March 10, 2004
New Mexico Head Coach Don Flanagan
I didn't think we played a particularly good first half, Air Force was fully prepared for us. They mixed us up a little bit with the man-to-man and then got back to a zone. We didn't shoot particularly well in the first half.
I thought we were doing a good job defensively in the first half but we weren't scoring. That's why we were only ahead by four. We wanted to win every four minutes thereafter the second half and worked hard on that. The first four minutes of the second half were really competitive and we hit some big shots. I thought we closed it out pretty well.
Our objective was to go inside, and obviously with Melissa (Forest) having 27 points we did that. We wanted to go in as much as possible, both our post players played really well. They did a nice job, they were fully prepared and it was really competitive game.
I think that game is the most zone I've ever coached in my life. I feel like we don't really have a perimeter stopper on defense and went to the zone this year and lived with it a little bit and the reason why is we're leading the country in defense. It's been successful.
Air Force Head Coach Ardie McInelly
"If we would have competed this way all season we could have won a couple more of our games."
"In the second half, we gave up too many offensive rebounds and we couldn't find a way to stop Melissa Forest. She is a strong, physical woman and we just didn't have anybody who could match up well and stop her."
"We played a great team and when we made defensive mistakes they were able to capitalize on them."
"We didn't make defensive stops when we needed to. We battled back but there were a few times when we turned the ball over because we tried to make something happen instead of calling a timeout. That is something they will learn with time."
New Mexico Players
Melissa Forest - "We came out a little flat, obviously. But, this is my fourth time playing in the tournament and every year we play not so well in the first game. We're just glad we got through it and look forward to the game on Friday."
Lindsey Arndt - "I like the zone a lot. It is the most zone I've played. It's nice to know that you have four people behind you. I like the zone and I think we are doing well in it. We are continuing to get better at it every game, but I think it's working well for us."
"Melissa goes in strong and hard. She's stronger than most girls she plays. She jumps well, she finishes well, and she started well right off the bat. We needed to go inside and she was doing a good job, so we continued it."
Air Force player Letricia Castillo
On the effort that the Falcons gave in the game:
"I felt like we had nothing to lose. If we came out and worked our butts off, compete real hard and put a lot of effort into our game something good might come out of it."
Air Force player Amoy Jackson
On the future of the team:
"I think the future of this team is real bright. As long as they play with confidence like they did today, they will do real good."