Tennessee-Auburn Postgame Quotes

Jan. 28, 2010

HEAD COACH Pat Summitt:
(opening remarks):
"I thought for the most part we did a good job. We didn't start out the way that I had hoped. We wanted to take away the three-ball. We got better at that after the first four minutes. We did a better job with our scouting report defense. We got quality minutes from a lot of players. We need this, particularly in this league. I understand that South Carolina won tonight, so we'll see what happens."

(on whether Tennessee is getting closer to playing a full 40-minute game):
"We're getting closer. They're starting to understand that they have to compete hard as a group, or we'll be substituting freely. We want to get a stable group that plays longer minutes. Our post game got into foul trouble tonight."

(on improvement of Tennessee's perimeter game):
"Our perimeter game is getting better. If you look at the stats, they see that they need to get in the gym. Otherwise, don't expect minutes. Everyone has to be invested. I think they got the message."

(on the team's killer instinct):
"Across the board, they don't have that killer instinct. That's about heart and drive and competitiveness. Our teams that were championship teams were competitive on every possession. We're not there yet, but we've made great strides. If we have seven or eight players who get it, we'll be all right."

(on getting in extra shots):
"They're getting in shots. That's the reason Pratt Pavilion is there. It makes a difference. The team across the board has to be committed."

(on Glory Johnson's three-point shot and overall play):
"That was a lucky three. Total luck. There was no skill involved. Once she settled down, she was OK. She's so athletic and plays so hard, sometimes she gets out of control. But I'd rather have to calm her down than wind her up."



(on defending Auburn's three-point shooters):
"We didn't come out and defend. We knew who their three-point shooters were. It took us that first four-minute segment to realize. We didn't identify them. In this league, you have to know the personnel and be committed. Once we settled down and committed, we did a nice job. We responded coming out of timeouts and made adjustments both offensively and defensively."

(on building on a lead):
"Considering the times that we've had to grind things out this season, we had much better effort to get out and get the lead. Against LSU, it was nip and tuck. We did a nice job of closing out. This gives them more confidence. They're trying to figure out how good they can be."

(on the tempo of the game):
"We like track meets. We want to run. It worked to our advantage."

(On her first career three-pointer, which was a desperation heave that beat the shot clock):
"I just saw the ball rolling at my feet and knew the shot clock was almost up, so I just hooked it trying to hit the rim and it went in. It was crazy."

(On adjustments the team made after the first few minutes):
"We started a little slow at the beginning of the game. A lot of us were trying to figure out ways to get around (Auburn center KeKe) Carrier. She's big, so it was hard to drive in the paint without her getting a piece of it. We just had to get around her and be quick with it. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't."

(On the importance of winning big after playing three tough games):
"Just knowing that we can play with a team and separate from them just shows how great our team is and what we can do to teams. Once we separate from teams, it hurts their confidence. When they stop hitting shots and hit the wall, we have to go."

(On the team's interior defense):
"Communication was the key. With our bigger players, being able to switch onto their smaller guards and still keep them out of the paint helped a lot. They weren't able to get quick shots off like they normally would. With screens, just talking helped us not get caught and give them open threes. We stuck with that and kept talking, and I think that helped a lot. "

(On playing man-to-man defense after playing zone the last few games):
"Whatever defense we play, we have to play with the same intensity and we have to talk. If we do that, it doesn't matter what we're playing, we should be successful."

(On the importance of not allowing Auburn back into the game after losing a 20-point lead against Vanderbilt last week):
"We're looking forward, and we know that we have to play to a certain level. When teams are down, we have to keep going and pushing them down to be successful."

JUNIOR GUARD Angie Bjorklund
(On her 20-point performance tonight):
"I think it was just how we were working the ball around. Just getting that many open shots was definitely because the ball wasn't stuck in our hands and we were playing inside out. That opens a lot of stuff up for the guards and when Shekinna and the other guards are hitting shots it helps me to get open."

(On the team's intensity level for tonight's game):
"Every game, we have to focus on the 40-minute game. Every possession counts, so our goal is to have the same intensity level the whole time. I thought, tonight, we did a pretty good job across the board for 40 minutes. (Auburn guard Alli) Smalley went off on us a couple of times, but tonight everyone who subbed in kept it up."

(On getting open looks from beyond the arc):
"I honestly think it's about our team energy level. When we come out aggressive on defense and rebound the ball really well, our offense seems to flow better and that leads to great looks."

(On the motivation provided by two losses to Auburn last year):
"We're always thinking about last year, especially our road games. We knew we hadn't beaten them in a couple of games. We knew this was our home court. We were on a mission, and we got it done."

(On the importance of making open threes):
"I think those are confidence builders. It really has to do with how well we were working the ball around and setting screens for each other. We've been working on it all week so I don't think it was necessarily about hitting shots, it was about getting open. Of course, hitting shots always helps."

SOPHOMORE GUARD Shekinna Stricklen
(On Tennessee's guards stepping up after struggling recently):
"It felt so good. I don't even know what to say. When we hit shots, we were all just smiling. It felt like our guards haven't had a big game like this in a long time, and it really helped build our confidence."

(Opening Statement):
"I thought Tennessee played really well. They shot the ball so well. We did a poor job of getting matched up in transition defense which gave them a lot of really good looks from 3, and they knocked them down. It was a tough game to recover from when you give up that many 3s. It wasn't a good night for us. It was a good night for them. We've got to get back on the horse and ride on Sunday, and see what happens."

(On how Auburn gets past losing four starters off last season's team):
"You just keep working hard. They have to not lose their belief in what we're doing, and just continue to compete. I thought our effort was good tonight. I thought we worked hard tonight. We just didn't have enough. I thought Tennessee played very well, and they shot the ball well. Offensive boards killed us, as well. It was just a tough night for us."

(On the growth of Tennessee sophomore forward Glory Johnson in her second season):
"She's a year older. She's a confident and more mature player. That's what a year gets you. Their whole team is a year older and you can tell."

(On Tennessee switching to a man-to-man defense after starting the game in zone):
"It was definitely bothersome because they're big. They were moving good and able to stop our penetration. I don't think we did great job of attacking that kind of defense. But we'll go back and learn from it, and hopefully do better next time."

(On the play of senior center KeKe Carrier):
"She was ready to play; she's just not 100 percent. I thought she gave us what she had - playing 19 minutes. She got into early foul trouble which gave us foul trouble. To warm up and have to sit again, and then get it all started - it was kind of difficult for her. It was unfortunate the two fouls came kind of early. She's still trying to get back to 100 percent."

(On the difficulty of playing at Thompson-Boling Arena):
"There's no question (it's difficult). It doesn't matter if you are winning or losing, or whatever, this is a tough place to play. The biggest thing is you just want your kids to come in and compete hard - compete hard for 40 minutes. I thought we did that tonight and that's what we have to go back and work on, and grow from - just work hard.

(On the transition from 2008-09's SEC regular season championship team to this year's squad):
"It's definitely a big difference, but I feel like this team competes hard and we know it's going to take a lot of work. We know we are young. We know that each night in the SEC is going to be a tough game because every team in the SEC is good. It was certainly tough to get off shots against the Tennessee defense, especially with them switching out on everything. They make it extremely tough."



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