UC San Diego/Dominican Press Conference Quotes

By UC San Diego

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UC San Diego: Heidi VanDerveer, Mikayla Williams, Haleigh Hatfield

 

Heidi: “First, I’d like to congratulate Dominican on a great year. We knew coming in that they’d be a tough opponent. They’re well coached by Tim and they have excellent players, including the nation’s leading scorer Natalie Diaz, who is a very complete player and competitive. I thought that our team locked in. Chelsea and Heidi do a great job scouting. This was Chelsea’s scout. She presented a plan in order to minimize her effectiveness and I think that you saw the result of our team locked into the game plan. I thought Haleigh did a great job. Shandiin did a great job on Natalie. And our helpers Mikayla and Kayla did a great job in terms of making her life difficult for 40 minutes. I credit our team in executing offensively and figuring things out. It’s not always easy but we figure it out and they respond very well. I was very proud of our team tonight.”

 

Mikayla: “I just think it was a great team effort. We came into this and we knew that every game from this point on it’s either a win or lose. You either continue on or you’re done, and I think we had a great defensive mindset. We want to get stops, and we knew who we wanted to lock down. It was really attributed to Haleigh and Shandiin for shutting her down, and we were there to help and we made a team effort of that.”

 

Haleigh: “I think we were really locked in all game long and I think it started at practice at the beginning of the week. We put practice, practice back together and I think it carried over to the game and hopefully we can keep the momentum moving forward.”

 

Mikayla: “I think we all have the same goals. We do have some young people, like our guard, Brianna, she’s a freshman, but I think that they have the same attitude that we have. They know that we didn’t get to where we are being undefeated just by taking each game lax. Basically it’s just from this point on I think we all know we need to keep going. We’re not ready for our season to be over, so I think it’s just a team effort. We need to put things together here offensively and defensively.”

 

Haleigh: “I think we did a really good job of just staying in the moment and not looking too far ahead or looking at the past but staying with the task at hand that we’re approaching, and we make sure that all of us are on board. All that we’re doing right now is what matters and what happens tomorrow doesn’t. It’s just the moment right then.”

 

Heidi: “That’s called maturity. We are very mature. We have great leadership and they are very mature. It doesn’t matter what their age is, we’re a very mature team.”

 

Heidi: “Natalie is very talented. We knew what her sweet spots were. She likes the elbow isolation. She likes mid-post, low post, and the preference of her hand, and Haleigh just locked in. Anytime she caught it on the right elbow, Haleigh took her right hand away. Any time she caught it low, Mikayla would double. It’s not just doubling. They have other talented players as well. Scott, Mondave, they’re very talented as well. They’re not a one-woman team but Haleigh did a great job and I thought that the people being lock down defenders did a great job. The people that were big time helpers did a great job.”

 

Haleigh: “At the beginning of the week they told me I was going to guard the leading scorer in the nation and I was like, ‘Let’s go! I’m ready.’ The goal was to hold her to half her average and I’ve been looking forward to it every single day in practice, just getting after it. The helpers were huge this game. The paint was clogged. She didn’t have a lot of room to operate. That’s really frustrating for a player who’s so successful. I think we really just locked into the game plan and that was the number one goal and we executed. No easy looks. Just make her job very difficult with no easy shots. That was my number one goal this game.”

 

Heidi: “I think our team understands defensively the importance of our game plan and when they lock into what it is we need them to do individually and then as a team collectively, we do a good job. We played player to player the whole game. Mikayla is a big time helper and she’s got great length. She’s tough to pass around and tough to pass over. Kayla is a great helper, very instinctive. It’s the right people in the right spots. It wasn’t just a one person show.”

 

Mikayla: “Joleen is a great shooter. We have really great shooters. Some days we’re a little off but we know that with how much work she puts in, she puts up so many shots that she’s going to knock them down. For them to zone us, we were ready for it. We have so many great shooters around.”

 

Heidi: “They work really hard at their shooting and they’re confident in it. Their philosophy is when you’re on shoot, and when you’re off, shoot until you’re on. Jo is good for that, and so is Syd and so is Haleigh.”

 

Mikayla: “It was surprising that number 42 guarded me, from what we thought their starters were going to be. It was a switch up. Chelsea let me know before the game started and I just had to flip the switch like whoever’s going to come in, I’m going to pick them up.”

 

Heidi: “The two teams tonight are very good. We’ve played Pomona and we know they’re competitive and talented. We’ve seen Azusa a little bit when we were up in Seattle at the same classic. They’re very talented and big. They’re bigger on the perimeter and a very talented team. This is going to be a great game and they’ve all been great. This is a great region and whoever comes out of this region, and we’re banking on ourselves, will represent the west region very well.”

 

Heidi: “Tim is a really nice guy. He works exceptionally hard. He asks a lot of questions and I know he sat it on a lot of practices at Stanford. He’s a gym rat and he’s very positive with his team. We were up 20 or 30 at one point and they kept competing. I’m very happy for him and his program. He’s done a great job with his team.”

 

 

Dominican: Tim LaKose, Natalie Diaz, Alanna Scott

 

Tim: “The game was not as competitive as we’d hoped. That’s credit to UC San Diego for playing a great game. I was proud of our team for the way that we battled and the fact that they got us here. They gave us everything they had. I’m proud of this team. I wish we would’ve played better but it doesn’t take away from the accomplishments of this year.”

 

Alanna: “This means everything to us. This was our goal coming in our freshman year. This is what we wanted and to get here means everything, not only to us as seniors but just the team and our coaches and our university, everybody.”

 

Natalie: “I think we’ve shown again and again that we’re resilient. We’ve seen it time and time again throughout our own season and UC San Diego they’re a great team, but I’m really proud we had this chance and we were able to battle back from a deficit.”

 

Tim: “They have great balance. Coach VanDerveer has put them in a position to be successful. We knew coming in it’d be difficult to defend them because they have a great inside out presence and we tried to change up our defense but they responded to what we did. They played a great game and are well-coached, and are very impressive. They moved the ball well, found the open player, and made shots.”

 

Alanna: “I think they were gaining momentum. They were getting stops and scores and we couldn’t get stops or scores. They shifted the momentum of the game in their favor and everything was going their way.”

 

Natalie: “It felt good in the beginning of the game. We stayed right with them. We matched energy if not beat them out on their energy, and if we were able to sustain that it would’ve been a different story.”

 

Natalie: “It was a swarm. I just saw jerseys from every angle. I assumed that would happen, but I have faith in my teammates. Other girls stepped up when they needed to attack. I’m proud of my teammates for doing what they did. I could feel players who weren’t close to me at the moment inching closer as I was about to touch the ball.”

 

Natalie: “We’ve worked hard enough to be here and we’ve shown that through our season. We’ve beaten top teams that we’ve needed to beat. I had no doubt in my mind that we were going to get here.”

 

Tim: “It was a historic season, with the most wins we’ve had and no bad losses to teams under .500. We had Nat established as a top player in the country. I felt we deserved to be here.”