Post Game Quotes: Game 4 - #6 Georgia Tech 66; #11 Miami 52
March 2, 2007
GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS
COACH JOSEPH: First of all I just want to give a compliment to Miami. I thought they gave us their best shot tonight. They came out, played aggressive on both ends. We played them, this was the third time this season. But I'll be honest with you, this is the best they played against us, and they really competed on both ends. I thought we did a good job in the first half on Reid and Taylor. But I thought in the second half, they really put their best foot forward and were able to make some plays and got them back in the game. I thought my kids hung tough. I thought we were effective on the defensive end. I thought our rebounding was pretty good. And I thought Janie Mitchell was huge inside. They chose to go with a small line up and I thought she was able to take advantage of that on the inside. The fact that Stephanie and Janie came up with doubles, doubles. Any time Chioma Nnamaka is hitting her 3's, it opens everything up for everybody else. I thought tonight it was just a total team effort. The versatility that we have with Kentrina Wilson when somebody goes small we can go small with them. If somebody goes big we can go big with them. With Trina in the perimeter, or Trina inside. So I just thought that our kids stepped up and met the challenge.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. This is for Janie, you had two good games against Miami, is it really that simple as a question of size, or is there something more to it than that?
JANIE MITCHELL: I mean every game, you know, you look at your advantages and of course, size had a big part in it. But I don't know, I guess it's just one of those things, you know. I think I probably had my break out game as a freshman against Miami. And from then on, it is just like, I don't know, I guess you can almost say Miami is in Georgia or something. It's like a high school rivalry or something. I get up for those games. It's an ACC tournament. So, hey, it's time to elevate your game.
Q. For Stephanie, you were one of a whole bunch of different players that took a turn on Taylor. It seemed like somebody was always with her wherever she went, was that pretty much the game plan to shadow her? And also Reid, how tough is she to guard?
STEPHANIE HIGGS: That was exactly the game plan. We wanted to face guard her and deny her the ball as much as possible. We know she is very, very good off the dribble, stepping back and shooting 3. And basically on defense, we always wanted to know where she was and make sure that we can make her put it on the floor as much as possible. But she did get a lot of 3's off, but I thought we did do a good job on her.
Q. Coach you've beaten Maryland this year, the only unranked team to do that. What can you take from that game, learn from that game and put it into this one for a game plan?
COACH JOSEPH: Well, I think our players and our coaching staff we understand that any time you play a team like Maryland you have to be the more aggressive team from start to finish. I think that's what we took out of that game. I thought going into that game we knew the aggressive team was going to win. And when you are playing somebody like Maryland you've got to bring your A game, and you've got to be aggressive on every possession; whether that's rebounding, whether that's attacking the basket, off dribble, penetration, whatever it is, diving on the floor after loose balls. I mean, we got to give an extra effort. Anytime you are playing a team like Maryland, you've got to elevate your game. I think we were able to do that in Atlanta. Now the challenge is can we do it tomorrow night at the ACC tournament?
Q. Stephanie, every time that Miami seemed to make a run you were seen to be the player who would take the extra time to look for a good shot for yourself, or someone else, or otherwise settle down your team, is that what you were consciously trying to do when they were making those runs?
STEPHANIE HIGGS: Yes, Miami is a team that likes to push the ball and run the ball up and down the floor, so we basically wanted to make them play defense, and take advantage of when we had opportunities to drive to the basket. I wanted to stay on the boards. I ended up with a double, double but my focus was to get on boards, and slow the ball down and kind of make them play a half court game.
Q. MaChelle, you got to 20 wins here. Do you see a significance in that and how this program has grown up? And on kind of the same score, what's been the biggest factors in this little roll that you are on here lately?
COACH JOSEPH: It's really interesting, I was just sitting here thinking about when we walking in here, a year ago, we were higher than a kite because we got a win in the ACC tournament. And now after this game it's almost like, okay, we got that win, but we got Maryland tomorrow night. It's like the next game, is no more the biggest thing in the world that we won this first round game. We were expecting, as a team, and a program, we were expecting those wins. We kind of turned the corner with our mentality and approach. It's almost now we are expecting success. So that's half the battle in building a program. The last three years that's been our struggle. The biggest thing for me, coming into Georgia Tech, was to try to develop a winning mentality. We've always had talent. We've had some talent. But at the same time, we never had the mentality that we expected to win. And I think when we bet Maryland this year at Georgia Tech, it kind of turned the that corner. Now it's almost like, hey, we're pretty good. We can expect to step on the floor and win. We did a great job protecting our home court. We only lost to North Carolina at home, played them extremely tough, lead for 35 minutes. And I think one of the things that we learned how to do from a year ago, that Maryland game, taught us here at the ACC tournament, was we learned how to finish. We played the eventual national champions right down to the wire. We got home and we talked about it , we sat down and we said you know what, if we can learn to finish we can do something special next year. And that's exactly what we learned how to do. And that's why we are sitting here today at 20 and 10 and 9 and 5 in the league because we learned how to finish. And I think the fact that we beat Maryland this year, that just kind of put an exclamation point on it. I think our kids understand how to win..
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions?
Q. Coach, you said you are at 20 wins now, do you think your team has done enough to make the NCAA tournament? I'm sure you are following RPI and other such factors as well. Do you think you've done enough, or do you think you need to play Maryland close?
COACH JOSEPH: I think we are absolutely in. Any team that's 9 and 5 that would be a direct slam to our conference. We've got some of the best teams in the country in our conference. Any team that finishes 500 in our league. There has only been three teams in the history of this conference not finish over 500 and not get in. That is when we had 48 teams. There is no way that Georgia Tech is not an NCAA tournament team. We've beaten Maryland. We've beaten N.C. State. N.C. State has won 8 of their last 9. We are the only team to beat them. We are 20 and 10. We are 9 and 5 in the league. We played a very tough non conference schedule. We played 3 SEC teams. We played Temple at Temple. We played some very tough competition, and there is no way that Georgia Tech is not an NCAA tournament team. THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Miami head coach Katie Meier, Charmaine Clark and Renee Taylor. Coach, when you are ready we will take an opening statement and entertain some questions.
COACH MEIER: Yes, you know I have a team that has a ton of heart. I was really proud of their effort. I thought they were five or six times that we could have just said, hey, we had a tough season and we are just going to lay down and let the clock run out. They refused to do that. I can't be more proud of them that I am for that effort. I think the story of the game is the end of the first half. We had cut it to 3, I think, or it was close, about 3 minutes to go and I think we only scored one point the rest of the way. That's a credit to Georgia Tech. They scouted us very well, and they knew our sets and they broke us out of what we were trying to do. Going down 11, with about 3 minutes to go, that's tough. But then again, I know my team and I know that us being down 11, we can change very quickly. And I thought we did a nice job, always coming back to remain threatening and to keep attacking. A lot of that starts with Renee Taylor. You see them a little sad right now because Renee has meant a lot to this program. She chose Miami over a national champ in Baylor. That was the biggest recruit that I could have ever signed. She has been everything to this program. I want to credit her for her efforts tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Renee, they ran an awful lot of defenders at you, everywhere you went they had almost a different defender, how did you cope with that? You only got two shots in the first half. You dealt with it better in the second half
RENEE TAYLOR: I mean I wasn't really worried about that. Them throwing two defenders at me that means somebody is open on my team. I believe in my team. For them to throw two at me to watch who is coming behind, you got Charmaine coming from behind, and you got Maurita Reid and LaToya Cunningham, Albrey Grimsley. I mean it was difficult. I credit them for that. I mean I also believe in my team. If it took me to only take two shots and play defense, that's what I had to do.
Q. Coach, I know the loss is really fresh and I know it's hard to let go of the season now. Reflect what you think about the future of your program and what you think they need to do to sort of rise to the front ranks of the ACC?
COACH MEIER: Of course, I will. You know, obviously, we were down 8 strong. One of the things that we accomplished this year is the pride and attitude. You know, our record doesn't it doesn't seem like that's a 2 and 12. It doesn't seem like we were competitive. I will tell you, ask any coaches in the league, was Miami competitive this year with all they had going against them, and they will tell you, yes, they were. I don't think there is one Coach who will say we weren't. I think a lot was accomplished this season in terms of attitude, in terms of excellence,, in terms of not accepting anything less. We had some tough losses on our roster. You never saw us crying to the papers. You never saw us feeling sorry for ourselves. You never saw us going into any game thinking that we weren't every going to win. That's a huge step in the right direction. I'm very confident that that was crucial in terms of the development of what we need to do. We are a hungry team, we're an aggressive team, and we don't back down, but I believe there is great things coming.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions? Thank you.