Feb. 4, 2008
SAN DIEGO -
San Diego State Women's Basketball Press Conference
Feb. 4, 2008
Head Coach Beth Burns
On the Mountain West Conference race:
"We opened up conference (play) with as tough a schedule as you could have with three of our first four on the road with the teams who have proven to be the top teams in the league. I think that we have continually improved and feel very comfortable that we were looking at 0-4 and now we have three (wins).
"This is a really important game for us going to Air Force on Wednesday night. (With a victory) we can get back even and stay in the hunt to be ready to attack TCU here on Saturday (at 1 p.m.)."
On the second half of MWC play:
"I said that I didn't think anybody would go through (the first half) unscathed. Then you look at Wyoming who got up to 14th in the country and then lose two this week, with one at home where I think they have the best home court advantage in sports. I think anyone who is .500 and above (after the first half) has a shot. It is going to be one heck of a (conference) tournament in Las Vegas.
On the program's improvement and some lopsided victories:
"I think it's a real credit to our players. Our team is young. BYU hasn't lost since we played them and they are sitting at 5-2. We were 0-4 when we played them and we took them out of everything they wanted to do, and that is the two-time regular season defending champion. I don't think that was an anomaly that day, but I think we can play that way. (The wins) have given us the most precious thing you can give a young team and that is confidence."
On playing so well with such a young team:
"Young teams have bad habits that are part of their high school culture because they are so much more talented than anybody they play against. Paris (Johnson) could go have a sandwich, then go block someone's shot. I think we changed when how we practiced changed. It wasn't that we weren't practicing hard, but we didn't practice with the intensity that you need to practice to prepare for the kind of teams we play.
"A huge assist goes to the San Diego State men's students who come to practice with us. They make a huge difference. (Johnson) is now used to having to guard big, tough guys in practice and that helps us get better."
On the play of the Aztec guards:
"We have had great backcourt play from Quenese (Davis) and Jené Morris. College basketball is about guards. If you have great guard play then a lot of things can go right, and we have it that on both ends of the floor. I would say that's the biggest reason we are sitting where we are now, still in the hunt."
On Paris Johnson's play:
"She started the conference season as our leading scorer and leading rebounder. We have great coaches in this league. All of a sudden, the ball would travel to her vicinity and she would have five players and a coach on her. We weren't used to the physical play and game planning. Teams were saying, `Paris isn't going to score.' But we are getting better at taking what the defense is giving us. We played UNLV and they doubled both Paris and (Allison Duffy), and Jené Morris had 35 points.
Sophomore guard Quenese Davis
On keeping their confidence up after starting 0-4:
"We kept our confidence up by attacking practice hard everyday. Even though we kept losing and losing, we knew that our home game versus BYU could boost our confidence (with a win). We came out hard that game after practicing hard."
Freshman forward Paris Johnson
On her maturity from the beginning of the season to now:
"It was a whole different experience coming in because I didn't play against big girls in high school unless I was playing in camps around the country. Going against the practice guys is a big challenge because they play hard. It just prepares me for the game. I started off well, but then had a turn where I wasn't doing so well. So I just got focused again and worked hard in practice. They we just followed the game plan and I got back to playing well.
"I've seen a big change in my play. The main thing is boxing out the big girls. I'm now boxing them out like I do the big guys in practice."