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Eliza Pierre Defends Everyone! A Cal Women's Basketball Interview In New Orleans

Cal women's basketball top defender Eliza Pierre breaks down her defensive approach to the game, how the Golden Bears have changed over the past few years into a title-contending team, and overall hairstyles.

Lindsay Brauner (LB): Are you looking forward to your matchup against Louisville tomorrow?

Eliza Pierre (EP): I'm really looking forward to it. They're a great team, and we are too. They're very guard-oriented, and we have both-we have an inside game, an outside game. I'm just happy to play them. I'm just happy to be here.

LB: As one of the best defensive players on the team, it's always your job to shut down the offensive threats on the other team. How are you going to do that against Shoni Schimmel and some of the other players who have been hitting crazy three's?

EP: They've been pretty hot recently. They're 50% from the three-point line in the tournament. I think that it's key to just do what we've been doing all year. Pac-12 always has some crazy shooters who shoot from, like, half court. So I think we're kind of used to the wild shots that people take. I think Pac-12 has done a great job of preparing us for moments like these, teams like these. For me, I'm just happy to be in the spotlight for defense, to be able to do what I can do for my team.

LB: Who are you going to be guarding?

EP: Everyone! I'm gonna guard the coach if he comes out on the floor! I'll be guarding any one of the point guards, most likely-stopping ball, starting the defense off, and then having Layshia, Brittany, Afure, Mikayla, anybody else who is in the game, backing me up. I have full trust in them, they have full trust in me. We're just going to try to get it done.

LB: You've played under Coach Boyle, and now under Coach Gottlieb. What are the primary differences in their coaching styles?

EP: They're really similar in ways. Coach Boyle kind of mentored Coach G. But I think Coach G has put a twist on how she does things. She's really more of an individualist-letting us put our own individual selves into the game, letting us display who we are. If you see us on the court, you kind of get a feeling of who we are off the court. I think she does a great job of transcending that. It kind of brings us closer as a team, because we're not in such constricted areas. I think Coach B is really into having us in our places, and making sure we're spread out. She does a really good job of rotations on defense, and transitions of offense. I think that they kind of mimic each other in ways, and I think Coach G does a really good job of letting us display ourselves, like I said before.

LB: You are on the first Cal Women's team in history to make the Final Four. How does this feel; what does this mean to you?

EP: I think it means the world to our team-to just be able to make so many milestones, from where we started to where we are now. And now we're making history. It wasn't always like that, as everybody will know. It's just good for us now. It's good for us, it's good for the program, it's good for the recruits coming in next year-those who will follow us, just to be able to keep building on what we've established now.

LB: How come your whole team doesn't have mohawks? You should all be in on the Mohawk thing for Layshia, right?

EP: No, no, no. Layshia decided to do that on her own! Layshia and Afure. I'll braid mine into a Mohawk but I'm not cutting it off! I can get it braided into a Mohawk but I'm not getting it cut off. That's scary!

LB: You can actually braid into a Mohawk?

EP: You can just braid the sides and keep the middle out. Yeah, you can do stuff like that.

LB: Really?

EP: Yeah! It's pretty nice, pretty cool. I've done it before.

LB: Where's your Mohawk now?

EP: Uh-uh!

LB: No?

EP: No, I like to keep my style! I like to keep it like this.

LB: Thanks so much Eliza! Good luck tomorrow.