2009 ACC Women's Basketball Tournament - Game 5 Quotes
March 6, 2009
NORTH CARLOLINA QUOTES
THE MODERATOR: Coach Sylvia Hatchell and Jessica Breland and Rashanda McCants. Again we will start with an opening statement and go to questions for the players. Coach.
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: Well, when the game started it looked like Clemson had picked up where they left off yesterday, and they started really strong and running their offense and getting on the boards and everything, making some big shots.
Usually the team that played the day before, they are in more rhythm and sync, so I thought it might take us a little while to get going, but it was the first half. It was tough. Both teams were battling and competing. But we talked about some things at half time. The second half, I thought our pressure defense was much better in the second half. We took them out of some things we wanted to do. We were more aggressive doing what we wanted to do and our decision making was a little bit better. Rebounding was big. We had several players that produced and got some big baskets for us is, especially these two sitting right here. Clemson, they really improved a lot. The kids played hard, that team, a lot of them are very young and they're going to be good in the next couple of years, I think. But we are glad to be playing tomorrow and we know it's going to be a really, really tough game. This is what an ACC tournament is all about. It's fun and competitive and we enjoy being here.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Jessica, you have 41 points between the two of you, how good was your team getting the ball inside today?
JESSICA BRELAND: Well, our guards did a great job of giving us the ball.
RASHANDA MCCANTS: With our offense there is a lot of cut through. So any time I got the ball, I went to feed it to Jess and cut through until she had oneonone inside. Knowing matchups, we knew that they were playing, single coverage. They also threw double teams at times. Jess, she is a very athletic player. She was kind of able to jump through the double teams and score easy baskets for us.
Q. Rashanda to follow that up, what would you say about Jess's development in the post? What do you notice the way she has blossomed as a senior?
RASHANDA MCCANTS: I think she has done a really good job of not just being a face up player. Earlier in the year she was doing a lot of jump shots and now she is taking it to the hole, and trying to get fouls. That's something that we've talked about being more aggressive, so she can get on the free throw line, and she definitely has gotten a lot better with that.
Q. Jessica, how much emphasis did you just put on rebounding today, especially after Sunday, you guys had some rebounding over at Duke?
JESSICA BRELAND: We knew that if we win the boards, then we win the game. I kind of focused on rebounding, and I got lot of offensive rebounding which opened up my offensive game.
Q. Rashanda, are you ever astounded by the pace that your team plays, how quickly you get from baseline to baseline?
RASHANDA MCCANTS: I don't know, I think I'm used to it now, going real fast. But when I am on the bench, yes, it kind of amazes me how fast we go and how tired the other team gets eventually. They will hang in at first, but we are so athletic and our guards are super quick, it's kind of difficult to stay with us. It's hard for me to stay with us the whole time. I need a sub sometime.
Q. What do you think of the atmosphere in the arena with all of the children in here today?
JESSICA BRELAND: It was great.
RASHANDA MCCANTS: I loved it. I shouldn't say this but I was attracted with the wave they were doing and all of the noise. During the game I looked up, I said oh, that's so cute.
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: I said the same thing. I never pay attention to anything in the stands and I all of a sudden I stopped. I think everybody caught everybody.
RASHANDA MCCANTS: It was fun, I loved the atmosphere. I think it's something that we need for this tournament, just to bring everyone's intensity and play for the fans, so it was fun.
THE MODERATOR: Anything else for either of the players? For Coach?
Q. Coach, the first half, when you struggled, or Clemson played really well, I would be interested to know when you went in at half time, what was your demeanor, and maybe instructions that you gave and what did the kids execute well when they went on that big run to start the second half.
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: Well, I have been doing this a long time. I got to where I don't really jump on them too much like I used to. All of my older players say I really mellowed a lot. But this group, you can't really fuss at them too much. You can fuss at them some. But if you fuss at them too much, you just lose them. When we looked at the numbers, we always look at rebounding and everything. We talked about that Clemson was able to run their sets. So we talked about denying the ball to the high post, which they were going through that a lot, and then doing a little better job on Lele, tightening up defense, the driving holes. We tried to get up the line more and shut down the driving holes. More than anything else rebounding. I said keep up the tempo. Let's just make better decisions in the half court with some of our passes. I really wanted us to reverse the ball a little bit more, move it. We were trying to go inside, I think to early on the perimeter lots of times instead of reversing the ball. When we get movement going, we are hard to guard. So those are some things that we talked about. I thought I came out and our defensive intensity was good early, and we were able to create some offense off our defense. But we wanted to keep the tempo up and I think that was good for us.
Q. Coach, can you talk about your possible opponents tomorrow?
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: Well, you know, I don't know who it's going to be. Most people would say Maryland. I wouldn't count Wake out. They played well yesterday. I think they have a lot of confidence. I mean if you were in Vegas I guess you would put your money on Maryland. Anything can happen in the ACC tournament. But whoever it is I know they're going to be ready to play us. It should be a great game.
Q. Sylvia, was this the first time you played in the game with all of the school children here that you recall?
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: I'm trying to remember. I think a few years ago. Maybe when they first started all of this. I'm not sure how many years they've been doing this. Probably five, six or seven years ago. I think we did play one time in this game. I'm not positive. All of the years run together. But it's a tremendous thing.
I mean our players come over here to the ACC tournament. We see all of this. I talk with a lot of the other coaches, none of the other conferences have a tournament like we do. I just don't want us to take for granted the ACC people, the organization, Matt Brown and his staff, all of these folks do a tremendous job. There is nobody else in the country that has a tournament anywhere close to the tournament that we have here. Somebody's asking me when the contract is up, when are you thinking about going somewhere else. I said I hope we don't go anywhere else. I don't think anybody can match what is being done here. I just love it. I want to say thank you for all of the people that make such a great atmosphere, a great trip. Those kids, those field trips, we didn't have those when I was in school. You know what, one of these days some of those kids are going to be athletes, they're going to be coaches. So this is great, I love it.
Q. Coach, I would like to get in your mind just a second, I watched you yesterday as you watched the game unfold. All I can tell was that you enjoyed the dog and frisbee show pretty much?
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: I loved that.
Q. You were talking about, you don't know who you play, do you find yourself like a coach, like yesterday saying, Clemson you are a 12, you can beat a 5 seed, and today you are looking for the 8 to beat the one. Do you find yourself cheering inwardly for the underdog so you plays a lesser seed?
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: Well, I think more than anything else, just the competitiveness. The regular season is over. It's tournament time. Anybody can be win. Teams get new life. Their attitude and their energy level comes up. I think you saw a lot of that yesterday. So that's what makes the tournament time so much fun. Wake lost some games when they had some people hurt and sick. I think they are definitely an NCAA team. I don't know if they will get in. I think they are good enough to be. I mean I've seen things happen, you know, my coaching career, that most people will say were impossible. And we talk about this all of the time with the team. If you believe things can happen, they can happen. Yesterday, and last night we watched Rudy, and we talked about the movie and what we learned from it, about always follow your dreams and don't let anybody tell you can't do something and what it takes to do what he did. Again that was just a little bit of fun and team building type stuff. Something that we did yesterday. I wouldn't be surprised if anything happens. Sometimes it's just sort of natural that you pull for the underdog. We have that happen against us. You like to see kids do great things and things that they haven't, that people don't expect, and maybe they haven't been doing. That's what sports are all about. That's why you keep the score.
Q. Coach, can you talk about the adjustments you made defensively today? Can you just assess where you are as a defense as a whole and how you improved over the last couple of weeks?
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: Well, this is one of the best defensive teams percentagewise that we ever had. If you go back and look at all of the books, and all of our numbers, this team, our defensive percentage, scoring that other teams are having again us, it's pretty low, really. For us to go up and down the floor as much as we do, they may score more points, but their defensive percentage is lower. So we work a lot on defense. We take a lot of pride in our defense. People think about us go up and down the floor and all of that, but we really focus a lot on our defense. We worked a whole lot. I think we are a much better defensive team. We threw some things out there today we haven't really practiced in a while, but we only did it two or three times down the court and it worked. It gave us a spark and got us going a little bit especially starting the second half.
THE MODERATOR: We have Clemson team here. We will begin with the coach's opening statement and then open it to Q and A, and please ask the players questions first.
COACH CRISTY MCKINNEY: Obviously, we had a very good first half. I wish we could have maintained that. We have not been a great rebounding team all year. We talked about it at half time, that was going to be a key. I felt like the second half; especially early they went and got everything they missed. We defended decent, got them to miss initial shots, but they just went and got it and put it back in. And then we missed some shots and just got down. They are a great team and we've just got to learn some of those little things a little bit better.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. For both players, to address your tournament play in the two games nobody expected you to be playing today and you've got a young team and a lot of people coming back?
LELE HARDY: I think we showed a lot in both games. I don't think nobody expected us to beat Georgia Tech, and we came out and played hard against Georgia Tech. We played a really good first half. I don't think nobody expected us to come out and play the first half. I think if we keep improving on that and get better on that we'll be all right next year.
BRYELLE SMITH: I think what she said, we just need to keep on improving, and Coach said we are working out; our effort was pretty good through the two games.
Q. Bryelle, you guys kept up with the pace with Carolina for a while, what's the difficulty or challenge in running with them and playing up tempo, transition game?
BRYELLE SMITH: If we score, the difficulty is trying to stop the point guard from getting back. When we do that we are pretty good at going up and down.
Q. Does the pace throughout the game wear on you, trying to play at their pace, was there ever a sense that you wanted to slow down, slow the game down, or did you want to run it that fast?
BRYELLE SMITH: At times we wanted to slow it down, but most of the time we were trying to get it out quick, just like they were, and run up and down.
THE MODERATOR: Anything else for either player?
Q. Bryelle, what was it like playing in front of the kids two days in a row?
BRYELLE SMITH: It was pretty cool. They had lot of intensity, energy that helped us a lot. We didn't have that many people that traveled with us. The kids were really on our side as well as the other team.
THE MODERATOR: Anything else for players? Anything for the Coach?
Q. Coach, I wanted to touch again on the pace of the game. Was your game plan to run with Carolina? Is that how you attacked them? Can you touch on your thoughts?
COACH CRISTY MCKINNEY: We've been a team all year that's tried to push the basketball. We feel like we got some speed, especially on the perimeter, some posts that can get up and down and some depth. We can substitute if we get tired and keep fresh players on the court. No, we felt that we had to try to run against them, and get some transition looks. Bryelle said the key is too low them down once they score because they get it in so quick. And (Cetera) DeGraffenreid pushes it so well. The first half we did a great job. I don't think it was the transition as much this game that killed us as it was the rebounding that really gave us the most problems.
Q. Coach, can you describe what really happened in that first half or six minutes of the second half when you made the big run to get it started?
COACH CRISTY MCKINNEY: They knocked some shots down, but they also got some rebounds. I want to say that we got a couple of stops, but we didn't get the board, and they scored. They were scoring about ever possession either off initial and often. We got some decent looks, but we couldn't knock a shot down and it just kind of snowballed on us.
I thought their intensity was maybe a little better than ours coming out. They are a seasoned team. They've been here a lot. You know, even though they got some young players, those young players, when they come, those kids that are in the program that are ahead have been in these situations and hopefully we will grow from being in this situation two years in a row. Hopefully it will help our juniors and sophomores next year, be ready at that that second half and commit to doing some of those little things a little bit better.