Maryland Post-Game Quotes - March 3, 2007
ACC Women's Basketball Tournament Greensboro, NC #2 North Carolina 78 ; #3 Maryland 72 March 3, 2007
THE MODERATOR: Coach, a brief opening statement.
BRENDA FRESE: Well, I will tell you I thought it was just a tremendous game from both teams. I'm very proud of our team. You know, just the unselfishness, how hard we played these past two days. Just the fact that we didn't want to go home, and we battled for the full 40 minutes. And I will tell you UNC did a great job. They are obviously big, strong, physical, aggressive, did a tremendous job as always on the glass. It was just, again, a Final Four game. That's what it felt like. We are disappointed, but I'm proud of the effort.
Q. Brenda, last year you had that big win down at UNC, and the win in the ACC tournament against Duke, are you a little worried going into the tournament that you hadn't really had a defining win yet this season?
BRENDA FRESE: Absolutely not. We played on the biggest stage last season, as well as this season, when you look at the best competition that we're playing and in our league. You know you look at any other conferences out there, they are not playing these kind of battles with the Top 3 teams in the Top 5. So we continue to learn and grow and I'm just really proud. We should be at an all time high right now because we played some of our best basketball.
Q. For either Marisa or Shay, can you talk about the difference you feel where the team is at now versus the last time you played UNC?
MARISSA COLEMAN: I think we got a little better since that time but there is still room for improvement.
SHAY DORON: Toward the end of the game we let them get some crucial offensive rebounds which ultimately cost us the game. We just need to go into practice and start practicing a lot harder and then it will come easier in the games.
Q. Brenda, in the past it's maybe been Larkins, or Latta, you guys did a nice job on them. But then it was some other people that got free and scored against you today. Can you talk about how maybe those players stepped up and surprised you maybe a little bit on defense?
BRENDA FRESE: Well, I will tell you, I was saying to our staff, thought Jessica Breland was their X factor today. She made some key shots and really with some range. I thought she stepped up and played with a lot of confidence. It speaks volumes of the depth that they have. We got tentative, obviously, when Crystal and Laura picked up their fourth foul, that was a big change in the game. They got a lot more tentative in terms of how they were defending and really was a major difference in the game.
Q. Marisa or Shay, you guys had 24 turnovers, they had 21 points off turnovers, why do you think today you had trouble protecting the ball?
MARISSA COLEMAN: They heat you up, they pressure you, and they make you uncomfortable on offense. It's something that we got to get used to and it's going to come with practice. We got to work harder and practice and pressure each other and it will be a lot easier when we play teams like Carolina and Duke with their pressure.
Q. Shay, can you talk about coming up short on the ACC title. I'm sure that's something that you wanted?
SHAY DORON: It's tough, you know, finishing my career without one but I'm looking at the big picture here. If we had to lose today to win another National Championship then, you know, that's going to be worth everything to me. Any loss, all of the losses we had this year, all of the losses we've had since I've been at Maryland, a National Championship makes everything better.
Q. Coach, this game looked like it played out with the loss of Georgia Tech with Harper and Langhorne getting in foul trouble, can you talk about that?
BRENDA FRESE: It was obviously difficult. I thought, you know, the first half we were getting to the free throw line and it was a lot more active. The second half the table was turned. And, you know, we really faced a lot of adversity the minute they got to the free throw line a ton more than we were able to do in the second half. Obviously, from a coaching end, it's tough, when your two key post players both pick up four quick fouls off of some loose ball scrambles and that kind of thing. But that's part of the game and you just have to learn and grow from it and be ready to play the next opportunity that we get.
Q. Brenda, could you talk a little bit about the work that Erlana Larkins put in the first half, and why you guys were able to stop her a little more in the second half even when your players are in foul trouble? BRENDA FRESE: I think UNC was a lot more active in getting their touches the first half. I don't know if we did anything different the second half. Their guards started stepping up and hitting a few more shots. She is big, strong, physical and a really difficult matchup for us inside.
Q. Coach, you guys were down 10 in the second half and then 9. You come back and tied it, you were within one but you never took the lead. Were you guys spent when you tied or within one and they come back and score a basket as far as momentum and things like that?
BRENDA FRESE: I'm not sure if spent I think we had some crucial turnovers. The fact that any time we could get that momentum we would have a breakdown, whether it was a crucial turnover, an offensive rebound by UNC. Those are the areas where we feel like we can he still get better at.
Q. Coach, Sade isn't shooting the ball as much as she was in the beginning of the season, but today she had control of the offense, can you talk about what you can look for from her in the NCAA tournament?
BRENDA FRESE: I think she is starting to learn as a leader and starting to really understand her role. What a spark she brings for us. I thought her approach this past week, week and a half has been tremendous. You know because of her leadership she has made us a better team.
Q. You guys are so adamant this weekend playing the 3 teams that beat you. What was your attitude, you put it aside, what was your attitude after NC State beat Duke?
MARISSA COLEMAN: When we saw that they beat Duke we were talking that we needed to handle our business tonight against UNC. That we needed to just go out there. That game didn't mean anything to us. We wanted to get to the championship game and win an ACC Championship regardless of who we were going to play and we just fell short tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Any further questions? Thank you very much.
NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you can make an opening statement.
COACH HATCHELL: I'm proud of these two sitting over to my left. They did a great job out there today. We knew rebounding would be a big key. Erlana had a double double and just kept battling in there. I called her many times my warrior, and she is, so, Erlana, thanks, girl. Ivory did a great job running our team out there. She did a nice job. We had 20 assists out of 28, made baskets, field goals there. So that's a good team basketball. So I just thought we did some good things. I was proud down the stretch whenever Maryland made their comeback, and all we did a couple things that really made a difference and was able to pull the game out. We knew it was going to be a hard fought game. Maryland is so good at so many areas of the game. You take one thing away, they make up for it with something else. Those kids can shoot the lights out, especially Kristi Toliver and Shay and Coleman, they got hot at the end. We put Camille on Kristi, and we tried to switch off some things, and I think it worked. We had a couple of times that they didn't score, that were big. So every possession was important and I am just proud of these two young ladies. The fact that we are playing for another ACC Championship is just an honor in itself.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Coach, this looked like your best game in a really long time especially since it was such a good opponent, did you think so?
COACH HATCHELL: It was pretty ragged out there. We did a lot of good things. I thought we didn't get rattled. We settled down what we needed to. We made some big shots when we needed to. We ran a couple of different things for different players to take shots. But I think overall our toughness was probably as good tonight as it's been all year. Even though early we had big wins against Tennessee and Connecticut, at Maryland was tough, that was a real tough game up there, too. But I thought that down stretch that we really showed some mental toughness.
Q. Coach, how difficult will it be to face the emotional wave of NC State that they are riding right now?
COACH HATCHELL: Well, we've already been through it. It started with us, I think. We were in the series of all of that. But, you know, those kids today, those kids from NC State, it was absolutely unbelievable. You know, because I set out there and watched most of it. And the other, when they gave Kay the award, the other head coaches, we were there talking, some of us, and we decided that we are going to invest in a movie about, you know, these last few weeks for NC State, because I mean it's been an incredible run for them. But, you know, eventually, hopefully some of that emotion will run out. I don't know when it will. But like I said, we have already experienced it with the game that we had over at NC State. But we know that we've got to play a great game tomorrow because NC State will be sky high. We know that. But we've played other situations, you know, when we face great teams, and it's been very emotional and hostile environments and those types of things. Again, our kids will put on their armor and they will go out there and battle and play hard and hopefully win another ACC Championship.
Q. Obviously it's not all emotion, NC State is pretty good?
COACH HATCHELL: Yes, they are.
Q. Do you think they are better now than when they beat you a couple of weeks ago?
COACH HATCHELL: Let me tell you what. I don't know if you were at that game, but the first half against us in Reynolds, I've been coaching 32 years, I don't know if I've ever seen a team play as close to a perfect first half as they did. Some of you were there, I see some heads shaking, you would agree with me. The first half they were incredible, offensively and defensively. The second half they cooled off. We were so far down at half time. Actually the second half we beat them pretty good if we hadn't been so far down to start with. But that game over there, like I said, the first half, I don't know if I've ever seen a team play as well as they did that first half. Like you said, I don't take anything away from them, they are a very good team. I've said all year they were a great team. But I think now, they got 6 seniors, that's what seniors are supposed to do. But they are clicking on all cylinders right now. But I'm hoping maybe some of the gas will run out. It's hard to play three days in a row. We gear everything for the three days that we play. But it's hard to play three days in a row. Especially three days with a lot of emotion. But tomorrow should be a great game.
Q. Ivory, can you take me through that last sequence, Maryland tied it up and you brought it down and then eventually the ball wound up in Latoya's hand and you scored the go ahead bucket. Tell me how that play developed
IVORY LATTA: Coach called the play. I run it, I just make sure everybody is in the right spot. I just saw LaToya down there, and I definitely had confidence that she will make the shot and she had position. The next thing I know I ran down the court because I knew she was going to make the shot. The Coach made a great play and I just ran it.
Q. Erlana, can you talk about the mood swings throughout the game when they tied it. It seemed like they kept making comebacks and you kept on putting them back down six or seven points?
ERLANA LARKINS: Well, like Coach Hatchell said, I don't think it's anything that we haven't experienced before. We've been in many situations where we've had big leads and teams have come back. What we try to do is stay together and not try to get down on each other. We felt that if we stayed together and just played hard that we could come out with a win.
Q. Coach, you answered a question yesterday maybe about Erlana having a subpar game, you said when it comes to game time and she needs to do it, she does it. Talk about that today because she certainly did early on. Erlana, can you talk about playing against a physical, physical Maryland team inside?
ERLANA LARKINS: Oh, well, I mean it's hard when, you know, coaches, throw three different people. Sometimes it's Laura Harper, sometimes it's Langhorne, and sometimes it's Perry. And to abe honest with you it wears you down. I'm a big woman but 3 women coming at you the entire 40 minutes, it kind of wears you down. I think it gets you ready for like the game tomorrow where I have to face '6, "7 Gillian Goring and Sasha Reaves.
COACH HATCHELL: Yes, of course yesterday, you know, Erlana didn't have the numbers that she normally has. She got in foul trouble early. That was really a blessing in disguise because she didn't even play half the game, I don't think. 16 minutes, I believe, something like that. So that was really good. Probably because she was rested more for today. But I know we've been in too many situations when we need her, she is there. I wasn't worried at all. And she likes to distribute give other kids opportunities and chances and stuff like that. So I knew what she was doing.
Q. Coach, did you see such a good game coming from Jessica Breland especially in her first ACC tournament, she only missed one shot?
COACH HATCHELL: Jessica was a McDonald's high school All American. I've seen her play like she did today. And I knew that she could play like that. So I wasn't really that surprised. We needed her, and the confidence level, you know, I just think she just needed experience, and be comfortable, because she has been, you know, trying to learn everything. Instead of just playing, she has been trying to say can I do this? I'm supposed to do this. This person I'm guarding. I think it's just been overwhelming playing college basketball on the level that we're on. She is a great player. She is going to have a tremendous career here. You know, today, it was not a fluke. The kid can play like that and probably even better. She make 3's. She can shoot around a basket. She can rebound, get her hand up over the rim. I got to get her physically stronger.
Q. This is for I guess any of you, a year ago it was like you guys felt like I got the impression you felt like you were invincible, you were headed toward the National Championship, every time you talked, every time you played. That was sort of the unspoken thing. This year is that tempered a little bit with the fact that you didn't win last year, and are you starting to tell that again now.
COACH HATCHELL: I don't know. It's tournament time, we are just thinking about doing a lot of little things better. You know, what the end product is. We hadn't really talked much about it. We just talk about winning the games, what we need to do. Basically taking it one game at a time. But, you know, of course, every team that gets in the NCAA tournament wants to win the National Championship. We are just again trying to get better and hopefully do better than we did last year. So I don't know, we haven't really talked a lot about it. I know these kids, they really want it, and they're going to play their hearts out.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.