Post-game Quotes: #1 North Carolina 91, #3 Maryland 80
March 5, 2006
NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
COACH Sylvia Hatchell: I'm tired. That was a lot of fun. We enjoyed playing this game.
First of all, Maryland, wow, I will tell what you they are such an offensive team. You know, I mean they can all shoot the ball and they're just so solid at all positions. We knew that if we gave them open looks down the stretch that they could make those and they did. You just can't ever rest against a team like Maryland. But, you know, I was proud of my kids. We switched up our defenses a little bit more and tried to stop giving them some of those open looks and also just staying with people out there and not doubling the ball and everybody was just one on one and I thought they did a good job with that.
Rebounding was a big key. We knew it was going to be, and I think that really makes me happy to see the rebounding situation there.
Erlana (Larkins) was so tough inside. We kept telling them at time outs get the ball to E, get the ball to E, because she was either scoring or getting it to other people.
And so it was a great team balance. I thought Ivory (Latta) did a good job of running the team. We had some good penetration. Camille (Little) did a nice job. She didn't get to play but 25 minutes because of foul trouble. But when she was in there, I thought did she a really nice job for us as well.
'Tangy (La'Tangela Atkinson), she does a lot of things that helps us win and doesn't get credit for it always. But she is just a great team player.
And I thought (LaToya) Pringle again, her efforts just make such a difference out there, especially defensively.
So it was great team effort. I'm proud of my kids. We are excited about the NCAA tournament.
Again, Maryland, our hats are off to them because they are a great, great team. It was a great championship game.
Q. Coach, were the scissors you used the same ones from last year in the championship game and '94 as well?
COACH Sylvia Hatchell: Right. It was the gold scissors that we cut down the net with at the '94 national championship game, and I had them in my desk drawer for a long time. I didn't get to use them again until last year, we used them and we had them here today. I was happy to be able to use those gold scissors because they have a lot of special memories. We would like to use them again.
Q. Erlana, why were you able to get so many shots inside, what was happening in the paint there?
Erlana Larkins: I think there was a lot of one on one defense. There wasn't much opportunity for people to help.
Q. Coach, when Maryland made their run in the second half, was there a sense of here we go again from the game?
COACH Sylvia Hatchell: Well, you know, I don't know if I thought here we go again. But, you know, I usually don't make too many mistakes, you know, two or three times. So this time we did a little better, called some time outs and we changed our defenses. I thought we had our match-ups better this time than when we played them in Chapel Hill. We didn't give them so many of those open looks, but they made some shots. When we were really straight one on one, I thought we did a pretty good job. We hedged some on a couple of those screens at the top. And when they picked up their dribble, we didn't give them any space. I thought our on the ball pressure was a little bit better especially of giving them some looks the last three minutes or so.
Q. Sylvia, (Crystal) Langhorne only had one shot in the second half, and they didn't get her the ball much, what were you able to do here today?
COACH Sylvia Hatchell: The defenses, these guys play on, both Camille and Erlana and Pringle are excellent defensive players. I thought they were mixing things up. They weren't able to feed it in there so much. In the beginning of the game, they were able to feed it in there. On the ball pressure, when they picked up their dribble, it was hard for them to pass the ball into the post. I think that defensive pressure made a big difference. When you put pressure on the ball, that helps the post players out too. I think it was just a combination of our defensive effort.
Q. Camille, how is this championship, does it feel different than last year, what's the feeling right now?
Camille Little: I think the only difference is not the Duke and Carolina rivalry. It's so much of a big deal, Carolina and Duke playing again. I think that's the difference of our opponent. But remembering that we lost to Maryland before was a lot of pressure on us. We felt like we had something we had to do because we didn't want to lose at home this year. I think that was the difference between this championship.
Q. La'Tangela, I know you were matched up on Marissa (Coleman) for at least a good part of the game, what were you guys trying to do on her, and the other guard, why were you able to be pretty successful there?
La'Tangela Atkinson: We went out and played Carolina defense, put pressure, get up in their faces and make them drive instead of taking the outside shot.
Q. Coach, in the second half, I think all of your points came in the paint from the field, I mean either in the lanes, stick backs, Ivory driving. You said the plan was to get the ball to Erlana?
COACH Sylvia Hatchell: Right it was to get it inside. We felt like we could spread it out and get penetration and then get some dump offs. I was just showing Erlana, I was pointing to her on the points in the paint where we had 58. I was just nudging her because she was responsible for a lot of that. I think when we mix it up, the first half, one time out was like a 12-minute time out. We were telling the guards to fake and drive to the paint because good things were happening when we did that. And we weren't really shooting. I they were we settling for too many outside shots, so we tried to take it inside a little bit more. Like I said I think that worked.
Q. Sylvia, you talked yesterday about the kind of game you like to see in women's basketball, was this that kind of game today?
COACH Sylvia Hatchell: Oh yes, I think it was fun now that we've won. We are going to go up and down the court. Our conditioning Coach (Jeff) Connors was willing to bench with us. He is our strength training coach. Coach (John) Bunting, lets us have him too. He does football and women's basketball. So our strength training and conditioning is a real important factor because we trap and fast break and all and we've play three games in a row, and I thought our legs were pretty good today. But I love playing that way. I think it's great for women's basketball. Someone told me yesterday that our game with Duke last week was the third-highest rating of a women's game that ESPN had had. I hope I'm not saying something that's not true, but that's what I was told. So, you know, I think the style, people like to watch that. And our kids love playing the way we play. An as long as we win, it's fun me to.
Q. Coach, looking ahead to the NCAA tournament, it's a forgone conclusion North Carolina and Duke will be No. 1 seeds. There has been a lot of talk about Maryland in the conferences deserves a third No. 1 seed. Is Maryland worthy of that?
COACH Sylvia Hatchell: Yes, Maryland is worthy of that. You look at their losses. One to us and to Duke and then early, early they lost to Tennessee. They are a great team. They are young. They are going to be tough for a long time.
But we are learning more about them and how to play them, you know. We did a few things today that really made a difference that we learned from when they beat us in Chapel Hill.
Q. Sylvia, you obviously know that you have a team that can go all the way, will you coach at all with that in mind, what will you be changing, if anything, at all in the coming weeks if you are thinking long term now?
COACH Sylvia Hatchell: I won't change a thing. Why would I change something? You know, I've got great kids, they are playing their hearts out for each other and for me. You know, we're healthy. We're an exciting team. We've got great chemistry. This as the kind of team a coach dreams of. These young ladies are like my daughters. They are super kids, and we have a great relationship and we have a lot of fun as you can tell together, but we work hard. I'm not going to change anything at all.
I told them today, maybe I'm telling a little secret here, I told them if they won on the boards today that I we have to change our practice shirts every so often, I would get a practice shirt for them we would draw a cartoon on it, but it would say WWR, Wild Women Rebounders, because we were going to try to take some time in being rebounders today. We make it a lot of fun. I try to make it fun for them. That's a part of our goal to have fun while we're playing basketball. We will not change anything. We will rest a little bit this week. We will probably work on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and I will give them a few days off. I will be over here at the men's tournament. Then our spring break starts. I am going to give them a long weekend next weekend. We will be back together, watch the pairings, probably at my house, I believe 4:00, Monday we will watch the pairings at my house, and go to work to prepare for whomever we are going to be playing.
COACH BRENDA FRESE: I will tell you, just a tremendous game by two great teams that I hope we see back at the Final Four playing. I thought North Carolina did a tremendous job today. They were extremely aggressive. They really attacked us on the offensive end. The second chance opportunities on the glass. The activeness, getting to the glass, getting to the free throw line. Shooting 27 free throw attempts. All of the credit goes to how active they were on the offensive end. We are disappointed because we felt like we could come in. I'm very proud of this team. I thought they battled for 40 minutes and played a tremendous game. I'm proud of their heart and their spirit. We are just looking forward to being able to learn from this game and move on and get ready for the NCAA tournament.
Q. Brenda, Crystal (Langhorne) only had one shot in the second half, what were they doing to her and why couldn't you get her the ball?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: You know, I think they just really, they were a lot more active. Their traps kind of gave us some problems. But, you know, I think we were able to spread the ball a little more. Some of our guards were stepping up. I think really attacking. We found an area of weakness just to be able to attack them dribble penetration. And I thought Ashleigh (Newman), Marissa (Coleman), our guards started penetrating. All of our players on the floor are a threat to score.
Q. (Ivory) Latta and (Erlana) Larkins both had the 26 tonight, are you disappointed with how you defended her inside? Latta was going to get her points, how about Larkins?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: She is very difficult to defend on the block. With the coverage that we had. She is strong. She is physical. She is aggressive. I thought she really backed us down low. You know to be able to get those easy layups. I thought she was a beast, obviously, out there on the glass. She is a difficult match-up to defend.
Q. Crystal, what was the problem down low giving up so many points in the paint, allowing so many second chance opportunities?
CRYSTAL LANGHORNE I think they out hustled us on the rebounds. Defensively we just didn't handle them well in the post.
Q. Brenda, how much did the foul situation hamper your rotation, what you were able to do today?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: Cathy, great to see you. The foul situation, obviously, you know, lead up to halftime with when we had Laura Harper, Ashleigh Newman, Kristi Toliver in some serious foul trouble. I'm proud of our game plan. I'm proud they battled through all of the adversity they did in this game. Really kept their composure and it was a tremendous battle.
Q. Marissa, winning three in a row, trying to beat two teams that are ranked 1 and 2, back to back days, is it a physical grind as well as a mental grind?
MARISSA COLEMAN: Yes, especially with the talent that we faced yesterday and we faced today. We were talking about it in the locker room, it came down to the hustle plays and us not boxing out in their second chance points.
Q. Can you talk about the play of Jade (Perry) and Ashleigh today, that stepped up big time?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: They played like warriors. They played like champions. That's why this team is so dangerous when you see the players and the rotation. Ashleigh was ready to play and had a tremendous tournament for us. Jade Perry single handedly put the team on her back. That's what you have to have to be a championship team. That's why we are ranked 4 in the country because each and every one these players comes prepared and ready to play and is ready to give back to this team.
Q. Ashleigh, can you just talk a little bit about your shot didn't fall early on in the game, but sticking with it and getting some shots to fall late?
ASHLEIGH NEWMAN: I mean this whole tournament has been great for me with my shot coming back and things. I just had to stay focused and keep taking the shots. I knew my teammates were going to continue to pass the ball to me.
Q. Brenda, you are one of the few teams talented and willing to run with Carolina, do you just assume the game is going to be like this where you get down to five minutes to go? What happened in the last five minutes?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: Obviously, we feel like our offensive power can match up with anyone. We have proven that even, you know, obviously with the first game that we played Carolina. But we really felt like going into this tournament our defense is what we were going to have to have. We showed that, I thought, yesterday against Duke. But tonight I thought North Carolina just was quicker to the loose balls, active on the glass, were able to get to the free throw line seven more times more than we were able to get there. They've been here. You know, it was just a tremendous game.
Q. Coach, what was Kristi's biggest problem out there, was it Ivory giving her problems, foul trouble, what was it today?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: I think frustration. She picked up those quick fouls that take you out of your rhythm. She knows that we depend on her running the team, getting out there. You have to play conservative when you pick up three fouls in the first half. I thought she did a tremendous job coming back in the second half and playing with poise. Again, it's a physical game. Ivory Latta is tremendous speed on her, making her have to work for everything.