2009 ACC Women's Basketball Tournament - Game 2 Quotes
March 5, 2009
WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for athletes and questions for Coach. Joined up here on the podium by Wake Forest, head coach Mike Petersen, Corrine Groves and Alex Tchangoue.
Coach, when you are ready, an opening statement.
COACH MIKE PETERSEN: Well, it was not surprising that it was a close game. We played three close games with them, and we just did a little bit better job of closing this game out. Obviously it really helped us to have Corrine today. The first two times we played the, she didn't play, she was ill. I thought the biggest thing we did, we were just really aggressive against their traps and against their pressure. When we are aggressive, we are usually pretty good. When that's our mindset, we are usually pretty good. As long as we stay aggressive I think we will be fine tomorrow as well.
I thought my seniors played really well today. I thought Brooke Thomas did a lot of things really well. We are really asking that kid to do a lot considering she is 4,11, weights about 12 pounds and looks like she is 6. She is a pretty good player for a freshman and she does a really good job in distributing the ball for us. Our seniors really stepped up today and really helped us to win a game to extend our season.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes first, please.
Q. Can any of the players address the challenge associated with playing the sentimental favorite and how you had to look beyond that and look at this game from your own perspective and what it meant for you?
CORINE GROVES: Everybody does feel sorry for them. It's an unfortunate thing that happened. But in the game of basketball you have to be tougher than that. For me, it wasn't too difficult to look past it and just play them. They are just another basketball team. Outside of basketball it's a terrible thing that happened but it's still a game of basketball.
Q. Corrine, since you haven't played against them in either of those two losses how personally motivated were you for this game today?
CORINE GROVES: I felt like I owed them something. It was hard laying there in the hospital and watching it on the computer and not there for my team. I didn't get to travel to Raleigh when they played the first time. It was important for me to get out there and show them what they missed the first time, I guess.
Q. Alex, give me your impressions of this young freshman point guard and how you lose your veteran point guard, I think in late December, and a freshman is kind of thrown in there; how has she responded.
ALEX TCHANGOUE: I think she has done a great job responding, stepping up to the challenge. Of course, she is a freshman. She is going to make freshman mistakes. She is good going to get frustrated and all of that. Today she gets it done. When she plays really well, we usually win. So I think she has done a great job this year.
Q. This is the best season in Wake history, in about a dozen years. Can you assess, the program has never won two games in an ACC tournament, you have that opportunity tomorrow, can you assess what that feels like it?
CORINE GROVES: You're right, it has been a long time. 1988 since they had a good a season as close to ours. It's so exciting to stay in Greensboro another night. We're close to home, but it's nice to be continuing on in the tournament. It's just a major step for us. We've been a part of rebuilding the program with new coaches and stuff and we're finally starting to reach those goals.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes and Coach Petersen.
Q. Mike, I think you guys got a couple of stick backs at key times. Can you describe the importance of doing that, and only committing 12 turnovers?
COACH MIKE PETERSEN: Again, one of the things we said we really wanted to do in this game was pound the glass, go to the boards. I think we did a fairly good job at that. At half time we really made an emphasis of getting to the glass, of getting to the glass. I felt like we rebounded okay in the first half. Looking at the game, I felt there was lots of lanes that we could get in and rebound the ball. I thought the second half we did a better job of that. A couple of those put backs were really, really important. There is no question. So I thought it was critical.
One of the things that this team has done all year long has had a positive turnover ratio. I think we are first in the league. I'm pretty sure we are first in the league. We force a lot of turnovers and we value the ball pretty well. For us to win we can't turn it over much. It's part of who we are. I thought we did a pretty good job of that today until we got to the end there, we made a couple of silly ones. For the most part we did a good job of valuing the ball and extra possessions by getting to the glass.
Q. Mike, how would you evaluate the way that this point guard has come along? She sort of grew up a little bit in the second half of this game it seemed.
COACH MIKE PETERSEN: Yes, that's how it is with freshman. Especially with freshman point guards. Secily Ray is a freshman, too. She is pretty good. She had 13 rebounds today. But the expectations and demands on a freshman who plays wing, or forward, or something like that, are different than they are on a freshman point guard. There is a learning curve and it's very steep. I think she has done a great job with it. And as Alex and Corrine said, the players tease me about having senior moments when I forget stuff, well sometimes she has freshman moments. We just got to correct them and she has got to go play.
Q. You guys are kind of a statistical anomaly, you lead the league in turnover margin, yet your point guard averages 5 turnovers a game in conference play. What are other people doing well to make that happen?
COACH MIKE PETERSEN: Well, it's two things. The first thing is, I think we do place a real emphasis on valuing the ball. Our players, they would rather not turn the ball over to be perfectly frank with you. So they will do almost anything not to. At times we will take what I describe as a unique shot to prevent a turnover, which is a good thing. You can rebound a shot. You can't rebound a turnover, so I'm okay with that.
The other thing is, again, we are talking about a freshman who, at the end of every possession has the ball in her hands. Every one. Guess what, that's a lot of decisions to make. And as she gets older, she will make more and more good ones, you know what I mean. So part of the five turnovers a game we are asking her to do a lot. Part of it is being a freshman. She had about three of them tonight that were turnovers where if she comes off the ball a little sooner, passes the ball a little sooner, we probably take an open shot. She waited a little longer, ends up with a travel and got knocked down one time. And if one dribble sooner, she goes like that (indicating), we take a shot. And you know what? That's repetition. She is going to have to play. She is going to keep playing and doing a good job. When she plays good we play good. That's part of the deal.
Q. Coach, obviously a big challenge and a big opportunity tomorrow what do you all have to do to beat Maryland? What areas do you really have to excel in?
COACH MIKE PETERSEN: Well, the first thing you have to do to beat Maryland, you have to score points. They're going to score. They are the best, in my opinion. They are the best offensive team in our league by a mile. They are a team that defines itself offensively. That doesn't mean that they don't guard. That just means they are the team whose image, their self image is built around their offensive prowess. To beat them you have to score points. Today, 59, 54, I don't care how good a defense we play tomorrow, 59 is not getting it done. You are going to have to score some points which means you have to make some shots.
The first thing you have To do is shoot the ball well, and you have to score some points. The second thing you have to do is minimize as best as you can Toliver and Coleman. You are not good go to stop them. That's out. Unless somebody has some kryptonite in here we can borrow tomorrow. There is no way we are stopping them. You have to minimize.. make them work for their shots. You can't let them take shots they want, make plays they don't want to make. If you do that, you have a chance. So again we will need to score the ball and we'll need to execute on offense. We need to do some things, especially those two players, make some plays that they don't want to make.
Q. Mike, playing State for the third time, was there something specific that you picked up from the last two games that were essential in coming in?
COACH MIKE PETERSEN: Well, we did some things different. One of the things they did a good job the second time, the game at our place, they really hurt us on the bounce. They got open sides against us with Gartrell, Beal and Shayla. And bounced it into jump shots. Dribbled the ball, pull-up jumpers, so there were a couple of sets they ran that we automatically trapped, and said, you know what, if they're going to beat us, we are going to make them pass it a couple of times before they do. I thought our traps for the most part were pretty good. I think that really helped us. They didn't make as many pull-up jump shots. I think that was part of the difference. They played I just sat there and gave suggestions.
Q. Can you address that question as well?
ALEX TCHANGOUE: Well, I think at the end of the day both games were really close and we didn't finish the first two. The emphasis was to finish this one. That's all. We worked on, you know, not letting them dribble and penetrate and take us off the dribble for easy pull-ups. But at the end of the day we just need to finish and that's what we did tonight.
Q. Mike, you talked to Stephanie today and yesterday and probably quite a bit this year, can you imagine what she went through this year and what, if anything, have you told her?
COACH MIKE PETERSEN: Absolutely not that I could imagine. Yesterday, you mentioned it today in the paper, yesterday, when our teams were crossing I went over and we visited for a second, I will tell you exactly what I told her. I told her I voted for her for Coach of the Year. No one in the country, in my opinion, has done a better job of coaching their team in the most difficult of situations than Stephanie has done. I told her yesterday that wasn't a sympathy, "oh, let's vote for North Carolina State because it's the sportsmanship prize." It's not Miss Congeniality. I voted for her because I believe it. I think she has done an unbelievable job and in unmanageable circumstances, and has kept that team together and kept that take team playing well and kept those kids focused and enjoying what they are doing in circumstances that you can't -- when I talked to her, you can't say, hey, I know what you are going through. We don't. Nobody does. The coaches and kids in that locker room are the only ones that know what they're going through. What I know from looking at it from the outside, I've never seen anyone handle a situation. The old cliche about athletics, teaching you how to deal with adversity, my goodness, they are the models for that. I think they have done it with dignity and with perseverance. She has done a wonderful job with that group of kids and the kids have done a wonderful job as well.
NC STATE WOLFPACK
NC STATE WOLFPACK
THE MODERATOR: We are joined up here at the podium by NC State Coach, Stephanie Glance as well as student athletes Shayla Fields and Nikitta Gartrell. Coach, an opening statement, when you are ready, we'll take some questions.
COACH STEPHANIE GLANCE: Clearly we are disappointed that we didn't win the game. I think that there are a flood of emotions that our team and our staff are feeling at this moment. It's the end of the season. It's the last team that Kay Yow coached and the last staff that she had. I'm personally really proud of them. They never quit and they gave tremendous effort under very difficult circumstances. I told them in the locker room that I felt like they gave their best. Our best just fell short today. On the floor I think the biggest difference was Corrine Groves back in the lineup, back on the court, and we certainly missed Sharnise Beal. So we just sort of traded players, traded issues. So we gave up too many second chance points, but on the other hand we scored a lot off of their turnovers. And so for us the game is very disappointing, but it's a much bigger picture for us right now.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Both the players, talk about what kind of kept you together as a family through the rest of the season.
SHAYLA FIELDS: I think we all pitched in a little bit and, you know, just encouraged one another and tried to keep one another up. I think the coaching staff did a great job, you know, helping us stay together doing team functions. It's been tough not being around our teammates. When I am with them, it's so much better. I feel like as a team we stuck together on the floor and off the floor and the coaches done a great job in helping us do that. Q. Shayla, can you kind of provide some words that describe your teammates in a way that they just finished the season. How would you describe what you guys have done under the circumstances that you faced?
SHAYLA FIELDS: I think under the circumstances, you know, we have all did a great job in staying together. If I had one word to describe my teammates I would call them warriors because we've been through so much. The season has been very emotional. I think we stuck together like glue. We let nobody or anything tear us apart. So I just think we've been warriors this whole season. I mean it showed throughout the season. We just fell short this game.
Q. I guess this is for Stephanie or any of you. Teams come to the end and they go separate ways. Your team has been so close and has been through so much, do you feel like you all are going to stay in touch forever? Do you need that? Do you feel that this will be a team that will always be together?
COACH STEPHANIE GLANCE: I think we will always be connected and bound by this year, this season, in some way. Probably as they grow older and move on into life, I think that they will feel more and more, and understand more and more just how connected we have been. And actually how the things that they learned from this, and how much character this built in them, the staff and the support staff and the people that are in the program, yes, we'll always be connected no matter where we are and where we go in life. This has been quite difficult.
Q. You talked about emotional overtones of this game, how difficult was it preparing for this game under the circumstances? And also just from the standpoint of having to play a team for the third time this year?
COACH STEPHANIE GLANCE: Well, I mean we prepared the same way, really. You know what was different for us was the rotation and the personnel, so we prepared the same way. Wake did a great job with their preparation. I feel like we prepared and knew what they were going to run. We did not defend it sometimes which was disappointing. From am emotional standpoint we prepared the same. I think that really the emotions of this moment couldn't have happened until the moment was through, until the season was through, because we've had emotion, goodness, we've had a lot of emotion. It's like Shayla alluded to, we were all in it together, we were all in it together. We were all having emotion for the same reason. There is a different kind of emotion with the finality of this game.
Q. Stephanie, when you were walking off the course a Wake Forest fan called your name, told you good game, you gave her a thumbs up, what do those type of things mean from opposing fans up to this point?
COACH STEPHANIE GLANCE: Oh, wow, I probably just couldn't say enough thank yous to the people, to our own fans, to the fans of other universities inside the ACC and outside the ACC, across the country. Coaches in the ACC and outside the ACC. It's been tremendous support. And I'm very grateful for that. And it's very encouraging to have that kind of support.
Q. For Shayla, since you are a senior, are there other words to describe what must be going on inside you right now?
SHAYLA FIELDS: I'm very sad. I didn't want this day to come at all. But I'm also happy for the people that I've been around and the program that I had a chance to be in. It's been fun. It's been very emotional for me, and I am going to miss every aspect of being a college student and a college athlete. I think that's about it.
Q. In light of what you have been through, is it possible that basketball has been a distraction and now it can even be more difficult? COACH
STEPHANIE GLANCE: Yes. I wouldn't say it's been a distraction. I would say that basketball has been the funnel we can funnel all of our emotions into basketball. We can be together every day. We are the group of people who have a common bond as her team and as her staff. So the fact that we could go to practice every day, go on the road trips, be at home, go eat pregame, do those things together, through a very emotional time, was great support for all of us. So I think it will be very difficult to not have that kind of daily togetherness. It will be very difficult, yes.
Q. Nikitta, Coach Petersen said that he voted for Coach Glance as Coach-of-the-Year, can you speak to how she closed around the team and helped you guys get through this as well as the rest of the coaching staff?
NIKITTA GARTRELL: Well, it's funny that you mentioned that because we all thought about that too, because ever since Coach Yow passed, we've always looked up to Coach Glance. She motivated the team. She helped us day in and day out and just kept a strong, and throughout practice she was like the mediator. Anything that was going on, Coach Glance was there. Coach Glance is the perfect individual to me, in my eyes. She is always around. It seems like she knows everything, no matter whether we tell or not. I mean Coach Glance is just -- she should be voted as Coach-of-the-Year in my eyes, in my book, especially with my teammates.