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Tennessee vs. Auburn - Post Game Quotes



Jan. 25, 2009

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes

Pat Summitt, Tennessee Head Coach

Opening Statement...
"In the first half, we don't go to the free-throw line, so maybe that says something about us not being aggressive enough. That is something I'll have to watch on tape. I think that is a first in my career. We did not play well. Auburn had a lot to do with that. We didn't close out the first half. I thought that affected our team. We had some people that came off the bench and didn't bring as much energy. That was a problem.

"I am going to give Auburn the credit. They played well as a unit. Their big three scorers just stepped up. [DeWanna] Bonner is a special player. She can play inside, outside and she plays off the bounce. She has really elevated her game. That made a big difference today.

"Obviously, we did not guard the three ball. Hopefully we will get a little better at that. I thought [Alli] Smalley was great moving without the ball. She just did a lot of good things there.

"We have a young basketball team and a lot of growing pains with a young team. I still think there is a great upside to where we can grow and get to by the end of our SEC regular season. I am learning something about patience."

On the trouble adjusting to Auburn...
"We made flat passes and those equate to lazy passes as well. Our turnovers were very costly, but we had some upperclassmen turning over the ball too. All security has cost us and today was probably the most we had to pay for it."

On the crowd turnout at Auburn...
"It's about time those Auburn fans got in the gym to watch their women play basketball. I think Coach Fortner has done a great job and she has a great team. We have been fortunate at Tennessee. Our fans love basketball; they love women's basketball. They love our men's team. I think it is great that Auburn had this kind of crowd today and they have been having bigger crowds. This community needs to get behind their team; not just while they are winning, but every time they play. They have a special team."

 

 

On Shekinna Stricklen's performance...
"She was really upset after the game, but I told her, 'You had a solid game for us.' I couldn't ask much more from her. She played 37 minutes. She is a special player; she is a great competitor. She is such a great example for us as well."

On the run Tennessee made in the second half...
"I thought two runs. I thought at the end of the half, we didn't do a good job of closing it out. To begin the second half, we didn't do a good job. Our guard play was not good. All you have to do is look at the turnovers we had. Obviously Auburn just had a whole different commitment to running the floor. I think that is the most disappointing thing. They are a veteran team. They are aggressive. They put us on our heels. We have to learn from this. We have a lot more basketball to play."

On the confidence of Auburn's senior team...
"They are very confident. They have reason to be. They are experienced, but at the same time, this Auburn team, in comparison to any team Nell Fortner has had, they are very aggressive and they play off the bounce. They attack the rim; it is the most aggressive team she has had. They play well together. Their ball movement, their quickness that they showed in all aspects of the game, whether they were on defense or offense, or playing off the dribble-I just thought that they played with a lot more energy and demonstrated a lot more quickness than we did.

"Is that our youth? I don't know. I think we have a great strength and conditioning coach and Heather Mason, but they are young. Young players give in to fatigue. We had three of those on the court tonight giving into fatigue. We will see that on tape, but we have some growing pains with that."

On Whitney Boddie's point guard performance...
"I think Tameeka Johnson is a good example to compare her to. She is quick with and without the ball, but she is exceptionally quick with the ball. She has great court vision as well; she is a very unselfish player as well. "

On going man-to-man in the second half...
"We went man, but we also played some zone sets. It might have looked like man. I felt like we needed to do a better job of keeping them in front of us. I don't think we had as much success with it, but we switched it up even in the second half as well. They picked us apart."

On Glory Johnson's composure...
"I think Glory and Shekinna Stricklen are two freshmen that really compete hard and they are both bringing a lot to the court, both offensively and defensively. Obviously, Glory got on the board for us, which is huge."

On the biggest differences in DeWanna Bonner this year...
"She is obviously very, very aggressive, but she also has great composure. She attacked off the dribble; she can shoot the three ball, but she really put it on the floor and did some good things as well. To have her size and to have that along with her speed and quickness-just her skills are so much better now. You can tell she has worked on her game."

On honoring Coach Kay Yow before the game...
"I certainly want to thank Auburn for making that happen. Coach Yow was an incredible woman. She was one of my dearest friends in this profession, and it has been very difficult to see her fight and lose her battle of cancer. I think that without question she has touched more lives. Not just her players and her staff, but people throughout this game and this country. My heart goes out to her family, and right now I just have to know that Kay Yow is in a better place."

Tennessee Player Quotes

Glory Johnson, F

On her performance...
"Basically, we need to play every part of the game the same way. It should be us going hard and going all out every possession. When that doesn't happen and we slack off, other teams take advantage of that. We cannot slack off at any point in the game. We have to play 40 minute games. It is hard, but it is something you have to buy into. You have to devote yourself to playing hard and when that doesn't happen, we struggle."

On being a low point in the season...
"We came out with confidence and knowing what we could do and we needed to show it. We needed to show Auburn what we could do and that didn't really happen too much. I think at one point, we got up one [point] with a couple of minutes left in the first half, and I guess we just didn't stick with the denials and the defense."

On DeWanna Bonner's performance...
"She had a nice game. She is experienced and she knows what she is doing. She is definitely a great player, outside and in. I give her props."

Shekinna Stricklen, F

On Auburn's performance...
"I just give it to Auburn; I give them a lot of credit. They got all of the hustle plays. They looked like they wanted it more than we did."

On the effect of so many turnovers...
"The turnovers really hurt us. I think that is really what killed us in this game. Auburn gave it their all and we can see they gave a lot of effort. They were in the passing lanes and they were stealing the ball and getting extra points off the layups. It really hurt us."

On the emphasis the team would focus on if they meet Auburn again...
"The main thing is that we are going to have to have composure and get control of the ball. We had too many turnovers in this game and you cannot win like that. The other thing would be rebounding; I think they had a lot of offensive rebounds."

Auburn Quotes

Auburn head coach Nell Fortner

Opening statement...
"For Auburn, it was truly a magical day; from walking out there at the beginning of the game and seeing the arena with that many fans and playing a game of that magnitude. I know Pat Summit has played in a lot of big games and the Tennessee program and staff; Auburn's team has not. I think we played some very good basketball, some very inspired basketball and I am very proud of these kids today. I can't say enough for the fans and them coming out the way they did and the growth of this program over the past five years. I am just extremely proud and will work as hard as I can to keep that going."

On being concerned with the team performing well with a huge crowd...

"I really was not concerned with the crowd causing the team to be nervous because we have had some big crowds this season, not that big, but we have had some nice home crowds. I can't say enough about the mental toughness that this team has; they don't get rattled easily, they are very focused and very hungry to reach their goals and that keeps them grounded. I thought at the beginning of the game that they were a little bit nervous, because they couldn't really get rolling, but I don't think that was it at all, it was just a tough battle. We were just battling. Tennessee is a very good defensive team, they are very big. We just had to find our way. Then I thought in the second half we did find our way. Again, I was proud how well they kept their composure and found their spot."

On big run in the second half...

"I thought that was a great run. We changed up our defense and pressed them in a soft press and changed our zone and I think that made a difference. We got some steals and got our running game going. That is a good thing for us; we like to push the ball. I thought that was the difference in the ball game. We got a big enough lead to withstand Tennessee's run."

On the locker room speech...

"Some locker room speeches are more spirited than others, we executed. I give them all of the credit in the world because they are the ones that have to go out and make the plays and play the game. I thought that they made some big plays today."

On giving a three-point shot going into halftime... "We could have let that shot lose some of the momentum that we had going, but we didn't let it do that to us. I am glad that we had a little bit of a lead at that point to take the hit. We were up by eight, so we could afford to take the hit at the time. I'm sure Tennessee felt good about it and we would have felt good about had the roles been reversed, but it didn't get us down. The team was okay and they felt that they were finding their way as the first half wound down.

"I thought that we went out in the second half with a lot of confidence. Sometimes when you do things at halftime by changing things up, they like a little bit of a change; that's exciting and that's we did and it paid off."

On being on the winning side versus Tennessee...
"Tennessee is still a very aggressive, physical, strong, defensive team. They are long and they get places pretty quick. I just felt like with the things that we ran and the way we attacked the basket in the second half, we found our confidence. In the first half, we didn't do it as much, but in the second half we gained some confidence with that and got in there and got some easy shots. The running game got going. Alli Smalley knocked down a three andeverybody loves that, so it just multiplied there and we were getting around them; they weren't able to keep us out. There is no question that we are pretty quick, when you can get the ball in Whitney Boddie's hands, that is pretty quick. She is a pretty dangerous player."

On Auburn's seniors and Tennessee's freshman...
"Of course it is very exciting for our seniors because they have never beaten Tennessee before, so this was their first win over Tennessee which is very good for them. As far as Tennessee's freshman, my gosh, they're very good. Shekinna Stricklen is going to be and already is a heck of a player. Her range on the three ball is just unbelievable, wow. She can shoot it from downtown. I think she is going to be a special player. Tennessee has had a lot of special players and I think she is following up right there. They are young, but I surely don't want to have to play them again; we might have to. They will just keep getting better and better. They are getting a lot of great experience and they will just keep getting better and better. "

On DeWanna Bonner...
"My opinion is, DeWanna Bonner is a big time player and big time players play big time basketball in big time games and that is what she did and she does it all of the time. I think she is the most underrated player in the country because she does not get the attention that other players do and that is fine with her. She just goes to work everyday and does her job and does it great. She is a great player and at some point people will see her play and realize that."

On having a 24-point lead...
"We were tired, I'm not going to lie to you, we were tired and I didn't feel as if I could use my bench at that time because Tennessee can score in bunches like that. They have Angie Bjorklund, Shekinna Stricklen, Sydeney Smallbone; I mean come on they can boom, boom, boom and it is a different ball game, which basically is what happened, but we were tired.

"We were trying to slow down a little bit because we had enough points to win the game we just had to make big stops. We needed to use the shot clock a little bit, but when I tell my team to do that, that's what you get. They don't know how to play that way because we are used to playing fast; we want to push the ball, attack the basket. When you slow them down, it's like everybody starts standing and we don't get good offense. So, that's what happened and that is my fault for doing that because they want to keep playing, but I don't want to give the ball back so quickly to Tennessee because they can shoot the three so well."

On dedicating the game to Kay Yow...
"It just hits home. We're playing a basketball game and she lost her life and that's a sad reality when she passed. We all love Kay and she has been great for the game. She was such a wonderful person and that is the best thing about Kay because she was such a nice person, you never heard anyone say anything bad about her. It was never about Kay, never about her fight with cancer, it was always about getting more money for research and about others. It was never about her, she was special. It is pretty sobering and I made sure that my team wearing that shooting shirt with her name on it that they understood exactly what we're doing today and exactly what we were honoring today. They all had the opportunity to meet Kay in November when we played NC State."

Dewanna Bonner, F

On the 35 points she scored...
"To be honest, I didn't even know I had that many points. It wasn't like I was just scoring on every possession. It was just kind of in spurts. Tennessee played a great game. They were so physical and 35 points against a team like that is hard to do. I relied on my teammates and they kind of opened things up for me by them scoring."

On her steady momentum during her 37 minutes of playing time ...
"I was just so excited because it was so loud. It took a while to get a crowd like that. We've never had a crowd like that in my four years of playing here. We started from nothing and now the crowd just keeps growing. We've never beaten them out of the six times we have played them. To finally get that win, it's just a big win. I'm really excited."

On going in feeling like you would win...
"This was a big game and when you go to a big game like this you just focus on playing hard. We all just wanted it so bad. We played hard and we came out with a win."

On Tennessee's turnovers...
"I think our zone kind of slowed them down a little bit. They did a great job getting the ball to the inside. When you've got a turnover and you get it that gets the crowd into and gets them rattled, so you hit them hard again. They did a great job with the post, but we just got the turnovers."

On teams misjudging her quickness because she is tall...
"I don't know why they kept throwing that pass over there, but maybe they didn't see me back there because there was a lot of stuff going on and I just kind of sneak up in there."

Whitney Boddie, G

On the first half and the team being tentative and nervous...
"It wasn't the crowd. It was their defense. Their defense kept stopping our transitions. They're long. I'm 5'2, no really 5'7, but seeing over them was kind of hard. We were trying to run our plays with 11 seconds left on the shot clock. We weren't afraid of them by any means."

On seeing the large crowd...
"It was awesome. They were out there before we were there. There were a lot of people there and I hope they come back. It made a big difference for sure."

On being uptight because of the crowd...
"No, we were loose. That's the reason we came to Auburn, to play in big games and have crowds like this and play Tennessee and beat them. I don't think we were nervous by any means."

On difference trying to attack the man vs. the zone defense...
"When they are in man they don't switch on their screens. DeWanna had some good screens and I got by and had a little step on them."

On different offense from first half vs. second half...
"The first half when they were pressuring, we were just going back and forth. After that at halftime coach was like, 'When you get the ball, try to attack and penetrate and create some things.' All we really did was attack more."

Alli Smalley, G

On lanes to the basket vs. shooting three's... "I think it's because the defense expects me to shoot threes, so they run out to me and it opens up a lane for me to penetrate and get to the basket."

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