K-State Addresses Media in Bridgeport

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - The following is the transcript from Saturday's Kansas State press conference at the 2008 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship first and second rounds at the Arena at Harbor Yard. The Wildcats were represented by WBCA Region V and Big 12 Coach of the Year Deb Patterson, All-Big 12 first team selection Shalee Lehning and All-Big 12 second team selection Marlies Gipson.

Head Coach Deb Patterson

Opening Statement
“We’re thrilled to be here and we have a very challenging match-up ahead of us. Chattanooga is one of the hottest teams in the country and they bring with them a balanced style of basketball. We are ready for the challenge thanks to these two ladies next to me. Shalee Lehning is an All-American candidate for us and Marlies Gipson is one of the biggest comeback stories in the country.”

On coping with the injury to Kimberly Dietz
“Initially you go through the emotions that come with losing someone of her stature and abilities. Kansas State Basketball has shown how to be selfless and we are all constantly battling. We have a repertoire of players that are hungry and capable of stepping up to the challenge. We have the disposition of competitors. We’ve had great practices and our players have responded well to the situation. We’re not going to change our system or style. Now it’s about young people stepping up.”

On Kimberly Dietz addressing the team about the task at hand
“Kimberly is sort of a quiet leader, but when she speaks, everyone listens. She talked to everyone about grabbing hold of the opportunity. Everyone here is about business though. We have a great deal of respect for one another throughout our team. We understand the challenges this game brings. We know we belong here. We’re devastated for [Kimberly Dietz] personally and we’d love to be making this run with her, but we’re not rattled. We’re saddened, but not rattled.”

Junior Guard Shalee Lehning

On the absence of senior guard Kimberly Dietz, who suffered an injury against Iowa State
“There’s no added pressure. We are going to just come out and play our game. We’ll have people that can step up off the bench.”

On facing a team [Chattanooga] that is riding a 24-game win streak
“Obviously Chattanooga is hot right now, but at this point in the season everyone is very hungry. This is the NCAA Tournament so we’re ready.”

Junior Forward Marlies Gipson

On making it to the NCAA Tournament
“It’s been a fun ride. We never quit competing last year and this year we wanted to have fun. We are always looking to get better and have fun on the whole.”