March 2, 2007
DUKE BLUE DEVILS
COACH GOESTENKORS: We are happy to come away with the win. Virginia played us very well when we played up there this year. And Littles had just an incredible game against us, so we knew we were in for a great challenge, and I thought overall we did a great job.
We wanted to really focus on Littles and do a much better than we did the first game, and I thought it was a great team effort on her in particular. And I thought our defense was once again the difference in the game and, you know, we were shooting well from the outside so that was nice as well. Abby hit some huge shots for us throughout the game, but in particular in the first half, and I think that really set the tone for us on that end of the floor.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. For Abby, do you look where you are on the court before you launch a shot some of those were really deep. I'm just curious when you were growing up who use to win the games of horse in your backyard between you and Emily?
ABBY WANER: Well, the first question, I don't know if Coach G wants to hear this. But most of the time I don't really think about where I am. I guess it's a mentality that I have at times when my legs get tired I know that I need to take a step in.
And then for the horse games, I guess for the games we were able to finish, it was pretty equal most of the time. We would fight too much and a ball would be thrown or somebody would walk out. But it was pretty equal though.
Q. Could you just elaborate more on what Coach said about the defensive efforts you had against Littles as a team and what the points of emphasis were?
ALISON BALES: Today, well like she said, the last game she gave us a lot of problems. I think she changed the game plan a little bit. We had a guard on her for some of the game, and we also had post players on her. We were working a double team every once in awhile. I think she had a good strategy for her, and we executed and it worked out well.
Q. Coach, could you speak to your matchup against State tomorrow and also Alison's matchup in particular against their center?
COACH GOESTENKORS: Yes, I think it's going to be just an incredible game, you don't see too many '6 "7 post players much less than on each team going at each other. So it was a real good game when we played in Raleigh and both Gillian and Ali had good games against one another. So that's going to be a terrific matchup and a lot of fun to watch.
Q. Abby, you get your shot off very quick, I just wondered how have you developed that?
ABBY WANER: I think most of it is when I grew up I played against boys a lot. When you play against boys they are a lot more athletic and quicker and can jump higher, so that forced me to get my shot off quicker or otherwise I would get blocked.
Q. Coach, I'm kind of wondering with looking at tomorrow's matchup how you guys approach it. It's going to be tough coming in against the feel good story of the year? So how do you guys not let any of that emotion get on your game plan and what you need to do?
COACH GOESTENKORS: I think the game of baseball is very emotional and we play best when we play with great emotion and most teams do. NC State is playing excellent basketball right now, they are inspired basketball right now. I think we are as well. I think there are probably two feel good stories out there this year. One is definitely Kay Yow, and her team, and the other one is probably our team because we've done a lot more than people expected us of. We still know we've got along way to go. We love Kay Yow and that will never change. But when we get on the court we are here to compete and we are here to win, just as they are. So it will be a battle on the floor as it should be.
Q. Alison, what about your matchup tomorrow, what kind of game does your opponent have? What are the things you are going to have to contend with the most?
ALISON BALES: Like Coach said the first time we played them we both had pretty offensive nights. I'm looking to step up my defense. She is very strong, once she gets position in the low post there is not much you can do about. I'm I'm going to try to get around a little bit more than I did last game.
Q. Coach, you kind of touched on it, you actually exceeded expectations, where did the help come from, how have you risen to this level? You are expected to be pretty good but not just this good.
COACH GOESTENKORS: It's been a great team effort. Everybody had a new roll this year, and they embraced their roles. Ali and Lindsey and Abby had to become go to players as opposed to complimentary players. Remmi had to become a great defensive player for us and go from not playing much in big games to being a starter and a star. So everybody has really stepped up. And every single player has improved and embraced their new role. Together we make it work.
The great thing is we have tremendous balance so if one person is not hitting we don't panic, we don't worry, we know we've got other players that are ready and willing to step up.
THE MODERATOR: Any further questions?
Q. Gail, how much of today's performance by Abby and Carrem kind of a microcosm of your season. These are two players in the past few weeks haven't been feeling very well the last few days, and everybody else stepped up to lead the team in scoring and other areas?
COACH GOESTENKORS: I think that's what makes this team great is that everybody can step up and everybody has stepped up at different times in the season. So it feels really good. And I think the players gives us so much confidence, as coaching staff and for all of the players to know that everybody on this team, whether they're starter or sub can lead us in scoring at some point in time if we needed them to.
THE MODERATOR: One more if anybody has it?
Q. Lindsey didn't seem as aggressive today, and she didn't play as much, are you guys holding her back for these upcoming days or was she not the focal point of the game plan?
COACH GOESTENKORS: Well we just always see what teams are going to give us, and we take what they give us. And I thought they did a pretty good job on Lindsey. I give Virginia credit so she was finding her teammates, Abby was open on the outside. She hit Abby as well, and some of players stepped up. So I think that feels really good for Lindsey to know that she doesn't have to bear the burden of being a great scorer for us every single night.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
COACH RYAN: I felt like we started the game off with a lot of energy and thought that we did a fairly good job in the opening minutes of the game.
But it was evident from the start that Duke's defense was making us play too fast offensively. Regardless of the adjustments that we made, we never really got ourselves into any sort of a comfortable pattern offensively the entire game. When you're not making shots sometimes you have breakdowns defensively. It's not what you want to happen but it is what ultimately does happen. I felt fairly good going in at half time. I thought we made some nice runs in the first half trying to get back. We just never really got into any sort of a rhythm which is all a credit to Duke which is probably why they are the No. 1 team in the country.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Coach, Lyndra really struggled today were they doing anything defensively different from the first time you played them?
COACH RYAN: It's hard for me to say just talking extemporaneously. I don't know exactly what they did. I think they played different people on her. They were switching everything most of the time. I thought we got good shots. I would like to see a shot chart, I thought we got very good shots especially in the first half, the beginning of the second half. I just don't think we put them down. I have to look at all of Lyndra's 14 good shots to know if they were good shots. I know one was not. Maybe the rest of the 13 of them were good shots. I think she was playing a little too fast. She might have been a little too hyped up. That's a question you would have to ask her.
Q. Can you talk about Waner's shots and not just that she made them, some of them were pretty tough shots?
COACH RYAN: They were, and she has a very quick release. After the first one I thought we understood that you can't give her any space, you have to be with her. They set good screens. They are big and strong and they set good screens, and she was popping off of them and she is so quick with her feet, she just gets herself set and it goes up. She was hitting today. I've seen her when she hasn't hit. In the first half, it was very difficult to stay with her because they were setting such good screens and we weren't switching because we didn't want to put a smaller player on Bales, or a smaller player on one of their post players. But at the same time I told the team if you're caught, and you are stuck, you got to get out and switch and we never really made the adjustment in the first half. In the second half I thought we did a much better job.
Q. Coach, at this point do you think there is any hope for an NCAA bid. If not, what are you looking to do with an WNIT bid both for now and launching into next year?
COACH RYAN: I have no idea what our status is at this point. But we would definitely want to play. Again if we are invited for post season play we would definitely play regardless of which tournament it is.
Q. Monica, can you talk a little bit about what Coach is referring to about not getting into a rhythm? Did you feel like Duke was forcing you guys to play a little faster than maybe you wanted?
MONICA WRIGHT: For the first half I just felt like defensively we couldn't settle down and play defense calm and collectively like we usually do. And offensively we were kind of rushing things a little bit. The second half I felt we found ourselves a little bit better and got into a rhythm then. The first half we struggled with the rhythm part of the game.
Q. Siedah, do you remember the basket that put you to a thousand?
SIEDAH WILLIAMS: No, I don't. It.
Q. It was the 3 point play you made at the free throw line?
SIEDAH WILLIAMS: Oh, okay. That's news to me.
Q. Is it special for you it came in this tournament, something you have been a part of for four years?
SIEDAH WILLIAMS: I think it is special it came in this tournament. I think it would have been even better if we could have came out with the game and unfortunate we didn't. What better time to come when you are stepping up for your team trying to get a win against the No. 1 team in the country.
Q. The Coach mentioned the desire to keep playing, do you feel the same way, it's now extended life for you as many games as possible?
SIEDAH WILLIAMS: This one, and post season play, there is a lot of teams that will want to be in this position, whether they are in the NCAA tournament or the WNIT. And if we have the opportunity to keep going for it, we are going to go for it. And if we have the chance to play for the championship we will.
Q. Siedah, when they were hitting all of 3's, especially Abby Waner was hitting all of those 3's, what was that doing to you guys mentally and emotionally? Was it rattling you guys at all?
SIEDAH WILLIAMS: At one point it was. Duke is a great team and you never know who is going to come out hot. Tonight Abby Waner was the one. I mean, going 5 for 5 from the 3 point line. She had some pretty tough shots. There was maybe one shot that was uncontested. But she made a lot of shots that were contested. That's a great shooter.
Q. First, what was your defensive game plan going into this game when you were concentrating go on this. Secondly, did fatigue ever become a factor for your team and if so at what point?
COACH RYAN: I would say fatigue did become a factor in the last five minutes of the second half because we are limited with what we can do. Our game plan was the same as it was in Charlottesville. We matchup pretty well with Duke in most positions. But when they got the lead, it makes it very difficult to really change much up because you are just fighting and clawing and trying to stay in the game, you can't lose assignment. The way they were hitting 3's, the only thing you could do is maybe change and go to a zone for a possession or two, but the way they were hitting that might not have mattered at all because they were literally standing on the sideline hitting shots.
I didn't have a lot of ways to go. The game plan was virtually the same. It probably went about the same as it did in Charlottesville. They made a run in the first half. That was the half time deficit and then we clawed back in. It just went about the same. It was good to see that the rebounding wasn't dominating like it was in Charlottesville, but we closed that gap a little bit. We probably focused more on Bales and Harding than we did anybody else. We know Waner can shoot, and we know her sister can shoot. I thought her two 3's, Emily Waner's two 3's, were probably more key than Abby Waner's 3's. I think Abby Waner's 3's is what Abby Waner does. But I think Emily Waner coming in and stretching us even further made it more difficult for us. I thought that to me was mentally taxing on our team.
Q. Coach, since Duke has run the table so far what would it take to somebody to beat them do you think?
COACH RYAN: Well, they are going to have to have a bad day and somebody is going to have to have a really good day and that's the way I see it. I think they are very balanced in every aspect. I still think that teams that get good shots against them, and can be very physical with them and finish can really help themselves. It's just that they are very physical sometimes inside. It's hard, with Bales in there, it's difficult to get completely open looks and completely uncontested looks. So it's got to be a team that can finish with contact and a team that can defend them. They spread you out so much it's difficult to defend because they can all penetrate and they can all kick. They've got a lot of things going for them. But I think it's going to take somebody having a really good day and hitting them on one of their bad days.
Q. Debbie, can you talk a little bit about Paulisha Kellum a little bit?
COACH RYAN: Yes, she does that every game. She is the most unheralded first year player, unheralded ACC freshman ever. She has done this the whole season. This is not surprising. This is not something she has done the last few days. She has done this all season long. She is a very consistent player. She is strong. She is fearless. She is not afraid of anybody. She is not afraid of Allison Bales. She could have cared less today. That's the kind of player you want on your team. I'm sure you will be hearing a lot more about Paulisha Kellum before next year.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you all.