March 30, 2005
TENNESSEE POSTGAME NOTES
Tennessee defeated Rutgers, 59-49, in the Regional Final to reach the 2005 Final Four
Tennessee defeated Texas Tech, 75-59, in the Regional Semifinal
Tennessee defeated Purdue, 75-54, in the Second Round
Tennessee defeated Western Carolina, 94-43, in the First Round
Tennessee's victory today was Summitt's 882nd career victory. She became the all-time winningest coach in Division I basketball with the team's victory over Purdue on March 22, 2005.
Coach Summitt has led Tennessee to 20 Regional Finals (16-4) and 16 Final Fours (17-9) in her career.
Tennessee is now 11-3 all-time against Rutgers.
Tennessee avenged a 65-51 loss to Rutgers, on Dec. 29, 2004 in New Jersey during the regular season.
Tennessee held its opponent to under 60 points for the fourth-straight time in the 2005 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship.
Looking ahead...Tennessee has only played Michigan State once in program history, and defeated the Spartans, 76-63, in the first round of the 1977 AAIW Championships.
Today's win was Tennessee's 12th consecutive victory.
Today's point total was the lowest of the entire season by the Lady Vols.
Tennessee will be making its fourth-consecutive trip to the Final Four, and ninth of the last 11 years.
Senior Shyra Ely will be making good on a promise to herself earlier this season - "Homeward Bound" - is what she has written on her shoes. Ely is a product of Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis.
Coach Summitt is now 9-2 against Rutgers Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer, which includes a 6-1 record against her teams at Rutgers.
Tennessee recorded its 15th 30-win season in Head Coach Pat Summitt's 31-year tenure with the Lady Vols.
The Lady Vols' 29 points from the free throw line is the second-best by a team in the 2005 NCAA Tournament. Tennessee hit 82.9 percent (29-35) for the game, which is good for seventh in the tourney.
Freshman Nicky Anosike scored an NCAA Tournament personal-best 14 points against Rutgers, besting her first-game total against the Scarlet Knights this year by two points.
Head Coach Pat Summitt:
Obviously I am really excited for our basketball team and very proud that they found a way to be tough down the stretch. I thought the first half I really felt we were playing the way we wanted to play and obviously defensively we did some good things and in the second half I do not think it was our defense as much as some of our passing. We were going for the end zone every time and then we settled down and made some big plays. We had some big plays from a lot of different players. Obviously I am proud for these two to be going back to their home state to play in the Final Four. That was their goal and two of them had an awful lot to do with us getting there.
On Chelsea Newton's return to the game
They were obviously very excited to have her back on the court. I told our team at halftime that she'd be an inspiration, whether she's in the game or not.
On struggling early in the second half
I was concerned that we were throwing the ball around and just not executing. When you struggle offensively, you have concern that it will impact on how you play defense. I was encouraged by what they did defensively when we were struggling offensively.
They are a great defensive team. They really hawk the ball and took the ball away from us more than any team all season. Our ability to go inside and get to the free throw line was a big difference.
Shyra Ely on what turned it around down the stretch.
"I think just staying tough the whole entire way. I was not anything we did specifically. I do not think. It was just being able to get some defensive stops and being able to execute offensively."
Shrya Ely on free throw difference
I think we tried to take advantage of getting to the line. At times, our jump shots weren't falling and we really wanted to get some freebees. We did a great job of connecting on them, especially during crunch time.
Ely on Cappie Pondexter
We knew that Cappie was a great player but we did not want to let her supporting cast go off as well.
Shanna Zolman on three-pointer she hit that put UT up 46-41.
I knew the shot clock was winding down first of all. They were putting a lot of pressure on our guards out front. They were trapping. Ty set a screen for me and I saw man go underneath the screen so I stepped back and hit the three."
Shanna Zolman on drawing fouls from Rutgers
We knew that they were going to go for a lot of our fakes. So we tried to give a lot of shot fakes and be able to go inside. When we did that, our posts did a great job of being aggressive and drawing fouls.
Zolman on playing Final Four in home state
We're so excited that we're going home. It's a dream to be able to go home and compete for a national championship. To know your playing in front of your hometown crowd, it's going to be a lot of fun.
Zolman on Cappie Pondexter
She's a very tough person to defend. When she's going, it gets the rest of her team going. I give all the credit to the world to Rutgers and Cappie, especially.
RUTGERS POSTGAME NOTES
Rutgers defeated Hartford, 62-37
Rutgers defeated Temple, 61-54
Rutgers defeated Ohio State, 64-58, to reach the Regional Final
Rutgers lost to Tennessee, 59-49, in the 2005 Regional Final in Philadelphia.
Vivian Stringer is still the only coach in Division I women's basketball to lead three different teams to the NCAA Final Four.
Rutgers ends the 2005 season with a record of 28-7.
Stringer is the 21st Division I coach to record 700 career wins (12/8/04) and now has 723 victories.
Rutgers is now 3-11 all-time against Tennessee. The Scarlet Knights recorded a 65-61 victory over the Lady Vols in New Jersey earlier this season for their third win in the series.
Rutgers is third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 50.8 ppg. Rutgers held Tennessee to just 59 points today, which is the fourth time in this NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament that Rutgers held a team to under 60 points.
Senior Cappie Pondexter finished the 2005 season with eight games with 20+ points after her 25-point performance against Tennessee. Pondexter also moved into seventh all-time at Rutgers with 1,517 career points. She averaged 24.0 points in the 2005 tournament.
Tonight was the second-time in the 2005 NCAA Tournament that Rutgers recorded 13 steals.
Rutgers held Tennessee to their lowest field goals made total of the 2005 season, as the Lady Vols hit just 13 from the field.
RUTGERS POSTGAME QUOTES
Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer
"It was rough. It was a great game and I am really proud of how our team came back within minutes. We had a chance to have a different outcome, but some elements of the game we weren't able to control and while I haven't seen the stat sheet, I am sure (Tennessee) outrebounded us and hit some big time shots. I can't say they wanted it more because I don't know if anybody could've wanted it more than us. I do know that we made some crucial errors and I think some of that had to do with our youth. I just want to wish Tennessee well. Coach does a great job and she's got a great team. I am sure they will be great for years to come. Having said all that, I think Chelsea Newton exemplifies everything that we have been for the last four years. I'll miss her tremendously. Cappie Pondexter brings tears to my eyes. I am proud of them and I know our coaching staff is proud as well."
Chelsea Newton on her injury in the first half:
"I am not sure what happened. I just remember running down on the fast break and someone fell into my leg. I was in the back, putting ice on my leg and trying to warm-up and just trying to get rid of the pain, somehow, someway, but it was all in my mind and try to get myself together so that I could give everything I had."
Cappie Pondexter on affection for coach Stringer:
"We love her and she's like a mother to us. She's been there for us for four years. She epitomizes everything for us and she's someone we can go to no matter the situation. I don't know too many coaches out there who can do that. There is a lot to be said about her, but all I can say is its deep."
Pondexter on the future:
"We will be a Final Four team and I can make that conviction right now. We can use this experience as motivation for next year. I have another year to play with the youth that we have and all I can do is get better. We're going to be the same kind of team next year and I am really excited because the freshman that came in this year will get better. It'll be exciting to see the growth of the freshmen."
Pondexter on the fouls:
"It was frustrating especially in a game of this magnitude when you expect it to be really close and you expect the foul situation to win a ball game. It's tough because it was a very physical game. Looking at the stat sheet they were 29-for-35 from the line and we were 8-for-13, I mean I don't know if we much physical than they were, but that's the way it is sometimes. They outrebounded us and it gave them another opportunity to score second chance points."
C. Vivian Stringer on Newton's return in the second half:
"I think to know that you have another experienced player to get done what you have to get done. You may see that she only took four shots, but she makes a big difference. It was obvious to me for those individuals who had not played at this level and you can see a lot of things that were happening. Not having her in the game made it difficult for Cappie to run the offense. Her return was a nice boost for us."
C. Vivian on her post-game speech:
"I am kind of numb and I don't have any feelings right now. I did not expect to give a farewell speech; I fully intended that we would win because I felt that we would win. I thought that we were extremely tight and made some crucial errors in the beginning of the game, but at any rate we were able to overcome that. I thought it was important that we settled down and represented ourselves. We had a lot of obstacles during the game. We seemed to be a step late and I don't know the reason for it."