Nov. 5, 2009
Head Coach Pat Summitt:
(opening remarks): "I just thought we did some good things tonight. I'm pleased with how our upperclassmen have matured. Angie (Bjorklund) is shooting very well, and then we get Alicia Manning in the mix. She did a great job. Our perimeter game with Shekinna (Stricklen) got off to a great start. Bree (Bass) came in and pushed tempo. Glory Johnson was big off the bench. She played around the rim efficiently. Kelley Cain had some really good touches. Taber (Spani) played with a lot of composure, and I was definitely pleased with that. Overall, I was pretty well pleased. We had some lapses defensively, but we did a lot more good things."
(on tempo of the game): "We definitely wanted to get up and down the floor tonight. A lot of that (this season) will depend on the situation. We played with a lot of freedom tonight. That was because of the decisions they made and their communication. There may be games where we slow things down, but tonight, we wanted to challenge them baseline to baseline. It allowed us to work on our press."
(on starting lineup): "We've got time to evaluate who our starters will be. It depends on the match-ups. If we're playing a team with a lot of size, we may want to go with two bigs in the post. We call it the `post highway'. Our posts flat out sprinted tonight. They were committed, rim to rim."
(on Kamiko Williams and Alyssia Brewer making late entries into the game): "We sent a message. They know it, and we know it. That's how it's going to go. Kamiko didn't understand. Brewer has had some great practices. Last year, she would pick and choose. She gave into fatigue. She has stepped up her game."
(on sophomore point guard Briana Bass): "Bree is playing well. She can push tempo. That gives Shekinna (Stricklen) more opportunities on the perimeter. Who plays the point will be a game-by-game decision. We've got a lot of options. Our staff is excited by that."
(on freshman Taber Spani): "She is such a skilled player. She makes good decisions, and she will only get better. She is very unselfish, but she understands that when she is open, she needs to be offensive-minded. She's getting better defensively. She wants to do things by the book."
(on overall performance): "Overall, I was pleased. We played well together. Sometimes our defense was too tight. We weren't perfect, but we've got some good film to look at."
(on Carson-Newman being overmanned): "We wanted to focus on what the team brought at both ends. Last year, we would sometimes play down to the level of our competition. Tonight, we maintained our intensity. Last year, we'd get a lead and think the game was over. Tonight, we were thinking execution."
(on freshmen): "It's a big difference not having to rely on freshmen. One thing is we don't have as many on the bench. Taber (Spani) is not your typical freshman. She's still learning. Hopefully, Faith (Dupree) will be back soon. Kamiko (Williams) has a lot to learn."
(on Tennessee's shooting proficiency): "Our performance was better because of the time that they have invested in Pratt Pavilion. It's a facility that we're glad to have. It's made a big diffence in our ability to work on our skill set."
Sophomore Forward Glory Johnson (On her fast start off the bench): "Coming off the bench you've got to prove something. (Coach Summitt) didn't start me and that's okay because I can still play the same. It's just motivation. You just have to play hard all the time no matter if you're coming off the bench or just playing the last 30 seconds. You've always got to play hard.
(On playing up-tempo): "That's definitely how we want to play. Little Bri (Bass), she was pushing it any time. If it was right after a timeout, she was pushing hard. If we play hard on defense and get steals and deflections like we were tonight, it'll be incredible. The tempo is always quick for us. As long as we're fresh and don't fall into fatigue, we're good to push it all the time. * (On sprinting up and down the court on both ends): "We're trained in the post to go rim-to-rim all the time. Running rim-to-rim is what (coaches) Dean (Lockwood), Pat (Summitt) and Holly (Warlick), try to instill in us."
Junior Guard Angie Bjorklund (On the Lady Vols' shooting 62.3 percent from the field for the game): "I think that sets the tone and shows how hard we worked over the summer. I know everybody has been getting the gym leading up to now. I think if we continue to do that we'll see more numbers like that (62.3 field goal percentage).
(On freshman Taber Spani's debut): "She came in with so much confidence. That's tough to start as a freshman, and she came in like a veteran."
(On sophomore point guards Shekinna Stricklen and Brianna Bass's improvement): "The point guards this year have really stepped up. Bri Bass has done a really good job. When she came in the game, she just took control. Shekinna (Stricklen) also had experience last year. I think just having a year under your belt playing with Pat's system and understanding her system - every year it gets easier."
(On being picked to win the SEC): "I was surprised after the end of last season. We don't really look at the standings. We just take it one game at a time. We'll go in every game the same: to win and to work hard on every possession."
Freshman Guard/Forward Taber Spani (On her Lady Vol debut): "First, it was an absolute blast. Us freshman have been waiting our whole lives to play our first college game. Our team was really focused. It's the next step from practice. It was so fun. We were just trying to enjoy the moment. I was just trying to make an impact when I was on the court. I was proud of the way our team fought. It was stressed on every possession: `you have to fight.' We really tried to focus on that."
(On playing in the post): "I think every game I will get better (in the post) just because I'm new to it. I'm embracing what the coaches want me to do. I'm really trying to get the basic stuff on defense down so I won't have to think about it anymore. Obviously, they were a small team. It will be different when we face bigger teams. It was a great first game and a great first challenge. I feel like I can still watch tape and learn a lot.
Carson-Newman Head Coach Dean Walsh (Opening statement): "I thought tonight our effort was really good, and I was pleased with that. When we came in here last year, I was very disappointed in our effort, and that's one thing we talked about before we got here. We had a really good showing Monday against MTSU, and tonight we were overmatched and outsized but the thing you can control is your effort. I thought we had a lot of good open looks and shots just didn't fall. There's not a thing I can do if shots aren't falling. There are obvious differences in sizes and speed, but you can control your effort and I thought we did that tonight."
(On the difference between this year's Tennessee team and last year's): "Pat has clearly gotten the message across to them that it's her team not theirs. I see a different dynamic out there, and there's no doubt that their attitude has changed. I think they played more within themselves and within the system, and their intensity was much better. Their attention to detail on the offensive end was much better than I remember from last year. These last few months I think she's gotten their attention since Ball State."
(On Tennessee's intensity in its first game of the season): "We knew they've been chomping at the bit. We knew that we weren't the reason, but they were going to make a statement with all of the hard work they've put in this offseason and earning their locker room back. They have a very strong, solid program that I think is better than where it finished last year. That's just from an outside observer who's very close to program and the staff. She definitely got their attention."
(On the tempo of the game): "I thought our tempo was good; we didn't hesitate to push it. We had several fast break opportunities but missed shots or fumbled the ball. I liked our tempo and the way we pushed the ball; that's a positive I'm going to take from this game. I knew (Coach Summitt) was going to push and run; she's got the size and speed to do it. She's got better shooters--Taber (Spani) can shoot it, and she showed that tonight."
(On his team's 99 possessions in the game): "That's what we want--our goal is a 100 possession game in an up-tempo style. We had a lot of looks tonight that just wouldn't fall. When you play MTSU, Tennessee and North Carolina, they have the conditioning to handle it. When we get into our division and the teams that we play, they're not going to have the depth we have and the conditioning that we have."
Freshman guard Tasha Phillips (On her team's attitude): "We're still getting to know each other. For a team that's been together two months, we're meshing well. We've got a lot to look forward to as a team."
(On what she takes from playing against Tennessee):
"It's a definite learning experience. You see how good you can be and you also see how good you aren't. You notice the little mistakes that you make a lot more."