Dec. 11, 2008
HEAD COACH Pat Summitt:
"I thought in the early stages of the first half we played what I call good scouting report defense. We had great preparation against a team that can spread out and play off the dribble. We knew coming in that they like to shoot the three. Statistically, I thought we did a good job. They didn't get as many threes as I think they would have liked to have had. We had a couple of lapses. I told our team that they're defining their roles. We had a couple of players who didn't spread the floor or play with the toughness they should. We will challenge them to find out. I'm not planning on playing 12 deep. They'll determine individually their minutes."
(on freshman Glory Johnson at the three position):
"Glory brings energy on both ends of the floor. We wanted her to channel her energy to the defensive end tonight. That allowed us to play two big posts. We worked hard on that. She did a nice job. She has quickness and lateral movement. Our team can benefit from it."
(on improved shooting):
"Obviously, our shot selection was better tonight. We devoted one whole practice (earlier this week) to shooting. We were able to get in a lot of reps. We worked with our posts, then our perimeters came in. We've been doing so much teaching that we've suffered timewise not having reps. We have Pratt Pavilion, so there's no excuse for not taking or making a lot of shots."
(on Shekinna Stricklen's long-range shot at the end of the first half):
"I knew from recruiting her that Shekinna has deep range. That's not a shot we're going to practice. . .except on game day."
(on Angie Bjorklund):
"It's just a matter of Angie having more minutes. She has missed a lot of practice time. She made a lot of good shots tonight. That takes a lot of pressure off the team and opens up our inside game."
(on Tennessee's freshmen):
"We knew coming in that Glory (Johnson) and Shekinna (Stricklen) were two prize catches from recruiting across the country. They are two of the best, if not the best, freshmen in the country. We're pleased with what they bring to the team. Briana Bass demonstrates a will to push tempo and run our offense. We realize that we have freshmen, but that should not affect how hard they play. There are a couple of them who think that jogging is sprinting. Hopefully that will change."
(on Middle Tennessee's Alysha Clark):
"We knew that she would be tough to defend. She's a tough-minded player. She's tough with the ball. She keeps them in the game. They beat LSU, and she made some big shots. We knew that we would have to defend her. Clark is a go-to player. It doesn't matter who they're playing."
(on Vicki Baugh coming out of the game):
"The situation with her is that with the pain, she has the option to pull herself out. That's the reason she sat."
TENNESSEE FRESHMAN GUARD Briana Bass
(On coming back from a long layoff with a win):
"It was great to come back and get a win. I feel like practices are harder than games for me, so it was nice to get back out on the court."
(On getting her first career start):
"I was nervous and excited, but I was ready to go out and run the team, push the tempo and just get everyone else involved.
(On running out of the tunnel for the first time):
"It is different. You finally know that you are going to start, so you just go out and give it your all."
(On her support from the crowd):
"I love the crowd and how they support me and continue to cheer me on. That gets me pumped up and helps me continue to get the rest of my team involved."
(On being part of the youngest starting lineup in Tennessee history):
[excited utterance] "I think that we, as a team, are about to shock the world. Even though we are young, we are about to bring some heat, so they had better get ready for us."
TENNESSEE FRESHMAN GUARD/FORWARD Shekinna Stricklen
(On her three-point shot at the halftime buzzer):
"I like that range. I just knew I had to shoot it. I usually don't think about my shots, so I just let it go. I think it really did (give the team some confidence). We went into the locker room and everyone was fired up about it."
(On coming back from a long layoff with a win):
"It was very exciting. We worked really hard the entire week we were off and pushed each other. We just played together as a team and everything went well."
(On what this win does for the team's confidence):
"This game really gave us a lot of confidence. We shot well and I think we played good defense and rebounded well. We just really needed a confidence boost as we get ready to go to Texas."
(On the play of Middle Tennessee forward Alysha Clark):
"She's a great player and gave it her all tonight. We made it a point to front her but she is good at sealing. I give her a lot of credit."
TENNESSEE SOPHOMORE GUARD/FORWARD Angie Bjorklund
(On having her best shooting performance of the season):
"I think it's just getting back into the swing of things and getting back in shape. The rest of it is mental and just coming out ready to play and ready to shoot."
Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Insell (opening statement):
"We won't play anybody like Tennessee the rest of the year. With their size, we weren't able to score down low because they put their big kids in there and were able to isolate the inside. It was tough for our kids. I was really proud of the way we played. We played hard and didn't quit all the way through the game. I'm disgusted with the loss, but we played a team that is one of the best in the country. They are also one of the youngest teams in the country. They played a lot better than what they've looked like on film, though."
(On if he has any concerns after three straight losses):
"I don't have any concerns. I thought my kids played pretty good. The 23 turnovers - we've got to do a better job taking care of the ball. It was 27-17 in points off turnovers. Usually the last three years we've averaged 13 turnovers a game but for some reason this season we aren't taking care of the basketball. If we get back to 13-14 turnovers a game, I don't know if we can beat a Tennessee, but it won't be a 30-point game."
(On the play of Alysha Clark):
"Cagey, isn't she? She's got tremendous body control and great foot work. You have to give the players who are giving her the basketball credit too. She's got a big motor, she's very tenacious and she's never going to quit. We get the most out of her. I'm real proud to be her coach. Again you've got to give those young ladies that give the ball to her credit. They are working hard and they're unselfish."
(On what Tennessee did that he hadn't seen on film):
"They shot the ball extremely well tonight. Some of those looks they got they weren't as open as they looked. We had a hand in their face and on the ball. They're young and they're going to make some mistakes like they've been making, but with the schedule Tennessee plays, Pat's coaching staff and the athletes they've got, they're going to be alright. They'll be tough at the end of the year. It won't surprise me to see them in the Final Four. I felt like Tennessee gave us more problems and challenges than Oklahoma. They ran more people at us. Alysha was having to fight four kids that were 6-4 and 6-5 - that's tough. When Pat's able to do that, by the end of the year I see great things on the horizon. I'm just glad you'll are coming to Murfreesboro next year.
Junior forward Alysha Clark (On point guard Chelsia Lymon fouling out):
"When we have players foul out we have to have other people step up, and we need to have confidence in our back-up point guards. It hurts us because we lose experience at the point when Chelsia (Lymon) goes out. We can't have inexperience there. They have to grow up quick. Coach tells them that in practice all the time.
(On Tennessee's size advantage):
"We played against Oklahoma and LSU against other big girls. I know what to expect; I've always played against bigger girls. I know that I can't shoot over them so I have to use my quickness and my mind to work around them and go around them. It's hard because I don't have a clear, open look at the basket. I have to think about a lot of things."