Jan. 3, 2010
HEAD COACH Pat Summitt:
(opening remarks): "Overall, we did a nice job in a lot of areas. We had 44 points in the paint. We want to consistently get the ball in the paint. We had 21 second chance points. The stats are telling. We outrebounded them by 17. We didn't start out well. I don't know why. Once we settled down, especially after halftime, we played with a lot more composure. We did some good things."
(on Shekinna Stricklen's slow start then posting a triple-double): "I think she was sleeping. She just wasn't attacking. Sometimes players just need a reminder. I decided to take her out and talk to her, and she responded. It speaks volumes about what she can do and what she brings to the team. At the point, she has responded. She wanted to be an off-guard, but I told her that she just has to be a player and not worry about the position. I've been in her ear more than anybody else. Well, Kamiko (Williams) would probably be hurt to hear that."
(on Angie Bjorklund's shooting proficiency): "I think Angie is so dedicated to working on her skills. She's getting shots all of the time. After the Stanford game, when we talked about players not getting into Pratt Pavilion or Thompson-Boling and working on their shooting, that's changed. It's helped Angie, and it's helped others, too. Defense is a matter of passion, but offense is about how much you invest in your skills."
(on the performance of Alyssia Brewer): "I'm excited about what Lyssi has brought to our team of late. She's getting in better condition and is able to get up and down the floor better. She's showing a lot of composure in the paint. She gives us more balance. Kelley (Cain) can play that position. She can play that position. Glory (Johnson) can play that position. I like what she's giving us off the bench."
(on what she was whispering to Shekinna Stricklen when she first took her out of the game): "I don't know that I was whispering. I think the volume might have been turned up. I told her, `Don't give in to fatigue.' She has to focus on living in the moment. She's gotten a lot better at that. She did a lot of great things tonight and kept her intensity at that level. She's making progress."
(on the tempo of the game): "I knew that they wanted to make it an up-and-down game. We're better when we're going up-and-down. Our decision-making is better."
(on the performance of Glory Johnson): "She handles adversity better now. She's a great athlete. She plays at a different tempo than even the players on the other team. Better composure allows her to use her skill set. She continues to get more efficient."
TENNESSEE SOPHOMORE GUARD/FORWARD Shekinna Stricklen
(On what Coach Summitt told her when she took her out early in the game): "When she took me out, she told me I wasn't playing like a point guard and that I needed to take my game to a different level. I just told her, `Yes, ma'am,' and I responded."
(On her thoughts when she found out she had a triple-double): "I was happy and excited. I was going up to my teammates and telling them, `Thank you,' especially the post players. They were just turning around and scoring instead of dribbling and really helped me out."
TENNESSEE JUNIOR GUARD/FORWARD Angie Bjorklund
(On Shekinna Stricklen's triple-double): "Strick has huge responsibilities on this team, from being the point guard, a rebounder or a scorer and she's getting it done. I have a lot of respect for her game and I think this shows that we like to share the ball and she's being aggressive at the same time."
(On where her confidence in her shot comes from): "For me, it's from the Lord. I give him the credit. Also, (Coach Summitt) told us to get into the gym. We've been committed to getting into the gym. We've been dragging each other in, calling each other and it's really paid off."
(On the team's non-conference schedule): "Coach sets the schedule up like she does for a reason. Playing tough teams to see where we're at and improve right from the beginning. I think that's huge going into the SEC."
(On what allows her to be so successful offensively): "My role on the team is to be a scorer. When we work the ball around as a team, it opens a lot of things up. I'm really focused on starting the game by going inside-out, getting Kelley (Cain) and Glory (Johnson) touches, which really opens things up."
TENNESSEE SOPHOMORE FORWARD Alyssia Brewer
(On what this game does for her confidence): "It definitely helps me out and gives me a little confidence booster, but I get those from my teammates every day and they know what I am capable of doing. It's just me doing it on the floor and that's what I did tonight."
(On Angie Bjorklund's performance): "It was lovely. This game, I knew every time the ball got into Angie's hands it was going in and if it didn't, it wouldn't be a bad miss. All her shots were very selective and she was big for us."
(On having both her and Kelley Cain on the court at the same time): "I definitely think it gives us a big advantage. I'm not that far from Kelley in height and I think it's really hard for a team to defend two players of that size."
(On answering Oklahoma's early run): "I think that goes back to the maturity level that we have this year. They did the same thing last year and we just broke down. This year, they went on a run but we didn't freak out. We kept our composure and did what we had to do to get back in the lead."
OKLAHOMA HEAD COACH SHERRI COALE
(opening statement): "I'm really proud of our kids. I thought Tennessee was absolutely fabulous tonight. Anytime you go 10 of 16 from 3, you're hard to beat, and they were really hard to beat tonight. The difference in the basketball game was rebounds. We can talk about how well they shot it all we want to, (but) we didn't shoot it all that badly. The difference in the game was on the glass. It gives us a lot to learn from. We'll go back and get better. Congratulations to a very good basketball team."
(On the fast tempo of the game): "It was a great game for women's basketball. At halftime I thought, `ESPN picked the right one tonight, baby.' It was great basketball; shots were going in on both ends and it was pretty clean - great effort, great athleticism, up-and-down the floor (play). I think the greater tribute to our kids is that we figured out how to play without (injured sophomore) Whitney Hand in a very short amount of time. You think about that game tonight if we have Whitney Hand on our team. That's a big deal. I'm so proud of our kids' poise and how each one has stepped up in Whitney's absence. There's not anybody that can be what she is. We've had to have help defensively, help scoring, and she was also a fantastic rebounder. That's what we've really overcome."
(On Tennessee sophomore guard Shekinna Stricklen's triple-double - 17 points, 13 boards, 12 assists): "We talked about her rebounds at halftime. Four offensive boards - I think she had. Early in the game we could've pulled away and had quite margin. The only way Tennessee was scoring early was on offensive rebounds, and she would be just flying through untouched. She is a great basketball player and an incredibly challenging matchup for most teams in the country because of the position she plays. I watched her play plenty of times in high school and I'm not surprised by anything she does."
(On difference in Tennessee this year from last year's team): "They're older and wiser. They are more experienced. I think the way (junior Angie) Bjorklund is playing makes a difference. The last couple of games her 3-point percentage has got to be 65-or-70 percent. It's crazy. And they're not wide open and easy shots. She might get one or two, but the rest are highly contested. I think their team has rallied around that. Last year, they were so young, I don't think they had an identity. Now, I think they know who they are and how they have to win."
Oklahoma SENIOR GUARD NYESHIA STEVENSON
(On Stricklen and her both being from Arkansas): "She was one year younger than I was. She's from Morrilton and I'm from Little Rock. We never really got to see each other. There were so many schools in Little Rock so we never played until AAU one time."
(On remaking the team after the graduation of the Paris twins and the loss of sophomore Whitney Hand): "Basically we made a pledge and honor to each other that we were going to give a little bit more. We had three great post players leave and we're trying to make up for that. As far as the guards go, it just a matter of everybody giving a little piece of what Whitney did."
(On she and backcourt classmate Danielle Robinson playing heavy minutes): "We get a lot of reps in practice. It's just a matter of wanting and knowing we are going to be out there."
SENIOR FORWARD AMANDA THOMPSON
(On scoring a game-high 26 points): "I was basically taking what they gave me. I wasn't rushed. Coach always tells me to take my time and look at my target, and it will go in. Today, I felt really relaxed and a lot of my shots were going in."