2009 ACC Women's Basketball Tournament - Game 9 Quotes
March 7, 2009
THE MODERATOR: I'm joined up here by Maryland head coach, Brenda Frese, as well as student athletes Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver. Coach, when you are ready we'll take an opening statement.
COACH BRENDA FRESE: I'm so proud of this team. To see the 40 minute effort that we gave and each and every player being ready to step up and play. We knew this game was going to come down to defensive rebounding and I'm just proud of the fact that we were able to control the boards against a very talented North Carolina team. We are just excited about the fact there is going to be a see of red in the stands this year for the championship game.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Coach, could you talk a little bit about the contribution that Kim Rogers actually gave you today off the bench especially those two 3's at the end of the first half?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: Yes, Kim was a big time spark for us, a huge Xfactor and someone who has worked extremely hard this season and been extremely patient. Just the confidence she came in to shoot the basketball, and I thought really made a big difference in the game.
Q. Kind of a tagalong with that, Coach, in that last stretch there was probably about six minutes of game play at the end of the first half, beginning of the second half that you guys went on an 18 to 3 run. How important is that against a team going into a locker room and coming back and solidifying that energy the second half?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: It's critical obvious in tournament play. We gain a lot of confidence on those runs. In tournament time both teams are going to have their runs. For us to be able to play with such confidence, I think when we are moving the basketball, spreading the floor and being aggressive as a team, it helps us in terms of how we want to play the game.
Q. You made 29 free throws, they attempted 13, how important is it to get those two players next to you on the free throw line?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: Critical. The way Carolina pressures they get into you. They are very physical. They really don't want to give you any looks wide open. So the ability for us to get to the rim and be aggressive and be able to get to the free throw line is very, very important.
Q. Marissa, you picked up your fourth foul with 6 minutes left in the game, how did your game change from take point on? Did you have to alter the way you were playing? Obviously you still had an impact on the game, do you feel you had to change the way you were playing that point?
MARISSA COLEMAN: I just had to be smarter on offense and defense. I couldn't reach or try to go for rebounds that I knew I couldn't secure. Offense, I just had to be smarter in being aggressive to the basket.
Q. One for Coach Frese, and follow up for the young ladies, it was a high scoring game, Coach, have you ever been involved in a game that had more runs, I'm talking about long runs by both teams which obviously had to keep the coaching staff on its toes?
And a follow up to the players, how has your demeanor changed when you take control of a game and you suddenly find yourself tied and behind again?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: I think the first game that probably jumps out to me in terms of being involved in a game of run is last year with Stanford, an NCAA tournament game. It had this same kind of frenetic feel of just a fast pace, just up and down. A credit to both teams. Both teams are high offense, up tempo. I think that's what fans want to watch.
KRISTI TOLIVER: It was definitely a game of runs. When they came back on us, we knew that our offense is so good we were going to get it back. Once we did get it back we knew we had to keep it that way because they can get back to you in a hurry with the transition and their ability to score the ball. So we just had to stay composed and not get too hard, too low.
MARISSA COLEMAN: Pretty much what Coach said and Kristi.
Q. I wanted to ask both Coach Frese and Marisa and Kristi, two really terrific games that took a lot of effort, and a tough competitors, you're going into your first ACC final tomorrow. Obviously, you are in top physical shape. But Coach how do you deal with the mental stamina, is that a concern?
And also Kristi and Marisa, what do you do to combat mental fatigue in this situation?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: It's never a concern when you have seniors like I have to my left. They will have this team ready to play. You know, when you have two special seniors like we have, they understand what it takes mentally. They've done it at the highest level. You know, the quick turnaround will be for our young players.
But I am excited by the depth that we have been able to create which will help us in this tournament.
MARISSA COLEMAN: I don't think we are concerned about it at all. This team is on a mission. We want to win the ACC Championship. When you have a team that is that focused and wants it so bad, the rest of it really isn't a factor.
KRISTI TOLIVER: When we entered this tournament we had plans of playing three games in three days, so we came into the tournament having that mentality. And now that we are finally at the third game it's going to be all adrenalin, all heart, so we are just going to have to go out there and do our best.
Q. Coach, what was your defensive game plan going into this game? Obviously it's two high octane games. You seem to be able to keep Carolina out of the paint especially the low post. Can you talk about your low post defense and how you made them fall in love with the jump shot?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: Well, I think a credit to our post players, and two contrasting styles when you have Lynetta Kizer and Yemi Oyefuwa, with their presence, they really like to bang down low. Then the fact that Dee and Marisa, when they are down there are more active and they are able to give different looks. We definitely wanted to push them off the block, make it a little more difficult for them, and I think that's probably what lead them to face up and shoot more jump shots.
Q. Coach, I've often wondered what do you do now between now and the game tomorrow, stay and watch it. What do you to? Just trace the next 24 hours.
COACH BRENDA FRESE: Yes, a quick turnaround, I always like watching our opponent live. I think you can see a lot more in terms of different tendencies. We give back as a staff, we game plan, then we meet with the team for film and get ready for tomorrow. A quick turnaround, but we are really excited about it.
Q. Coach, speaking of the matchup tomorrow you have beaten both of these teams before, do you think one team or the other is a particular matchup advantage based on who you play?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: No, I thought from what I heard, I wasn't in arena last night both that both teams came out and played tremendous basketball. It doesn't matter about the matchup. Obviously we are excited to be playing in the championship game.
NORTH CAROLINA QUOTES
THE MODERATOR: Our student athlete Jessica Breland will be joining us, she is getting some treatment done. We are joined up here at the podium with North Carolina Coach Sylvia Hatchell, and Italee Lucas. Coach, when you are ready we will take an opening statement and then questions.
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: I thought we competed hard. Maryland is a great team. Kristi (Toliver) is a great player and (Marissa) Coleman. Those two are just absolutely unbelievable. They are probably both going to be first team AllAmerican. They are great players, but I thought we competed hard. Rebounding was a big, big difference there. We knew that was big key. But I don't know if anybody in the league can keep them off the foul line. I was real frustrated, I will admit that because we scored 34 points in the paint, and they scored 28. I don't know if anybody in the league can keep them off the foul line because we couldn't. Wake Forest couldn't.
That was a big factor in the game as well. But I thought we competed hard and it's not over. I guess the first time since '01 we are not playing for the championship. I think we played for 13 of the last 15. It's something a little different for us. But we will learn from it. We got another chance. We were just talking in the locker room about ‘05 our men lost in the semifinals, and won the National Championship. And the Final Four was in St. Louis. I believe that's where ours is. You got to stay positive. You got to think about the opportunities and the good things and all of that. We will keep working hard and hopefully do better as we get into the NCAA tournament.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Maryland got off to a real fast start, how important was that in what happened later and what contributed to it?
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: Well, they did. They jumped out real quick and early. But, you know, we called some timeout, went back and took the lead, we got rolling there. They are a team. They can score. To beat Maryland, you got to outscore them. They can score. And you can too on them. But they are just so offensive minded. And they got the big bodies around the basket. But the way to beat Maryland is you got to outscore them because they're going to score points.
But I thought we survived their run at the beginning and came back and took the lead and all, and we had a little let down right before half time. I made a couple of bad decisions because I substituted a little bit there, and then also we went zone on them. And, you know, I'm not a zone Coach. I don't know why I did that. But anyway, I learned something there. Of course, I was trying to mix it up because they were on a roll at the end. We came back in the second half, and took the lead again. It was a game of runs. They are just so capable. They are like us; they can score a lot of points in just a few seconds.
Q. You talk about Maryland's big bodies in the post, and you don't quite have the bulk in the post that this team does, that you have had in the past, do you feel your team started to fall in love with the jump shot a little too much and what were you trying to do as a corrective to that during the game?
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: Well, we were doing that because we couldn't get on the foul line. We scored 34 points in the paint. They scored 28. But, you know, we were taking jump shots because we couldn't get on the foul line. But you know, (Jessica) Breland has got a great touch. She has got a tremendous touch in there. And (Rashanda) McCants, too, so the second half, that's what we were having to do and all. But, you know, we are a pretty good jump shooting team. But we usually get to the foul line a lot more than we did. I don't know. It's whatever you think.
Q. Coach Hatchell, can you talk about the increasing parity of the ACC with Duke and Carolina dominating this tournament for so long, I know Duke is still in the running, it seems to me that parity is more apparent than ever?
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: I think I've been in this league for 23 years, and I said this to several other coaches. I don't know if I have ever seen it where it is so level like it is. Look at the Wake Forest game and Clemson beating Georgia Tech. It's really, really good talent in this league, and it's so leveled off. Of course, we graduated two firstround draft picks last year with Latoya (Pringle) and Erlana (Larkins). I'm interested to see what Maryland is going to be like next year. I know they got some kids coming in, and they got some kids back. But still they are losing a lot. But the league is so good now. There are just so many good players. I'll tell you what; I like the style our league plays because we lost today. I don't know who is going to win the Big 12, probably Oklahoma; we beat them on their home court. Who is going to win the Big Ten? Ohio State, we beat them on their home court. We are still a pretty good team. A lot of people forgot about us. I like the fact that our team is athletic. We really get down the floor. I love the style of the ACC. I think it's the best that it is in the country. So I like that. But it is, it's probably the most balanced that I have ever seen.
Q. Coach, you mentioned Latoya and Erlana from last year, and the dominance of that, this year you had to go in and basically restructure and build from the ground up with everybody playing different roles and by the fact of Italee being here today, 26 points today, rebuilding chemistry and all of that, and I know you got work to do, how has this team progressed in your mind, are they where you thought they might be, higher, lower?
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: Well, early on when we won those games on the road I was like wow, you know. But this team, you're right we had to replace a lot. We had some different people. Breland was the 6th player of the year last year, now she is our goto player pretty much. We had to fill some big shoes. Italee (Lucas) has really been shooting the ball well. She makes mistakes out there, but she really plays hard and does some things to gets us going. We are a different personality than we were last year, and we don't have the big bodies inside like we did last year. But we are still up and down the court. I think we are fun to watch. We competed hard today. I thought it was a great game probably until the last three minutes or so. I thought it was really a great game to watch. The crowd was great. But you have to make adjustments to the skill level, and the talent that you have. And we've changed some things up this year, doing some things different that we did when we had Latoya and Erlana. Again, I got to keep talking to the people and getting smarter and trying to do different things because I love I don't gamble. It's a good thing I don't, because I love to try to do things and things are off the wall. And when they start working, it really is fun.
Q. Coach, you talk about the success that you all had outside of the conference, beating some of the potential conference champions, how optimistic are your team's chances further into March?
COACH SYLVIA HATCHELL: Very optimistic. I think you do play a lot better out of conference because everybody knows you so well. But most people, teams in the country, aren't used to our style of play and stuff. So I'm looking forward to it. I think we will do well in the NCAA tournament. We are looking forward to that.
Q. I know from the last game it was real close, you guys had trouble like Rashanda fouled out and Jessica injured her ankle at the end of that game, how do you guys feel coming in and going through the runs of this game, how you do you feel about your chances about winning it?
ITALEE LUCAS: Like the Coach was saying, the level of play outside of our conference says a lot. We just got to get past this and learn from it and just move forward.
JESSICA BRELAND: Coming into this game we had confidence and our level was up. We knew what we did wrong the last game we played against Maryland, and we were just trying to correct our mistakes this time.