ACC Tournament Semifinal Postgame Quotes: UNC 78, Virginia 72
March 6, 2005
NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: First of all, Virginia was incredible. They played a great, great, game. I just saw Coach Ryan in the hall and hugged her neck, and I told her, great, great job. I mean two games this year we've beat them pretty good, much different than a regular Carolina/Virginia game today. It was more like our usual games. But she's has done a great job with that team in preparing them for this tournament and for playing us.
For my team, I don't think you can question the heart of these kids. I think both days we've won with just a lot of determination and heart down the stretch.
We talked at half time about what we needed to do, and we just kept encouraging them and trying to get them to do, how we felt we could win the game. They just kept fighting and fighting out there. It was tough. Every time we sort of made a little run, or a little, you know, get it down to six or five points, Virginia would make a big basket. I mean they were incredible with their shots. And you know they shot 51 percent for the game. So they made a lot of big shots out there.
But, you know, we kept battling and fighting hard. I was proud of our kids because like I said, I think they played with a lot of heart. Tomorrow is going to be tough. We know whoever we play, I'm just hoping that we play a little bit better. We've won the last two days, but we haven't played very good. But the two teams that we played have had a lot to do with that.
I thought Ivory, did a great job being our leader and running things. I didn't started Nikita the second half, but when I put her in there, she really got us going and made a big difference. So, again, like I said, I told them in the locker room, I just said this is why I love you guys because you all just have so much heart.
So we're looking forward to playing for another ACC championship tomorrow.
Q. Sylvia, Debbie said that Ivory kind of willed your team to victory, can you talk a little more about that and about the shot she made in the lane that wasn't exactly an easy shot that put you up for good?
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: Well, Ivory is a winner. I've watched this young lady since she was barely a teenager playing basketball. She has so much heart. I've said that all along. The Greensboro paper had an article about Ivory, just talk about how much, what a heart and passion she has for the game and in such a small package. But she just loves to play and what she has is contagious. She believes that we are going to win all the time. And she does a great job out there for us. I think all of that paid off for us tonight.
Q. The shot in the lane?
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: The shot in the lane. She is not afraid to do that. She will go in there among the trees, and make those shots and then, of course if she gets fouled I don't know if she is the best foul shooter in the league. But if she is not, she is one of the top two or three. I'm pretty confident when she gets on that foul line. But she just plays with so much heart. She loves going in there, and, again, I thought she went in there and made some nice moves. She does her shot fakes well. It's something that we've worked on especially in the off season.
Q. Ivory, do you want to give us your perspective on your shot in the lane?
IVORY LATTA: Coach was telling us we need to be more aggressive and get on the foul line. So that's the main thing I was really thinking, was get in the lane, pump fake, because I know they will go for all kind of shot fakes. So it happened I just got in the lane. When I got ready to make the shot, there was nobody there, I just tried to do a little floater which I have been working on the last couple of days and fortunately it went in.
Q. You guys had some serious deficits to pull yourselves out of last two games, and going into the championship game, you guys had some problems this weekend?
NIKITA BELL: I don't know. My nerves are bad right now. I just know that it's mental. We know that a game we know these games are going to be big. We know that the game tomorrow is going to be big. It is just how we come out. It's up to us. It is always up to us. Again we came out slow. Hopefully, tomorrow we don't do that. That's the best thing I can say. It's so mental.
Q. Sylvia, can you talk about tomorrow's game and analyze if you play Duke and Maryland, what do you need to do?
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: I don't know. I'm still thinking so much about the game that we just had. It's been a long time since we played Maryland. That was our very first conference game on the road. We lost up there. So it's been a long, long time since we played them.
So, I mean, I thought Langhorne last night, she was just a beast in there against NC State. I mean she was just so dominant, just unbelievable. Of course, we played Duke twice and both of those were great games. So we're going to go out there right now and watch. Of course, we've got a lot of information, especially on Duke. But we have a lot on Maryland as well and we got the rest of the day, tonight, to prepare.
My staff does an excellent job. We will be up most of the night probably grading go this film and doing what we need to do to be ready for tomorrow. The good thing is we got to practice for tomorrow. We are going to have a practice. So I think that will help us.
COACH DEBBIE RYAN: I was really proud of my team today. I thought that we had a good game plan coming in and I think the players executed perfectly and it was difficult holding Carolina for the entire game but I thought we did a tremendous job. We controlled the game on almost every aspect and it's tough to control the boards against Carolina but we did. We out shot them and for most of the game we out played them and it's a tremendous Carolina team. Probably the best team I have ever seen in maybe the history of their program. I was very proud of our effort today. It's a very difficult loss for us and it's especially disheartening since we had such a big lead.
Q. Debbie, obviously with LaTonya Blue out of there today, the ball handling was a big issue down the stretch, is that where you lost it you think?
COACH DEBBIE RYAN: No, I would say that that was part of the turnovers were equal at half time, 10 and 10, and I think we ended up with 26, so that obviously played a part, especially in the second half when fatigue took over a little bit. We had to really try to put a band aid on and have a couple of ball handlers out there at the same time. That was a little bit of an issue and you could probably point to that as being one of the factors. I thought that we didn't make as many shots down the stretch as we had been making. We got good looks. We just didn't make shots. They are a very good rebounding team, so you are not going get as many second chance points as you normally would with other teams.
Q. Coach, can you talk about Tiffany, a little bit she stepped up for the second straight day?
COACH DEBBIE RYAN: I though Tiffany played a tremendous game today. She gave us another 36 minutes today and just played with her heart and her soul and her body. She just donated everything to the team today. She really exemplifies the word sacrifice and commitment. She is a very committed player and I just thought she gave everything that she had today. I couldn't ask anymore of a player trying to step up and, you know, fill the shoes of LaTonya Blue. She was absolutely fabulous today.
Q. Coach Ryan, the previous two games against North Carolina they score was much wider but today you were taken right to the brink, what was the difference between this game and those other two games?
COACH DEBBIE RYAN: Well, we played this game a little bit different. We didn't want to run in this game, we basically tried to turn it into a half court game. They are so good in transition and once they get going it's like a feeding frenzy. They are quicker and faster than we are so we had to slow it down a little bit so we could put the game on our level.
Q. Tiffany, could you just kind of talk about how this team got this far, especially after last season just to get this far and to play, to be real close to an ACC final?
TIFFANY SARDIN: It took a lot of hard work and dedication and we talked about it all season. This game showed a lot of heart, dedication and passion for the game. This was what we wanted to be in. We got to get ready for the next level.
Q. Debbie, what was your game plan coming in on Latta and she seemed to hurt you with a lot of different points in the game?
COACH DEBBIE RYAN: You know, we've tried to contain Latta in three different games and just haven't been able to do it. If LaTonya would have been healthy today, she would have had Latta. But she wasn't healthy, so I couldn't play her. I didn't really have a choice about that. It's a mismatch right now until Sharnee gets a little bit stronger. You know our game plan is just to play her straight up, we just didn't have a choice.