March 1, 2007
COACH SEMRAU: Well, I was really pleased with our balance on the offensive end of the floor, the sharing of the basketball, I thought we did a great job getting them inside. I thought our post players did a nice job of handling their double teams. When you have someone that you are as confident in shooting the ball as Mara Freshour and Tanae Davis Cain that really helped our cause. The second half we did a much better job of rebounding the basketball, and I thought that was a key as well.
Q. Jacinta, what did you see as the difference in the second half rebounding; what did you guys do differently?
JACINTA MONROE: Well, basically we went in the locker room boxing them out harder and holding our seals more. It worked out to our advantage. We held our seals, and we got aggressive on the offensive boards. And the guards are crashing and getting rebounds while we are holding them off.
Q. Mara, what a game today, a career high point, 6 1 point guard, rebounds well, gets you into your offense, great interior passer as well, talk a little bit about what you want to see out of her every game and her performance today?
COACH SEMRAU: I don't think it's any coincidence that Mara is from Indian. Indiana basketball is very fundamental, very team oriented and she brings just that to our team day in and day out. We kind of call her connect the dot type of player. She doesn't just pass to the interior, she sees the pass that will lead to the pass that gets it there. Having someone like Mara on our team is so vital. This is her first year running the point. She ran it some in high school but it's obviously a very different level. I think she has stepped up and done a tremendous job for us, and I think you'd probably agree with your assessment.
Q. Coach, two questions. The first, 7 minutes in the game your defense seemed a little bit lax, especially with inside baskets, can you describe what you did about the 13 minute mark of the first half to improve that? Secondly, what's the status of Shante Williams currently?
COACH SEMRAU: Well, in answer to your first question, I think getting a feel for the game and the tournament and all of that, even though we had seen Wake a few days earlier. Their guards had really been the difference in that basketball game. I thought we made a good adjustment. We adjusted well to the officials in that first 7 minutes of the game. Shante, we are hoping to have her back tomorrow. She has a torn hip flexor and is being treated since her injury at our game against Clemson.
Q. How important do you think with the fast start you got out of the gate, the first day of the tournament, you personally, and the team, just to get out the way you did?
MARA FRESHOUR: I think it was great. We played them a couple of days ago obviously, so we really new how to execute against them. And one of our biggest goals was to push it on them and running the transition. Obviously when your transition game is going well, it just brings a lot more fire to the game, and obviously coming out and playing well as a team, and everyone doing their job, really leads in to your next game, and we are looking forward to a little revenge tomorrow. I think it's really great what we did today. I think it brings a lot of confidence for us tomorrow.
Q. Sue, just about tomorrow's game, what are some of the things that you guys need to do differently this time against State?
COACH SEMRAU: Well, I thought that Gillian Goring did a tremendous job getting deep seals, and we have to meet her much earlier and be more aware of that. I thought we were just very out of rhythm. You know, Shante didn't play again that game. So Mara had to play a bunch, which is normal for us, but she doesn't always have to run that one spot on her own. So, I just think we have to be a little bit different basketball team. I don't know if there is anything specific that I would really point to.
MIKE PETERSEN: Well, I thought that game was very similar to a lot of games that we played. A lot of our effort was good. Our execution was all right. We only turned it over 10 times. We just don't make enough shots at the end of the day. It's pretty important thing to do in this sport is to make shots. I was all right with most of the looks that we got, we just didn't get the ball in the basket, and they did. When the game was still really kind of on the line, they made some really big shots, and any time we started to get a little momentum they would make a big shot. I thought Freshour was really, really good. We did a much better job on Britany Miller. She was 15 for 18 maybe on Sunday. She went 3 for 7 day. We did a much better job on her. But they did a great job of finding Freshour, and she did a great job of making shots.
Q. Coach, can you talk about now that your season is over, can you talk about what you hope to achieve next year, and the future of your program with such a really, really young team?
MIKE PETERSEN: Sure, and that's part of the deal. We are not just coaching this year's team, we are coaching next year's team, and for the most part we are coaching the year after that's team. I don't know what the numbers are. But almost all of our points, almost all of our rebounds, and almost all of our minutes played this year have been from freshman and sophomores. There is no question, it's is a long learning curve that we are on right now. The problem is this is a really bad league to be trying to learn. It's not a good league for on the job training. Honestly that's kind of what we've had a little bit this year. Having said that, I think our kids have done a good job with it. They've competed, and as you saw, this team has got plenty of compete in it. We didn't have a competitive problem today. We had a make baskets problem today, which in this game is a big problem. But having said that, as long as this group stays focused and continues to work, they are going to get paid back for the work they've done this year.
Q. For either of the players, how tough was it to kind of keep your focus and stay with it after you fell behind so early then you guys seemed to settle down after that?
ALEX TCHANGOUE: We always try to stay focussed. We try to stay together and keep playing hard and everything. Now, it's tough, but, you know, we always try to do that. So I think we did a pretty good job in staying focused and competing on every play. Now we've been through tough times, but that's the way the game goes.
MEKIA VALENTINE: I never had a problem with that. I don't think our team has a problem with that at all. I think every minute we are out there we want to play, so we keep going hard no matter what.
Q. Start of the second half, this may get back to the made baskets thing you talk about, there was like a three or four minute gap there they didn't score, did you feel there was window of opportunity there, maybe you could have made more of a dent at that point?
MIKE PETERSEN: Yes, no question. We had really good looks at that point, you know what I mean? And the ball didn't go in the basket. I thought we defended the first, you know, to the first media time out maybe in the second half. I thought our defense was really good. They were very uncomfortable. They weren't getting good looks. We did a good job of getting matched up in the zone. When they did throw it in the post, we had pretty good doubles and pretty good rotations. But on the other hand, I thought we had a lot of really good looks that didn't go in the basket. The problem is, both in the short run and in the long run, it's been my experience that when a team starts making baskets, everyone feeds off of that. And, unfortunately, if a team starts missing some baskets everyone kind of feeds off of that too. We kind of gotten into that this throughout the course of this year, and I think that's what happened to us a little bit the start of the second half. But, yes, I felt there was a chance to cut into it, and we just didn't do a good enough job of scoring in that situation.
Q. Mekia, how do you feel to be in front of your home crowd since you played high school basketball around this area?
MEKIA VALENTINE: I loved it. I was really excited when I first came out there. We play here every Christmas, so I was really, really excited to be home again. My dad was right behind the bench, that was really good for me. I was really excited about it.
Q. Mekia, you were just named to the All ACC freshman team, how does that feel, and what do you think you need to work on for next year to become a better player?
MEKIA VALENTINE: I was surprised, I guess that's my first emotion, I guess. It was a rough season for me. I didn't really know what my roll was at the beginning , but I think in the long run that I kind of figured it out, and I learned how to play with my team and fit into that role. I think for next season, we were just talking about that, it's probably my face up game, I'm not really that strong when it's not post news, so I think I need to work on that. And dribbling from the high post and shooting a little bit more and not getting in foul trouble, that's probably the most important.