NCAA Sweet 16 Pregame Press Conference

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 24, 2000

March 24, 2000

(opening comments): "Well, this media room looks exactly like ours does after games. We're obviously thrilled to be here, honored to be playing the University of Connecticut, honored to be in the company that we are in in this regional and very proud to represent the Big 12 Conference here."

(on beating Purdue): "I feel like getting here was a rough road, but you can coach your entire life and not get to have the kind of moment that we had, coming back from 17 down in West Lafayette and beating the defending national champions on their home floor. We are going to 'bank' that one and enjoy it for a while, but we are not satisfied and want to do what we can to maybe pull another upset over Connecticut."

(on playing Connecticut): "I think the greatest thing about playing Connecticut is being able to survive their surges. People ask me all the time, ' How do you stop them?' I don't think you do. I don't think anybody in America does. I think you survive it. You score a basket or two of your own during those stretches. They have times when they play almost flawlessly. They really do. For a four or five minute stretcfh, they can just bury you. You have to keep scratching and clawing and find a way to survive. Then you have to be a little bit lucky, too.

(on playing Connecticut during the regular season - an 84-68 loss): "I thought we did a nice job of limiting their transition the first time that we played them. They got a few easy baskets when we turned it over. We have to be a little bit more 'sure' with the basketball. We have to rebound real well. When we played them the first time, we weren't 'Big 12 Champions' and we had never been to the NCAA Tournament. We were just trying to figure out for the first 20 minutes of that game, 'Can we be on the floor with this team?' We didn't know how good we could be. When that game was over, we were a different team and I will be forever grateful to Connecticut for that opportunity because you don't get that feeling and that 'swagger' that we got from December 29 unless a team like Connecticut is willing to come out and play you and give you a chance to get it."

(on getting to the "Sweet 16"): "We are really excited, shocked by the 'Sweet 16.' I think we are still trying to get with it and get going. I think we will be ready for Connecticut tomorrow. They have a great team, great guards and great depthj coming off of the bench We will be ready, wanting to have fun and we want to play hard."

(on beating defending National Champion Purdue): "I think it gave us a lot of confidence. Going to their place and beating them gave uis more confidence. It will help us play Connecticut even though they are such a great team."

(on the Oklahoma women's basketball program): "My freshman year, we were 5-22. That was not a good feeling and now we are in the 'Sweet 16.' It has been a long trip and I could not even tell you where the turning point was. I kind of get 'touchy' when talking about it."

(on Oklahoma's first matchup with Connecticut earlier this season): "I think it is the fact that they run transition so well and that is evident in every game they play on television. They rebound very well and when they rebound, they fast break and I think you really have to look to counteract that in some way and answer what t\hey do. That is what we are going to attempt to do and really shut down their transition with transition defense."

(on Oklahoma's growth since its first meeting with UConn): "I think we are more mature as a whole, our defensive slides and our help defense has really improved and that is very important when playing UConn. Defense, that's what it comes down to in the NCAA Tournament."



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