in situations and challenge her because she wants it.”    

Oklahoma Sophomore Guard Jenny Vining
• On the game:
“I came out and did what I’m supposed to do. I am a shooter and that is what I am supposed to do and it went in tonight and let’s just keep that going.”

• On teammates confidence in her:
“All of my teammates have had that confidence in me and I don’t think that anything has changed with me. I’m just shooting the thing as I have always have. It is just more have gone in. It’s just great and it is great for the team.”   

Oklahoma Junior Guard Nyeshia Stevenson
• On Starting against Oklahoma State:
“After the tip it feels the same. The only thing that is different is the tip and maybe coming in so early and not at the 16-minute mark when we are behind. So, that is the only difference.

 “That fact that I used to come in right at 16 minutes, I used to come in saying this is what I need to do. This is what my team needs me to do. And coming in at the tip we always want to win the first four-minute interval and pound it. Now my mindset has changed to what do I need to do to contribute.”  

Oklahoma Senior Center Courtney Paris
• On the difference between today’s game and the previous games since playing Oklahoma State:
“I now that this is a big deal for Oklahoma fans and I thought that this was a pretty good situation for us going in. We needed to bring a lot of energy and turn things around after College Station.”

• On Freshman Guard Jasmine Hartman:
“I think that Jasmine is a great athlete and a great player. She is still just learning. She had to learn the point guard position because that is her thing. Usually I will go to Ashley and say Jasmine is in right now and we got to help her. Today it was like, ‘Jasmine what do you want me to do.’ So, it was cool. She is so much better than the first day of practice.”

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Recap |  Box Score |  Notes

 

Oklahoma State Head Coach Kurt Budke
• Opening Statement:
“I  want to begin by congratulating Oklahoma and the fine season they have had so far. They have got a great team. I think what you saw today is kind of what has given us problems for four years -- two great post players inside that is really tough for us to move them around. I have never sent flowers to a player in my life, but I might send some to Courtney (Paris) when she graduates.”

• On what he told OU’s senior center Courtney Paris after the game:
“I told her that she is one of the best players I have ever had the pleasure of watching. I wanted to wish her good luck in the future. I think she is a class act and she acts that way all the time. I think I might have told her I was going to send her some flowers. She is just a tremendous player. They have a lot of pieces to the puzzle, but that piece right there, if you’re not running good offensively, throw it inside. Someone takes a bad shot, she gets the rebound. She is the bailout for everybody. Again they have got good players. They can go win a national championship. They can get to the Final Four. There is no question, but Courtney just makes everybody better on the floor.” 

• On how OSU was able to control the tempo in the first half:
“ I was very proud of my team. I thought we came and competed today. We had two disappointments at home back-to-back after beating Texas. I thought we stuck to the gameplan and gave ourselves a chance. We lost a little momentum right before halftime and that was tough to get back. I thought the girls played well together and there is no quit in this team. I think you saw that today.”

• On where the focus of the team turns now:
“You always have that window because of a Big 12 tournament. Anything can happen there. You always hope that maybe some magic will show up there. Now if you have to go in and play No. 7, No. 3, No. 2 and No. 1 in a row, you’re probably not going to win it. But look at last year. Look at the upsets in the first round. If you get a scenario where you win your first game and a 10 beats a 2 then all of a sudden it is possible. We are never going to give up hope. That is not what we are all about. We are always going to play to win, and if we can’t make the NCAA tournament then we want to go win an NIT Championship.”

Oklahoma State Senior Forward Shanute’ Smith
• On the presence of OU’s post players:
“It is always tough trying to block them out and push them back, but I think we did a good job at the end of the game taking down a couple of rebounds. Courtney and Ashley (Paris) are great players. I just went in and did what I could do.”

Oklahoma State Junior Guard Andrea Riley
 • On why this team is struggling after the success they experienced last season:
“Basically, the Big 12 is first in the RPI. We have top-10 teams and then we had a stretch where we had to play all of those guys. So it was really hard. That is what you come to play for and you never know what can happen. Coming off of a Sweet 16, in I don’t know how long, it is kind of hard to match that. Especially when you have new players and just new things and ideas. Our goals never change. “