Nov. 30, 2008
Head Coach Pat Summitt:
"I was a little concerned going into this game how we could come out and play for 40 minutes and how we would respond from a defensive standpoint. I was pleased. We played with a lot of energy, and we played a lot of players. With the exception of not closing out the first half, I was pleased, and I blame myself for that because we were playing a lot of people. Our players need to be paying attention when they're on the bench so they know when they go in what they need to do and what they need to accomplish. The second half was a good 20 minutes. I wanted to see how Kelley Cain would respond. She has great hands, and in most cases, she has a size advantage."
(on second half):
"At halftime, we talked about being disappointed about not being able to close out. We talked about being mindful on every possession about doing a better job on the boards and being out in the passing lanes. We got off to a giant start in the second half."
(on Shekinna Stricklen):
"She played with a lot of confidence today. She had been putting too much pressure on herself. I told her to work on not taking herself out of the game with fouls. She's a long and rangy guard. She's a good handler, and she's able to get inside. We're beginning to see what I thought we'd see from her from Day 1."
(on Kelley Cain):
"She has great hands and has great presence. In most cases, she has a size advantage. She keeps the ball up and uses the glass. A lot of posts now don't do that. She opens up our outside game. When she gets touches and is double-teamed, she kicks it out. She has good composure. There's a big difference between her and Vicki (Baugh) and Glory (Johnson). They use their athleticism and quickness. She uses her size."
(on Briana Bass):
"She distributes the ball and has excellent speed and quickness. As a team, she makes us run. She allowed us to get out in the second half."
"Glory (Johnson), Alex (Fuller), and Vicki (Baugh) did a good job rebounding, and Angie (Bjorklund) came in and did a nice job. She's committed to rebounding. Kelley (Cain) had some opportunities. I like what I'm seeing right now. When Vicki is on the floor, Glory is a better rebounder. When Kelley came in, everybody expects her to rebound, but it helps everybody to get rebounds. She brought more energy on the glass."
(on defensive emphasis):
"I was concerned about this game coming in, about how we would defend because they space so well. From our scouting report defense, we knew that we'd have to commit to the passing lanes and play better one-on-one defense. That was a point of emphasis at halftime. Dean (assistant coach Lockwood) did a great job with the scouting report."
(on returning to action):
"It was just mental. I know I'm not in as good of shape as I need to be. It just takes time. I just have to give it my all."
"Coach (Pat Summitt) emphasizes to us that rebounds win championships. She makes it a point that it's not just the bigs that are to get rebounds. We try to get every rebound that we can."
(on Tennessee's front line being imposing):
"We're very imposing. We work hard. We go against each other in practice, and that makes us stronger. We work our hardest and give it our all."
(on Kelley Cain's return to action):
"Finally. It's great to have her back. It's great to know that when you dish the ball to her, she's going to score or get fouled. She's big, and she's unstoppable. It's good that our team is finally healthy."
(on maintaining intensity):
"We started strong. At the end of the first half, we were letting up. We should have kept pushing hard. We need to go hard all of the time and not let up."
(on Briana Bass):
"She pushes me. It's great to have someone who is so little who can push you so much. When she shoots lay-ups, you don't know if she's going to shoot from the left or the right because she has to shoot with both hands."
(on defensive improvement):
"Today was a good game. We have been struggling on defense, but the past two games, we feel like we're ready defensively."
(on defending DePaul's Deirdre Naughton):
"It kind of goes back to the Virginia game. I learned from that game. Number 32 (Naughton) wasn't going to get 30 points against me. It's a team thing, though. We switched and talked. It wasn't just me."
(on playing more relaxed):
"I'm just relaxing and being patient. Coach has talked to me about finding my rhythm."
DEPAUL HEAD COACH DOUG BRUNO
"The opportunity to measure yourself against such a storied program is why we choose to compete against Tennessee. After we got through the first five minutes of looking like deer in the headlights, and the fear factor created by this environment, which is why we played this game, I thought we settled down and showed some signs of being very competitive throughout the game. We learned a ton tonight and were taught a ton tonight by the Tennessee program. I've been here before where Tennessee's talent can demoralize your team, but I thought our players just kept on fighting and competing. We do play a certain style that is not necessarily in the best interest of coming up with an upset, but we can't just change our style with only a day to prepare. This is how we play, and I thought we showed some signs as to why we play how we play. We are going to learn from this. I know that we are going to be a pretty good basketball team before this season is over."
(On being out-rebounded 56-37):
First of all, you can talk about rebounding and then you can get schooled in what it means to rebound the basketball. The problem was that it took us until the first media timeout to get our first defensive rebound. You can preach intelligent decision making and you can practice it against a very qualified male practice team, but Tennessee forces intelligent decision making. There were some moments where we made some intelligent decisions and some moments where we made some panic attack decisions.
(On his impression of this young Tennessee team):
This is still Tennessee. I told the team afterwards that I would be shocked if they were not at least a two-seed. The games have to be played so we'll see what happens, but given the level of coaching that they are going to receive from Coach Summitt and her staff, I would expect them to be a one or two seed.
(On Tennessee getting all of its players healthy):
"I don't think that was quite as imposing as playing here when they were putting up the banner for Coach Summitt's induction into the Hall of Fame or for her 800th win. When we scheduled this game this year, I told her that if it is going to be 1000 we aren't coming."
(On Kelley Cain):"I had the pleasure to coach Kelley on the 18-and-under team two summers ago. She is very imposing and has great size and strength, but they have a lot of weapons down low and off the bench. It's not like they don't have four or five people that they can throw down there. Even Stricklen, once she settles in, she can play any position on the floor."
Deirdre is still a money player. Just because she had a game where the numbers aren't necessarily the top numbers doesn't mean that she isn't. What makes her a money player is that she learns from her experiences. This isn't going to be the first long player that is going to guard Deirdre. I really do believe that she will learn from this experience. This is where the fine line between the aggression to score and understanding that sometimes discretion is the better part of valor and that we need to make the extra pass.
(On his team's up-tempo offense):
"We believe that the women's game has to be played a certain style. It's just more entertaining. We are in the business of selling and promoting the game. The open-court offense does help you get easy baskets and helps promote and sell the game of women's basketball. We have to take advantage of those open-court opportunities. We missed a lot of those early. The trick here in this great game is to be able to play in the half-court too. No game is won just running up and down the floor. You have to have the mental understanding of tempo, and up-court tempo has to be much more surgical. Tennessee just did a great job of locking and switching the screens. Some of our veteran players were able to read the switches and slip some of those screens, but we aren't even close to where we want to be as an offense. We're not going to abandon our will to open up the court and get the easy high-percentage shot, knowing full well that you have to be able to execute in the half-court if you are going to have any success against the tougher teams in the tournament."
DEPAUL JUNIOR GUARD DEIRDRE NAUGHTON
(On being guarded by 6-2 Shekinna Stricklen):
"She's a long, athletic player, which is something that we haven't really experienced this season. She definitely altered a lot of my shots. It was a good learning experience. I'm confident in my shooting, but I probably rushed a few, and they just didn't fall tonight."
(On Tennessee pulling away in the second half):
"We cut it to six (in the first) and by the end of the half we were within 10. We talked about being fearless in the second half. We just made some mental errors and they capitalized on them."