Jan. 18, 2007
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Pat Summitt:
"The second half was the best part of the night. We did a better job on defense and rebounding and better play off the bench in the second half. Alberta (Auguste) did some good things, and Cait (McMahan) got some quality minutes and made the most of them."
(on Candace Parker not playing)
"Candace had a respiratory illness. She had some problems in practice yesterday. (Tennessee team physician) Dr. (Rebecca) Morgan said we needed to hold her out. She'll get through this."
(on Alex Fuller)
"Alex had a spasm in her lower back. (Tennessee trainer) Jenny (Moshak) thought she would be fine as well. She buckled to the floor. When I asked her, she said that it was her lower back. Maybe she wanted to rest. She had good numbers. In the Georgia game, she was on the glass for us. She was not as active offensively, but we moved her into the high post, and she was productive for us."
(on playing without Candace Parker)
"I haven't been looking forward to it. That was not a bad thing for this team. Candace has carried the load, and this was a challenge for this team to step up. We saw that from a number of players. (Shannon) Bobbitt did a good job of pushing the tempo. Alexis (Hornbuckle) just gets better and better. We did some good things. We know that we've got to get better. . . .When Dr. Morgan said that Candace didn't need to play tonight, it wasn't the best news that I had today. Looking at it now, though, it was good for the team. They knew that they would have to respond. The bench play was better, and that's encouraging."
(on rebounding advantage)
"Maybe they thought they needed to rebound since Candace (Parker) was not playing. That was encouraging, the players making up their minds to rebound. They shouldn't stand and watch a teammate rebound. We'll build on this. We did a lot of good things in the second half."
(on Nickiy Anosike)
"We wanted Nicky to play a bigger role. She was a little hesitant. She didn't shoot well. She was coming off one of her best offensive games against Georgia. She went to a finesse game. She can see the tape and learn."
(on Cait McMahan)
"Cait is physically and mentally tough. She took good shots. They just didn't fall. We want her to be aggressive offensively. She did a good job of running the team. She made the most of her minutes other than not shooting well. She can make shots and plays."
(on shooting 23 threes)
"In the first half, we had some open shots. Sometimes there's a reason that you're open. They gave us the outside shot. We did better in the half court in the second half and did a good job in transition. The difference in the second half was our offensive execution. We were very aggressive and had good ball movement. We had a lot of unselfish play, and that resulted in good offensive looks."
"Our transition defense was unacceptable. We have been working on it in practice, not as much for Mississippi State because they don't push tempo as much, but Duke is one of the most impressive teams in the country in the open court. We had breakdowns against North Carolina and a lapse against Connecticut out of the transition. We've got to buckle down and do a better job. In the second half, we did better."
(on going down with an injury late in the game)
"I went for a rebound and fell hard. I'm OK. It's fine now."
(on making her first collegiate start)
"I found out just before we ran out on the floor. It doesn't change your mindset, starting or coming off the bench. You have to be focused and have the same kind of energy. I went into the game knowing that I had to make up for what Candace brings and that I had to be a leader on the court."
(on playing without Candace Parker in the lineup)
"It helped for us to know that we are able to step up and fill roles. Candace is a big part of this team."
(on adjusting to playing without Candace Parker)
"We adjusted. It didn't take any time at all. We can go with so many different lineups. In practice, I'll play the 1, 2, or 3. Everybody can play multiple positions. We missed her scoring. On any given night, you know that she's going to give you 15-20 points. We all stepped up tonight."
(on the performance of Alex Fuller)
"Alex did a great job of stepping up. She's very capable whether she's starting or coming off the bench."
(on Tennessee's upcoming game against Duke)
"Watching Duke's game against Maryland, we're very mindful of their transition. We have to step up our transition defense. We were sluggish in the first half. We don't have time to do that against Duke. We have to play a full 40 minutes."
(on her improvement in shooting)
"I've been taking more shots, either before the game or in practice. The Georgia game helped a lot. Coming into the Duke game, I don't want to have a game like I did (against Duke) last year."
(on Tennessee's rebounding without Candace Parker in the lineup)
"We knew that we would have to step up on rebounding. That's a big part of what Candace does. She plays above the rim. We just asked more of each other."
MISSISSIPPI STATE HEAD COACH SHARON FANNING:
"I think it's pretty simple. Rebounding and turnovers make a big difference. I was pleased that we scrapped. I know they were without a player, but we had a couple of changes this week with some kids hurt. We're an awfully young team. For us to come out and scrap and have some flexibility and adjust to that adversity, I'm very proud of them. We didn't keep our focus. I think probably half the turnovers we gave to ourselves but they surely forced a bunch of them. Tennessee is a great basketball team. We know that they offensively rebound the ball, and we have to do a better job blocking out. We shot 50 percent in the second half which is a plus, but we need more attempts. Basically, I think those two stats - the rebounding and turnovers - made a big difference in the ballgame."
"That's just an area where we need to compete. Tennessee is going to play a physical game, they're always going to board, and they're finding ways to win ballgames. We have not blocked out as well as we need to. And we're not as big as most teams, so we need to get a step farther out. (Sidney) Spencer has more offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds going into the game, and they're going to rebound from the perimeter as well as the post. They're a very physical team. They're finding a lot of ways to win games."
(on different lineups):
"Robin (Porter) has started, and she was out. Then Miayorka Johnson just had surgery today, and she was in a position to probably start. We don't have a senior on the team right now. We have two juniors that have been here before. One of them has played a significant amount, then another junior college player who is new. So there's a lot of youth. We have three freshmen in the starting lineup, a sophomore and then a junior college kid. (Johnson) was playing both a three and a four position, and she'll be out a week or two. We're hoping that Robin will be back in. She hurt her knee in practice in the last couple of days, so we'll see how that goes."
(on Candace Parker not playing for UT):
"Candace is Candace, and she's going to make a tremendous difference for anyone. I'm concerned about us and how we scrap, and I thought we fought hard with the players we had on the floor. Candace makes anybody a good basketball team."
(on Parker not playing):
"No matter who's out there playing, Tennessee is Tennessee. We've got to go out there and play as a team no matter who's out there on the floor. I was just thinking about trying to play hard and go out here and win a ballgame."