March 20, 2010
COACH CAREY: You know, needless to say, our team at West Virginia University is excited to be in the NCAAs. It's a great opportunity. These players have done a great job all year, worked extremely hard all year to get to this point. You know, we're excited to be in the NCAAs, and we're excited to play.
Sarah, just curious, their point guard was player of the year in their conference and in the top ten in a number of categories nationally. Should be a pretty good matchup with you. What have you seen of her on tape?
SARAH MILES: I mean, overall, she's a very good player. She can shoot. She can dribble. She basically is the team's offense. So, I mean, I'm just going to go out and play defense on her like I would any other point guard.
If you could maybe expand on that. What do you think she does best as a point guard? What's the biggest challenge about that?
SARAH MILES: Something that I think she does best is she can score and shoot the three like really deep, and she's really small, which makes her harder to guard, and she's quick. So, I mean, I think she just brings a lot of offense to their team and like the offense is through her. So if I'm able to defend her-- I mean, I don't know where the offense will come from if I can defend her.
I hate to keep going back to Sarah here. Talk about what your feelings were when you found out that you all were going to be playing a first round game in Austin, this close to your hometown.
SARAH MILES: I mean, I was excited. It's an unbelievable feeling because my mom has never been able to see me play live. So for her to have a chance to see me play live in my college career is a very big moment for us as a family as a whole. So it's really exciting.
Who all is going to be here?
SARAH MILES: Quite a few people.
Can you put a number on it?
Can you talk about the transition you had to make before the season to go from shooting guard to point guard and how you feel that went early on.
SARAH MILES: At least 25 Miles are going to be here, 25 people from the Miles family. That's Miles, not the miles distance.
SARAH MILES: I mean, being a guard period is not much. It's just a point guard has more responsibility because the ball is usually always in your hands. So it's your responsibility to be able to know where your shooters are going to be, know where your post likes the ball at more and everything. And as the two guard, you just look to score. So learning the point guard, I had to learn how to think pass first before I score, which is not too bad. It's pretty fun. I like both positions.
Coach, can you talk about her transition.
COACH CAREY: Yeah, in the beginning, we moved her over. She would come to me and say, am I going to be playing here? I would always say, well, we'll see what happens. I'm still saying that, we'll see what happens. But she is our point guard. She's done a great job transitioning from two guard to point guard.
The biggest thing I have to keep telling her is she has to look to score more because she tries to get everybody involved and sometimes forgets about herself. That's the biggest thing I've seen. Her adjustment was she thought, if she was so-called point guard, that she couldn't score. We want her to continue to score and continue to look for her own shot.
This could be for any of the players. You're the top seed here, but you're an awful long way from home. I'm curious if you feel like you are viewed as the favorite to come out of this regional or if you feel like, because you're so far away, then it kind of makes you an underdog in any way. How do you size that up for your own team?
LIZ REPELLA: Location doesn't really mean anything. We're down here to win two games. We're going to focus on Lamar first and then whoever wins the San Diego State and Texas game. We're just looking at it as two basketball games, and we need to win them.
For any of the players, you lost by two points to UConn. Do you attribute that to their defense, or did you have a good chance to work on your offense since that game?
LIZ REPELLA: We've had a lot of offensive droughts during the season. We have been concentrating on our offense a lot the last few practices.
Korinne, what do you see with Lamar? What's your impressions of them?
KORINNE CAMPBELL: I would say my impression of them is that they're a pretty well-rounded team. They have two main scorers, their point guard and their four player. And we've just got to go out there and just play defense on them and be up for every challenge that they throw at us.
Liz, would it be too simple to boil this down to you're fourth in the country in scoring defense. They're averaging 75 points a game. They score a lot of points. Is that pretty much in a nutshell the key to this game?
LIZ REPELLA: Yeah, I mean, every game we concentrate on our defense. We're a defensive team. So that is a challenge, and I think we're looking forward to that, stopping them. With that being said, though, we're going to concentrate on our offense too. We need to score.
Do they remind you of anybody you've played this year? Any of you?
LIZ REPELLA: DePaul kind of. Their transition, they really like to get out and run and look over top. As soon as like even on a made bucket, if we score, we're always looking to push the ball. So we're going to have to get back on transition defense.
Does their point guard remind you of anybody you've seen this year?
SARAH MILES: I mean, also the DePaul point guard, they kind of favor a little bit, about the same height and everything, same skill level.
You haven't played a game since March 9th. Is the layoff going to have any effect? Has it been good?
KORINNE CAMPBELL: It's been good. We've had a lot of time to work on our weaknesses. You know, just get our defense even better than what it is right now, work on offense and everything. I think, when we get out there, we're going to be ready to play and refreshed. So we're going to be able to just run.
As someone who's not seen you all play last year, I've heard your defense is great. Do you have a word to describe your defense?
SARAH MILES: Aggressive. We work a lot on stand up the lane and help defense. We try to help each other on defense as much as we can, and we work a lot on that, being able to help each other. That makes the defense flow a lot better when you have help.
Do you prefer to play man?
SARAH MILES: Man. We prefer man.
Sarah, can you put into words your feelings about playing here? Is it going to feel pressure, or are you excited about being back in Texas?
SARAH MILES: I'm excited, but I'm trying to stay focused and continue to stay focused on what I'm here for, which is the game. I'd rather just go into this game thinking like any other game regardless of the location and regardless of who's going to be in the stands. Whoever's in the crowd is not going to be my focus. The focus is going to be our team and the game and the win. I'm just going to try to stay as focused as possible on the game.
Think you can do that?
SARAH MILES: Yeah, I think I can do that.
How did you end up playing in West Virginia?
SARAH MILES: Through AAU. West Virginia seen me playing through AAU, and I just went on a visit basically, and I like what I seen on the visit. The coaches were nice. The team was pretty nice. So I just decided to go ahead and sign my life over to West Virginia.
Just a little off the court. I'm sure Morgantown is a little cold this time of year. I lived a couple of years in West Virginia. Maybe you were hoping Austin would be a little warmer when you were here. Were you hoping to maybe get out and see or do anything while you're here? Or does Coach have everything locked down on all that?
SARAH MILES: Just get some Mexican food is pretty much it.
You miss that in Morgantown?
SARAH MILES: A lot.
Go back to the Mexican food. What do you miss? What do you like to get?
SARAH MILES: Breakfast tacos, I don't know. Most people don't know much about that.
COACH CAREY: We have those at McDonald's.
SARAH MILES: Those are burritos. It's completely different.
Texas recruited you?
SARAH MILES: Yes, sir.
Did you visit here?
SARAH MILES: I never came on a visit because Jody Conradt was leaving at the time, and that's who was recruiting me at the time. I did attend a camp once upon a time.
Did you look at any other Texas schools?
SARAH MILES: Just like UTEP and Texas A&M, Corpus Christi, schools like that.
I asked the girls earlier about Connecticut. You averaged 75 points a game against your defensive numbers. Is that pretty much the keys to the game?
COACH CAREY: We really stressed over this little break we had. We gave them four days off. We gave them three days off right after the Big East Tournament and practiced two days and gave them another day off. We thought it was important also to get their legs back a little bit and not really be concerned with practicing every day.
That being said, we continue to work on our defense, but we spent a lot of time on the half-court offense because, you know, you get to the NCAAs, and everybody's pretty good. We're going to have to score a little bit. We were able to put a couple wrinkles in and change up a little bit. Hopefully, you know, it all comes down to hitting shots.
You mentioned the Connecticut game. We had a lot of good wide open shots. We just didn't hit them. That's what it comes down to. You can run whatever you want to run offensively, but you have to hit the open shots. You either do or you don't.
I think the question was raised to the players about the layoff. It's been a while since you guys suited up played a game. Any concerns with that?
COACH CAREY: You always have concerns. Even in the Big East Tournament, we had a double bye, so we had a pretty long layoff there too. We were a little rusty the first game coming back. But I think we've had good practices. I think our players are ready to play, and they're excited to play, and that's the key. We do what we do. We're not going to change a lot. We're going to come out and try to defend. You have to come out and play hard, and hopefully we can hit some shots. If you do that, we're a pretty good basketball team.
Are you concerned playing so far away from home?
COACH CAREY: Well, you're always concerned. I'd like to play it at Morgantown, but we didn't put a bid in. I'd like to play it in some closer places, absolutely. That way our fans would have had an opportunity to come. But it is what it is. So we'll make the most of it.
Where your team goes, you go with them. As Jenna goes, Lamar goes with her?
COACH CAREY: She's a great player. It's interesting our players compare them to DePaul. They do play a lot like DePaul. Four out, one in, run, get up and down the floor. Our point guard dictates what they do. They isolate her a lot of times too, where she can come off a double, single pick, and that type of stuff. Very good player, but they have other players too.
Sometimes you concentrate on one player, and other players have a career night on you. We have to be consistent with our defense, be consistent with everybody.
Can you talk about Sarah playing in Texas?
COACH CAREY: It's great. Sarah, she's been on me for three years to play in this area. It's great for her that she's going to have an opportunity. It's great for her grandmother and mother. They've been to visit West Virginia. They've been down, but they've never been there for a game. So it's great they'll have an opportunity to see her play.
You know, I'm sure she'll be a little bit nervous, come out and try to do a little bit too much in the beginning, but she'll be fine. She'll be fine.
Sarah was the defensive player of the year in the conference. What does she allow to you do defensively?
COACH CAREY: She starts our defense at the point. She'll be up-- I think she led the conference in steals. She has great quickness, very active defensively. That sets the tone for us, gives us an opportunity to get up the lanes like they were talking and really do a lot of pressure defense because of her. Needless to say, on our break, she does a great job pushing the break and finding the open man and getting us in our offense.
She's been great this year for us. The stats may not show that, especially offensively. But at any given time, I know in a semi game against Rutgers she scored like 18, 20 points. She has that capability, but she really sacrifices a lot of her game for everybody else.
Is there a comparison to DePaul?
COACH CAREY: Yeah, pretty much. DePaul plays a lot of open four out, five out stuff. After they miss buckets, they throw over the top like Lamar does. We've got to do a good job getting back, but also we've got to take advantage of their size or lack of size. We have to crash the offensive boards, but with that being said, we also have to have people back because they'll just step in and throw it over the top. We're going to have to play a great total game.
Coach, what happened in that Syracuse game?
COACH CAREY: That's a good question. If I knew, I'd like to tell you. I don't know. We started out that game 22-8. I mean, we started-- it's not like we weren't ready to play. We come out and jumped on them 22-8. We got in a little bit of foul trouble. We went to the bench. But I still thought we were in good shape to come out the second half. We just did not play well.
Give Syracuse a lot of credit too. They were prepared, and they came out and played harder than we did. That didn't happen a lot this year, somebody playing harder than we did. We were disappointed in that game, but we were able to regroup for the Big East Tournament.
How long have you known Lamar's coach?
COACH CAREY: For a while. I've known Larry for a while. You know, I was asked right after we were told we were coming here to play them about them. And I said I know their coach better than I know the players. Great guy, has done a great job at Lamar. You know, everybody that knows him knows that, you know, he is a good person and does a great job and has done a great job at Lamar.
He hasn't won in the Tournament in 12 years. He talked about how you changed the WVU program very much.
COACH CAREY: I heard that today at the meeting, he gave me that old song and dance. I told Larry don't try to soften us up. We're going to come and try to win just like he is. Nobody is going to feel sorry for either side.
He was poor mouthing?
COACH CAREY: Oh, poor Lamar. I told him, Larry, you and I are friends. We're not friends right now until after the game.