Post-game Quotes: #7 Virginia Tech 73, #10 Wake Forest 60
March 2, 2006
WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS
COACH MIKE PETERSEN: I was much happier with our effort tonight than five days ago up in Blacksburg. I thought we played much harder with much more focus and purpose. Our want to was really good tonight. We just didn't finish plays. We had a lot of lay-ups that didn't go in the basket. Virginia Tech is a very good basketball team. If you're going to be a good basketball team, you probably need to make lay-ups, and we had lots of those. And that's on us. But I was happy with our want to. I thought coming off the game Sunday, our mentality was much, much better.
LIZ STRUNK: I definitely think it's disappointing because we were in this situation last year, and we beat them. But not really much you can say. I'm missing definitely bunnies, I will call them bunnies. That's frustrating.
Q. Mike, you cut it to three twice there with about six minutes to go and tried a couple of entry passes that got turned over, you had four turnovers in the last three and a half minutes, what were you trying to do in those possessions?
COACH MIKE PETERSEN: Well, we had different things called each time. I mean, one of them was a post entry. One of them was an entry into the high post for a set play. One of them was to shake C (Cotelia Bond-Young) loose for a three. It wasn't the same pass, you know what I mean? But, again, good teams, you know it was a game on the line. You can't turn the ball over, you got to get shots. You can't have empty possessions. In that stretch of the game, when it was winning time -- again, I thought we'd done a really good job. I thought our players did a really good job of fighting back into the thing. Then it was winning time, and we just didn't finish the deal.
Q. Coach, this was a much different effort than you gave obviously up in Blacksburg, can you talk about that, the difference in the way your team played tonight. You know, as opposed to that up there, and what do you think was the motivation for that?
COACH MIKE PETERSEN: Well, it was a pride deal, you know. I mean, we wanted to play with pride, and I thought we did. I thought we played hard. Again, there is a difference between playing hard and playing well. I thought we played really, really hard tonight. I don't think we played as well as we could. But our effort was just a lot better in this game. Our focus was better. Our effort was better. Again, we talked a little bit, in the last few days, about how we're going to represent ourselves, and how we're going to represent our schools and all of that. And I thought our kids did a really good job today of representing ourselves and representing their school in terms of their effort.
Q. Mike and Elizabeth, how difficult is it dealing with Virginia Tech's post players. They may not be the tallest players but they seem to be crafty around the net?
LIZ STRUNK: They're very athletic, but that's something you face every day in the ACC. I think that we're pretty much known for our mobile posts. Kerri Gardin is just as good on the perimeter as she is inside. It's definitely challenging. I think they're going to give a lot of teams trouble who have bigger posts, they can move around them instead of trying to battle with them in the paint. They are very good inside, very well balanced.
Q. At the end of your second season, Coach, where do you think the program is right now, or the pride that you hope to take as you move on to the ACC?
COACH MIKE PETERSEN: Well, we're really disappointed with this season. I mean, you know, let's be honest. We had much higher goals and expectations for ourselves this season, and you know it's my job. I didn't do a good enough job of getting enough out of this basketball team. We were very, very -- what would Skip say, Skip would say mercurial. He's a wordsmith. We were mercurial. We were up and down. I know this, I think, I'm pretty sure, we'll be the only team in the country with 3 Top-25 RPI wins that doesn't go to the NCAA tournament. We had 3 wins in the Top-25 of the RPI. But we had some losses outside the first hundred, too. That's on us. That's on me. It's not on us. It's on me. Having said that, we're really going to miss Liz, we're really going to miss Cotelia, we're really going to miss Keila (Evans). But we've got good young players in our program and we've got a good recruiting class coming. We're going to be good. I wanted it to happen this year because our seniors are great kids that really put a lot into this program and I really wanted to be able to enjoy it.
VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES
COACH BETH DUNKENBERGER: I thought that was an exciting first game in the ACC Tournament. I thought both teams played hard. Wake wouldn't go away. They kept making runs, kept hitting 3's. But I think when we needed to play good defense we stepped up, we played good defense, we got rebounds and that was the difference in the game, in particular, between this year and last year.
Q. I think you only turned the ball over three times in the second half, can you talk about your ball security in the second half and how you closed the game on in the last three and a half minutes?
COACH BETH DUNKENBERGER: Well, we talked about that before we headed down here. We had quite a few turnovers in our last game against them. They were aggressive turnovers. At the same time, we said we've got to take better care of the ball when it becomes tournament time because everything can come down to one play, one possession and each one counts so much. Down the stretch I thought we were aggressive on offense. But, at the same time, the key for us was defense and rebounding.
Q. Last year you faced Wake in this tournament, and you lost to them, was that ever discussed among you and your players coming into tonight?
COACH BETH DUNKENBERGER: A little bit. It wasn't a main focus for us. What I notice in that second half, when they made a run, we talked about the fact that in order to avoid that we needed to be more aggressive on that defensive end, and then we needed to attack offensively, and we needed to be the aggressors, not Wake Forest. I thought they made that run, really at the start of the second half, I called a quick time-out. We stepped up, and we had aggressive plays on offense. We had great stops on defense. That was key.
Q. Coach, 46 to 24 points in the paint, are you kind of taken aback by that number looking at it afterwards?
COACH BETH DUNKENBERGER: Well, I think games are won and lost in the paint. I think we even had more opportunities in the paint, but we were so excited and had some jitters there early, that we missed some easy ones. But certainly, I think, when it gets to championship tournament time, that's where you want to get the ball for high percentage shots. Obviously, Wake Forest's game plan is to shoot a lot of 3's. They are not looking for that as much.
Q. For both players, just a few days ago you ran into a real buzz saw at Duke. Now you get them again. What differences do you look for in order to make this a more competitive game?
DAWN CHRISS: Obviously, when we played against Duke the last time, I don't think we did a very good job. We lost by a lot of points. Basically, we're excited to play them, and we just want to come out ready to play and make some good things happen.
KIRBY COPELAND: Just like Dawn said the first time we played them, we played well towards the end. And I think we haven't given them a full game of us playing a lot on offense and defense. You know they say the third time is the charm. Maybe we'll get them this time.
Q. Kirby, was there any extra motivation out there for you today after last year kind of having a disappointing time down here?
KIRBY COPELAND: Yes, I wasn't ready to go home this year. I mean, we came down here and like Beth had said, we came down here to look around, we didn't play well. So this year we just came down here and played hard and get to stay for a couple of more days.
Q. Beth, you guys won your 20th game does that mean anything to you, the program has been pretty consistent the last eight or nine years, does that mean anything to win 20 again?
COACH BETH DUNKENBERGER: Well, I think it's just a tribute to this team because we're playing in the toughest league in America. And for them to win 20 games means that they really did their work out of conference and they've been pretty steady here through February and now into March.
Q. Coach, from your perspective with the short turn around time to face Duke, what goes through your mind in facing them again?
COACH BETH DUNKENBERGER: Well, I think that situation you a face all year long. That's why we play in tournaments to get ready for this. The only way we look at it, it's an advantage that we played out there for 40 minutes. We got some momentum going, so we need to just let that carry us on through.