Feb. 2, 2012
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Pat Summitt
(on the game)
"To say we didn't play particularly well for 40 minutes tonight would be an understatement but you have to credit South Carolina for that. They executed a great game plan from start to finish and showed it over and over and over for 40 minutes.
"We took a seven-point lead with five minutes to go, and we just couldn't capitalize on it. We are extremely disappointed in the play of our team tonight.
"But again, the credit goes to Carolina."
(on Markeshia Grant)
"Obviously, it looked like we couldn't find her. Give Markeshia credit for knocking down seven three-pointers and her teammates for getting the ball to her. She gave her team a lot of energy."
(on not getting the ball inside)
"We just couldn't find a way to get the ball inside tonight and capitalize with our bigs."
"We'll see tomorrow at practice if we will learn from this loss. To be honest, this is a very difficult loss to think about right now."
(on Glory Johnson and Shekinna Stricklen)
"For whatever reason, Glory and Shekinna just never seemed to get going, and we count on them so much. Unfortunately, it was not one of their better nights, and when we don't have them playing well, we struggle."
TENNESSEE ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH Holly Warlick
"Hats off to South Carolina. I thought they had big plays when they needed to, hit big shots. We get everybody's best, no matter if we're home or away. We didn't have an answer for them the last four minutes of the game. We didn't have an answer for their runs."
(on guarding Markeshia Grant, who scored 27 points)
"I thought she got off big start, and that's been our Achilles Heel for us. I thought after the first half and after the first couple minutes of the second half, I thought Kamiko Williams did a heck of a job on her. She hit the big three toward the end of the game. We continue to let start players put up big numbers against us, and that's been a focal point for us but obviously it hasn't been good enough."
(on considering having Williams guarding Grant earlier in the game)
"I don't remember particularly what time we put her in. She played 17 minutes and I just thought when she went in, she made a difference. Her stamina, she's not quite there in the conditioning part, so we were trying to play her sparingly and use her when wanted to. I thought she stepped up big for us. She had big baskets. We need her presence, so we need her to get healthy and we need her to get in better shape."
(on if there's a target number of minutes Williams should play as she rebuilds stamina)
"Seventeen was good tonight for her. Looking back, I thought she probably could have gone more. She had one of her better games, probably her best game of the season back."
(on late turnovers)
"South Carolina is a pressure ball team, so you can't turn the ball over. The turnovers for us resulted in layups for them. We talked about that before the game, but you're right. We had crucial, crucial turnovers. We had crucial and-one plays. We just weren't disciplined tonight. We weren't disciplined for force them to their weak hand. We weren't disciplined to stay on our feet inside the post. We gave up too many and-one plays. You could just keep going down the line. To me, we were flat. We were not very inspired. Teams come in her to give us their best shot, and we can't be average and expect to win. We just can't do it."
(on if team was ready playing again at home after several road games)
"We've been on the road for three games in a row, and I'll be honest with you, it felt unusual to be at home. I'm surprised they were flat. I know we respected South Carolina. Mickie (DeMoss) scouted them. We knew what they could do. We just were flat, and I don't have an answer for it. I don't have an answer for it."
(on if combination of South Carolina's timely shot making and defense flustered Lady Vols)
"We got up by seven, and that's not a comfortable lead with them, because they were hitting big shots. They came down and hit in transition. They hit a two. We lost Grant, she hit a three, so now they're back in the game. It's a two-point game with 4:30 to go. I thought down the stretch, it's been our pattern. We've missed layups. I thought Glory (Johnson) had a putback, (she missed). We just missed some key shots that you've got to hit. You gotta hit it home. You've got to make layups. We didn't make plays. They made plays. We didn't."
(on if Lady Vols have emphasized layups in practice, since it has been an issue in some games)
"We've worked more on layups and free throws than we have in the years that I've been here. It's a mindset. It's a mindset. We've got to get a little more disciplined on the defensive end, and we've got to get a lot more focused on the offensive end."
(on how South Carolina has improved under Dawn Staley)
"I think Dawn's doing a great job with getting her kids to play hard, aggressive. She's got players who believe in her system. I thought they were outstanding tonight. They never backed down. They made plays when they needed to make plays. They made stops when they needed to make stops. She's done a heck of a job with that team. A heck of a job."
(on South Carolina getting late rebounds)
"It's a combination of mixed box outs, hustle plays, long boards, and I think South Carolina wanted the ball more, especially at the end. The last play, we had a chance to get a rebound and they got to the ball before we did. It was just effort. Rebounding is heart and effort, and if you don't have that, you're not going to be a great rebounding team. I didn't think we rebounded with a lot of passion tonight.
TENNESSEE FRESHMAN GUARD Ariel Massengale
(On being disappointing by the loss tonight, playing flat tonight)
"I am. I feel like certain points we've had times of starting the game out strong like we should, and I think that's just something that we as a team have to come together and talk about. The starting five have to go out there and set the tone for the next 40 minutes. At times we try to turn it on, and it's hard when another team is in a rhythm to try to just turn it on when you want to."
(On playing all 40 minutes tonight, if she's doing ok)
"Doing ok, caught a few cramps toward the end of the second half. Jenny Moshak is one of the best, and she took care of me and told me to push through it and just try to play hard for my team. (That's) something that I'm going to have to do. It's getting towards the end, so we've just got to push through."
(On the turnovers down the stretch, whether it was South Carolina or Tennessee)
"Grant it to their defense because they made plays when they needed to, but I feel like on our end it was just lazy, not meeting passes, soft passes, and I take credit for that. The point guard can't have four turnovers in the game and just credit their defense, because they made plays when they needed to."
TENNESSEE JUNIOR GUARD Kamiko Williams
(On getting back into shape, helping the team)
"Most definitely. We've been talking about having defensive stoppers, and a lot of my teammates score it well, Vicki, they actually told me that I could be one, so today when Holly was like go try to lock down five (No. 5 Grant), I took it as a challenge, and I can just build on it from there."
(On how she tried to defend Grant)
"She told me to face guard her, limit her touches, don't let her get jump shots off, and I did the best that I could do. At the end she had 27."
TENNESSEE SENIOR FORWARD Glory Johnson
(On Markeshia Grant's scoring)
"She definitely led her team the majority of the game. One thing I think we stressed on, the coaches stressed on, in the scouting report was force her left, and she was hitting a lot of jump shots. Whenever she put it down with her right hand, she would pull up. A player like that can't come to Tennessee and have 27 points on our floor. She basically led her team to the victory tonight."
(On this loss at home being more difficult than other losses on the road)
"It does. We have the fan support. We have home-court advantage. We're sleeping in our own beds before the game. We're having a great pregame meal. We're completely prepared with the scouting report from our coaches, so this loss is on us. There are no excuses. I can't think of one thing that I could give you an excuse for why we lost this game, but we just weren't ready to play. Our defense was awful. We just couldn't lock down on Grant."
(On where the team goes from here)
"Back to work. It's not the end of our season, so focus on to next game. Be ready for the next game. Hope we don't come with low energy and intensity and not ready to play this game for whatever reason."
(On being up seven points with five minutes left)
"I felt like it was our game. There's no reason why we're up seven, and we normally pick it up in the second half, right? Up seven and a couple of minutes to go, and we just have to play good defense. We just have to score every once in a while, keep the lead and it's our game. When they started scoring and they made a run, we didn't stop the run; we didn't answer the run. We weren't scoring, and they were. We let them shoot outside shots and driving and no help-side (defense), and when we did help, we fouled."
SOUTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH DAWN STALEY
(On if she thought about beating Tennessee when she got the USC job)
"I thought about us having the opportunity to win a game. I think anytime when you have an opportunity to play Tennessee year in and year out, you keep measuring yourself, you keep trying to find game plans that will put you in the best possible situation to win. I thought coming into this particular game with how we were playing, it was our best shot, and we did it."
(On if it was unusual for the players to go in the stands and greet fans)
"I mean its part of what we do. We do that at home, those are the faithful Gamecock fans that come see us play whether we're home or away, and we show them our appreciation by giving them five because they have been a part of this program. They've been part of the 30-year history of us not being able to win in this fashion. This is a tremendous win for us. You do it in Knoxville, something that a lot of teams come in this place and walk away defeated but it was our night tonight.
(On what was key to defeat Tennessee)
"We locked in on our post players. We needed Glory Johnson not to play as many minutes because we know she is a difficult matchup for us. We wanted to go at her and draw some fouls, just put her back on her heels a little bit, and I felt we accomplished that once we stuck to the game plan. Our game plan was to get her off her feet by pump faking twice, and finally, we got our players to lock in on that in the second half and we drew some fouls, and she didn't play as many minutes as she usually plays."
(On what she told her team when UT was up by seven points)
"Well for us, when we're down seven the morale is a little low, but it only takes a basket. I just told our players that we really concentrated on scoring in our offenses, but our best offense was transition. If you reflect on the game, a lot of the scoring opportunities we had, the good looks that we had was when we pushed the ball on makes or misses and we found our players open or in the paint for layups."
(On what made her team keep believing)
"This is a resilient group of players. Truly, truly in every aspect from the things I put them through in practice, from our coaching staff to us losing three basketball games consecutively in our season put us in the position where we have been defeated before. We've been in situations where we had to dig ourselves out of a hole, and it was really nothing new. I think we had an incredible belief. We had my college coach Debbie Ryan come talk to our team about everyone believing on one accord and being on one accord and anything is possible. I really think our team took that to heart."
(On when Debbie Ryan talked to the team)
"She spoke to us after our shoot around. She talked about when we were able to beat Tennessee to go to the Final Four, those are all instances. Surely sitting here as a coach, I have been coaching for 12 years and we had a lot of teams. My Temple team, this Gamecock team, I had former players, former Gamecock players text me today, and they all believed that this would take place today. So it was incredible belief on a lot of levels."
(On what coach Summitt said to her, and if this was her biggest win as a coach)
"She just said great job. She did come up to us before the game and thanked us for backing her. It is truly our pleasure, and I'm glad our players got a chance to experience this experience, knowing the tradition of Tennessee and by far, this is the biggest win of my career."
SOUTH CAROLINA SENIOR GUARD LA'KEISHA SUTTON
(On making the two free throws late to put the team up four points)
"I felt pretty confident. I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous, but my team kept telling me you're a good free throw shooter, and we believe in you and that just gave me more energy and motivation to really knock those free throws down, not only for myself, but for my team and the whole program of South Carolina."
(On what it meant to beat Tennessee)
"I really can't put it into words because I don't think it has hit me yet. Like I said before, I'm really happy for our team, coach Staley, our coaching staff for preparing us and just every player who ever put on a Gamecock uniform. It is for everybody at the University of South Carolina."
SOUTH CAROLINA SENIOR GUARD MARKESHIA GRANT
(On what was different for the team tonight)
"Tonight was different because I heard Coach Boyer in the back of my head, toe the line, toe the line and my teammates La'Keisha and Ieasia (Walker) found me numerous times, and I was just confident in my shot, and I locked it down."
(On what toe the line means)
"Toe the line means be ready to shoot on the three point line."
(On the team's transition offense)
"Well coach Staley said our best offense was our transition, and Ieasia got the rebound, and she pushed it and I just toed the line like coach Boyer said. She found me, and I knocked it down."