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2011 NCAA Women's Basketball Practice Day Quotes, Penn State

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March 18, 2011

University Park Tournament Central
Practice Day Photo Gallery

University Park, Pa.; - PENN STATE LADY LIONS

Interview Room

Coquese Washington, Penn State Head Coach
Q: How beneficial has it been to be able to be home to prepare for the tournament? Especially since for a lot of these players it's their first time.

A: I think it's been pretty good. We tried to keep our normal routine in terms of practice and the things we have done. It's been good to be able to stay in our normal routine.

Q: You last played a game on March 6th, which is 10 or 12 days ago. Has that been an issue in terms of getting the team ready?
A: It has not been an issue at all. In fact, we welcomed the time off. I think we needed it to get some bumps and bruises heeled and get bodies refreshed. Like I said, getting back into basketball this week, we were able to keep to our normal routine like we had in the Big Ten Tournament. So, I think it's been helpful.

Q: Coquese, how are these two teams different from when you played in the season opener?
A: I hope we are both better defensively after giving 100 plus points on both sides. I'm sure when Jim [Jabir] goes back and watches the film, he goes "Oh my God, we were horrible defensively." I certainly have my moments watching it. So, I think both teams are better defensively. I think both teams are in a better rhythm in terms of understanding their team. Especially for us early in the season we hadn't yet had an identity as a team and hadn't got our rotation down. I think both teams are a little bit more confident and better defensively and just more solid in how we want to play the game for 40 minutes.

Q: How does experience play a part into this tournament game?
A: I'm sure it will. I'm sure they're going to have a little bit of confidence and understanding what it's like to be in the NCAA Tournament. On the flip side for us, the thing about the NCAA Tournament, what makes it different is, one, mistakes, and also the distractions that come during the week. The extra media attention and those sorts of things. If you can block out that outside noise, at 11:10 tomorrow it's going to be basketball. It's going to be a basketball game. So that's what we talk about. You can't focus on the ramifications, the one and done or anything like that. Just at 11:10 tomorrow, execute the game plan and play basketball. So, experience will help them but we don't want to give that lack of experience as an excuse. We aren't playing into that at all.

Q: Can you just talk a little bit about what you've been able to do with this team, getting back to the NCAA Tournament. Is that where you thought you would be?
A: No, I wanted to be in the NCAA Tournament the first year. We are behind schedule as far as I'm concerned. That's the goal every year is to win enough games to get in this tournament and compete. I'm just really thrilled that we have this opportunity this year and these kids and this team. Especially that Julia Trogele gets this opportunity to get on the biggest stage and compete. She's gone through so much. So many heartbreaks and the ups and downs of her four years here, she's just had a tremendous season in terms of being a leader for this team. So, for our team to have this experience this year we are really excited about it.

Q: How has Dayton changed on film from the first time you played them?
A: They certainly have gotten better defensively. They have gotten a lot better defensively. I think their bench has improved. They are getting a lot more contributions from the kids off their bench. Their cohesion is a lot better than it was obviously the first game of the season. You can see they have a good flow to them. They play well off of each other. That's what makes them a very dangerous team.

#11 Julia Trogele, Sr., Guard/Forward
Q: How beneficial has it been to be able to be home to prepare for the tournament? Especially since for a lot of these players it's their first time.

A: I think that just being able to be at home and sleep in our beds, like coach said, stay in the regular routine of what we have always been doing. We treat it kind of like a home game even though this is a great opportunity and we are really excited. We have been able to stay grounded and focus on basketball.

Q: How happy were you to see a Philadelphia regional to come up for the chance to go home if you advance?
A: I mean that's a big thing that you look at that if you win the first two games you get to go to Philadelphia. But right now we are just looking at one game at a time. Don't really want to look too far into the future. You have to take care of business tomorrow and Monday. That's how we are looking at it. Just one game at a time.

#33 Maggie Lucas, Fr., Guard
Q: How happy were you to see a Philadelphia regional to come up for the chance to go home if you advance?
A: Same. I mean, right now I'm just focusing on tomorrow. Not even looking to Monday yet. We have to face Dayton and they're a really great team. Philly will come if we take care of what we have to take care of here.

#20 Alex Bentley, So., Guard
Q: Alex, where do you think you have improved most since that first game, both for you and the team?
A: I think I have improved with giving my teammates easier shots. Maggie and Zhaque Gray have been getting a lot of open looks. I am pretty proud of me, learning how to get them the ball easier. For the team, I'd say we just have been learning how to play together throughout the entire season. I think we have gotten better and better each game in learning our roles and doing them the best that we can individually.

Locker Room

#12 Zhaque Gray, Jr., Guard
Q: How do you feel preparation wise for your game tomorrow?
A: I'm really excited ready to get on the court whenever practice starts and just excited to play in the NCAA. I'm a little anxious but then again I'm kind of calm because we are in a great position to win.

#24 Mia Nickson, Jr./So., Forward
Q: How do you feel preparation wise for your game tomorrow?
A: I think we are ready to go and our preparation was good. We have practiced really hard the last couple of days so I think we are ready and excited to play tomorrow.

#25 Gizelle Studevent, So., Guard
Q: How do you feel preparation wise for your game tomorrow?
A: I'm feeling pretty excited. Today, we are just going to go over a few things. We are basically prepared and getting warmed up for tomorrow.

#40 Marisa Wolfe, So., Forward
Q: How do you feel preparation wise for your game tomorrow?
A: I feel like we prepared pretty well. We had a great last few days of practice. We are going to go over a couple things today and clean everything up.

#11 Julia Trogele, Sr., Guard/Forward
Q: How are feeling about tomorrow's game?
A: I've been telling people that I have had a hard time sleeping since Tuesday. I know the game is tomorrow but it's the anticipation. I am ready to get it done with and play the game to the best of our abilities and follow the game plan.

Q: How do you feel about this opportunity?
A: I think that this is a really great opportunity and I don't want the excitement to get the best of me. I just want to go out there and be focused.

Q: How do you feel? Are you guys pretty loose?
A: I think so. This is our first time and everyone is pretty excited. We have to make sure that we keep ourselves grounded. Make sure that we focus on what ia important and don't let our emotions get the best of us and make sure we follow the game plan.

#33 Maggie Lucas, Fr., Guard
Q: How important has it been for you to sleep in your own bed and practice in your facilities?
A: It's nice to not travel so early, play on our home court and sleep in our own beds. It's comfortable. It's definitely a good place to be going into your first game.

Q: How prepared do you feel being it your first tournament game?
A: I feel very prepared and taking it as just another game just but with higher stakes. Playing on our home court is going to be like playing a home game. I feel prepared and I feel we've been working hard at practice and doing everything we can to be as focused as we ought to be for our first game.




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