March 2, 2007
NC STATE WOLFPACK
KAY YOW: Well, I was really pleased with the game today because I felt like we kept our defense up and that's where it starts with us, and so they just continue to pick the defense up as the game went along, and got to boards well for us. Offensively, they were just aggressive. They weren't passive on offense. We are really looking to penetrate the ball inside out and just make some aggressive offensive plays.
And I think this is what we've been after, the execution is getting stronger each week for us and, you know, everything that we do. And I just thought they showed a lot of energy on the court, had a great focus today and we're very determined to play the best that they could play. And so fortunately for us it turned out really a nice victory. We have a lot of respect for Florida State, Sue Semrau has done a great job with the program down there. You know, it was head to head fourth seated in the ACC tournament. We see Florida State as a team that can do some damage in the NCAA. So we felt like we played a great game against a really very good team.
Q. Ashley, there was a 9 point difference with 7 minutes left and you only let Florida State score two more baskets, what did you all do in that last stretch to pull away?
ASHLEY KEY: I think we really just focused on defense a little more, tried to pick it up on defense and tried to get our hands on some loose balls. Just trying to make them work a little harder since we know that they played yesterday. Just tried to boost it up a little bit.
Q. I guess you can spend hours talking about what Gillian has gone through over her career. Could you talk about maybe the last few months what she has been able to do, she has been playing so well lately and really reaching that promise that everybody saw so many people years ago and, Gillian, can you please comment about that, too?
KAY YOW: You know, Gillian has really worked hard for us when she came from the Junior college. She had a couple of bad injuries at the time. As soon is she got in summer school we started working on those injuries. We worked on them all summer and all the next year to really try to get her back to a help that would allow her to play this game at this level. And she got a little playing time here and there, but we just weren't over it.
This is all to her credit and to my trainer Stephanie Erinson (phn). Because these are people, they work together every day. And then, you know, she continued working on her injuries. So we saw things looking up, and we were really happy. Preseason came, we were ready to go, and they told me she had to have back surgery. Oh my goodness. And so we had to go have back surgery. So that took her out all preseason, took her out most of the non conference season and when she finally got back, she had been working in the pool for conditioning, trying to do everything she could. But she got back, I think she might play 9 or 10 minutes her first game, 12 or something. And then just gradually we've been going 30 plus.
I saw Gillian play in high school. We weren't in on that recruiting war at that time. But fortunately the second go round we got in it. So she is now really making a big difference for our team on the inside. It's really good for our perimeter to know that they have somebody to go to with her size. She has good hands. I'm just so happy for her, see all of the hard work. All of these players, I mean, Ashley had knee surgery preseason and was out. That's why she had a little slow start because, you know, she is a great player and I'm just happy to see them get back from their injuries, get confidence and know what they can do.
GILLIAN GORING: Well after coming back from the surgery and put in my mind I'm going to work and do better, of having great teammates Ashley, Khadijah, and everybody pushing you to do better, and be a dominate post player was good, and come to get the news about Coach Yow has changed my whole life, and it's like I committed my whole life to come out and play and be the most dominate player for Coach Yow and try to give her my all. I'm not going to be baby up no more, I'm just going to grow up and play hard for Coach Yow and keep my promise.
Q. Ashley, does it's feel like the team is peaking right now. ASHLEY KEY: I hesitate to say peaking because you don't want to peak at the wrong time, but I think we are playing good, we are getting better each game. Our defense is picking up. We're starting to be more efficient on the offensive end. I think we are starting to gel more everybody is back from injuries. Everybody is getting more into it. It's March madness so I think that everything is going in our way right now.
Q. It was going back and forth there at the beginning of the second half, tied up, how were you all able to breakaway and get a good lead on them?
KAY YOW: I think we always say we know that when you are playing with a good team, they're going to have spurts, you're going to have spurts. You just hope that you have the spurt at the right time. So we know we can't hold really good teams to no points and in just no time they will have that spurt. The thing is to never to panic, to maintain our poise, our focus and energy. When that happens just believe in each other and just keep playing hard and know what we can do in that we can comeback, and we can get it, you know, under control if we just don't panic or start taking really bad shots, or making a lot of turnovers. So I think we know that we have to take care of the ball and we have to play a great solid defense and have a chance to be in the game with a really good team.
Q. Ashley, about six or seven minutes in the game Florida State actually was sort of out hustling NC State it seemed, and then you had a cross court steal for a basket. Do you think that was the turning point of the first half? After that your defensive energy just seemed to go to another level.
ASHLEY KEY: I mean, well, if it became the turning point then I'm glad it was. I just wanted to make a defensive play, and I just happened to get my hand on the ball. But I guess as a team, I guess when I get a steal or something, when we do something on defense, it picks us up and we just start to roll with it. So I guess that would have to be it.
KAY YOW: I would like to say something about that first half, Florida State played yesterday morning so they have a game under their belt. We are coming out in the first game, in any tournament, that can be one of the toughest games because, you know, you got to get going. So, you know, I felt like when they came out, I mean they played yesterday. They played exactly the same time yesterday. And we had practice yesterday at this time to try to get us a little bit more on equal footing to be prepared to play an 11 o'clock game. But I thought it just took us a little while to really settle down and really get into that first game in the tournament.
Q. Coach Yow, what did you think of the reception you got before the game?
KAY YOW: Well, it was emotional. You know, I cried for a few minutes after I walked out because I appreciate the sport. And I know that a lot of those people will have I wish I had the time to tell you have what every team, every Coach, many fans from every team have written me, and I know that there are you are a lot of them in the stands who have prayed for me, you know, fervently. When I walked out, all of the fans from the different schools stood, it was just overwhelming.
Q. Coach, Gillian said and has said many times before you have been her inspiration to play the way she has over the last couple of weeks, can you just talk a little bit about that and what's gotten her to this point the way she is playing.
KAY YOW: Well, you know, I think it hit us like a bomb shell. I mean we were going and we were fine, it wasn't a Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and I will tell you I've been doing tests all weekend because I'm not feeling good, and then on Tuesday they did the test that showed exactly what the problem was. And they said we're doing chemo tomorrow and we were leaving for a West Coast trip for Thanksgiving. And, you know, that meant like you just have to not coach in definitely. So I got that news on Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday night I met with the team and I told the team and it was like it just came out of nowhere. I mean, boom. This is it. It hit the staff. It hit the players. It hit me. They left and went west and I left and went to chemo. And it was just an it was pretty tough. It's been tough all along but that was a really tough time. We just all cried at the time and knew that we had to go on.
The thing is, there is so many lessons in this, life lessons, and I know the team has got it. I know they've got it. We have good times this life. We have bad times in life. But we have blessings all around us all the time, and we can't forget that. But we got to know what we got when we have it. We just have to persevere. Perseverance is a major thing in the attitude that we take toward it because I can't control that I got cancer, but I can control my attitude toward it. They can't control that I can't be there at that time. But they can control their determination, their focus, their energy, everything. I think, you know, that's what we all have been pressing on. To say that this was easy, it's not.
My staff, I felt real bad for them because I said I'm not going. And it's just like dropped in their laps. I had no idea if I would be back this year or not. It's a long story. But it's a lot of days. I would go to practice maybe I think I went five or six times in the 15 games that I missed, just to let them see me, know that I'm walking around.
And then I would watch practice and talk to them at the end mostly about how I'm feeling and what's going on. The staff has kept them updated, they know everything. You know, tough times. One day they take me out on a stretcher in an ambulance, and they just went right on practicing. I mean, they just went right on and practiced. I did what I had to do. They did what they had to do and then we meet up again.
And so, I think, it inspires me to be back with them. It's a mutual thing. I know it inspires my staff and the players. So it's mutual, it's not just one way.
Q. It's kind of hard to follow that coach, you kind of lead me into where I was going. You've coached a long time and when you look at a season especially in the post season a team playing well, it can be a combination of a lot of things, execution, good defense, then there is an emotional, inspirational side, this is kind of for all of you guys, the way this is playing right now and the wave that you are riding, how much is that emotional side and how much of it is the other things coming together?
KAY YOW: Well, don't forget they've had good preparation, all along this year from my staff, and they continue to get better. So we owe a lot to my associate head coach and assistant head coaches, and a lot to these players. We have 6 seniors on this team. You know, sometimes we start 4. We have started 5.
So I think they went through this with me 2004, so they knew a little bit about it then. But different in that I gave them a definite time line I would be back. So it's many things, you know, motivation. I'm a big believer in motivation. If somebody new the answer, we could just make so much money. We can do this, and 19 will be fired up, and they will go there every time. But it's an individual thing. But I think that the motivation, there is a lot of things we can point to. But I think the up classmen, they're older, they understand a lot of things about what's happening and that about life. But they have this opportunity in basketball.
Q. This is for Coach and for GG, if you can talk a little bit about you had to play a lot of minutes today, you're scoring a lot and getting a lot of rebounds, do you feel you are exhausted heading into tomorrow with a potential matchup with Duke?
KAY YOW: She can't be exhausted now. She's got a good time to revive here. She has over 24 hours even right now. Yes, you know, that's a factor. But hopefully, is Virginia playing Duke today? Hopefully, they will give them a good game. We need them to give them a good game today, so it will put us a little more on even footing here. I mean, this is part of it. You know. This tournament, when you play back to back to back it's better than playing forward. That's where we've been for a long time. I can tell you this that for the last few years we've had to play that first game, a second, and then hit a great team like Duke in the semifinals and be completed exhausted from two games. So I feel like we've only played one, this is different. At least we have more in us than if we had to play two.
GILLIAN GORING: I won't say I'm exhausted because for the whole summer with Stephanie Erinson (phn) I did underwater treadmill. And I've been running 6 o'clock in the morning, whatever time and getting my conditioning together, and just having great teammates pushing you in practice and telling you this is what we are working for. It just inspires you. You don't get tired, you just keep working hard every day.
FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
SUE SEMRAU: I think what we saw today is that NC State is just tougher basketball team than we are. They really played through, they got a lot of physical play. They finish shots with a lot of contact, and we couldn't finish our shots with the same kind of contact. Congratulations to them. They are a very good basketball team.
Q. Coach, your team basically won all of the games it is supposed to win, I know you are looking forward to NCAA play. At a guess, where do you think your team deserves to be seated in NCAA?
COACH SEMRAU: I would say with 22 wins and a Top 40 RPI, we would probably be a #7 seed would be my guess.
Q. How much of a matchup problem was Gillian Goring today?
SUE SEMRAU: A big one I think you can see that. We tried to drop a guard back in front of her and put Brittany or 'Cint or Nikki behind her, and she just did a great job of scoring with contacting all of her people.
Q. For either of the player, yesterday you sounded kind of excited, some of your teammates were excited about the opportunity to play NC State again, kind of the revenge factor, what happened there? It didn't turn out that you were able to pull that off.
SUE SEMRAU: Let me just say that was one player saying that. You know, a young player saying that. It really was more about a second opportunity. We didn't play with a full compliment the time we played them up at NC State. We still weren't quite full compliment today. It doesn't make a difference. That's what basketball is all about. They just out toughed us today.
Q. Alisha, NC State was trying to force you to becoming a jump shooter in this game. When you were finding you went able to drive to the basket, what were you trying to do to help try to help the rest of your team when you saw your jumper wasn't following?
ALICIA GLADDEN: Just try to get in the post. That was our main focus, from the start, just try to get it to Britany and attack Goring. She wasn't as quick as Britany. When my shots weren't falling I tried to good it to my other players and get it in the post.