Women's Basketball's NCAA Tournament Press Conference Quotes
March 17, 2007
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Southeast Missouri State women's basketball head coach John Ishee, senior center Lachelle Lyles and sophomore guard Tarina Nixon participated in a pre-game press conference yesterday at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. The Redhawks open the NCAA Tournament today with a first round matchup against nationally-ranked Oklahoma on ESPN2 at 11 a.m. Here are some quotes from the press conference:
Southeast Missouri State Head Coach, John Ishee
(Opening Remarks): "Obviously, this is a great opportunity, a pleasure and it is a privilege to be here in the field of 64. This is something that as coaches, and as players that you start with the hard work, the long, long journey, in late August to early September, with conditioning and individual workouts. It¹s a feeling of accomplishment to be here and I'm just extremely happy for our players. This is about them. This is why people like me have jobs and get into coaching, to teach and help young people have a lot of fun. And hopefully they'll do that this week. For however long we are in the tournament, whether it's one game or all the games, things will happen that the players can share with their teammates for the rest of their lives. And I'm just ecstatic that they get to have this experience."
(On the Oklahoma sophomore center Courtney Paris): "It's purely speculation on my part until game time. I don't think we've seen anyone quite like Courtney Paris. Except maybe at Florida State, which has a couple of really big, strong, physical post players. I think from watching tape of Courtney, she's very much like Shaquille O'Neal. She's got great footwork and quickness for someone who has that kind of size. You talk about averaging 24 points a game in a conference like the Big 12, those are monster numbers. The thing that makes Oklahoma such a great team in my mind, is the fact that you can double team (Paris) and with her size it wont affect her. And then you create open shots for other players who are extremely great shooters. I think we're playing a Final Four-caliber team."
(On Oklahoma¹s great team chemistry): "I think we have to play with confidence. Our approach is the same as it's been all year. We can control how hard we play and how hard we compete. We have no control over the opponent, the size, speed and quickness that they have. I know in society and in my profession you are judged on wins and losses, but I will be happy as long as we compete like crazy, get rebounds, rebound offensively, share the ball and communicate. We need to get off to a good start and have the mindset that we are a good team that's why we're here. This is a heck of an opportunity for us to show our team to the nation and I hope we play NCAA Championship caliber ball."
(On whether Courtney Paris is the women¹s basketball version of Shaquille O¹Neal): "I don't think there's any question when you average almost 25 points and 16 rebounds a game. She shoots at a high percentage, has great foot speed and fundamental skill. She's a very generational-type player.²
Lachelle Lyles (Senior, Center)
(On mindset going into going the Oklahoma game after playing in the NCAA Tournament last year): "I feel like we are better prepared this year because of who we played in the preseason, playing Baylor, Florida State, and Tulsa. We feel like we competed really well against those teams. I feel like coming into this game, we're pretty focused and just ready to compete against Oklahoma."
(On match-up with Oklahoma's Courtney Paris): "It think that it's going to be physical. She's a great player and a great rebounder. I'm just going to go into the game and compete and rebound like I've done in the previous games."
(On defending Courtney Paris): "I see a great player. She's quick to the ball. She's a beast on offense. I'm just going to go out and compete."
Tarina Nixon (Sophomore, Guard)
(On mindset going into the Oklahoma game): "I think we're really focused. The teams we played in the preseason really helped us with our mindset going into big games. Oklahoma is going to be a huge game. So we're just going to take the experience we had in those preseason games and use in this tournament."
(On whether playing in the NCAA tournament last year will help this year): "A little bit. Honestly, I just feel like it's just going to be another game. For most people, it's hard to say that because we're playing a formidable opponent. When you step out there on to the court, it's really just another game. We're going to be a little nervous because of our lack of experience, but other than that, I think we're going to go in pretty focused."