2009 ACC Women's Basketball Tournament - Game 1 Quotes
March 5, 2009
THE MODERATOR: Joined up here from the Clemson Tigers, student athletes Lele Hardy, Tasha Taylor, Shaniqua Pauldo and head coach Cristy McKinney. Coach when you are ready, go ahead.
COACH CRISTY MCKINNEY: You know we felt like we kind of under achieved the last month of the season. We weren't playing like we would have liked to. We looked at this as a new season, and felt like we had a great game plan. I felt my players did a tremendous job of executing that game plan. Shaniqua Pauldo gave us a big lift inside, getting some points when we needed them down low. Tasha Taylor, senior point guard, coming off that knee injury has been a struggle. She stepped up today. Lele has got it done for us all year. She has been that steady factor that's done it for us all year.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for student athletes.
Q. Shaniqua, when did you know you were going to start and what did that feel like and how did you approach the game today?
SHANIQUA PAULDO: Well, Coach told me in the locker room when we first got here I was going to start. I was excited, and I was calm. I knew she believed in me so I just wanted to show her that she wasn't just starting me for no reason.
Q. Was your approach to the game different than when you came off the bench? Anymore aggressive?
SHANIQUA PAULDO: Yes, I just wanted to play tough and I just wanted to be the go-to post player and help my team win.
Q. Coach, where does this rank on your wins at Clemson and also what did you see in Shaniqua that lead you to start her; what had been going on with her?
COACH CRISTY MCKINNEY: She has been getting better in practice. That's where you get better when you are not starting to get a lot of minutes and she had been scoring more in practice and being more aggressive. Definitely doing a lot of good things on the offensive end. We really talked to her about being that factor on the defensive end, too. She did a great job rebounding. But she gave us an offense that we have been seeing in practice.
Q. Tasha, I don't know if you guys missed a free throw, if you did I didn't see it. Explain the calm and the poise you guys displayed in knocking all of those free throws down.
TASHA TAYLOR: The entire game we were composed and we kind of controlled the flow of the whole game. We knew we were up and we just wanted to keep our composure and knock down some free throws and play great defense down the stretch.
Q. Coach, they jumped on you early, what changed the flow of the game?
COACH CRISTY MCKINNEY: We settled down. I thought we were nervous early. We weren't doing the things we worked on and the things we knew how to do. I think we were just a little nervous early. Once we settled and started doing the things we worked on and making some plays, breaking the press and getting some shots, and we knocked down some shots at the back end of that press, and that kind of made everybody kind of feel better and settle.
Q. Lele, they went to the half court trap there early in the second half, and I think you guys beat it two or three times for baskets, can you explain why you were so proficient at beating that and why it all worked?
LELE HARDY: I guess it was more of the composure. We were relaxed more than trying to force it. We were making the easy pass and getting what was best for us.
Q. Both Coach and Lele, talk about playing North Carolina tomorrow?
COACH CRISTY MCKINNEY: It's a great challenge, you know, we just played them once this year at our place and, you know, it was a competitive ball game most of the way. We are excited about being here another day and an opportunity of playing a great team. I just want my team to play with confidence again. I think when they play with confidence; they can do a lot of good things. Hopefully this game gave them a lot of confidence.
LELE HARDY: North Carolina is a good team, I think when we come to play together and play hard and play smart, we can compete with anybody.
THE MODERATOR: We will get started. Joined up here on the podium is Georgia Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph. Student athletes, Iasia Hemingway and Jacqua Williams. Opening statement.
COACH MACHELLE JOSEPH: I would like to give Clemson all of the credit. I thought after we came off of a huge win up at their place a couple of weeks ago, I thought they came out and their kids really responded and played hard. It was obvious to me out there today; they got all of the hustle points, all of the loose balls, 50 rebounds. We haven't given up 50 rebounds all year long. The fact that they made all of those hustle plays, I have a lot of respect for their coaching staff for being able to get their team ready to play. Coming off losing five or six in a row, and the way they we responded today was really impressive. Again, I have a lot of respect for what Coach McKinney was able to do for her team today and how their players responded out their on the floor.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. They were playing some kind of triangle and 2 that seemed to give you a lot of trouble; can you talk a little about that please?
COACH MACHELLE JOSEPH: I thought defensively they had a good game plan. Deja (Foster) had 24 points up at their place and Alex Montgomery who also had 24 points up at their place. I thought we got good wide open shots. We needed to make those shots and we were able to convert. I thought their defensive game plan was pretty good.
Q. Coach, do you have any sense now of how this will affect you relative to the NCAA tournament in a couple of ways, your preparation? Secondly, perhaps seeding?
COACH MACHELLE JOSEPH: Well, I definitely think we're in the NCAA tournament. It's definitely going to affect our seeding. I thought we need to get a win today to get a better seed, a seed that we wanted, a top 6 seed, and we weren't able to do that today, to get the job done today. But I think we are definitely in the NCAA tournament. We are 21 and 9 and finished 8 and 6 in the toughest conference in women's basketball. We have a high RPI, and strength of schedule. I couldn't imagine the ACC wouldn't get five or six teams in the tournament. We had key wins, 3 wins, over ranked opponents, including North Carolina, Virginia, late in the season. We finished out in our last 11 games at 7 and 4. I just feel like we are in a great position to get an NCAA tournament bid. How our seed will be affected from this game is yet to be seen.
Q. What do you know about Alex Montgomery's injury, how much did Pauldo surprise you?
COACH MACHELLE JOSEPH: Well, Pauldo played well against us when they came to Atlanta the very first game. I think the fact that they started all of those kids from Georgia got them going early, got them excited to play against us. Pauldo played on the same AAU team with some of our freshman. I really thought she stepped up big for them. She had some extra motivation today it was obvious. She made a lot of big plays for them. I was really impressed the way she finished around the basket.
As far as Alex Montgomery, she is going to be okay. Right now we did an X-ray, looks okay. She sublexed her patella, fortunately she will be fine, get a couple of days off, and rest, and she should be back out there and ready to go.
Q. Coach, after handling North Carolina in the regular season, was there any chance that maybe your kids were looking past Clemson toward that rematch with Carolina?
COACH MACHELLE JOSEPH: I absolutely believe that's what happened. We had such a huge win up at Clemson, and then I think our young team, I have 10 freshman and sophomores, and a couple of upper classman that play. I tried to warn them about it in the locker room preparing for Clemson, but I definitely thing we looked ahead. We are going to learn a very valuable lesson from there. Again, I don't want to take anything away from Clemson. I think they flat out got it done. They went out there and they performed. You have to give them credit. I think we can learn a valuable lesson from this moving forward.
Q. But for both players, what lesson can you take out of this as you get ready to play in the NCAA tournament?
JACQUA WILLIAMS: Every game is important. You can't look ahead or behind you, you have to look at what's in front of you.
IASIA HEMINGWAY: Practice makes perfect, and we are going to go in and practice hard and just get ready for NCAA and come out like Jacqua said. We've got to take one game at a time.