Nov. 17, 2008
Head Coach Pat Summitt:
"I thought Virginia was mentally and physically tougher than we were. I was very disappointed. There aren't many times in my career that I can say that. (Virginia's) Monica Wright is a great go-to player. We didn't limit her touches. She had her way tonight, and (Aisha) Mohammed did as well. We didn't have the toughness that they did. We made some costly mistakes at the end, and the technical-that better never happen again. Give Virginia credit. They played with composure. They were the tougher team, as much as I hate to say that. We couldn't depend on our bench. Hopefully, we'll learn from this. It's not going to get any easier. We're young, but if we use that as an excuse, it's not going to get any better. We can't use it as an excuse."
(on Tennessee's search for a go-to player):
"Obviously, we don't have an established go-to player. We have to do this as a team. They (Virginia) have two go-to players. I have to remind myself that we're young. Someone has to step up. Kelley Cain has not been in practice. She battled hard, but she was not as efficient tonight. We were playing without Vicki Baugh and Angie Bjorklund. We haven't lost that much in this arena, and we don't want it to be a habit."
(on Tennessee's Glory Johnson being assessed with a technical late in the game):
"I didn't see what happened. I thought she threw an elbow. I told her that it's not about her. She has to keep her composure. It was a very physical game. There was a lot of physical contact in the game."
(on teams feeling they have a better chance to beat Tennessee this year):
"I think people feel that they have a chance to beat us this year because we're young. The bad part for our coaching staff and our players tonight is that we didn't play as hard. We have to commit to great defense. We took possessions off tonight. There will be a lot more repetitions us. We've got to grow up. We definitely had a chance. Is that youth? Some of it is. . .We lost our composure at times. We played in a little bit of a panic as opposed to being composed and executing. We've got to practice our late-game situations."
(on sophomore Sydney Smallbone):
"Sydney's really been great. She's really getting her shot off quicker. She does it in a very quiet way, and I'm OK with that. I thought she did a good job defensively, at least until I watch the film, which I will over and over. We've got to change our mindset defensively. We competed in stretches. We can't win against a veteran team like this by playing in stretches. We're not doing what we need to do."
(on Tennessee's defense):
"As far as our inside game, we were caught out of position. (Alyssia) Brewer, (Glory) Johnson, and (Alex) Fuller let them get way too many touches on the low block. We just weren't tough enough. We didn't have a consistent drive on every possession."
(on the loss):
"You always learn more from a loss than a win. We'll go to practice and just rebuild."
"We hate to lose. We weren't supposed to lose. I think averything happens for a reason. We'll get better. We just have to rebuild. We'll learn lots from this game. It will make a huge difference." (on Virginia's Monica Wright): "She played outstanding. I knew in high school that she was a great player. We knew coming in what she could do. It's our fault. We knew from the scouting report that she's a great player."
(on being assessed a technical foul):
"It was a tough call. It was a physical game on both sides. It just happened that I got the technical. We were tied up, and I got the call."
(on the loss):
"We know that Virginia is a great team. We didn't play our best. A loss is a loss. We have a lot of talent on our team, and tonight, we weren't using it as much."
(on Virginia's Monica Wright):
"She had a lot of open shots. Our helpside (defense) needed to get there faster against her. We need to get there quicker."
(on the reaction to the loss in the Tennessee lockerroom):
"Obviously, we were quiet. There wasn't much to say. We've got to learn to fight through adversity down the stretch. We didn't respond. Give Virginia credit."
(on Tennessee's need for a go-to player):
"Candace (Parker) was a great player, and teams keyed on her. Kelley Cain needs to get more touches for us. She's a big body down low. In the first half, if we had gotten her more touches, she could have set the tempo. That could have made the difference for us."
(on maturing as a team):
"You've got to play for 40 minutes. You've got to make plays. We've been in pressure situations. We have to mature a lot more. The turnovers broke us."
Virginia head coach Debbie Ryan
(On returning to Thompson-Boling Arena):
"My memories of being here in this arena and in this locker room are not very good. I told my team before the game started that I was in this exact same locker room back in 1990. That was my first Final Four and I was very nervous and we didn't know how to act. We didn't win that game against Stanford here, and ever since then when I've returned it was usually just a complete drubbing, so I was pretty surprised to see our team step up like they did."
(On the youth of Tennessee):
"I think the Tennessee team is very talented. I think Glory Johnson is a special talent. I think all their kids are going to be very special. Really at this time of the year it comes down to who has the most veterans out there at once. I think we played the boards well and that's what I was most concerned with. We also defended well towards the end of the game and that's what it came down too."
(On coming back from an eight-point halftime deficit):
I reminded my team before we started the game that we couldn't afford to have a lot of turnovers. After halftime I just really wanted them to settle down and stop the turnovers. We only had six (turnovers) in the second half. I felt like being down eight points wasn't that bad and we would give them a game. I thought Monica Wright's performance was absolutely incredible. She just put us on her back and carried us."
Virginia junior Monica Wright
(On staying poised):
"I would say we are team that's come a long way and grew up tonight. Coach reminded us in this house, we are not going to get anything handed to us. We had it in our mind that we were going to have to be tougher mentally, be tougher physically and be poised at the end of the game."
(On Tennessee's tradition):
"Coach Ryan reminded us not to be intimidated by the names on the jerseys. She reminded us to just play our game. This place is definitely legendary. They've had so many great players here that have made it to the WNBA and are in coaching. It was really important for us to play the team we were playing and not be intimidated."
(On scoring 35 points):
"I was just trying to play relaxed and not force anything. Coach Ryan settled me down a few times when I was doing too much. She told me to just play within myself and I stay relaxed. I had my team to rebound me if I missed."