Post-game Quotes: #1 North Carolina 90, #5 NC State 69
March 4, 2006
NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
HEAD COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: We're happy to be playing for another championship, ACC championship. And we're proud that in the past our teams have been here. I believe this is 11 of the last 13 years we've played for an ACC championship. I wish we'd won all of those. But just being there is an honor. We know it will be tough whomever we play.
NC State, you know, we knew they were going to give us all they had, and they are so athletic. They kept coming back at us. Part of our game plan was to keep the tempo up because it's hard to play three days in a row. But I thought they had a lot of gas and really kept going with us up and down the floor.
We're proud of our kids. I thought at times we looked really good out there. Other times we were pretty ragged. But we had five kids in double figures, and that balances the strength of our team, and the depth and the balance.
But we're happy for the win, and we look forward to playing tomorrow.
IVORY LATTA: I think we played, like coach said sometimes, you got to give credit to NC State, I think they did a great job at times down the stretch. We are just looking forward for tomorrow 's game, and we are going to go out there and get it.
LA'TANGELA ATKINSON: NC State came out with intensity. You know, they came out with their A game. But they also rebounded well. They boxed us out. They kept us from getting some of the rebounds we usually get. But we played well. Yes.
Q. For Sylvia and Ivory, you guys missed your first 12 3's yesterday, and kind of struggled from outside, you got off to a good start from outside today, can you talk about that?
SYLVIA HATCHELL: Thank goodness. I thought we had some open looks. Camille (Little) and Alex (Miller) got hot shooting the 3. I thought we took good 3's when we were out there. But they went. So I was real happy for that. I thought that gave us some momentum. It pulled them out defensively a little bit too, because they were running some matchup zones, and doing some things to try to pack it in and that type of thing. I thought that made them extend their defense a little bit.
But I was glad to see us shoot the outside shot as well today.
IVORY LATTA: Yes, I think we shot the ball outside extremely well today. I know that coach kept telling me to pitch the ball up the court. I was trying to create a lot of havoc on their end and finding the open person. Like coach said, we were more open today than we were yesterday. We were taking really good shots. Some of them weren't falling, and some of them did. That's what I'm going to try to keep doing, from now on, push the ball up, create a lot of havoc and make sure they come and double team me and kick it out to my teammates.
Q. Did any of you talk about Miller's back to back 3's and what it meant to you kind of mentally?
IVORY LATTA: It meant a lot. Actually Alex has been struggling a little bit. I just told her to keep her head up because she is a great shooter. And every time I get the ball, naturally I'm not looking at anybody else, I'm mainly focusing her on the break because I know she can pull up and take the jumper. I just saw her, she was wide open, and she took her time. She was hitting the shots. I think she got her confidence back, so that's a good thing for us.
Q. Coach, do you feel like the team is peaking right now?
SYLVIA HATCHELL: Well, I don't know if it's peaking. I don't know exactly the definition you give peaking. I think we're focused on our task, what we're trying to do, and what we do well, what we enjoy doing, and what we feel like is going to get us a championship.
We've been talking about it, working on things, and we gear everything for tournament time, so our kids know what they need to do, so I think they are really focused on what we've been working on to get us to this level, and hopefully keep playing on a championship level.
Q. Ivory, yesterday you had a rough start individually, missed nine of your first 10, were you focused on trying to do better today from the start, was that a big start of what you brought today?
IVORY LATTA: No, not really, not as far as scoring wise. I just try to focus on whatever Coach Hatchell wanted me to do. I just took my time, settled down, and they opened up a lot of things for me. I was able to get the ball more in the post. If I can get the ball in the post, to my great post players, they can score, I don't need to score. They were finding me on the wing, and stuff like that, I was getting open. I felt good pretty good today. I was a little warm. Although it was a little cold out there, I was a little warm today.
Q. Coach, Marquetta Dickens wasn't much of a factor in your two regular season games but she came into this game averaging 17 points for the tournament, any particular extra special defensive attention you pay to her and describe what you did as part of your game plan to get to her today?
SYLVIA HATCHELL: Well, Marquetta, is a great player. I thought she looked just fabulous yesterday. We did key a little bit on her. I thought 'Tangy (La'Tangela Atkinson) was on her most of the time, and did a nice job, especially a couple of the plays they ran yesterday, she scored about every time she touched it. We tried to keep that from happening, and disrupt that a little bit. I thought 'Tangy did a nice job with that.
But Marquetta, I mean, I'll tell you, we were trying to keep her from hurrying, from getting hot, and Billie (McDowell) from getting hot, because when they do, I will tell you what now, they can blister you.
And Ashley, I thought Ashley Key, she is a really great player. We were having trouble with her penetration to the basket.
We changed up a little bit on our defense, who was trapping and that type of thing. I thought in the second half we did that, I thought that helped some too with that.
But, you know, like I said, if Marquetta gets going and Billie McDowell and Ashley Key, NC State can beat anybody in the country.
Q. Coach, I'm not asking you to look ahead, but how has the Duke/Carolina game changed since you first were at Carolina? How has it evolved; is it more intense now?
SYLVIA HATCHELL: You said since I've been at Carolina, that's been over 20 years now. They had a different coach and it was very, very different.
I mean, the main thing is, you know, I feel like we're the top two teams in the country right now, and we are eight miles apart, two great universities, academic schools, put out some of the best leaders in our country. Our athletic departments are both fantastic. Let's think about the game at 9 o'clock tonight.
Both teams are athletic, and they're skilled, they both play a great schedule. The level we play up and down the floor with our defense and our offense. Both teams fast break and play good defense. I mean I don't know if it gets much better than the games that we've played against Duke.
Q. Do you feel more pressure in those games now than say 15 years ago?
SYLVIA HATCHELL: I don't know about pressure. I mean, they are better games, you know. I love playing games like that, but I don't know if there is more pressure because it's so different than it was 15, 20 years ago. I mean, the level of play is different.
But, you know, any time Carolina and Duke play, like Carolina and State, it's going to be a great game.
Q. This is for the two players, you've all beat Duke twice this year, does that give you a lot of confidence say if you play Duke tomorrow and just kind of what are your feelings and what do you have to do?
SYLVIA HATCHELL: They probably haven't thought about that much to tell you the truth.
IVORY LATTA: We beat them two times in the regular season. I don't think we have an edge on them, or anything. I just know, no matter what the situation is they're going to come out and play. I really can't say we are going to play Duke. I don't know who we are going to play tomorrow. I try not to look ahead like that. I'm going to watch the game and see who wins. That's all I can say. I don't know.
Q. Coach Hatchell, can you talk a little bit about your defensive intensity out there? It seemed like you guys never quit, even late in the game, pressuring the ball, the traps and everything?
SYLVIA HATCHELL: Well, we did change it up. We did take the traps off some, and when we substituted and all about six or seven minutes, we took a lot of the traps and pressure off. But we are still one on one defense. We don't know how to play zone. We have practiced a zone. We played some early, probably before December, back in December. Our kids love to play the way we play.
We have several reasons why we play like we do. First of all, it's fun. Our kids love to play up and down the court, pressure defense. We have to substitute a lot because they get tired. More kids get to play, and more kids are happy and everybody else is happy too.
I said this before to some of you, I've been doing this a long time. This is my 30th year of coaching, or 31st year, I want the game to be exciting. I want it to be fun. I want other people to want to play like we play because I think it's great for women's basketball.
I don't know about you, but I've watched some games this season at my house, I will be watching at night.
Some of these games, it's like watching paint dry. And I don't like that. I don't like it. I want the game to be fun and exciting. I want people to want to watch women's basketball. I don't like some of the stereotypes when people say, it's all jump balls and the women, they can't do this and they can't do that. I mean that day has passed. There are a lot of talented, athletic women out there, and I think the way we play shows their skills and abilities and it's fun. That's our main thing. Our kids love to play like we play.
So that's why we do that. I changed my coaching philosophy a few years ago. I know sometimes we get a little wild and crazy and it's a little out of control.
But I will call time out, and we'll settle down. But it is fun, and I hope other teams will start playing like we do.
Q. 'Tangy, is there a sense at all, I know you haven't looked ahead, but would you rather play Maryland to maybe have a chance of a little revenge on their beating you guys at home?
LA'TANGELA ATKINSON: It doesn't matter who we play. We are just going to go out and play Carolina basketball. I haven't looked forward to that game. I was taking one game at a time. If it's Maryland, we play Maryland. If it's Duke, we play Duke. It doesn't matter. We are still going to come out with the Carolina intensity.
Q. Coach, just in case you do play Maryland, can you offer a scouting report on them and why do you think they were able to hand you your one loss this season?
SYLVIA HATCHELL: Maryland. Well, they're a great team. They've got rebounders, young players that are really playing well. Kristi Toliver has done a great job at running them at point guard. And (Marissa) Coleman, she's the (ACC) Freshman of the Year. She deserves that. She is a great player. They are just so offensive. All of those players can score.
Our game, I think gave them a lot of confidence. You know, in our game, we had a lead about 14, 16 points. Then we had some injury situations that happened on the court. We had some things that happened in that game that sort of I don't know if I want to say broke us down, but kept us from being our best. They caused that and they took advantage of it and that's what a great team does.
I don't know who we are going play. We have motivation to both of them because they are both great teams.
I just think that the main thing is the ACC championship tomorrow. Whomever we play, will be like a national championship game because you're going to have two teams out there that are just going to be incredible, talented, athletic, skilled, up and down the floor defense, blocked shots. You are going to see a lot of great basketball tomorrow.
NC STATE WOLFPACK
COACH KAY YOW: It was a very disappointing performance for us today. I just feel like we were prepared as well as we needed to be for this game.
I have a couple of players sitting here to my left that I feel like gave everything that they had to the game today. But besides Sasha (Reaves), we didn't have a strong inside presence. And, you know, having played North Carolina a number of times, we know it's important with a team like them and other really great teams to start the game out strong, not to really start to lose it in the first five minutes of the game which I feel happened to us today.
And from that point on, I think, their confidence level really rose. They really shot the ball extremely well. Particularly from the 3 point line of the first half, and really everywhere.
So it's just like we got in a deep hole and then we were just fighting for our life, and we couldn't overcome that. I don't think we can overcome with any team of that caliber when that happens.
Q. Coach, (North Carolina) Coach (Sylvia) Hatchell said part of their game plan was to come out and really go at you the first five minutes knowing that you were coming off of two straight games in a row, how much of a factor was their defensive pressure the first five minutes of the game?
COACH KAY YOW: Well, as it turned out it was very effective. It wasn't something that we were unaware of. As a matter of fact, we knew that comment would be made and that this would be a part of their game plan.
I just feel like transition wise we've always handled their transition game really well. Today we didn't.
I mean, when we look at the stats, we shot more free throws, we out-rebounded them, which is sort of incredible, we are the ones missing all of the shots. But we ended up out rebounding them. Even on steals, only one more turnover than they had. I mean, it's just like a lot of stats that is unbelievable that you can look down and you can see that.
But defensively, our defense, our own defense, was unable to contest every shot the way that we would like to. And some of easy transition baskets, along with our poor shooting.
You know, we give credit to North Carolina, they are a great team. They have great athletes. They can make some tremendous plays. Coach Hatchell has done a great job with the team. I still say it's the best team that I've seen her have. And I mean they are ranked No. 1 in the country, and I think that sort of solidifies that point.
But we just, I mean, we just need to do a better job of powering up the ball on the inside and some other people would get in some better looks on the outside. Their defense was a big part of it.
Q. Coach, as disappointed as you were in the performance today, you haven't had a lot of success in the ACC tournament. Going into the NCAA tournament, you came here and won two games, what do you take now from that going forward now?
COACH KAY YOW: Well, I think that the players know that down the stretch, they've been playing some really good basketball. I'm not going to say it. We know we are a little tired, but not that tired to play that way in the first half, you know. I mean, we should have done better. We know that.
So we feel badly for our fans. We didn't give them more than we did today. But the way we've been playing down the stretch, and having won the first two games, it let us know that we can do some really good things when our focus is there, and our mindset, and we're ready to go and we're together.
We weren't complementing each other well today at all, but we know that we can do it.
And so I think this loss, we go back, we have time to practice before, you know, the selection comes out where we are going.
We certainly saw today some key things that we need to work on so we can go back. We can really work on those things and hopefully next time we run into a team of this caliber, we'll, you know, hopefully it will pay off for us. We'll do a much better job.
Q. Ashley, how much of a factor, the effort of the last two games going into today, how much of a fatigue factor was there and how soon did it set in?
ASHLEY KEY: I'm not sure about the whole fatigue factor. I mean you come out and you want to play. So there is really no such thing as fatigue. It's just mind over matter. I mean I think that if it affects, you know, you just have to fight through it. I think we fought through it. I mean, we just didn't pull it together as a team today.