Texas A&M Press Conference Quotes Prior to Facing Nebraska

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Texas A&M to Face Nebraska in Second Round

Aggie Women’s Basketball Game #35
NCAA Second Round
Texas A&M (25-9; 11-5 SEC) vs. Nebraska (24-8, 12-4 Big 10)
March 25, 2013 · 8:30 p.m. (CT)
Reed Arena (12,989)
College Station, Texas

TV: ESPN2, Regional. Espn3.com or WatchESPN mobile app
Carter Blackburn, Play-by-Play
Maria Taylor, Commentary

RADIO: Texas A&M Radio Network
Mike Wright, Play-by-Play
David Campbell, Commentary
Local: WTAW-AM 1620 (College Station/Bryan)

LIVE AUDIO/STATS: AggieAthletics.com

GAME NOTES: Game #35 – NCAA Second Round vs Nebraska

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M (25-9) advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight season, the Aggies will face former conference mate Nebraska (24-8) at Reed Arena. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. (CT) and the game will be televised regionally by ESPN2.

Fans can also listen locally on WTAW 1620 AM and worldwide on aggieathletics.com and radio aggieland app. A&M is hosting first- and second-round action at Reed Arena for the second consecutive year. The first two rounds at Reed Arena will be March 23 and 25.

The Aggies and Huskers will meet for the 24th time on Monday. The Huskers lead the all-time series 14-9, but A&M has won six of the last eight match-ups. The two teams last met March 5, 2011 in Nebraska’s final season in the Big 12 Conference. The Aggies shot 44.8% from the floor and forced 18 Husker turnovers en route to a 84-49 win at Reed Arena. Current Husker Lindsey Moore recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists in the game, Jordan Hooper lead Nebraska with 16 points. The maroon and white were led by Danielle Adams with 23 points, Sydney Carter and Adaora Elonu each scored 14 points off the bench. Sydney Colson facilitated much of the offense tallying 15 assists on the night.

Texas A&M shook off a sluggish start against Wichita State Saturday afternoon with strong play from senior Kristi Bellock and freshman Courtney Williams. Bellock lead the game in scoring with 18 points, Williams added 11 to help secure the A&M victory. Junior All-American candidate Kelsey Bone was plagued with foul trouble for much of the game, but was able to score 10 points in the second half to put the Lady Shockers away. Senior Adrienne Pratcher added six points, seven rebounds and seven assists to lead the game in rebounds and assists.

The Aggies enter the game with a four game winning streak, the first three at the SEC Tournament against Top-15 teams and the NCAA first-round against Wichita State. The Huskers enter the game having won 12 of their last 14 games.

Senior Adrienne Pratcher took over the national lead in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.8 following conference tournament play. The Aggies have consistently ranked in the top-10 in field goal percentage and head in to the tournament at 7th shooting 45.7%, due in large part to junior Kelsey Bone ranking 6th nationally at 56.5%. The maroon and white also rank in the top-10 in assists per game with 17.1.

Bone is having a magical year scoring and rebounding the basketball, with 569 points thus far this season she has accumulated the 5th most points in a single season by an Aggie. Additionally she has grabbed 321 rebounds, third most in a single season. She is one of three players to rank in the top-5 in each category in program history, Danielle Adams in 2011 at most points (847) and second in rebounds (324) along with Peggy Pope in 1979 with fourth most points (578) and most rebounds (360).

The winner of Monday’s game will advance to Norfolk Virginia for the Sweet 16, the first game is set to take place March 31 at either 11:00 a.m. or 1:30 p.m.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 with Carter Blackburn on play-by-play and Maria Taylor providing commentary. The game will broadcast regionally with fans in Texas and Nebraska able to watch the game un-interrupted, others might be directed to regional games in their area. The games will be carried online at espn3.com and on the WatchESPN mobile app.

2013 NCAA Division I women’s basketball championship
Second Round · Practice Day
Reed Arena · College Station, Texas
Sunday, March 24


Gary Blair, Head Coach

Opening statement:
“First, I’d like to congratulate our crowd. Our season ticket base was 2,900 and now all of a sudden it’s 7,200, so that’s just a good job by marketing to get those tickets out there. From here on out it’s survive and advance. We begin the second half of this journey today and we’ll see if we can continue to figure out that formula. We’re going to play a very good and well-coached team tomorrow in Nebraska. It’ll be very similar to the great battles that took place when both Coach Connie (Yori) and I’s teams were in the Big 12. Their team reminds me of the Gonzaga team led by Courtney Vandersloot a few years ago. They’re very polished, they share the ball very well, and you can tell that when they switched from zone to man yesterday, Chattanooga couldn’t handle their pressure.”

On Kelsey Bone and her being under Brittney Griner’s shadow:
“It isn’t just Kelsey under her shadow, it’s our whole basketball team. It was only two years ago that we won the national championship, and last year we weren’t chopped liver getting to the Sweet 16, yet Obama’s picked Nebraska to win this game already. We feel like Rodney Dangerfield at times, but our student-athletes understand the game as much as any kids I’ve ever coached.”

On the Aggies’ Big 12 “reunion” with Nebraska:
“I’m proud to be in the SEC, but I think the SEC, the Big 12, and the Big East are all up there as some of the better conferences in the country. Connie (Yori) was one of the better coaches in the Big 12, but Nebraska made the right move in going to the Big Ten. They’ve done very well up there and it’s a great region recruiting-wise for them. This is going to be an outstanding ball game. Neither team is going to be capable of a blowout because they’re just too well-coached, too disciplined, and do a lot of things very well. We’re going to have to stop their offense that they run to perfection. They’re not going to rush and take the shot in the first 10 seconds that they have the ball, but rather allow the play to develop and wear you out. Even when you think you have them pinned down, Nebraska surfaces and makes you beat them. I’m looking forward to the matchup. No one is going to trick me into that question: “Which one do I like more, the Big 12 or the SEC?” because the NCAA is full of great conferences. Just look at the Big East with all the teams they’re adding this next year. They’re fixing to have a pretty darn good conference. It’s just change, and we all have to adjust to it.”

On Nebraska’s playing style and whether or not it has changed in recent years:
“I don’t think her (Yori’s) style has changed. The only thing that has changed is the fact that she’s not a two-platoon person anymore. She used to have so much depth that she could use two-platoon subs and wear teams out. You saw Matthew Mitchell at Kentucky do that just recently subbing five players into the game. But this year Yori won’t do that; you won’t see her take Moore, Hooper or Cady out unless those kids get into foul trouble. I think that’s the way you’ve got to play today: Know who your horses are and let them score.”

On Emily Cady:
“She’s going to put the ball on the floor and drive on us. “We’re going to have to stop those high post drives. She plays hard every possession. She’s one of those kids that doesn’t get all of the headlines but does all the dirty work. With a player like her you never know how she’s going to hurt you. I mean, with Hooper and Moore you just expect them to score and all you have to do is contain them, but Cady is solid, she plays hard and you have to keep an eye on her.”

On the Aggies’ inaugural year in the SEC:
“I love the SEC. I loved it when I was at Arkansas, but more importantly I love A&M. The SEC is great, but so was the Big 12, so why do I have to have a favorite? Would you rather have Sandra Bullock or Julia Roberts? I want both!”

On Nebraska head coach Connie Yori:
“I love to study coaches. When Chattanooga went on that run yesterday and went up 9 in the second half, Connie was never flustered. That’s how you determine who can coach and who gets into panic mode. Connie is one of the best-kept secrets in college basketball. She needs to be coaching more USA teams, she should be up for more awards, yet still, you’re never going to pull Connie away from Nebraska to coach at another BCS school.”

Kristi Bellock, Senior, Forward

On Nebraska’s chance against A&M:
“We are a very good team and we are very well-coached. I think we are very tough and we have a lot of keys and when everyone comes with the right mind frame and go-out-there attitude this team can be very good and very dangerous. If I was Nebraska, I wouldn’t want to play us.”

On her greater role on the team:
“It has been a long journey. Coach Blair has talked my whole four years about always being ready when your time comes no matter what position you play or if you are coming off the bench. Always have that mindset to always be ready to produce in a game. Now that I’m a starter, he still reminds me that I have to produce and do something good in the game to help us win. My role on the team is very important along with Adrienne and Kelsey so if I don’t do my job then it’s easier for the defense to help on other people.”

Adrienne Pratcher, Senior, Guard

On playing a former Big 12 team:
“Since we have been in the SEC, I think we came in as the underdog. We were preseason ranked to finish fourth in the league, but we finished third. Going into the SEC and being able to be the first time SEC Championship showed a lot for us, from our coaching staff and as a team. Playing Nebraska tomorrow, coming from the Big 12 where we had many games against them and competed very well, I think they beat us my freshman year, but it’s good to see two former Big 12 teams going against each other tomorrow night.“

On the perimeter matchup:
“Lindsay Moore; we have talked about her since we knew Nebraska was in our bracket. She is a very good point guard. In the game yesterday, when they went man, the pressure from the guards played a big factor in Chattanooga’s offense; they weren’t able to score as many 3s. With the guards we have, we will be able to attack them and kick the ball to the open players and feed Kelsey and Kristi in the post. I think we will be just fine against their pressure.”

On playing in her final home game:
“It’s definitely going to be emotional for us as seniors because it is our last home game, and I think the best way to go out as seniors is to win. There is no greater feeling than playing in front of the 12th Man. Yesterday, the crowd was amazing and throughout the game you could tell we were in front of our home crowd. The 12th Man here is very important so I think it will be a great game for us, coming out with a victory for our last game.”

Kelsey Bone, Senior, Center

On dealing with expectations:
“I noticed it in high school, around my sophomore year there were articles written and there became all this attention. It doesn’t really bother me or phase me. A lot of times people have all these expectations for me individually, but basketball is a team sport. The one thing I can say about my progression this year is due to the credit of my teammates. They believe in me and I believe in them as well. They make me look good. When people are double or triple teaming me, they are knocking down shots and finding ways to still get me the ball. It’s a credit to my coaching staff as well because we just figure it out. Teams are going to throw defense at me and try to find ways to slow me down, but we are a team and that has been the biggest thing and the most enjoyment I’ve had this year. If I kick a pass to the backside to Pratcher, there is a 40% chance that the ball is going in the basket. Kristi is going to knock down that high jump shot. Karla is going to come in and clean up the backside boards. For me, there are all these expectations but I’m just focused on my team. Everybody is going to have expectations of me, but as long as my team is winning and we are playing well I’m okay.”

On defending Jordan Hooper:
“We have played a couple stretch forward players - Sarah Watkins at Arkansas to name one. I think our big thing on defense is that we are going to have to guard her even when she doesn’t have the ball. When Lindsey is coming down the floor we are going to have to pressure her so it makes it difficult to get the ball to Jordan. They run a lot of good things for her; they run her off screens. When you do have a post player on her who is not used to playing through screens, sometimes it creates matchup difficulties. We are excited about the matchup. She is a great player and it’s going to be a great test for us moving forward if we plan on surviving and advancing. It is going to be a great matchup and a good thing to keep your eye on during the game.”

On coming back to the SEC:
“Growing up I always loved the SEC. When I was younger, Tennessee was winning championships, LSU was going to Final Fours, and Georgia was really good, so I always loved that conference and liked that style of play a lot. That played a big factor in that decision initially, but being homesick, I came back home. I never expected to play in the SEC again once I left. My first summer here, we thought that we would go back the first year I was eligible to play and that didn’t happen. When it finally did happen, to go back and I remember my freshman year we lost the first game in the SEC tournament and I was just devastated. So to go back in the same arena that I played that first game and to win an SEC championship, I couldn’t have written that script any better. It’s just a testament to the group of girls I play with. We are having fun and enjoying what we are doing right now. We are in a good spot.”

On Kristi Bellock:
“It’s funny because if Kristi doesn’t knock down that shot with the consistency that she does then teams have to pay way more attention to me. If her defender is bigger, then she will double team me. So if she is not consistently knocking down the shot it makes my life a little bit more difficult. When you start talking about the way she can push the ball in transition, or the way she runs the floor, she can stretch defenses as well. It is exciting to play with her. She is a lot like Adaora was for us last year. Now a lot more attention is paid to me than was last year. When she is clicking on all cylinders we are a hard team to beat. Lately for us, she has been that and we have been a hard team to beat.”

On staying out of foul trouble:
“It’s definitely important. Sometimes when teams have game plans for me, lately I’ve been helping them with their game plans a little bit. I know that they are going to key in on some matchups and they will try to get me in foul trouble again so I have to play smarter and know that my teammates have my back on defense. It is going to be very important because they are a much bigger team and they can stretch it and shoot it. It will be important for me to spend a lot of time on the floor instead of on the bench in the first half.”


Courtney Walker, Freshman, Guard

Excitement of getting her first NCAA tournament win with a great crowd:
“It was a lot of fun, to get the jitters out early. When the energy got picked up, the crowd and the sound really got us going.”

On Nebraska:
“It’s a completely different team than when I used to watch them at OU and OSU, but they still have the same concepts. We’ll be ready to play tomorrow and we’ll get the game plan. We’ve watched a lot of film already and we’ll watch some more, but that will really help us learn their personnel.”

Karla Gilbert, Junior, Center:

On yesterday’s win:
“It was very exciting. I think this might be the biggest crowd we’ve had so far this season. So it’s good seeing the support we have from the community. We’re one step closer to New Orleans.”

On getting to play the first and second rounds at home:
“Having the support and a lot of people’s family and friends there, one your home court, who wouldn’t like being at home in one of the biggest tournament games of the seaso? It’s an awesome feeling.”

On Nebraska:
“From watching film, we know that they like to spread the floor, drift a lot. They hustle for rebounds. It should be a good game.”

On any improvements A&M needs to make before tomorrow:
“We need to stop the ball faster. No more lane line drives, and be able to pick up faster whenever there is a mistake.”


Connie Yori, Head Coach

Opening Statement:
“I hadn’t really watched A&M a lot this year. Last night we spent a lot of time watching film. They remind me of a Gary Blair team, a Gary Blair team that pressures and works really hard on the defensive end. Offensively, it seems like Gary always has a good point guard. Adrienne Pratcher is a really solid point guard. The interior game that they have will challenge us greatly. They’ve got the two Courtney’s in the back who are identical molds. They’re a very talented team that we’re going to play. They get to play on their home court. That’s an advantage to them from that standpoint. We’ve got some kids who don’t want their season to end either. You’ll see our team be competitive tomorrow.”

On players similar to Kelsey Bone:
“We’ve played a number of kids in the Big Ten that are similar styles to her. Pretty much everybody in the Big Ten has some form of the block presence. We’re pretty much the only team that doesn’t have a low-block presence. We’ve faced plenty of post presences. Don’t get me wrong, Kelsey’s special. She’s a special player who is one of the most powerful players in our game.”

On Gary Blair:
“I’ve watched Gary’s team from when he was at Stephen F. Austin and at Arkansas. He is slightly older than I am but I’ve been in the game for a long time. I’ve seen what he’s done everywhere he’s been. He’s had great success everywhere. He knows how to recruit. He knows what style he wants to play. He’s been pretty consistent in doing that. He’s got good players and does a really good job of coaching them.”

On Nebraska’s move to the Big Ten:
“It’s been a great transition for us across the board athletically. The Big Ten is a great fit for us geographically. We’re playing against northern schools and we don’t have to compete against weather in the recruiting process. I think we have all found that to be a positive. I just think it made sense for us to make the change when we did it. The Big 12 was great to us. It was very hard to leave the Big 12 but at the same time, when we had the opportunity I think it was a good move.”

On Jordan Hooper:
“She’s one of the best shooters in the country. That’s her forte. That’s what she does. What makes Jordan unique is the fact that she’s 6-2. She creates matchup problems and can rebound the ball. I think A&M has some kids who matchup pretty well with her. It depends on how they choose to guard. I think they’ll match up pretty well with us. There are some teams that don’t match up well and sometimes we can take advantage of that.”

On Emily Cady:
“Emily is highly underrated. She’s as competitive of a kid as you’re going to find. We’ve got some really good competitors but she’s the most competitive kid that we had. She does all the little things. That’s who she is. That’s how she’s always been. I love coaching Emily because she has great passion for the game. As coaches we really appreciate that. She might not be one of those kids that gets the media recognition, but she’s extremely important to our program.”

On the matchup with the Texas A&M posts:
“I think you saw yesterday when their two kids got in foul trouble. Bellock kept them in the game. Williams had a good game. She’s really come on lately. Any good team is not about one player. They’ve got a really good starting lineup and they’ve got some depth too. Each of those five kids can score. Williams has really come on as a scorer. They’ve got four kids who average in double figures.”

On playing in a hostile environment:
“We’ve played in tough environments. The Big Ten draws very well for women’s basketball. We’ve been in this environment. Our kids have this experience. We have had kids who have played in front of big crowds. We need to stay composed and be poised. We’ve got nothing to lose. Nobody expects us to win. We’re the underdog. They’ve got the pressure on them.”

Jordan Hooper, Junior, Forward

On Kelsey Bone:
“She is a great post presence. She gets big down on the block and she does whatever she wants down there. She creates a lot of havoc. We are going to have to play quick, get around her and hopefully deter the ball from going in.”

On past competition similar to Bone:
“We’ve played Penn State. Their posts are pretty big and quick like her. We have played a lot of great competition in the Big Ten, but Kelsey Bone is kind of different. She stays on the block and I don’t think we have seen a lot of that in the Big Ten. It is going to be a challenge.”

On last night’s keys to limiting Bone:
“I saw her get into foul trouble. We just have to play quick and hopefully take her out of the game and keep the ball from going to her.”

On pressure to score:
“You just go game to game. You don’t really acknowledge the pressure. You just go out and play your game. If it comes to you, it comes to you. If it doesn’t, you just have to find other things to do to help your team. You have to look past the pressure and go within yourself and just play.”

On team support in the first round:
“My team really rallied around me. My teammates and my coaches really helped my confidence a lot. They said different things to me throughout halftime and the second half to help me get my head right.”

Lindsey Moore, Senior, Guard

On importance of transition:
“It’s huge for both sides. We have posts that want to get out and run. It is definitely going to be a battle of who is going to get stopped in transition. Both teams like to play at a fast pace and get out in transition. That is going to be a huge part of the game.”

On playing Texas A&M:
“It is exciting to see that both of us have left the Big 12 but are ending up playing each other again. It’s definitely going to be a lot of fun. We have all the respect for Texas A&M and the things that they have done in the Big 12 and now in the SEC. It will be a good challenge for us. It will be a tough one for us since we are playing on their home court. We are excited and looking forward to the challenge.”

On team confidence:
“We are pretty confident, especially to come back in our game yesterday when we were down. We were able to turn up the defense, get soft and play well. I think Jordan Hooper had a really great second half. Honestly, I think we will just carry that over from our last game into our next game and hopefully Hooper can get it started a bit more quickly for us. We are really excited. At this point, you can be sent home at any time so we just want to live in the moment and really look forward to what we have going on. We are here for a reason so we have to play with that confidence.”


Rachel Theriot, Freshman, Guard:

On playing in her first NCAA tournament game:
“It was definitely exciting and obviously we want to continue to do our best to go farther in the tournament.”

On Texas A&M:
“They’re quick and athletic. They have a couple bigs, which will be a little tougher on us because we’re on the smaller side, but we just have to work together as a team and hopefully that takes care of itself.”

On keys to winning the second round:
“Rebounding in general. I know we rebounded pretty well last night, but you always have to be consistent with that and definitely taking care of the ball.”

On A&M’s home court advantage:
“They’ll have a lot more people for them. Either way, playing on the road is really tough and we just have to be tougher in every aspect and play our hardest.”

Emily Cady, Sophomore, Forward

On getting first their NCAA tournament win:
“It was actually really, really fun because last year we didn’t make it past the first round. So it’s cool to actually play in the second round.”

On her role:
“I just try to do whatever I can to help the team. So if they need me to score, I’ll try to find the best way to score. I really like getting assists, so if I can find an open shooter, that’s just as good as me scoring.”

On anything different that they need to do against A&M:
“I think we need to be more detailed on defense and be in the right spots so we don’t give up easy baskets.”

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