March 19, 2011
WACO, Texas - The University of Houston women's basketball team held its first official practice at Ferrell Center Saturday morning in preparation for Sunday's NCAA Tournament First Round contest against No. 25 West Virginia, while head coach Todd Buchanan and players also met with the media covering the tournament.
Below is a transcript of Saturday's press conference featuring Buchanan and senior forward Courtney Taylor.
HEAD COACH Todd Buchanan
On getting his team refocused after the Conference USA Tournament loss
"I think as a coach and certainly as a student-athlete and player I don't think you ever want to get beat. That is first and foremost. I got asked and I am sure the kids got asked many, many times, `Did you think getting beat in the conference tournament semis was maybe a `blessing in disguise.' I would certainly, behind closed doors and obviously in front of you guys as well, (say), `No, I don't believe that is every a good thing as far as losing is concerned.' Now having said that I do think with the things that we were going through as a basketball team, basketball family, trials tribulations, etc. I think it could have been a blessing in disguise to get us back to Houston and get our hearts right and minds right. Get as much rest as we possibly could, before we come here or wherever we were going to go as far as NCAA tournament. There was one relief that we felt like we were very secure in the fact that we had done the body of work to receive an at-large bid."
On West Virginia
"I don't think it makes it any more difficult to prepare for as far as West Virginia's crew. We know that they are going to bring their best. They are going to bring their A-game and we are going to do our due diligence in preparing no matter what. You don't win 16 games in a row and you certainly don't go through the Big East Conference .500 and do the things that they have done against the opponents they have done them to and not be a very, very good basketball team. I think they are big, they are long, they are athletic. I think they play extremely aggressive, extremely physical. That would probably be the two biggest things that I have see as far as from film that I have watched."
On how West Virginia will defend them
"I think that when you get to the NCAA Tournament and you have the success that they have had to this point I don't think you change. As a coach I think you are true to who you are and what you do and your philosophy. I think they will be very aggressive. I think they will play us very physical. I think they will probably deny us the basketball each and every possession and we really have to continue to prepare and be ready for that; The physicality part of it, the aggressiveness part of it. We really have to understand our cuts and the use of screens to predicate those kinds of things."
On if he is expecting a big crowd of Houston fans
"I am. I said this multiple times. This is an incredible opportunity not just for our program, but for our university and our athletic program as a whole. I would be incredibly disappointed if we don't have our sixth man here. And to be quite frank, I also said I would also be somewhat embarrassed if we don't have a good crowd. These kids deserve it. That is the bottom line."
On his relationship with West Virginia's coach Mike Carey
"It has probably been six, seven, eight years ago, give or take. Obviously, you know in the coaching realm you know it's our own personality fraternity. Always meeting at the Final Fours and stuff like that through the years and just really watching him from afar, so to speak at times at different places I have been, and obviously now he has been basically at West Virginia for a decade now and he has built, unquestionably he has built a national power there. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a coach and what he has built there."
SENIOR GUARD Courtney Taylor
On their first NCAA tournament appearance
"It means a lot to me. I think it means a lot to anybody that gets to come to the NCAA tournament. But being seniors and having never been here before, I think it is a pretty good accomplishment that we did this year."
On West Virginia's defense
"You always want to go out and play against those great defensive teams and get to showcase what your program does. I think we all look at it as a challenge and we are just going to focus on what we do and everything else will follow."
On Houston's offense
"It is always good when somebody else gets to step up and show everyone else that you cannot just stop one person. Somebody else is always another offensive threat. That is what our team is all about. It is all about picking someone else up when someone else is not having a good night."