Following the Bulls big win at Villanova, a few players and Coach Fernandez were interviewed and talked to the press about the win, tournament hopes, and finishing off the season....
How do you guys feel about the win tonight, having been a must-win situation, does this give you guys extra motivation going into the Big East tournament and hopefully the big dance?
Starzynski: I definitely think tonight was a huge win for us. It puts us in a good position for the big east tournament, hopefully getting that buy on friday and it gives us alot of momentum going into it too because now people can wake up and see that we're ready. We ain't here for games we're here to win and we're a serious contender, you better ask somebody.
Sepulveda: Tonight was a big win for us, it puts us at a good seed in the big east and hopefully it will show people we have earned a spot in the ncaa tournament.
A lot of people believed that your team wouldn't make the tournament this season. I think it's safe to say that you guys have definitely been an underdog this season and you've definitely had a lot of turmoil beginning with Coach Cardillo leaving before the season. How do you girls manage to deal with all this and just play your game? And to Danielle, did you consider leaving after Coach's decision?
Starzynski: The whole year we've definitely been the underdog. Before we even got a chance to play a game and show people what we got they were already saying we weren''t gonna make it. I think we've come out and proved them wrong, kinda smacked them in the face with maintaining a pretty good record and pulling off some wins that no one thought we would. We've absolutely had our troubles but we're all here for one reason and that's to play basketball, to win games. So at the end of the day you have to put it all behind you and do your job. The situation with coach leaving took a toll on me and hit me hard because she was who i wanted to play for, she recruited me and knew me as a player. But when it came down to it i couldn't leave what i had started, i was adjusting to this team and just had to suck it up and do what i came here for.
Sepulveda: There are always going to be people who will doubt you as a team and say oh you can't do this or that, but eventually you learn to never let them get to you. You just have to prove them wrong and go out there and play your hardest and that's what we do. Coach leaving was tough especially since i played under her for 3 years but there wasn't much we could do. It was her decision.
Do you think you guys have a shot at the NCAA tournament and at succeeding in it, or perhaps being champions of the big east tournament?
Starzynski: Anything's possible. I think we have just as good a shot as any other team. Don't sleep on us, we're coming to play and that's all you need to know. We're ready for whatever and we're gonna fight hard until the end, play the best basketball we can. We'll see how far that gets us.
Sepulveda: We made it this far so we're just going to continue to fight and go as far as we can. There's some good things but any team can win on any night.
Danielle you had an impressive night scoring 63 points. In the past few games you've been playing at a very high level scoring 40 plus points in 8 consecutive games. Have you felt the urgency to step up going into the postseason or are you trying to solidify your spot on the team next year knowing there's a few seniors leaving?
Starzynski: I've been playing at the same level pretty much all year. Statistically yeah some nights are better than others but every single night i go out there i go hard i play my heart out and give it 110 percent. I'm capable of scoring high numbers like that in every game but i do it when it's needed. I do what i have to to help my team win and that's what it's all about. I'm not trying to solidify a spot or impress anyone i'm just doing me and playing the only way i know how. Tonight was a big game and absolutely i knew i had to step up because i wasn't about to lose, but that's nothing new that's my attitude going into every game.
Danielle it had been said that you will not be returning to play for the Bulls next year. Is that true, if so what are your reasons and will you be playing for another school?
Starzynski: Yeah those rumors are true and i've let everyone know that i won't be coming back to USF next year. My decision was just based on personal reasons and me doing what i feel is best for me. Things here have been fun, i've enjoyed playing on this team but it's best that i leave and find my place elsewhere. As far as basketball goes, i hope to play for another school and continue my career but as of right now it's still up in the air i'm not exactly sure what's gonna happen.
Jazmine, as a senior are you more anxious to have a successful year since you haven't gone far with this USF team in your past 3 seasons?
Sepulveda: As a senior you always want to have a good season just so you could feel like you've gone out on top so i definitely think there's an extra sense of urgency there for me.
Coach Fernandez you guys pulled off a big win tonight, how does it feel knowing that your team is coming out and proving people wrong and is really in the fight for the championship?
Coach Fernandez: My girls have been working really hard all season in practice and in games and i just knew that the hard work and all the long hourse we put in were going to pay off eventually. We're a very talented team with a lot of good players and we can contend with the best of our teams in this conference. I think people are seeing that now and i'm proud of my team for the way they've been playing and fighting through everything.
Coach Fernandez can you just speak about Danielle Starzynski for me a little. She has just been a tremendous part of this Bulls team this season and has really emerged as a star player. Did you know coming in that she would have the impact that she has on this team?
Coach Fernandez: Danielle is definitely a special player and has helped this team a lot. She puts up really big numbers for us and she has an extreme amount of talent. It's safe to say on some nights she does carry the team but we're a team and there is no one person that makes us. She plays a big part and is very good but it is a joint effort. I knew she was a great player, i don't think anybody expected her to put up the numbers she has been but she still has a lot of growing to do.
Coach Fernandez how does it feel to be the 8th seed in the Big East and how do you feel about your potential first round matchup against Marquette? You've had some trouble with them this season do you think you will be able to take on this challenge and advance to the next round?
Coach Fernandez: I feel great about getting the 8th seed in the big east, that's a good spot to have and we've definitely fought to get there. As far as having to face marquette i think my girls are ready for it. Yes we lost to them twice this season but we're a different team now and we're playing at a much higher level coming into the postseason. We know what's on the line and i think the girls are ready to deliver and pull through with a victory. We're ready for whoever we have to face, i can promise you that we will play strong against any team and we're not going to go down without a fight.