Texas Head Coach Jody Conradt
Her reaction in general to the Dallas bracket and to the fact that LSU is the No. 1 overall seed in the tourney and also in UT's Chattanooga Regional bracket ...
"I like how it played out this year with pre-determined "pod" sites. There was no suspense for us in where we would play. This summer, we were excited when we received the bid to host the first and second rounds in Dallas. It is close enough for lots of our fans to be there, and we expect a big following. Texas Tech, Rice, UT-Arlington and Oral Roberts also will be playing close to their campuses and fan bases, and that is important as well.
I like the NCAA guidelines where you will not play anyone in your conference until a regional final. I don't ever make it a point to talk about seedings with our team. It is counter-productive, and I stopped worrying a long time ago about seedings and pairings. I do think, however, that with us getting a No. 3 seed this year with the record we have is a sign of respect for our team and for our Big 12 Conference.
And, right now, I am just going to talk about and focus on getting ready for Oral Roberts. I don't get into speculation down the line on who will play who or worry about the second-round game. Coaches know it is all about living in the moment at this time of the year and advancing one game at a time. There is a reason they call this the "second season". Everything is erased, and everyone starts with a clean slate.
I wish there were another NCAA guideline – that we wouldn't have to be in the same bracket as LSU for the third straight year! All joking aside, LSU is worthy of being the No. 1 team in the tournament.
What she knows about Oral Roberts...
"To be honest, I don't know much about the Oral Roberts team right now. We will scramble the next few days to get (game) tapes of them. I do know that they beat Oklahoma State in overtime and lost to Texas Tech early in the year."
Talking about the Big 12 Conference and its strength...
"We've known for a long, long time that the Big 12 is one of the premier conferences. We live it every night! We have the second-most teams in the NCAA tournament this year with six (second only to the ACC's seven teams), and we could have had seven in. There was a part of the season where Nebraska was playing very, very well. They probably just missed a bid. We in the Big 12 have developed our basketball programs in a way which is causing the rest of the country to pay attention."
About the Texas team's mentality at this point of the year...
"We are an experienced team and have played very well at times and not so well – sometimes in the same game. I know our players will prepare hard this week. It was disappointing to let the game with Kansas State Friday (Big 12 tourney semifinals) get away from us.
This team has the ability to play with anyone in the country. If we can put it together, we could be playing for a long time. However, we are not the same team without Nina Norman on the court (missed the two Big 12 Tournament games with a fractured left pinkie finger – non-shooting hand). She is tremendous at penetrating and pushing the ball and helping us play up-tempo. Right now, she is not ready to play, but she has a lot of time between now and Saturday's game with Oral Roberts to get ready. The question with Nina remains – will she be able to play, and if she does, how effective will she be?
We've got to make sure that our good selves show up and not our bad selves. Everyone on our team has to recognize that it will take focus and commitment to advance. I really believe this team will be ready to play."
Talking about the Texas Longhorn players wearing a white t-shirt with the number "1091" across the back (the number signifies the distance in miles from Austin to Indianapolis, site of the 2005 Women's Final Four)...
"We started giving the players this type of shirt with the mileage from Austin to the NCAA Final Four site a few years ago when the Final Four was in San Antonio. It took them a while to figure out what the number meant that year, and now, it's become a team staple to have these shirts. Every year, the players look forward to getting these shirts. I think it's a motivation for them, and they are proudly wearing them today."
Kala Bowers, 6-2 Sr. G (Woodward, Okla./Woodward HS)
"As a team, we have been through a lot of adversity this year so I think we are well prepared to make a charge to get to the Final Four and win an NCAA Championship. It was my last time watching the selection show with my teammates - which was pretty exciting. I think we are all looking forward to playing in Dallas and taking care of business."
Jamie Carey, 5-6 Sr. G (Thornton, Colo./Horizon HS/Stanford University)
"It's nice to know where we're going and who we're going to play. There are several tough teams in our bracket we could potentially face, but I think every team in the NCAA tournament is tough and any team can win on any given night – that's just how basketball goes. I'm never surprised at what the bracket looks like; I've been around for six years playing. You just go where you are supposed to go and play. Right now, our focus is on Oral Roberts. I don't want to look ahead to a potential second-round game with either Georgia or Rice, but I know y'all are going to ask about a potential re-match with Georgia. If that happens, I can tell you honestly that we are a totally different team right now than we were in the second game of the year against Georgia; and, they are different as well."
Tiffany Jackson, 6-3 So. F (Dallas, Texas/Duncanville HS)
"We learned from last year that you cannot get caught up in where a team ends up in the brackets. We just have to go out and play. It's either win or go home, and our first test is Oral Roberts. We are not looking ahead to a possible re-match with Georgia in the second round because who's to say that we or Georgia are even going to advance. I'm excited about playing in Dallas because it's like our second home. We had great success playing there in the Big 12 Tournament the last few years, and we hope to have a huge fan base there to support us."
Annissa Hastings, 6-2 Sr. F (San Antonio, Texas/Sam Houston HS)
"It doesn't matter who we play. It's the NCAA Tournament and everyone knows that it's one loss and you're done. Who is to say that the higher-seeded teams are going to beat the lower seeds in the bracket like they are supposed to? There is a lot of parity this year in our game. We are all playing for a national championship so we have to go out there and take care of business, starting Saturday against Oral Roberts."
Nina Norman, 5-8 Jr. G (Houston, Texas/Sam Houston HS)
"I'm happy with our seed. We've had a tough season at times with a lot of bumps in the road, but I think we have a really good chance of going somewhere in the tournament. I don't know much about Oral Roberts right now, but I'm sure our coaches will have us prepared soon. I like the fact that we have tough teams like Georgia, Duke and LSU in our bracket. There are going to be tough teams in the tournament regardless, so we're just going to take one game at a time. I like playing at Reunion Arena because it's close to home and it should be an advantage having a large fan base supporting us."
Heather Schreiber, 6-2 Sr. F (Windthorst, Texas/Windthorst HS)
"I really don't think it matters what seed we got. We're just ready to get back out on the court and compete. We have to worry about beating Oral Roberts first. I think we're excited about the potential to face Georgia or Rice in the second round. We've played at Reunion Arena in Dallas before. We played there in 2003 and then again last year at the Big 12 Tournament, so I do think that works to our advantage."