Nov. 15, 2009
Head Coach Pat Summitt: (opening remarks): "Obviously, I thought we did a lot of good things today. Kelley Cain picked up two quick fouls, and that handcuffed us, but we had some people step in and do a good job. Last year when that happened, we struggled. Shekinna Stricklen was terrific at both ends. I like when she starts at the point. She sees over people, makes good decisions, and attacks the rim. Our high/low game was effective for us."
(on the impact of Baylor freshman Brittney Griner): "It was huge. Look what happened to us. You had two of the best posts in the country, and they both got into foul trouble."
(on Tennessee's comeback in the second half): "We talked about it at halftime. With the hype of the game and the large crowd, we were nervous in the first half. We didn't have composure, and we rushed at the opening of the game. I told them at halftime, `OK, you can settle down now. Most of these people are cheering for you.' I thought they did a great job in the second half."
(on Glory Johnson): "Glory did a lot of good things. She's the best athlete on the team. Because of that, sometimes she rushes, but she played with a lot more composure today. Lyssi Brewer also had a great presence inside. When we are able to rotate like that, it gives us an edge."
(on Tennessee's zone defense): "That's the first time in 36 years that we started in a zone and stayed with it throughout the game. How about that? They (Baylor) play so well off the bounce. We worked on it. We had to keep them in front of us. Our players bought into it, and we were able to extend our press."
(more on Baylor freshman Brittney Griner): "We tried to recruit her. I guess she didn't like orange. She's a difference maker, and she's just a freshman. Kelley Cain has the ability to catch it at the rim, and Griner is right there. There are other things that she has that Kelley doesn't have, like shot blocking. She's going to make an impact, not only at Baylor, but on the game overall. She's a player."
(on Kamiko Williams): "Kamiko is the most athletic guard on our team. Her pull-up game is really good. We just have to keep her focused. Her father and mother were here this weekend, and they're both military people. They had a long conversation with her, and that was very good. I think her father had more influence on her than Coach Summitt did."
(on Tennessee's improvement from last season): "The main thing is that they're a year older and tougher. (Tennessee strength coach) Heather Mason said this group made the best investment in the off-season of any group during the time that she has been here at Tennessee. It has paid off. Losing the way we did last year and losing to Ball State didn't just hurt us. It embarrassed them. They've come together collectively."
(on Shekinna Stricklen): "I knew she had it in her. When Shekinna starts at the point, she's more aggressive. She can get to the paint anytime, and she's effective with the three-ball. She has great vision and is very unselfish. What affected her was after our second exhibition, I was not very happy with her. I told her, `You and Angie (Bjorklund) have to provide leadership.'"
(on Tennessee's participation in the ESPN Road to the Championship in San Antonio on Nov. 17): "We're excited about it. It's a reminder of the Final Four. That's our goal, to be a part of it and not be sitting at home watching it on TV."
(on the possibility of Brittney Griner dunking): "It's only two points. I told Angie (Bjorklund), if Griner dunks, then she has to hit a three, and we're one up."
Sophomore forward Shekinna Stricklen (On the team's mentality for this game): "We came out with high energy and the whole team was fired up about this game. I felt like it really carried over throughout the game and went well."
(On the play of Kelley Cain): "We know on offense that if we throw it to Kelley, she's going to get it and we feel like she's going to score two points. When (Baylor freshman post Brittney) Griner got in foul trouble, we knew that it was Kelley's time to dominate and that's what she did."
(On the difference between this year's team and last year's): "There really is a lot of confidence this year. We've been working with each other since after the first round loss. We all decided to come back and work during the summer. As a team this year, we're all on the same page and we're all willing to go far and win a national championship."
(On playing point guard): "I feel 10 times more (confident) than last year. I feel really confident in that spot. I felt good pushing the ball like coach wants me to. If someone picks me up, I can dish off to Kelley because our posts are running the floor really well."
(On Coach Summitt's decision to play a 2-3 zone): "I think it was a good strategy. The main strategy was to go to the zone and have the guards dig down and get the trap on Griner. They didn't hit very many outside shots and we really worked hard at it, kept our hands up and talked to each other. It really paid off."
Freshman forward Kamiko Williams (On her play): "Coach gets on me all the time in practice for not going hard every play. The past two practices I gave it all I had and it kind of carried over to the game. On defense, I was getting in passing lanes and watching where the ball was going at all times. I was kind of jittery at first but once I got into it, I was pretty good.
(On a phone call she had with her parents and Coach Summitt earlier in the week): "It went well. Got a nice little phone call from my father and he got me acting right and it showed during the game."
Sophomore post Kelley Cain (On missing most of the first half with foul trouble): "First of all I was down on myself for getting those two quick fouls. I figured out that it's not about me but about my teammates. I just paid attention to the game and what we did right as a team and what mistakes we were making. I just cheered them on."
(On defending Baylor's 6-8 freshman post, Brittney Griner): "Coach just told us to go straight up (in the air). We got in a lot of foul trouble so we need to work on that, but that was the plan."
(On a sequence in the second half where she made a basket and was fouled after Tennessee had missed three put-back attempts): "We were just talking about that. That definitely gave us a spark right there. Getting the rebound and putting it back in and getting fouled helped us get started again."
(On Brittney Griner's game): "She's going to be good, no doubt. She just needs some experience but she's strong and her turnaround jump shot is really good. It stunned me a couple of times. It's more about getting experience and playing. She'll be good by the end of the year, I guarantee."
(On Shekinna Stricklen hitting several big shots in the second half): "Those shots help us to keep going and pushing it. They made a few runs and Shekinna would come down and make a jump shot. When she makes those shots, it really picks up our team and lets us know that we're still in it and that we aren't going to let them come back."
(On the play of sophomore forward Glory Johnson): "Since last year, Glory has grown so much. Everybody know she's very athletic and gifted but she went to work this summer like all of us and she's gotten 10 times better. She has a lot more composure in the post and she's strong. She can jump out of the gym."
Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey (opening statement): "I thought (tonight) was a good basketball game for television. There was a lot of history involved in the game with former players and coaches involved that are in the Hall of Fame. You saw the past, the present and the future. It was a great way to start off the season other than the loss."
(On when Tennessee took control of the game): "I thought the game was lost in about a ten-minute stretch at the end of the first half when we were in the bonus. We didn't take advantage of those last seven or eight minutes (in the half). I thought the first three to five minutes of the second half we didn't take advantage and we allowed them to really pound it and get in there for some second-chance points. Let me say this: this basketball program at Baylor is gaining respect. Have you ever watched a game where Pat Summitt only played two possessions of man-to-man defense? That's respect. That's an intelligent coach. That's why she's won over 1,000 games. The second thing is that I brought a basketball team in here with three kids that didn't have any experience at this level. I brought them into a hornet's nest. (Summitt's) mad at her team. They lost in the first round of the tournament, they got kicked out of their locker room, and I'm coming to Knoxville, Tennessee. You think I wasn't sitting there proud as a peacock when we had a lead at halftime, and proud at the end of the game? Absolutely, but I'm not into moral victories. I've been around too many winners in my life. This will be a loss that we will go back and we will watch film, and we will get better."
(On freshman Brittney Griner receiving her fourth foul early in the second half): "It's critical when any of the people that you are going to rely on get in foul trouble. I will take blame for the fourth one. Maybe I put too much on her plate and had too much faith in her at that moment. That was not smart on my part. Just like Brittney and every freshman - you look at (Tennessee guard Taber) Spani and all those kids that played today - those kids are in a new environment. They're in a new environment. Brittney is in a new environment. We will breaking the game down and ask her, `you still played 32 minutes, but you only got four rebounds. Is that the coach's fault or is that you're fault?' When (junior guard) Kelli Griffin is your second leading rebounder, you've got to evaluate things, and that's what we do as coaches."
(On if Baylor's freshmen were nervous and how that affected the game): "I hope they had the butterflies in the stomach. Competitors do. The mistakes those freshmen made are correctable, and most of them - believe it or not - were on the defensive end of the floor. They would do something good on the offensive end and turn right back around and do something bad on the defensive end of the floor. You bring it to their attention, so that they will learn. In high school, you can do those things. At this level, every possession on both ends of the floor is so valuable."
Freshman Center Brittney Griner (On what she learned in her first collegiate game): "Like coach said, every possession counts. You can't take one possession off, and you've got to cherish every possession and capitalize on the defensive and offensive ends."
(On getting into foul trouble): "I wouldn't say it was frustration. They were petty fouls. That's part of learning. I will have to learn how to play with four fouls and watch the petty fouls that aren't necessary."
(On playing in her first game live on national television): "It was exciting to come here and play in the State Farm Tip-Off Clasic. It was an honor. We learned a lot. It was a good thing."
Junior guard Melissa Jones (On if she expects the team to learn from the loss): "Most definitely. Like coach said, we had a lot of mistakes that are correctable. Tennessee is a great program. That came in and really wanted it. We are going to learn a lot from watching this loss that will help us out in the long run."
(On her being a leader with three seniors leaving off last year's team): "It's just a good experience. The freshmen will get better with time. They have a lot of talent. It's great playing with them on the floor. As the season continues we'll be a great basketball team when we put it all together."