March 9, 2012
We're joined by New Mexico.
Coach, if we could start with you, just your remarks on today's game.
Again, I'd like to congratulate Boise State. What a terrific game. It was a 7, 6 seed, winner take all. They're a formidable opponent, terrific bunch, very well coached. Coach Presnell does a terrific job. He's a terrific coach. I'd really like to congratulate them, their seniors, on a very good year. Again, that being said, our kids were warriors tonight. They gave it everything they had. They knew they were a little bit away from the championship game. We still said it's a three game series. Wednesday was a good game. Today they gave it everything they had. We're going to get a lot of sleep and just see what happens tomorrow.
We'll open it up for questions for the student athletes.
Q. Caroline, if you look at this team, you're the first 7 seed to get to the championship ever in the history of this tournament. Can you have ever imagined getting to the final considering everything you went through during the season?
You know, we have been through a lot this season. But I think we started peaking at the right time, right towards the end of the year. We got some key players back for this tournament. I'm not surprised at all. This team works hard all the time. We've really come together and had some really good chemistry lately.
Q. Porche, describe that last sequence. I thought you deflected a pass first before the blocked shot. Was that right? Did it seem like about four and a half hours' worth of play?
I don't know. It just happened so fast. I don't know. Somebody drove to the basket, then I just pushed it out, tapped it out. I think No. 24 got it. Jourdan was guarding her. I was thinking in my head, box out, box out. The ball went up. It happened so fast, I couldn't even tell you (laughter).
Q. (No microphone.)
My adrenaline was so high. I either got to box out or try to get a stop, whatever I could do to help my team.
Q. Porche, you had 10 quick points there. What was going on?
I just told myself that this is my opportunity. Either I win, I keep playing; or I lose, and my season is over with. I just told myself to go out there and play my hardest, do whatever it takes for us to be successful.
Q. Caroline, you held Boise State to 6 of 30 in the first half. How were you so successful against their offense?
Well, our assistant coaches and head coach put together a great game plan, and we followed it very well. Everyone was playing together, talking. Our help defense was there in the first half, for sure.
Q. Obviously Boise State wanted a full court game in the second half. It seemed to cause problems. What makes them so tough to play against when they go full court?
They're very good in transition. They have some shooters that will spot up, so you have to get out to them, but also you can't leave the paint open. Lenhardt had a great game today. They're a dangerous team in transition. I think we did an overall job, though, of stopping them in transition today.
Q. Caroline, the crowd out there, does it amaze you how faithful the following is? Is it like a home game when you are playing there?
It's really incredible. It did feel like a home game. Even better than a home game, since we're not at the Pit. It was so loud. It's just incredible, an incredible feeling. We really thank the fans for coming out and supporting us so much.
Q. As far as tomorrow's game, you have to feel like that same feeling is going to be there plus some. You're supposed to be home by now, people said. Are you feeling right at home?
Yes, we do. We got to go out there, play our hardest, leave it all out there on the court. It's anybody's game. Going into the tournament, everybody started at zero. It's the team that shows up to play. Our fans, we feed off that. The gym got louder and louder. The momentum from their energy, we just fed off that. Things just started to go our way toward the end.
THE MODERATOR: We'll dismiss the student athletes at this time and take questions for Coach Sanchez.
Q. After all the frustrations all year, you've never made any excuses. Five players leave last year. You get injuries. You just kept plugging. How does it feel right now for you to be going to the title game?
It's absolutely incredible. There have been a lot of challenges, I will say. I told these kids at the beginning, regardless of what the case is, for my first year as a head coach, I don't want any other team but them. They have incredible team chemistry. They are terrific to work with. My staff is unbelievable. They've worked so hard to develop players throughout the year. Coach Turner and Coach Hall get the post, Coach Grant gets the guards. You see the progression of those guys from then till now. I credit my staff for that because they're absolutely incredible at developing players and putting together game plans. Their scouting reports are terrific. The players just really fed off the staff. Not one of them made excuses. Not one of them ever were difficult to coach. They just wanted to win and play for each other. I think that was the most important.
Q. You held them to 17 points in the first half. What happened in the beginning the second half?
I don't know (laughter). We wanted to start off, we were up 12, and we wanted to start off you know, you run the game in those four minute segments because that's when the media timeouts are. We told ourselves in the locker room, The first four minutes, you have to start out hard. You're up 12, quick start those first four minutes, don't look back. The only problem is Boise State came out a little bit harder than we did. They hit some shots. We had two straight turnovers. I called a timeout. We had to hold on. But I credit Boise State. They came in there full court press, they wanted to make it a full court game. They did a nice job with it and we just held on at the end.
Q. Can you talk about Nikki Nelson.
Well, we'll forgive her for the 10 turnovers for the big three. She had an incredible game Wednesday. She didn't have a great shooting night, but we kept running sets that they run in practice every single day, and they do breakdowns so they can get shots off of. Nikki is a senior and she's a captain. She hit the one when we needed to hit. We were up two, she hits a three. Actually tied, hit a three. We get a stop, go back, we're up five. That was a huge shot. I credit Nikki because players sometimes will get theirselves out of a game. If they haven't played well, they'll put their heads down, go through the motions. That kid stayed positive. The kids and coaching staff kept her positive. When you have that one opportunity and you hit it, that's all you need, and that's what she did.
Q. Porche Torrance seems to be at a point where she's ready to throw this team on her back and take you home. Another double double. Where is she?
She's playing at a level that I think she doesn't even know she has. Porche just has that determination. She had the last half of conference, because we've run a lot of sets towards her. She has that confidence right now that, you're right, she's ready to take the team on her back. Some people are enjoying the ride. Caroline helped her today. Wednesday night we had two other people besides those two in double figures. If she can get some help, then she can carry this team. Who knows what can happen tomorrow. But Porche's a senior, she's a captain, she's led this team all year long. She's an incredible kid. She's a fifth year kid because she had an ACL tear. I know she doesn't want to be done. Those kids leave it all out on the court. That's what I told them, If you leave it all out on the court, give everything you have, I can live with the results. They've done that. You know, we'll see what happens tomorrow.
Thank you, coach.
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