March 12, 2005
An Interview With: UTAH UTES
Coach, open up with some comments, then we'll take questions for the student athletes.
COACH ELLIOTT: Well, you know, I mean, a hard?fought game. It was wasn't pretty. Both teams played really, really hard. We competed hard. I am really proud of our team for what we asked, which is just a great effort, you know, great intensity. Those things were there. You know, the offense wasn't. The shooting wasn't. We just ?? I love this team. I love these kids sitting up here for what they have given us, a great conference season. We're proud of what we've done. We're proud of the commitment that we've made. We played to compete. I still feel that way after a hard?fought game.
JIM MILLER: For the next few minutes open it up for questions directed to Kim or Lana.
Question: This is for either of you. Do you have any explanation for the horse shooting? It seemed like a lot of the lay?ups were short. Was there any tiredness or any explanation you have for the shooting?
Kim Smith: Well, I think we were tired. I mean, we're playing three games in four days, so you are going to be a little tired. An explanation for it? Not really. They just weren't falling tonight. I think we did a good job as a team doing the things we could control. We just couldn't put the ball in the hoop tonight.
JIM MILLER: Lana, the same question.
Lana Sitterud: What Kim said, you know, we can't have the excuse that we're tired. I am sure New Mexico is tired. They shot well and we didn't. Maybe it was the environment. I don't know what it was. I wish I could tell you.
Questions for Coach Elliot?
Question: Cut it to four there late in the second half and they got a follow?up 3?pointer. Was that what kind of took the wind out of the rally there?
COACH ELLIOTT: I think in any game, of course there is that point in time where you know who is going to make a play. What turns it is whether it is a big defense or a big board or a put back or just simply who comes down and hits a shot and who can't match it.
I think they have done that all year. And that is what that I have done so well. Somebody just hits something and it just sticks a dagger in you. We never hit that shot all night. In that point in time, certainly that is the case. You are just right there, and somebody off their team says, no.
That is how you win games. We have done that a lot. We obviously had it done to us tonight.
Question: Do you worry that ?? you guys lost this game last year. Do you worry that it will affect your tournament hopes? And how do you feel in terms of get an at?large bid?
COACH ELLIOTT: I was surprised last year. I thought I really knew pretty much what was going on after all the years that I have been around. But, you know, they sort of ?? they meaning the committee. You learn what it is they want you to do to make their decisions more clear, easier.
We did every one of those things. I absolutely, this time, believe and I ?? I don't want to even discuss what emotions would occur if I am wrong this time, you know. I am still around after last year. I don't know if I would be this year.
Question: Elaine, you have won eight titles in the last ten years. Any explanation for lack of success in these league tournaments?
COACH ELLIOTT: Well, I don't know. I don't have the answer. My best theory is that these aren't made for your best teams. These are made for the seven teams that don't win. Or the six teams. That is what the conference tournaments are made for. It's never been made for the your best teams.
The best teams proven over two months who they are and where they should go and what should happen to them. That is why you don't see ?? it is not usual that the conference winner wins the conference tournament. Like all over the country, how many one seeds don't win their tournaments. New Mexico is doing great. It isn't normal. It is just a testament to them. It is still, I think, theoretically like that just two times in six years.
Again, it is not like every single year that happens. It is a grind to win a regular season championship. Your focus is on that every single game for two months. Other teams are here. Their focus has been on the tournament for anywhere from six weeks to two weeks. It is a different mental approach. Perhaps it is a difficult one to do. Perhaps I haven't been good at creating the next step, I guess.
Question: It seemed like you were getting a lot of good looks. Did you feel like you were getting the shots that you wanted?
COACH ELLIOTT: The only thing I was not happy with us is that we lost what was happening in the paints. I wasn't concerned about that. We weren't getting shots. We weren't hitting any of them and we needed difficult ones.
We needed to get the ball to the post. It was either your guards weren't looking or your posts weren't posting. That's kind of our story. You know, it doesn't matter if it is repleting and cajoling and, you know ?? that is the one thing that needed to have happened and it didn't.
Question: Elaine, could you comment on what Marsh has meant to the Lobos, from what you have seen?
COACH ELLIOTT: She is special freshman. When you can put the kind of numbers up and make an impact on the games that she has, I mean, there is no doubt. First of all, Moore and Arndt did there part. That team is about Moore and Arndt.
But, yes, that third piece, that other kid, in this case, gives them that different dimension in the post. I mean, a different game with Arndt and Moore, what they do for that team.
She is the difference maker within, but without losing the fact that this team is about Moore and Arndt. I don't know. Those two kids have had great careers. They're finishing well. That should happen for any kind of pair of kids that come in to a system, play together with that much talent, and are that successful for their four?year career.
JIM MILLER: One more question, if there is one. Okay. Thank you, Coach.
An Interview With: NEW MEXICO LOBOS
JIM MILLER: Coach, make some opening comments then we'll open it up for questions to the student athletes.
COACH FLANAGAN: Evidently it was a defensive battle. You know, I never thought we could keep them in the 30s. Our goal was to keep them in the 50s. Had we done that, we wouldn't have won the game. I am happy that we kept them in the 30s.
Mixed up our defenses quite a bit. Tried to delay them in the back court. They run a great offense and set a lot of screens. They've got some outstanding scorers. We were just trying to delay them down the floor, hopefully they'll run out of time, which they did a couple of times with 30?second clock.
The other key was blocking out. Don't give them second shots. And then take way their transition game, which I thought we did pretty well. So it was a defensive game. It was workmanlike, blue collar. I am proud of what we did today.
JIM MILLER: For the next few minutes direct your questions to the student athletes.
Question: Dionne, one of those games when nobody else was hitting really. Did you feel any extra pressure because of that or did you just continue to play your game?
DIONNE MARSH: I thought that I wasn't making time. I was missing a lot of little lay?ups that I usually do better in making. I guess we did show a little bit in making lay?ups and things like that. Overall, I think we did pretty well.
Question: Did they get more physical in the second half trying to limit your touches?
DIONNE MARSH: A little bit. I got a few shots to the face in this game. They were thinking this could be their last game. I guess you have to expect any and everything. But, it was a little more physical in the second half. We all stepped up as a team and we still won.
Question: Mandi, considering the four years you have had and this season, breaking 0?26 and breaking the 0?12 at Colorado State, did you feel this would be a team of destiny to win this?
MANDI MOORE: We were saying in the locker room, you know, we have got to win at Utah, we've got to win at Colorado State. Why not make it a three?peat? It's never been done. Kind of a team of making history. We didn't want to stop here.
Question: How would you compare the atmosphere at the Pepsi Center having some fan support?
LINDSEY ARNDT: It was similar to the Pit. It is not quite as loud because the Pepsi Center is so much larger, the sound travels a little bit more. We have great fans. They are so loud and consistently loud. Throughout the game they are always loud. That helps us a lot. It was a lot like a game at the Pit. Nothing compares to the Pit, but it was close.
MANDI MOORE: You know, the Pit is a crazy place to play. It is rowdy. Everybody is down in on you. Nothing really can compare to the Pit. We had an amazing turnout here today here at the Pepsi Center. Nothing beats the Pit, but today was pretty good.
Question: Utah cut it to four points. Katie came down and hit the point. Elaine Elliott, the Utah coach, called that the dagger. Do you feel that way?
MANDI MOORE: I wasn't paying attention I guess to know if it was the dagger. I don't know. You never know with Utah. They fight until the very end. They can be down ten with a minute left. We saw it at Utah two weeks ago I think. It is never over until the buzzer rings with those guys. It kind of strengthened our momentum and they had to start fouling.
Question: Lindsey, talk about what you want to achieve out of this NCAA tournament? Where do you think you ought to be seeded since you won?
LINDSEY ARNDT: I think a six seed would be very nice. Anyway, I think a six seed would be nice. But you never know what the committee is going to do. I would like to advance further in the NCAA. The first time last year we won one. This year we would like to win more than one obviously and keep progressing through the tournament. That is our goal as of now.
Question: Dionne, being a freshman on a team with upper classmen, was MVP a little more than you expected in your first conference tournament?
DIONNE MARSH: A lot more than I expected. A lot of people ask me that. No, actually there were like seven girls ahead of me. I was going to take whatever I could get and be happy with it. It was a learning experience for me. The things I got today I am more than happy with.
JIM MILLER: Anything else for the three ladies?
Question: Dionne, you haven't played much in a game, that many minutes. Did fatigue ever come into play?
DIONNE MARSH: Today I don't think so. I think it was an adrenaline rush. The first half went by fast actually. I think I got knocked around a lot in it. It kind of got to me. I kind of got a little sore. Today it was just an adrenaline rush. We could win and be champions three times and coming in to my first year, that would be great.
JIM MILLER: Anything else? We'll let you guys take off. Thank you very much. Congratulations.
Open it up for questions directed to Coach Flanagan.
Question: Don, when nobody else is hitting, is that a lot to ask to have a freshman even though she is playing her 30th game to carry the offense for a while until somebody does start hitting?
COACH FLANAGAN: Yeah, but you know, really, as I said and I believe this, she is a mismatch for anybody in the conference one?on?one. We didn't ask her to carry us, but we were throwing her the ball an awful lot. She is not going to mentally ?? she is not going to worry about that. She kind of gets focussed on what she has to do. She is not worried about carrying a team.
Actually, Dionne averaged more points this year in her first year at college than she did at her senior year at high school. That is very, very unusual. I think as she said she is a very humble person. She will do what you ask her to do. She comes from an excellent family. Her upside is quite good obviously.
Question: Lindsey thinks you guys might be a six seed. What do you think about that?
COACH FLANAGAN: Anything I say would be speculation. I know one thing. I know we're going. Other than that, we're 26 and 4. We played a pretty good schedule. You know, I think we ought to be around that. I mean, I would like to get a six seed. Personally, I think Lindsey would like to get a six seed also.
Question: Let me ask you the same question I asked the players about Katie's three pointer that kind of broke a lull. In fact, Coach Elliot went on to say it has been a trademark for you guys to make the big play all year.
COACH FLANAGAN: This team has been a great team of poise and character. I think what happened to both teams today, we had a real physical game yesterday. It was a difficult game yesterday. You see a lot of cardiovascular fatigue. I think everybody by the end of that game was beat up a little bit. Nobody was really playing as sharp as they played early on in the tournament.
So, it might have been Katie's shot. I was hoping it would have been Abbie's free throws. I don't think it was nervousness. She missed some free throws that she normally doesn't miss. Lindsey follows as a three?point shooter. She could have made a better decision on that. That is okay. Lindsey did just fine.
Question: I think everybody has seen teams dominate back to the basket, score and kind of get stagnant. Did you see any of that today?
COACH FLANAGAN: It can become a focus. They play a real physical brand of defense. It was hard to get the ball from one player to the next. If you put it on the floor, they are bodying you all over. They are denying passing lanes.
We try to use the full floor and make cuts and set screens and move. But evidently the only person we could get it to a lot of times ended up being Dionne. This was one taking the big shot. That doesn't bother me a bit. You have got a chance to get fouled if you are inside. Also you have got a chance with the ball going inside to get an offensive rebound. I think it is a high percentage play to get it inside especially since the defense was so physical and so tough.
JIM MILLER: Anything else for Coach Flanagan? Okay. Thanks, Coach. Good luck the next few weeks.