I chatted with UCLA women’s basketball head coach Nikki Caldwell last night as her team prepares to face North Carolina State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Here is our short Q&A session…
Are you happy with the draw?
Nikki Caldwell: “I’m very excited about where we’re at. We’re one of the 64 teams that are going to still compete in March Madness. This team has really stepped up in the past month in establishing themselves in the Pac-10. We’re just looking forward to continue to extend our season.”
Talk about first-round opponent N.C. State:
“When you look at North Carolina State, they’re obviously well-coached. We’re going to have to establish our running game. The team that establishes the transition game will have the advantage.
What can’t you do against the Wolf Pack?
“we don’t need to send them to the free-throw line. We’re a team that defends and gets after you on the boards.
Do you see any similitarities in the two teams?
“We’re two teams who are trying to establish – for them, re-establish – ourselves in the national viewership. UCLA hasnt been to the NCAA since ’06. Myself being new, Kelly being new, theres a lot of newness on both teams.”
How do you not look ahead to big, bad Nebraska?
“You have to look at where you’re seeded and look at how you match up with certain teams. Obviously we’ve got to take care of business, and we’re not over looking any opponent. NC State is going to be just as excited as we are. Looking at Nebraska, we’ve been prepped in the Pac-10. We’ve had the opportunity to go against some great players. We’ve gone against All-Americans in our conference. This team has a grit about themselves that they can take challenges and rise to the occasion. I hope we’ll be able to continue on and put ourselves in postition to play Nebraska.”