March 17, 2006
PEPPERDINE HEAD COACH Julie Rousseau
On playing in the NCAA Tournament
"We are excited for the opportunity to play Oklahoma. We are happy for all of the players on getting the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament."
On overcoming slow start to season
"This shows the character of our young women. They didn't wrap up the season (early on). We challenged our freshman not to play like freshman. We kept pressing forward. A lot of credit should go to our staff for keeping our team motivated and focused on our goals."On sneaking up on Oklahoma/How to defend Courtney Paris
"If you look at the men's tournament, I don't think you can sneak up on anybody anymore. (Jokingly) Does any one have any ideas on how to stop Courtney Paris? I got to know her while I was at Stanford, I know her mother very well. She is a fine player, and I am happy for her on her great year."
On NCAA Tournament Experience (as Coach Rousseau and Kelsey Ball are only members of team with NCAA Tournament experience-Rousseau as an assistant at Stanford/Bell as a freshman with Pepperdine)
"This is an exciting time. We are excited for (everybody). But we have tried to stay with our normal routine. Kelsey (Ball) has talked with the other players and given them a player's perspective on the tournament."
SENIOR FORWARD Kelsey Ball
On being the only player with prior NCAA Tournament experience and the difference in expectations
"Being the only player on the team that has NCAA Tournament experience, I have learned not to take it for granted because the Tournament is a very special place to be. It takes a lot of hard work to make it this far and there are a lot of teams who wish they were here. This time around, it means so much more to me and I'm just taking it all in."
SOPHOMORE GUARD Shannon Johnson
On first NCAA Tournament experience
"I'm really excited to be here. Everything from this press conference to the arena set up is all very exciting and new. We've worked really hard all year to make it this far and we've played in tough places against tough teams before, so I think we will be fine."
On first NCAA Tournament experience
"I'm also very excited to be a part of this. Ever since I was a little kid, I've dreamed about being on TV at this level. My expectation for this team is that we just go out and play hard."
OKLAHOMA HEAD COACH SHERRI COALE
On playing in Denver
"We are excited to be playing in Denver. This is definitely Big 12 Country. This is a remarkable facility. This is a great place for women's basketball. "
On the strength of the region
"As a coach it is our duty to just look at the next opponent. There is a lot of tradition and prominence in this region. With Stanford and Iowa this is a great regional. Pepperdine had a remarkable end to the season. It is a tough and challenging field."
On expectations of center Courtney Paris
"We all knew that she was extraordinary when she was in high school. When you get to know her and she how sharp she is, you think this is going to be a special thing. I told her if you don't get a double-double in every game we are both in trouble. I don't think that anyone could have imagined that she'd have this level of consistency. Whether you are up 30 or up by two, you see the consistency."
On staying sharp during conference season (16-0 during conference season)
"It helped us stay sharp, giving us something to shoot for. All competitors have an internal drive, but it doesn't hurt to have that external drive either. Let's do something no other Big 12 team has done before. Let's win 19-straight games, something no other Big 12 team has ever done before."
JUNIOR GUARD ERIN HIGGINS
On Facing The Pressure of Going 16-0 In The Big 12
"One of the best things for our team was felt like we could win the Big 12 Championship midway through the season. The pressure we put on ourselves to win every game in the conference is drove us to the Big 12 Championship."
On Recovering From Consecutive Losses To Illinois and Michigan State Earlier In The Season
"We've learned to play together more since those losses. We're playing harder for each other. No one is caught up with individual statistics. Now, it's more how can we play for each other?
CENTER COURTNEY PARIS
On Expectations For This Season
"I've had a lot of fun this year. We won some games earlier in the year, then we lost a couple of games and got down. But we figured it all out and went 19-0 in the conference. Now we're having fun."
On Dealing With Extensive Media Exposure
"All the things I see on TV are nice, but what really counts is what happens on the court."
JUNIOR GUARD BRITNEY BROWN
On Progression As The Point Guard
"Throughout the year, I've become more confident leading the offense. When you have such a big post presence and good outside shooting, it makes things easier on me."