Army guard Alex McGuire (22) looks for help as Tennessee guard Alexis Hornbuckle (14) and Candace Parker (3) apply pressure during first half action during the Tennessee-Army NCAA Womens Basketball Champhionship first round game in Norfolk, Va., Sunday March 19, 2006. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
March 19, 2006
Tennessee Head Coach Pat Summitt: "I was really pleased with how we came out today as a team. I thought our starters demonstrated great commitment in terms of their defensive intensity and obviously we had good ball movement and shot the ball well. When you shoot the ball 60% for the game, its hard to be disappointed with the offense. You always look at turnovers but for the first game in the NCAA tournament, we are very pleased with how we started and where we are."
On her two dunks against Army
Candace Parker, RS Freshman Forward: "I took an outlet pass and just went up and did it. It was nothing that I thought about, I've done it a few times in practice and I've been getting talk from my teammates in practice about not doing it in games. It's a relief to finally do it and get it over with. I think our whole thing coming into this tournament is to bring energy, confidence, and a sort of swagger. Being who we are at Tennessee , we bring confidence and that's what dunking does. We came out and played huge in the first game, and just brought a lot of energy, and I think that brought a lot of momentum.
On Army's performance
Shanna Zolman, Senior Guard: "We knew coming into the game that it was going to be hard fought in the sense that they are competitive and hard working. They fight not only in terms of on the court but also for our country. When I was looking up at the beginning of the game and saw the band in their fatigues, and a lot of the fans with their Army gear on, I knew this game was a lot more than basketball and starting off the NCAA Tournament. Our opponents not only play basketball, but more importantly, they are fighting for and serving our country. We were talking a lot about what it means for them, as members of the Army, what all they have to go through, and we knew they would be well conditioned athletes just because of being in the Army and going through boot camp. It's definitely an honor to play against them, because they are serving our country for a much more important purpose."
On pressure of having to dunk again in the future:
Parker: "I'm just going to approach the games like I've normally done it, and I'm not going to force anything. If it's a close game, no way, I will make the best decision for the team. I just thought it brought energy, and I'm not pressured to do it again."
On Army's performance:
Summitt: "I thought they came out with discipline on the court. These young ladies understand discipline, and at the same time, I was pleased that we managed to make some adjustments because they were getting good open looks against us. There is no question they are very well coached. Maggie has done a great job, and I knew of her work at DePaul. I have tremendous respect and admiration for their head coach, and she could only benefit by being in his presence. There's coaching in her blood with her brother, and when you have it in your family I know the feeling that you just talk basketball. You love the game and you love to teach the game, which she does very well."
On Parker's dunk:
Summitt: "It was nice to get it out of the way since shes tried it before against Auburn at home, and she missed. The fans talked about it all the time, and she wanted to do it for the Tennessee fans at home because they are always asking, "when are you going to dunk?". When she did that baseline dunk today, it took me back to our first practice when we were running basic baseline drills, and I was at the other end of the court. Candace got the drop pass, and dunked it much like she did today. I've been in this business for 32 years, and I said to myself I cant believe I saw what I just saw. I didn't think I'd be impressed when it happened, but I was. I told her at the end of the game today, I said to her "well you got yourself on Sportscenter again, good job!", and she smiled."
Army Head Coach Maggie Dixon: "I just want to start by saying, that I've never been so proud of a group of young women, as I was in the last 4 months. They have been through so much and really just kept fighting back. I'm so honored and proud to have the opportunity to coach these young women, and I'm looking forward to the future of Army basketball."
On Candace Parker:
Stefanie Stone, Sophomore Forward: "She is a really great player, very tough, definitely knows the right moves to make at the right times. It was definitely a big challenge to guard her. She is just one of those players that I will give to her the respect she deserves."
Cara Enright, Sophomore Guard: "She can dunk and that's pretty impressive. If you can do it, I guess you can do it. But you can't sit, watch, and be in awe of it. You can sit back after the game, and say "wow she really did dunk on us", but during the game you just have to brush it off."
On Tennessee's Overall Performance:
Enright: "We knew they were going to make their runs, I think we had a lot of intensity at the start and we just kind of sat back a little bit. It's Tennessee, they are a great team. We just didn't do a lot of little things today."
Stone: "We came in with the mindset today that it was just any other team, we didn't want to put Tennessee on a pedestal. When it comes down to it, we are just playing basketball."
On Tennessee's performance:
Dixon: "Obviously Candace Parker is going to be Candace Parker, but the things that really hurt you is Zolman hitting three-pointers in transition. We got lost in transition a couple of times, and they got some baskets out of that. I think that's how the run really got away from us. We did win the Patriot League, we did enter the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history, so I have to keep building these players up so they remember that. This isn't the way we want to end the season. They have accomplished too much to feel bad about this season. I think the first thing we need is to take a deep breath, and enjoy the fact that we got to be here and play on this stage against a team like Tennessee who I think is going to do very well this year. Our players are going to remember this, and we can use it for motivation next year."