Nov. 26, 2008

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Oklahoma Head Coach Sherri Coale
• On how Whitney Hand’s play positively affects the whole team:
“I think it will carry over for more than just the rest of the game.  I think it was the fact that she really wanted the ball after how poorly she shot it against North Carolina.  She came out of the gates wanting the ball, wanting to make something happen.  That is a great sign for both her individual mentality and our collective mentality as a group.  We all have a lot of confidence when 3-point shots are going in the basket.  That started us off and everything kind of grows from there.”
 
On if she was pleased with tonight’s game:
“It was the quintessential trap game between North Carolina and Connecticut.  I was worried about our approach and was worried about how we were going to take the floor.  I loved our disposition in the first half.  I loved our ‘all about business’ mentality in the first half.  In the second half that just disappeared.  I wasn’t very pleased with the second half, but in the first half I thought we did some good things against a very good basketball team.”
 
• On the effectiveness of her bench:
“I thought Abi (Olajuwon) was good.  She did exactly what we asked her to do when she came in.  I thought Jenny Vining gave us good minutes.  Carlee (Roethlisberger), not quite as productive but did some good things, hit the 3 off the skip pass and I thought her ball movement was very good.  What we typically get from Carlee is a lot of energy and communication, but we didn’t really get that tonight.  We still have to get better back up play at the point position, whether it is Jasmine (Hartman) or Rose (Hammond) or the combination of the two.  We have to get better minutes there.”
 
• On Connecticut:
“They are really good, they are really balanced.  Maya Moore is probably the best player in the country.  She is just almost impossible to defend in the open court.  They surround her with guys that are really good at all positions.  They are athletic and they have size and are very skilled and they are accustomed to winning.  The thing that they have that proceeds all that is they come out of the locker room with Connecticut across their chests.  If you are not careful that will beat you.  We have to make sure that we get past that and get to the game.  If that happens then I like our chances.”
 
• On what she remembers about the loss to Connecticut on the road three years ago:
“I remember that we couldn’t make a 3.  They gave us wide open perimeter looks and just surrounded her (Courtney Paris) and the wider open we were, the worse we missed.  That is what I remember.”

Sophomore Guard Danielle Robinson
• On her game:
“Coming off the loss to (North) Carolina, I knew that we had another big week this week and it started with tonight. I think that our performance tonight was also a combination of just the team. I came out and played hard and tried to do what I need to do to spark the team and that is what the point guard does. It gets the team started.”

• On upcoming game with Connecticut:
“Connecticut is a great team and they have a lot of people come to their games and why they have one of the top crowds in the nation. It’s like what Courtney talked about, it’s going to be a great game for women’s basketball in general, two of the top teams and its one of those games.”

Oklahoma Freshman Guard Whitney Hand
• On her 3-point shooting:
“I didn’t really focus on anything (in particular), that was just what kind of happened and I talked to (my teammates) a lot about it and they were just very encouraging. That definitely helped my confidence.

• On her positive demeanor on the court when things are not going well:
“I’m glad it seems that way. I think that it has to do with these girls right here. In the North Carolina game everybody kept saying keep shooting, keep shooting and being real encouraging all the time. They are not mad about me missing shots and I think that has a lot to do with it.”  

Oklahoma Senior Center Courtney Paris
• On the game:
“I think it’s really important. Like Coach (Coale) said, we didn’t come out in the second half like we needed to and it was good to come and fix things up like we did. We need to play better and play the whole 40 minutes.”

• On the importance of the upcoming game with Connecticut:
“I think that it is important. Epecially with our schedule, every game is important. They were in the Final Four last year and that is where we want to be. It will be a great indication of were our team is and that is why we need to have a good showing.”

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Marist Head Coach Brian Giorgis
• On the game:
“I give Oklahoma a lot of credit. The one thing where they struggled at early, in their earlier games, was their perimeter shooting. Hand took care of that pretty quickly. I think Vining came out and hit her first one and all of a sudden you blink and your down 15-2. You could tell the difference. Not only are they extremely talented but an experienced team versus an inexperienced team. I thought our kids did a decent job in the second half. When they had nothing to lose they played a little tougher. We just tried to react to much rather than really try to force issues.”

• On the Paris sisters:
“The Paris sisters take you out of what you normally do. The defense you saw there today is not the defense we essentially play. But silly fouls, Courtney Paris, it’s all the same -- you can’t play them straight up and even think your going to have a prayer.”

• On Oklahoma’s bench:
“I was really impressed with their supporting casts. They can do a lot of damage and with the right breaks they can go all the way. I was very impressed.”

• On what they can take from this game:
“That we are young. At least in the second half we played them even. Granted I know she (Sherri Coale) subbed and played a lot of different people, but we did some better things. We are a motion offense team and what we did today with their pressures was break it down. One, not really beating people. Two, putting people in the situations to help our people because we were screening elsewhere. Finally we were a lot little more patient and got three or four passes as you saw and we got some crippled layups. That is what we need to do. That is what young youth and inexperience does against a team that is better and like that. We know were not even near the athletes they are. I know, I wrote a lot letters to try and recruit her kids, but I don’t think she tried to recruit any of ours.”

• On being a huge OU football fan:
“I have been an Oklahoma Sooner fan since 1966 when I was 11 years old and watching the Orange Bowl when Oklahoma beat Tennessee 29-28. Steve Owens that day was a sophomore. Like I say, not many people in college get the Daily Oklahoman and the Sunday Oklahoman delivered for four years while your in college. Cause the Syracuse paper didn’t cover it. Here you get tons of  stuff that you guys write. I have been a fan, especially during the 70’s.

“I have like eight or ten mini-helmets signed by Heisman trophy winners and I said the one I would really like to get is Jimbo Elrod. He and Greg Pruit are my two all-time favorites.”

“I got Coach Stoops and Switzer. I don’t think I could find a Bud Wilkinson one but I’ve got about 150,000 worth of autograph collection. These two will go right with my coaching section. I’ve got 10 John Woodens and that’s my favorite stuff, but I’ve got about 50 to 60 Oklahoma ones.”