Maryland vs. Georgia Tech
March 3, 2007
THE MODERATOR: We are joined up here with Maryland head coach Brenda Frese, Crystal Langhorne and Marissa Coleman. We will start with a few comments from you and take questions.
BRENDA FRESE: I will tell you, I'm very proud of our team to be able to come out and compete as hard as we did for 40 minutes and really started on the defensive end with our energy and intensity just getting ready to play. That was something that we challenged ourselves, being ready and just very proud of the unselfishness and especially against a very good Georgia Tech team, who is very strong, physical and who is playing for a lot as well. We are just excited to be able to advance and move on to tomorrow.
Q. Crystal, speaking of a physical team, they are not a bad rebounding team, and I think you more than doubled them, which is even rare for you guys, who are plus 15 per game on the year. Did you sense your ability to deny them second chances ultimately wore them down?
CRYSTAL LANGHORNE: I definitely think so. Georgia Tech is a team that lives off of offensive rebounds, and just boxing them out, was really stressed in practice, and I think we did a good job of that.
Q. You guys may have covered this before I came in, this appeared, the level of contentiousness. There looked like there was something more than a friendly rivalry. Can you talk about whether this was more than just two teams playing each other in the tournament?
BRENDA FRESE: I will tell you first and foremost, we have players in our locker room with a lot of character and lot of heart and they are tremendous competitors. To say that we definitely took that game at Georgia Tech to heart, and we didn't want to feel that way again. I thought every player stepped up and did what they needed to do to the best of their ability tonight.
Q. Marissa or Crystal, can you elaborate on that, what did it mean to have to play Georgia Tech, to beat this team?
CRYSTAL LANGHORNE: I know just as a team we were so angry that game. I've never been so angry in college after we lost to Georgia Tech. I know as a team we were just so excited that we were able to play them. We knew we were going to come out with a lot of energy.
MARISSA COLEMAN: Pretty much what Crystal said. That game was a hard game for us. We had a lot of time to prepare for it and coming to the tournament. Our coaching staff stressed if we played 40 minutes, we are going to be able to seek revenge on all three teams that handed us losses this year. We beat Georgia Tech tonight, and we are very anxious to play Carolina and play another compete 40 minute game. THE MODERATOR: Any other questions?
Q. For anybody who wants it, just the physical nature, Coach sort of talked about how strong and physical they are, what it was like, it seemed like nothing was easy, everything was contested and tough?
CRYSTAL LANGHORNE: Georgia Tech is a scrappy team, they are one of the hardest working teams we play against. Just knowing that we had to play with a lot of heart and just play aggressive also.
Q. For you, Coach, what did you see from that game between North Carolina and Virginia Tech to lead you into tomorrow, what do you think the pace of tomorrow's game is going to be between you guys?
BRENDA FRESE: Really, really fast. You know, obviously, we know all of the teams in the league by now, and having seen each other so many times. They obviously, they love to press. They are going to be active. They're going to be on the glass. We are going to have to come out and play another complete 40 minute game.
Q. Brenda, the top 4 seeds advanced rather convincingly, would you agree that they are all playing at or near their peak, do you feel your team is playing pretty darn good right now?
BRENDA FRESE: Well, I think it was a nice statement game for us tonight, and now we need to follow it up in regards to our game tomorrow and be ready to lay it on the line. This is where you find true competitors this time of year, and what you are playing for, and this team doesn't want to go home.
Q. Brenda, you seem to get a real big contribution tonight from Sade, can you talk about using her and how you used her?
BRENDA FRESE: I think you can really understand your players leading up to this week. I had a really nice presence with Sade, you can feel it in terms of how she was practicing, the statement she was making to the team. That's how you can tell when players are getting ready. She had a tremendous week of practice. Her focus was there. She was a tremendous spark for us tonight.
Q. Brenda your team is obviously pretty good shooting the 3, I believe you attempted one in the last 23 minutes, did you know coming in that it would be that sort of a game where you would live pretty nicely in the paint?
BRENDA FRESE: You know, we wanted to establish an inside presence. I feel fortunate that our team was able to be able to execute the game plan. We were really aggressive. Every game is different. And the fact that we were able to go inside, get a lot of great looks, shows that our players understood what we wanted to get done.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.
GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS
THE MODERATOR: We are joined now with Georgia Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph, as well as Stephanie Higgs and Janie Mitchell. An opening statement and we will take questions.
COACH JOSEPH: Obviously Maryland is a phenomenal team. We couldn't counter their inside game in the first half. I thought that they showed tremendous balance on the inside and the outside. You had Coleman on the outside making shots. Inside you had Crystal Langhorne, who in my opinion the best post player in the country shooting 75 percent from the field making lay ups and that was really difficult for us to contend with Janie Mitchell on the bench.
All in all, I was really proud of my kids. I thought the second half, the score 33 35, we played them evenly. I thought we kept competing. No matter what the score was, I thought you saw a lot of fight with us to the end. I just thought it was a really physical game, and we like a physical game, I don't know that we responded in the way we would have liked to them. You got to give Maryland a lot of credit, I thought they came out and really made plays especially to start the game. Again, I thought Marissa Coleman was huge tonight for Maryland.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Coach, in your previous game with them, you played them even on the boards. Tonight they just really killed you there. What was the difference, do you think?
COACH JOSEPH: Well, we were both really aggressive in Atlanta, we go to the free throw line 44 times and they got to the free throw line 33 times in Atlanta. It was a very physical game, there is no doubt about it. I think having Janie Mitchell, our leading rebounder on the bench in the first half made us go with different lineups. We weren't able to have our best rebounding team on the floor for a majority of the first half. But I thought the second half, being able to go back and have our best rebounder on the floor put us in a situation where we were getting a couple of second and third shots.
Q. Coach, can you update on us on what happened with Nnamaka and what her condition is right now?
COACH JOSEPH: We are not exactly sure. We know she is pretty dehydrated and we are waiting to see what the prognosis is. At this point we don't have any update.
Q. Where does this leave you now going into obviously the NCAA tournament bid?
COACH JOSEPH: Right. To the honest, I told the kids in the locker room, I've never been more proud of them, even when we played Maryland and beat them at home. The way they competed. A lot of people would have folded up their tents and went home but this team didn't, and that shows me we got a lot of fight in them.
And we've had a great year. We are 20 and 11. Third time in the history of our program that we won 20 games. We won 10 ACC games. It's a tremendous accomplishment for this group, we are going to walk out of here with our heads held high and get ready to play in the NCAA tournament.
Q. How many T's have you had this season?
COACH JOSEPH: Two. I swore after the first one I wasn't going to get another one.
Q. How heated and physical was this game? It seemed like it had an edge to it?
COACH JOSEPH: I thought it was extremely physical. I thought it was extremely physical out there.
Q. Could I ask the players, from your perspective how physical of a game was it? How heated did it get?
STEPHANIE HIGGS: Coach just said when we were in Atlanta we went to the free throw line 40 times that tells you it's a physical game. Any team shooting 30 and 40 free throws. We were expecting a battle out there. We knew Maryland was going to come after us and be physical out there. I thought we did a good job of being physical back. I mean it's just part of the ACC. It's part of basketball. That's why you have to be prepared for that. That's why we lift weights to get prepared in the off season to prepare for these kind of games.
JANIE MITCHELL: As far as it being physical, I think in Atlanta we were basically more aggressive. We were the more physical team and we basically dominated the home game in Atlanta. Of course, they're going to come out and try to be as physical as possible and even though they gave us their best shot today, I think that we still did a great job.
Q. Coach, you sad said you like a physical game, do you like a fast pace game like they were able to get out and transition like they were at certain point of the game?
COACH JOSEPH: We do, but we rely a lot on our defense making people make three or four passes. And Maryland is not that type of team. They want to get up and down the floor quickly. They have several players that can run out. They leak out early on rebound. I thought they did a good job starting the game, setting the tempo. They really controlled the tempo the first 10 minutes. And it really wasn't a tempo that we're comfortable playing at. We want to play up tempo, but we want to make people guard us on the offensive end.
We want to move the ball two or three times, reverse it a couple of times back and forth. And we knew we had to do that against Maryland because that's how we got them off of defensive rebound position in Atlanta, we were able to get to the boards.
But the first half, I felt like we kind of got in their game, we were going up and down, and we didn't really get to do what we wanted to do. We started the game settling for jump shots rather than attacking the basket, which was our game plan. I think once we made that adjustment to the tempo, I thought we did a much better job.
Q. Janie, how frustrating was it to sit out that first half? As you look ahead where do you think this team is now going in to the next step?
JANIE MITCHELL: I mean on one hand it was very frustrating. Of course, I feel like I'm a key to this team, I want to be out there and help the girls. But sitting over there and seeing them fight as hard as they did, they actually got within 3 points in that first half. I was very proud of the girls and that just showed me what our team is capable of doing and I'm looking forward to post season play with these girls.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you all for joining us.