April 4, 2005

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We'll start with an opening statement by the coach.

COACH Pat Summitt:

Well, obviously this is a really tough loss for our basketball team and for our coaching staff and all associated with our program.

While I want this team to understand how proud we are of them and how they represented us all year long, unfortunately, tonight's second half, we go up by 16 and we know we have to answer runs when you're ahead. I thought we lost our composure at times, they scored 19 points off our turnovers. Got to give them all the credit for doing so. But then I thought we two things happened. I just thought our defense didn't stand up to the test of disrupting their offensive flow and they got the looks they wanted. Their three point shooters were able to catch and shoot. Their post people were able to run their inside action. And at the other end, I thought we got the ball inside, but we mishandled it, we played in a bit of a rush. And we didn't have the composure and kick the ball out.

So you have to give Michigan State credit. They had the composure and we lacked it at times and they made the defensive plays and I thought again we were on our heels. I don't understand it, because it's not the way we have played to get here.

But I'm really proud of our team for the type of season they have had and I thought Loree Moore was terrific tonight in pushing tempo and playing the kind of defense she had to play.

Obviously this is a very, very disappointing loss. It will be a long time before I get this one out of my system. I'm sure the players probably feel the same way.

Q. Shyra, can you just talk about how you're feeling right now?

Shyra Ely: Obviously I'm disappointed and really upset with, I mean, myself and the outcome of the game.



Q. Loree, can you talk about what went on when they made that rush back at you in the second half?

Loree Moore: That was a run. The game of basketball is made of runs. And they got us on our heels and they were attacking us at every angle. And we just couldn't find a way to stop them when we needed to. At times we didn't make some key stops when we really needed them, we kind of turned the ball over on offense, and we didn't execute the way we needed to on defense. So you give them the credit, all the credit for what they did and the way that they did it.

Q. Shanna, did your team relax just a little bit when you went up 16, and when did you know this was going to be a fight to the finish?

Shanna Zolman: The first thing that went through my mind was the LSU/Baylor game. Because that was the same exact thing that happened. And I don't know if we relaxed, I don't know if we just we knew they were going to make a run. Like Loree said, the game of basketball is about runs and we knew they were ready to make a run back at us. And we realized that we have to be able to counterbalance that and be able to make a run back at them ourselves. But we were just never able to do that. Never able to get over the hump and buckle down and make defensive stops and be able to answer them back on the offensive end. But like she said we were well aware of it, we just couldn't do it.

Q. Shanna, is this any more disappointing because it happened in your home state or on your home ground so to speak?

Shanna Zolman: I don't care where it's at. It could be in Alaska and I wouldn't care, it's a loss. Obviously it's all the excitement and coming into it, yeah, there's all the hype coming in, playing in your home state, in front of home family and crowd but a loss is a loss. It doesn't matter if it's here or Nova Scotia, it's a loss. So it's not any more depressing.


Ladies, I'll let you go back to the locker room. We'll start with questions for the Head Coach. Go ahead.

Q. Normally when you're able to get a double digit lead on teams you're pretty much able to lock them down; why were you unable to discourage Michigan State tonight?

COACH Pat Summitt: Obviously they kept coming at us and I thought they were aggressive in transition and also they did an excellent job of executing their half court offense. They got good looks. It wasn't like they were forcing shots. I thought that they were very committed to setting and using screens, they read well off of their screens. They got a lot of open looks against us. I thought our defense, as I said, it kind of withered away at times. We didn't really stand up to the test. We had to be able to influence how they were running their sets and I didn't think that our defense really disrupted them like obviously theirs did against us.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about Shyra's play over the last four years in your program and her bright future that she has ahead of her?

COACH Pat Summitt: Well, obviously Shyra is a terrific athlete. She's certainly developed her game. I know if we look back over her career and think about four Final Fours, you got to really respect that. Not many classes get to do what Shyra, Loree, and Brittany have done. It just speaks to the impact that they have had on our program. And I know she struggled some tonight and usually it's when she's trying to do too much as opposed to not stepping up to make plays. So you got to respect the fact that she was trying to get the job done and had those turnovers late in the game because they really keyed on her on the inside. But she's not the only one, I just thought that we played a little bit more like "I've got to do it." Every player was like "I've got to do it" as opposed to continuing to run what we needed to run offensively, so we lost our composure as a team on a number of possessions.

Q. I think somebody asked you yesterday one of the keys to the game or something along those lanes and you said rebounding and you beat them by 10 and you hurt them on the offensive boards which I know you thought was important. Yet you still lost the game. I know it's disappointing no matter what, but does that make it even hurt a little more? You did the thing that you thought, hey, this is what we got to do, yet you still kind of lost your composure at key points.

COACH Pat Summitt: Well, what really bothers me is you got to make lay ups and free throws if you want to win. Obviously defense and board play are key. But those easy shots, you got make the free throws. And if you just look statistically at our free throw shooting then you think about how many lay ups we missed. I mean, we had three shots late in the game in one series. So I did not think that we did a good job of finishing around the basket and hitting our free throws. And then turning the ball over. We have a turnover on top of the floor late to give them the go ahead. That was such a momentum for them. I think probably it put a little bit of even more pressure on us. That's when we missed those three shots.

Q. You addressed it just a second ago a little bit, but that last offensive possession you were down by two and you had like three or four chances to get good shots and seemed like the players thought there was a little bit less time left than there was. You might have had three or four more seconds to do that. Would you talk about that.

COACH Pat Summitt: I think they were just overanxious. I think they were just trying to make a play. And I would rather have someone trying to make a play than avoiding that type of situation. And certainly we had all three shots, if I'm clear on this, came inside the paint. So obviously we had our chances. We had our chances. But it doesn't come down to just that one play. I think as you look throughout the game, I guess the things that stand out in my mind is we didn't deny the middle of the floor. We let them run their offense and get into a good rhythm. We didn't identify the three point shooters. We shot the ball, I think, well at times, well enough probably to win for a Tennessee team, if we buckled down and played great defense and had more impact with our defense. Our rebounding was good enough to win, our defense wasn't, and our turnovers were costly.

Q. What does it say about the growth of the women's game that tonight we had two teams that never had been this far before, came from a combined 31 down to get the right to play Tuesday?

COACH Pat Summitt: Well, I think it does speak to the parity. I think to have two teams here for the first time and the two teams here for the first time are the two teams that will play for a national championship. I think that we have talked about this for years, but now we're seeing it firsthand. And the women's game has changed tremendously in a good way when you talk about parity. And I don't think that this is any fluke and it happened one year and that's it. I think every year you're going to see teams really battle it out and probably going it see more upsets in first and second round play.


Thank you very much.

...Fastscripts by ASAP Sports



We'll start with some comments by the Coach.


That was a very exciting basketball game. I guess that's saying the obvious. Terrific basketball game. Tennessee is a great team. A very good team.

I think the second 20 minutes really reflected the greatness and the heart and soul of our team. To come back from the deficit and to finish the game in the manner in which our team did, and I am certainly very proud, but not the least bit surprised given what our team has done all year long. And how they have competed, gosh, in so many games. And I am so proud of Kelli and her composure, Lindsay and her leadership and guts and Kristin and her determination. That was one of the greatest steals I've ever seen in my life. It was about six feet, she was six feet ahead of the ball if that makes any sense and Lindsay was just competing like she always does and Kelli just refuses to do anything but attack.

So I'm very proud of all of our team members, Liz Shimek and everybody else also, and now we're excited to enjoy this until approximately midnight tonight and then it's on to the next adventure.

Q. Kristin, in your four years at Michigan State, can you recall a bigger or more important rally considering the circumstances tonight?

KRISTIN HAYNIE: I mean definitely not. This was a great game for us. We hung in there, we stuck together. We kept our composure down the stretch when it really counted and our team gave all our heart and effort down the stretch when it mattered.

Q. Kelli, you missed a pretty much point blank shot with a couple minutes to go that could have put you all up. I know you know what I'm talking about. How big was it for you to, like you say, keep your composure and how much did you want to hit that lay up there with like 35 seconds to go.

KELLI ROEHRIG: Oh, yeah, that lay up. Yeah, it was a pretty big lay up, but all I got to say is we won. And I got Kristin out here, I owe the world to her. Because she that steal was unbelievable. But I was too open maybe, I don't know. But, no, it's over. We won. That's all that matters.

Q. Kelli, I think there was a time you guys, it was like the 14 16th time Tennessee had gotten their biggest lead, there was a time out and Coach looks like she really blasted you guys. She got in your face and challenged you. Kind of give us an idea what that time out was like and do you remember what I'm talking about; was she really getting into you?

KELLI ROEHRIG: We there was a couple. Whatever time out it was, we deserved it. Because we were not playing Michigan State basketball at that point in time. A time out is a time to refocus, regroup, and that's basically what we had to do at every time out, regardless if she yelled or not. I mean, that pushes us forward, so.

Q. Kristin, will you talk about just your composure, y'all did make I think you tied for the biggest comeback in a Final Four game especially since Tennessee has been here and y'all haven't?

KRISTIN HAYNIE: Definitely. Our whole team stuck together. Everyone was hitting big shots, getting the rebounds, everyone contributed in their own way and that's what teams do and that's what got us the win is our hustle towards the end of the game.

Q. Kristin, again, you looked like you struggled in the first half; you got in foul trouble. How tough was it to keep your composure, especially when you come out in the second half and Tennessee is just pouring it on you.

KRISTIN HAYNIE: For any player it's all mental, you can either go down in the drain or you can come back, get back out of the drain. You know what was going on with you. You know, I mean anyone can go in a funk and you just got to it's Final Four game, it's do or die so you got to let that go and take it from there and then just keep your composure and keep attacking.


We're going to let the ladies go back to the locker room.

Q. Coach, it appeared with about four minutes left in the first half you decided to take Kristin out then and Tennessee made their move and took control of the game, did you begin to think to yourself, "Did I do this too soon" or, "Would I even put her back in, in the first half?"

COACH JOANNE P. McCALLIE: Without question I would not put her back in, I was very, very confident in Lindsay and the guards. And some mistakes were made. However, I wouldn't do it different simply because the game is too long. I knew that we were going to have a heck of a second half just the way everything's been going in second halves, the physicality of it, the way calls are made, everything about the second half is when it blows up and so I just felt we needed Kristin then.

Q. What does it say about the state of women's basketball that in Tuesday's final you're going to have two programs that are not used to being in this particular position?

COACH JOANNE P. McCALLIE: Well, first of all it's an all green national championship. We're very excited about that. But I think it just speaks to the fact that there's growth and exciting things happening in women's basketball. Baylor is a terrific team; so is LSU, so is Tennessee. But it's just very exciting I think for people to learn more about other teams and how people are trying to teams are just growing and the parity is growing. It's exciting.

Q. You got two teams that overcame huge deficits now to get to the championship game and pretty much left it all only the floor, do you got anything left for the championship?

COACH JOANNE P. McCALLIE: Oh, yes, I think we'll find a few things. It's just too exciting. It's the last game of the year. There's nothing we can do to change that. So I just feel both teams will be very ready and it will be quite a game.

Q. Could you talk about the Victoria Lucas Perry, her flurry there, she got seven points?

COACH JOANNE P. McCALLIE: Tremendous. What a lift. Her shooting, her three point shooting, just her confidence, the way she was attacking the basket to get to the free throw line. That was an absolutely huge lift because Lindsay had kind of gotten us going and other people need to pick up at different times. And Victoria was right there when her team needed her most. It was incredible to watch.

Q. Can you talk about what it means to get a win like this against a program like Tennessee and a coach like Pat Summitt?

COACH JOANNE P. McCALLIE: Terrific program, it's an outstanding victory, I mean it just is because it puts us in a position to play for a national championship. And we have played a lot of great programs in year. There's been a lot of neat things going on. So it's just really an opportunity for us now to play for a national championship and certainly Tennessee is a great program.

Q. What happened on the technical foul and what did Pat Summitt say to you at the end of the game?

COACH JOANNE P. McCALLIE: Well, the technical foul was from the bench. I did not get it, maybe I should have gotten it. It seemed to have worked out quite nicely but it was from the bench and so that was I don't really care about that technical. The way things were going, who cares? You just got to play on.

And then what did Pat say to me? Just good game. It was just, that's what just good game.


Thank you very much, Coach.

....FastScripts by ASAP Sports.



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