(Photo by BYU Photo/Marcos Escalona)
LOS ANGELES — BYU coach Jeff Judkins, senior center Jennifer Hamson and senior guard Kim Beeston addressed the media at Pauley Pavilion on Friday in preparation for the team's first round game vs. North Carolina State on Saturday.
Quotes from Jeff Judkins, BYU Head Coach
“Well, first of all we’re excited to be here. We’ve had a great season so far and all the teams that make the tournament have sacrificed and worked hard together to be able to be here. We’re also excited to be in LA. We feel like it’s a great place to play. What tradition to be able to play on the same court as Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton and some of these guys that, in my young days when I watched them and played against them in the pros, it was kind of nice.
Second, to be able to play NC State, who—a lot of you don’t know this, but one of my players, Morgan Bailey, her uncle is Thurl Bailey, who played for NC State. So it’s just a great opportunity for us to be able to play a great program and Coach (Wes Moore) is awesome. They’re very good and we have to play our best to beat them.
And last but not least, it’s nice to have this much media. We don’t get that much, so it’s really nice to be able to get a little coverage, you know, to tell people about our program. We’re excited about it. We’re excited about what we have accomplished so far and as you probably know I’m so lucky to coach these two young ladies. They’re great players, but they’re smart, they’re hard workers and they really care about their team and performing not just for themselves, but for me and everything. So we’re excited. Hopefully it’ll be a great game tomorrow.”
On NC State's Markeisha Gatling and team’s strategy to stop her
“Well we’re going to try to do our best. She is strong and she’s smart and their team looks to her and she knows how to get position. The key is hopefully you get her out of rhythm, you get her off the comfortable place where she wants to be and then you hope—this is what’s scary—I’ve done this before in the NCAA, you worry about one player and North Carolina State didn’t get here just because of her.
They have a lot of good players who can step it up anytime in any situation and make baskets, so as we look at this, we look at it and say we’ve got to play a real balanced game and not let—their outside players are good—they don’t get enough credit for what they do shooting, driving, rebounding, defending and so we have to do a real good job on their whole team and everything. So it’ll be interesting.
You don’t know until tip-off what’s really going to happen sometimes, but hopefully both teams play their best. I think their advantage, they play, I think in one of the toughest conferences in America and they’ve had that competition over and over and I’m sure that’s going to help them where we play three or four teams who are up to that category and we have to do a better job of that, so it’ll be exciting. I’m ready for it to go. It’s been a long week. It’s been practicing, so it’s exciting to get playing again.”
Kim Beeston, BYU Guard
On changing point in season
“I don’t really remember a specific point in the season. Our conference was really good, we had some great teams. I just remember coming together after our first loss and realizing a lot of things had to change. That came along with really utilizing our post inside and when we do that, teams have to cover down and we have shooters on the outside to execute. I would say that happened right at the beginning of conference play.”
On preparation for North Carolina State
“I honestly think their team is a lot like our team. I think it is going to be a great matchup. They really look to get the ball inside to their big players and then when the ball is kicked out, they have shooters. It will be a matter of helping on the inside, but when the ball is kicked out finding matchups, knowing personnel and executing that way.”
Jennifer Hamson, BYU Center
On matchup with NC State’s Markeisha Gatling
“I think it will be really interesting. She is a different kind of player but we have some big post in our conference too so it is something we have played against before at least. I am exciting to see what the matchup will be like.”
Thoughts on being a #12 seed
“I would say it kind of motivates us. As a twelfth seed playing a higher seed, we have nothing to lose. So we have nothing to do but play confidently, play our game and how we know how to. That is what the tournament is all about. Sometimes there are upsets and that is what we are trying to do.”
AFTER PRESS CONFERENCE
The team then practiced for 90 minutes at Pauley Pavilion and then headed to dinner. During dinner players and coaches abruptly got up from their chairs and sprinted outside once they recognized the familiar face of Magic Johnson. The photo opportunity with Magic Johnson provided many snapshots from players and coaches.