Feb. 24, 2005
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Pat Summitt:
(opening remarks)"I thought in the second half we played good basketball. In the first half, we made quick shots. There was no commitment on defense. At halftime, we were 3-for-16 from the perimeter. In the second half, it was Tennessee basketball. We had great defensive intensity. We had good opportunities. We were able to create offense off of our defense. I thought (Tye'sha) Fluker had a tremendous influence on the low block."
(on the play of senior Shyra Ely) "I thought she did a nice job on Tan White. She did a good job of denying early. She was real active offensively, and we did a good job of feeding her. She played with an aggressive mindset. You expect that from your senior. She leads by example."
(on the inside game) "We had a distinct advantage on our inside game with our size. Overall, I thought we had physical play. (Tye'sha) Fluker at times even plays more like a finesse player. We had a tough mindset, a physical mindset."
"This is a veteran team. Nicky (Anosike) was the only freshman in the starting lineup, and she wasn't the problem getting the ball inside. They (Mississippi State) sagged off our guards. We talked about being aggressive at halftime. They were mindful of that, of their angles and feeding the posts. They sealed well."
(on whether Shyra Ely had secured a starting position for the rest of the season) "I think she was trying to tell me that she needed to start. She handled (not starting) well. As a senior and a Kodak All-American, she was not happy after the LSU game. It is important to understand that even if the ball is not going in, Shyra brings so many other things to the court. She has responded in those areas."
(on the play of sophomore Dominique Redding) "I thought Dominique's play was critical. She needs the minutes. She needs to dial up the intensity. Obviously, she can make trick plays. She's got to do something on defense."
(on Shanna Zolman wearing Sidney Spencer's No. 1 jersey) "She's wearing Sidney's uniform for the rest of the year. They're great friends. Losing Sidney was a big loss for our team. When she came and asked me if she could do it, I thought it was a classy move on her part. I asked her, 'Is it legal?' I had never had a player want to change numbers in the middle of the year. It touched me."
(on the play of Mississippi State senior Tan White) "I'm glad that she's a senior. I was delighted to give her flowers. She's a terrific guard. She may be the best guard in the country. We keyed on her. She's able to create her shot. She's a valuable part of their team. When LaToya Thomas was at Mississippi State, the two of them together were unbelievable."
(on guarding Tan White) "The first thing is that I didn't want to be on Sportscenter tonight. She's such a great player. With players like her, you try to limit her touches, make her frustrated. You have to know she's going to get her points, but to make her work for everything."
(on coming off the bench) "I think that I am a senior and sometimes coach has to do something for the good of the team. I had to take one for the team, and she feels that is what is working right now. I'll continue to do what I can and help the team. It's about how you finish."
(on outrebounding MSU 44-27) "We saw an opportunity to go to the boards really hard and aggressive, and they weren't stopping us. Coach told us to keep going. It was one of the things we focused on as a team coming into the game."
(on wearing No. 1 to honor Sidney Spencer)"Sid is my girl. She is my best friend. When she went down, part of me went down. Not so much the basketball but her as a person. She's worked so hard in the summer and on the court. Along with everyone who is out this year, seeing her go down really hurt. I just wanted to do it and wanted it to be a surprise for her. I just wanted to do that for her the rest of the season."
MISSISSIPPI STATE HEAD COACH SHARON FANNING:
(on the game) "Against a team like Tennessee, you need a turning point, and I don't think we had that stretch. We fouled Zolman and she hit all her shots. At that point, we rushed things. We lost a little patience there. We needed to be more patient, make the extra pass. We lost poise. Two things for the game would be the boards; I don't think I've ever gone into a press conference against Tennessee where offensive boards weren't a factor. In the first half we did a poor job handling the basketball. It was a very physical game."
(on Tan White) "I told her the last couple of games she didn't have a steal. It's about time. There are quite a few accomplishments this young lady has achieved. It's just a tremendous honor. Over the next few weeks we hope she can set a few more. She's a special young lady and a special player, so I've been blessed to coach her."
(on Shyra Ely's defense) "She used her big body frame on me. She made me work hard to get the ball. I was having a hard time just getting the ball."
(on being honored as a senior before the game) "I thought that was great on Tennessee's part. It was real special. It made us feel as a part of their program tonight. It was just amazing how they did it."
(on the good sportsmanship of the fans) "I noticed that they were clapping when I was introduced. To have an audience like that to support both sides was special."