Tennessee vs. Connecticut Quotes

Jan. 8, 2005

Recap |  Box Score

TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Pat Summitt Opening Statement
"First of all, I'm very proud of this basketball team and how they competed. We knew we were coming into a great environment, but on the road it can sometimes be a bit of a challenge from a communication standpoint. I thought our leadership was sound all day."

"UConn did a great job in the first half getting the ball on the glass, but not as quick in the second half. But, their pace in the first half limited our opportunities. The strength in the UConn team is in the front line. They have a lot of bodies they can throw at you, they're explosive in the paint, they pound the glass and they score. Going into the game, my biggest concern was could our inside game match the play of their inside game."

On the second half
"I thought in the second half we really maintained our intensity. We shared the basketball and played more efficiently in the half court because we didn't take quick shots and our rebounding was better. We obviously made two great runs and I thought to myself this morning, it's about time Tennessee won one. It's a great victory for us."

On game tactics
"I thought it was necessary to go with more athleticism and to extend our defense. The quickness we brought to the court was very disruptive. That's what we wanted to do from a defensive point of view- to disrupt."

On Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood
"I think she's always been a competent player. First and foremost, she started competing in practice offensively and defensively. She got enough reps where I think she got comfortable with out sets and our defensive schemes."

On Shyra Ely
"I thought she picked the second half back up defensively. I was a little upset with her early, but very proud of her late. I thought she got in a rhythm offensively and did what she had to do defensively. I thought her attitude of the game was one of a real competitor."



On Loree Moore
"To have her and her leadership on the floor allowed us to get what we wanted to do offensively and defensively. I thought she just played, and then made big shots. That's what you expect seniors to do- to make big plays. She got everyone involved and we got in a much better rhythm with her on the floor."

Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood on the game
"I was just pushing the ball. Whatever was open, that's where I was going to throw it or I took it to the hole. If I thought the lane was open, I took it to the hole. This game was dedicated to the coaches and the seniors on this team and I'm just happy that I was there to help them win this game."


What parts of this game can you accept and what can you not accept?
"Some parts of this game you can certainly accept. One is that wouldn't be much of a rivalry if we won them all. Would it? You are not going to win them all. The only time you win them all is when you play a bad team. There are teams in our league that we've beaten 25 straight times. We can accept the fact that Tennessee is going to win. That's not hard to do at all. You can accept that Ketia is going to do some things at the end of the game that cost us the game because she has never played in this game. Nicole Wolff got some open shots that she didn't make. Can you accept that? She hasn't played in this game either. What you can't accept is Wilnett Crockett not trapping that pick-and-role like we've done every single time any one has ever run it against us the entire year. For some particular reason she decided not to do it that time. There are some things you can accept, and there are some things that you absolutely cannot. Ann Strother missing free throws? I'm ok with that. I think if we are ever in that situation again this season she'll make them. I don't have any doubt in my mind."

What was the difference maker?
"In a game like this there are a lot of huge plays that don't seem huge at the time. We fouled a couple times in the first half where the person shooting the ball had absolute no chance of making the foul. Because you do that, those plays in it of themselves are not great, but become great. In the second half when the calls get really bizarre it compounds the problem. You can't complain about the bizarre calls when you've done some dumb things yourself."

Did you think the full-court pressure in the end is what hurt you?
"Yes. I'm surprised they didn't do it earlier. I don't know what took them so long. I knew it was going to happen and so did these guys. We came out this morning, and yesterday, and this is one of the things we really addressed. What I was afraid would happen is exactly what happened. That has kind of been the story of where we are at this point in time where we have some issues where we either turn the ball over or score. Hopefully that will get better with time."

What were some of the positive aspects of the game?
"For 30 minutes we were a better team than them. When Tennessee made their run we answered and got back the momentum and made some really big plays offensively and defensively. Charde (Houston) played really well for stretches. Ann (Strother) was really good. We got some great contributions from Nicole (Wolff) in some ways and Ashley (Battle) in a lot of ways. I thought we played really hard defensively. We got every loose ball in the first half. We got out in transition. I thought, for the most part, we played 30 minutes of really good basketball. Better basketball than we've played at any time this season."

Junior Ann Strother
"We did a lot of things well tonight but one of the biggest things that we need to work on is rebounding. Offensive rebounds for them, they had way too many and I really think that was one of the keys that hopefully we'll get better at and do a better job with next time."

Were you surprised by the shots at the end not going in?
"I really thought it (3pt. shot) was going in and I really thought they (foul shots) were both going in too so I was surprised by it"

Were you comfortable with the position you were put in at the end of the game?
"Yes I felt really comfortable. I hope I get the chance to be in that situation again."

Did the fouls changed the way that you played?
"I don't really think so. We were getting more shots inside, we were getting the ball moving more, getting more people involved than we did in the first half so it had to be that way. I don't think it really changed the defense that much."

Senior Ashley Battle
"I felt that they would still make another run but the entire time I was completely confident that we would pull this out. I'm sure that every one of us felt the same way."

How do you feel about being a spark off the bench?
"Being a spark is just something that I have to do. Whether I'm starting or not, it's just something that has to be done in every game."

Senior Jessica Moore
"The past couple of games and practices we've really been playing together and we really wanted to take this game as a turning point for us going into the rest of the season."

On playing in a rivalry
"I think that this game is one of the highest emotional points that any of us go through during the season. It's the game that we all see growing up. You want to be a part of it and you always want to play your best in it."

Freshman Charde Houston
What were your impressions on your first Tennessee game? "It was a great game. There were a lot of things that I could have done better but overall it was a great experience. I think I played hard as an individual an I think we did so as a team too. Unfortunately, we didn't come out with the win."

Was there anything that coach or the other players said to prepare you?
"They told me there was going to be a lot of emotion involved with the game. They told me not to be afraid of anything that was thrown at me and to just take everything in and deal with it."



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