March 19, 2011
Head Coach Pat Summitt
(Opening Statement): "Our team came out really inspired and ready to play. We worked through some things that weren't exactly where we wanted them. Going inside-out is really the statement that we are holding onto over time. Glory Johnson has obviously done a great job of locking down the post position. I'm really pleased with her development. Meighan (Simmons) has done a great job with pushing tempo. I always say she's never seen a shot that she didn't love but it's OK as long as it goes in. We had a great crowd. You never want to take for granted anything. We know our fans are the best in the country and it really does inspire a team. Our player movement, ball movement, commitment to defense and board play was pretty solid throughout this game. We can just build on that. I think that without a doubt we have bought into it. Depth is a real factor for us to have the depth that we have to keep people fresh, move people in and out and not have to deal with fatigue is really special. This team is very special. Our coaching staff has done a great job. Give them a lot of credit."
(on Tennessee's depth): "I think it can change it in a very positive way. The guard play is getting a lot better. Our post game is obviously solid and we can rotate in that area as well as on the perimeter. Shekinna (Stricklen) has a lot of versatility to her game. Angie (Bjorklund) is very confident now and shooting the ball well. I think having those post players with their size and skill set has really improved tremendously. We have put a lot of emphasis right now on our post game and playing from the inside-out. I think they are more invested. The one thing that concerns me is our free-throw shooting. That right there is a serious stat that we're looking at every day. They are getting their shots in but come game time, I don't know what's happening but it has to get better. That right there could cost this team and this program."
(on Angie Bjorklund): "I would say that she really wants to see this team win a championship. She has worked so hard as we all know getting in extra shots, working on her pull-up game and trying to do a better job of getting paint points. As far as being a three-point shooter, she's been the best in this program. I'd like to see her go out as the best with our team being right there with her. She has a calming effect. You don't see her rush shots. Even when someone is coming hard at her, she will shot-fake and go around. I think she is at a very comfortable place with her game. I also think she knows she has to hunt shots. There are going to be a lot of double-teams on her. She has to come off screens. I think she is very capable of going into this next game and here on out, really hunting her shots. She knows she has to put them down."
(on what Tennessee has worked on since the SEC Tournament): "I think we learned a lot in the SEC Tournament. I knew that when we shot the ball as well as we shot it, they would come back and think they could ride. We made sure that didn't happen. When you shoot the ball that well, you get a false impression of who you are as a team. That's why we've invested a lot of time with our defensive schemes and just mixing things up and trying to get to a place where we can play a lot of different looks. I thought our zone looked good today. Having change-up is something you have to work on in practice every day. They have matured in a way that I think they all feel like they can go in the game and do whatever they have to do to be successful."
(on Meighan Simmons): "Meighan (Simmons) is a special player. Obviously, I'm very glad that she is at Tennessee. She can accelerate. She is one of the fastest, if not the fastest player to play in this program. I think she has done a better job because we've watched tape. She is starting to distribute the ball, pass, cut and not feel like she has to have the ball in her hands all of the time. She can knock down shots and she does that consistently. I like the fact now that she is starting to distribute the ball and get other people touches. That's huge."
(on Tennessee's overall performance): "Considering it is our first game, I was pleased overall. Maybe we had a few lapses but one thing we wanted to do was get a lot of people a lot of minutes. You never know when you might have an injury or something and someone else has to step up. We just wanted to get everyone to touch the ball and share in what we wanted to do from our defensive perspective, making sure they know all of our sets that we want to run. We limited that quite a bit today. If you don't have to use it then don't use it. Move on, survive and advance."
Junior forward Glory Johnson
(on what the win does for Tennessee): "I think not only does it help our confidence but it allows us to develop our own game individually and as a team. It allows us to focus on things that we're messing up on and focus on getting plays right, working on defense and making sure we're all on the same page. We just forget about the score, who we're playing and focus on our game and making sure that we're doing things right on the floor."
Freshman guard Meighan Simmons
(on what the win does for Tennessee): "Besides confidence, it just builds our mentality. We just have to go out there and play hard, never underestimate our opponent and continue to play together. I think that will prepare us a lot more."
(on whether the NCAA Tournament game had a different feel): "It does just to know that the NCAA game is in our arena. Once we start playing, I don't think it's any different. Once we start to go on later in the tournament, it's going to be a lot tougher and it's going to be a lot harder. It's just going to prepare us for the next step."