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Dec. 8, 1997

Texas Tech Women's Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Alicia Thompson

On the season so far: I think we've gotten off to a great start. We bounced back from the one loss that we've had. We learned from the mistakes there and I think that we're doing real good. It was a hard loss for us and I think we took it hard which is good. We definitely learned from that and I'm glad that it was as early as it was in the season. We came right back home and Coach Sharp corrected the mistakes and have gotten better in some spots that we didn't do so well there against Western Kentucky. We worked on the things that we needed to work on and we spent all this last week working on those things. I think, like rebounding and defense, we made huge improvements against McNeese in those areas.

On teammates Katrisa O'Neal and Angie Braziel: They've definitely added some spark to our team in the positions that they play in. Katrisa, of course is a quick guard and she makes a lot of things happen offensively. She's so quick on defense, she gets a lot of key steals. I think that Angie blocks a lot of shots and she holds down the center and is definitely an offensive threat. She takes a lot of the pressure off of the other members of the team. They're definitely doing a great job and we'll get better. We can only get better. I think me and Angie work real good together and I think playing against other teams, they have to make a decision: They can either guard me and let Angie kill 'em or guard Angie and let me kill 'em. So Angie is so good at getting the ball up high and sticking it in the hole that they have to decide which one they have to take.

On the perimeter game: I think that Julie has come out and done a great job this year. We have a lot of guards that can shoot out there. They can't commit to us, the low post players, and leave them open because they,re such great shooters that they'll do some damage out there on the perimeter.

On the upcoming 11 day break between games: Since we'll have that much time, I wouldn't say off, but before we play again, I think it's real important that we win this game and then take that time to prepare for some tough games coming up against Old Dominion and Stanford in January. But I think we really have to focus on finals and we have to realize that it's not a relaxed time, but to really focus in on what we have to do those 11 days before we play.

On UTEP: I really don't know much about them. From what Coach Sharp has mentioned she said that there really athletic and they're bigger than McNeese. So we'll have to play good against 'em. We have to do all the little things probably to defeat them.

Coach Sharp

On the home opener: I really felt like we had some real positive things happen on Saturday. We were excited to be home and have a home game after four on the road to begin the season. I felt like our players really responded to that and were excited to have a chance to play in front of their own crowd. I think we had a lot of people who took advantage of that. I think we continue to improve in some of the little things we'll have to do throughout Big 12 play to get the things done we want to in the conference. A lot of the things, such as blocking out on the free-throw line, making decisions with the ball offensively, switching defense from a zone to a man and different things like that, we are gradually improving and that's really important to us because I think we're going to have to have a lot of firepower to get through our conference.

On the Big 12: If you've noticed some of the scores that have been coming in from the Big 12, there are some people who have been playing extremely well and it makes you real nervous when you think about Missouri was picked 12th in the conference and they're undefeated at this point right now and that's where we open conference play. So a lot of things are going through you're mind as far as improvement and I thought that was the best part about the game on Saturday.

On the younger players: We have really had an opportunity to play some of our younger players some extensive minutes in the last couple of weeks and I think that's been really positive. They've taken advantage of that and you always want to see them have an opportunity to play and you're always excited for them when they make the most of that chance. In particular on Saturday a couple of players who took advantage of that were Detra Johnson and Kristi Washington and I was really pleased with the things that we saw from those two and hope that we continue to work them into some of the things that we're doing more frequently in games and get them some more minutes.

On the press: First of all, I think we have an opportunity to have a better pressing team than we've probably ever had. We have more depth and we have more players who really can create some chaos for the opposition on the front of it. I think Braziel and Dickerson are both really good there. Boles does a good job on the front of it. So we can extend that thing and do some things on the front that I think hurt people a lot. I think the thing it does most is change the tempo of the game. That's what we look to do. We really need to turn up the pressure to get ourselves going and I think that's something we've worked on. We're working on a little bit of full court man as well as the full court zone. So I hope that we can give people different looks in the full court press. We haven't put on a three quarter press yet, but I think we will before we start conference play. So I hope we can get a lot of different looks in the full court game to really change the tempo of games when we really need to have a boost offensively.

On defense: I think it's been the slowest part to happen for us and we're still concerned about some of the decisions we're making, particularly in the zone. We've really had trouble getting the chemistry right in the zone. I thought we did make a few better decisions on Saturday. Now we're going to have to do that against whatever opponent is there. Obviously there are a lot of different ways to attack a zone and we really have to be able to do that. That's where Crystal Boles is still so valuable to us. She can come in and settle that zone so well for us. I think we'll continue to use that rotation a little bit when we need better defense put her on the floor and when we need better offense we'll probably go with Braziel and Gibbs a little bit more.

On Katrisa O'Neal: First of all, I think I'm pleasantly surprised with all of our returning starters. I think that they have really stepped it up a notch. They've become a better team. Our chemistry is one hundred percent better than it was a year ago. I think that everything that pleases me about them, the emotion that that group is playing with probably has been the very best part of what we've done. Individually, I guess there's no question that Katrisa O'Neal has been a surprise. We knew she was extremely talented, but to come in and make that transition from high school to division I and give us the spark that she's given has been a great, great bonus for us. I think she's just going to get better and better. It's been a long time since we've seen some of the athletic moves that she has been able to create. I think the pass that she made to Thompson on the break in our game on Saturday is as good a play as we've had in a long time out of two players that made that connection.

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