Jan. 31, 2010
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Pat Summitt
We obviously knew this was going to be a real test for our team on the road. Coach [Dawn] Staley's done a great job with this program. I felt like we were going to have our hands full with Kelsey Bone in the paint. Overall, we struggled at times, but one thing that we did down the stretch is we found a way to win. Just executing and trying to free up our shooters and getting paint points, I thought we had a pretty good mix of that, which to me is a big difference. We got 30 points off of our bench. They [South Carolina] got six points off of their bench. Our bench was really special and came to play. Our bench had nine boards and seven assists, which may be a high for us this year. We're really pleased with the fact that we had a lot of people play well. Kamiko Williams, I think she is truly a very special guard. She's just now coming into her own and learning our set plays and learning how to play through fatigue, but she can play both sides of the ball with great intensity. We're really pleased with her. Alyssia Brewer, she really stepped up and made some great baskets when we needed her the most.
On being down early in the first half
I was really disappointed in how we started the game. We've had some slow starts. We've also had some really fast starts. This team has got to make up their mind if they want to be a 40-minute team or not. That's the one thing that probably bothers me and our coaching staff the most. With that said, I'm really pleased with how they played to close out this game.
On the play of Kamiko Williams
Kamiko`s probably got the best handles of our guard players. That's probably because of how she grew up. When she was playing in Clarksville, she played a lot by herself. We're just now getting her to play with other people, but her skill sets are really good. She can get to the paint, she has a great pull up she can defend, rebounds, she's an all around talent. I figured in time, she would be an all around difference maker. I just challenged her to learn our set plays and invest more in this team. She has done that.
On getting the ball in the paint within the last minute of the game
We were absolutely determined to get the ball inside. We felt like it was our best option at that time. We were just battling for paint points.
On the overall play of the team
I think that's what we can be pleased about is that we did not cave in with fatigue. We fought through some adversity. They pulled together. They had good huddles, good communication. We've been able to do this. We don't want to live on the edge. We want to eventually be able to separate ourselves, but we've managed to do that today and I'm really proud for our team and our coaching staff.
JUNIOR GUARD/FORWARD Angie Bjorklund
On getting down early in the first half
This is a team [South Carolina] that came in and wanted to defend their home court. They wanted to come beat us. I think we just needed to be ready. This is a team that we couldn't take lightly, and I think that's what we did to start off.
On her basket with one minute left
I think initially, the play was to get the ball inside. The shot clock was running down, the play broke down; I just looked up at the shot clock and saw it going down. Coach (Summitt) said that if you get the ball, don't pass it. You're either looking to shoot or make an easy pass because I had a few turnovers. I think I saw the shot clock and just shot it.
On her play in the second half
When we were down, she (Coach Summitt) gave me the look like, "You better go out there and do something." I think that's what motivated me.
On the final minutes of the game
I think we just had that mentality that we weren't going to lose this game. No matter what the situation we were in, we weren't going to lose that game. We had that mentality and everyone that was on the court knew that we were going to win.
SOUTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH DAWN STALEY
On her team's shooting
I thought we started off the game really hot. We took shots that were there, and I think we played off the atmosphere very well. I think that over the course of the game we weren't getting the shots that we had earlier in the game. We certainly got good looks.
The good and the bad of this game
I think the last three minutes, we didn't get the shots that we needed. I thought we worked it a lot and tried to get it into people's hands. In the last minutes of the game, we needed to get it into the players' hands who are shooting and we didn't. The good thing is that the crowd was great. The players really got into the game plan and executed well. There were 37 strong minutes but against a strong team like Tennessee, you need to play for 40 minutes.
On the inbounds play at the end of the game that resulted in a turnover
It's a play we go over a lot in practice. [Lauren Falohun] has the power to do the skip pass, but unfortunately it got tipped. It was something that we have gone over and I felt comfortable with [Lauren]. We were trying to get a 3-point look for Valerie.
On the losing streak to Tennessee and how the players prepared
The team came in with a certain focus that put them in a position to win the game .We have young players who have never been in that situation. Being that close to getting a win from a team like Tennessee, you start thinking instead of reacting to the play. They looked like they wanted to win the game, but you have to execute.
On what she's taking away from the game
This is statistically the best team in our conference, and if we can clean up the last three minutes of the game, then we are going to win a lot of basketball games. We can learn from our mistakes and take that on the road to Auburn and Georgia.
SOPHOMORE GUARD LA'KEISHA SUTTON
Impressions of the game and its outcome
Overall it was a good game. It feels bad right now, but we did a lot of things well today. We came together as a team.
One 23-11 Tennessee streak to close out the first half
It didn't affect us too much. We had them exactly where we wanted them. We wanted to put ourselves in a position to win at the end. It was very challenging.
On the losing streak against Tennessee
Personally, we didn't pay too much attention to that. We know that South Carolina hasn't won a game against Tennessee since 1980, and we were hoping to change that.
JUNIOR GUARD VALERIE NAINIMA
On what Tennessee did differently in the second half against South Carolina's shooters They went into the zone. They never left us alone. Someone was always on the shooter. They anticipated the passes and put a lot of heat on us. In the second half, we couldn't run our sets, because there was a lot more pressure on us.
On playing against a #5 Tennessee team
We can definitely play with any team in the country. There were a couple of plays, one where I passed the ball that I shouldn't have, and it ended up being a momentum change. We are learning from those experiences. Next time we have a close game with anyone, we can look back at this game and make the right decisions.
On the inbounds play at the end of the game that resulted in a turnover
We had run that play before in other games. La'Keisha [Sutton] ended up getting open in the corner, but unfortunately [Lauren Falohun] didn't see that. The play was meant for me to get open for a 3. They [Tennessee] did a good job.