Dec. 16, 2009
Head Coach Pat Summitt:
(opening remarks): "I thought in the first half we had trouble extending our defense. They did a good job of going off the dribble and getting inside. What made it worse was that we opened up with a press. At halftime, we decided to grind it out in the half court. In the second half, we buckled down. I was pleased with our execution in the second half and the points we got off the bench."
(on Tennessee's defense): "I'm not going to blame anyone except myself, but our staff wanted to extend our defense. Looking back, we shouldn't have done that against a team as athletic as Louisville. At the opening of the game, we were committed to pushing tempo, but we had too many gaps. At about the 10-minute mark, it was time to get back in our half-court game."
(on Tennessee's rebounding): "We're committed to it. Glory (Johnson) and Shekinna (Stricklen) did a great job. So did Lyssi (Brewer) and Taber (Spani). We're far more committed to rebounding. Coming off the Rutgers game, we've had some good (practice) sessions on what we're doing in the half-court. Offensively, we're doing some good things."
(on having the players' names on the backs of their jerseys again after saying that a Tennessee team would never have their names on their jerseys again): "I lied. Sorry, Mrs. Cronan (UT Women's Athletic Director Joan Cronan). I decided on doing it when we were flying to New York. I didn't say anything to anyone other than Kathy Harston (Director of Basketball Operations). I'm sure some people would be pleased. I can't tell you how much mail, text messages, and e-mails we have gotten about not having the names on the back of the jerseys. We've had fans say it was hard to distinguish new players and that they couldn't tell who was who from the upper deck. One thing we can be proud of is that we have the greatest fans in women's basketball. They're loyal. They cheer for us, and they give us an edge. We've got a lot of quick sewers around here. (The names were removed from the jerseys during the 2004-05 season). I'm not blaming the players, but that team never seemed to come together. That stuck in my gut, and I said, `I'm not going to do it.' It's all about the fans. We got some not so nice mail. It told Alberta (Randles) and Cindy (Connaster) in our office about it, and they said, `Thank goodness.' They said that was half of their workload, dealing with the mails and e-mails about that. Merry Christmas to them, too."
(on post play): "On our flight to California tomorrow, our three posts (Kelley Cain, Lyssi Brewer, and Glory Johnson) are going to be sitting with me watching film. That will give us quality time to get together and to see repetitions of what they're doing."
(on Glory Johnson's play despite starting out 0-8 from the floor): "We have to have that. She has such a competitive attitude. She has to keep playing regardless. Sometimes, she plays too fast."
(on Tennessee's energy): "At halftime, Coach emphasized keeping the ball inside and keeping our energy up. We need a 40-minute game. We're working towards that."
(on Tennesse's press): "I love to press. We've got to get five players to commit to the press."
(on upcoming game with Stanford): "We're going into it with confidence. Stanford will be on their home court. Creating our own energy will be huge when we step on the court."
(on Tennessee having players' names on the back of their jerseys): "We were excited about it. When she held up my jersey (in the locker room), I thought, `What did I do?'"
(on Tennessee's bench play): "It's great when the whole team can help. Tonight, we used our bench to our advantage. It helps. We've got two hard games coming up, and this helps so we won't be tired."
(on overcoming an 0-8 start from the field): "Obviously, that's not the percentage I wanted, but there are other things I can do to help. Defense is about passion and effort, and so is rebounding. I can do those things. Otherwise, I'm not helping my team."
(on Tennessee's start): "We came out with a lot of energy. We were pumped up and kept our intensity up. Our defense started it. We denied the high post. Kelley (Cain) forced a turnover, and we followed behind her. That turned us on."
(on Tennessee having players' names on the back of their jerseys again): "We are so used to it without it being on there. It's all about what's on the front of the jerseys. The fans wanted it. They say that they mix us up, that they mix up Glory (Johnson) and me and Angie (Bjorklund) and Alicia (Manning). This will help the fans out."
Louisville head coach Jeff Walz
(opening statement): "¬¬I think in the first five or six minutes of the game we turned the ball over six times in our first eight or nine possessions. I'm not saying I'm a really smart coach, but I know if you don't shoot it's hard to score. When you keep throwing it to the other team, it doesn't give you a very good opportunity to put points on the board. Once we figured out that it's a better idea to throw it to your own team, we did some good things. We started to score. I'm not pleased because I hate to lose, but I thought we showed glimpses, for five-or-six-minute stretches, where we were pretty darn good. You take out the first six minutes of the game and we played them even the last 14 (minutes of the half). Unfortunately, you can't let a team like this go up on you 23-3 and expect to have a chance to win."
(On Louisville's high number of turnovers this season - the Cardinals had 24 in the game): "We're very good at that. We practice that a lot and it's something that we have perfected. We won't use this as an excuse, but we just don't have a point guard. Our starting point guard from last year (junior Deseree' Byrd) just had surgery today, and she is out for the year. Our junior college point guard (junior LaToya Jackson), who was doing a nice job for us, is out six-to-eight weeks. Now, we're playing a freshman at point guard in Nikki Burton, who played the four for her high school team at 5-foot-10. She's learning the game. It's a whole new approach to playing the game of basketball at the point guard position when you are being asked to see everything in front of you. Any other position on the floor you are looking back at the one person with the ball. At the point guard spot, you've got to look at everybody. There are eight people you are trying to read. It's a new challenge for her. That's when you look at us and see we only have five assists. You've got a split second as a point guard to deliver the ball as (your teammate) is getting open. Right now for us, we don't have someone that's used to that so we try to throw it once they're open. It's too late then. You've got to get them the ball while they're getting open, so when they get it they can look to score. I look at what (UT head coach Pat Summitt's) group did and they had 19 assists on 31 field goals. That tells you they're getting the ball to players as they're getting open so when they get it, they can score and finish."
(On Tennessee sophomore point guard Shekinna Stricklen): "She does a great job. For her size, she really does a great job of distributing the basketball. She got it inside a lot. She got it to (Angie) Bjorklund coming off the screen. The ball was in the air as she was coming off the screen. It's just like in football. A quarterback has to throw it before the wide receiver breaks. If they throw it before (the receiver) breaks, it's not going to be a completed pass. That's what we're trying to get to. I'm pleading with my player to watch more basketball and football on TV so they can watch a quarterback throw. It doesn't sound like much, but when you are trying to lead a team that means a lot. That's what we lost in Byrd. She knew how to get the ball to people."
(On Tennessee traveling to Louisville next year for the opening of the Cardinals' new arena): "We're excited about that. We're very appreciative of Pat (Summitt) agreeing to do a home-and-home series. We're really excited that it's going to be the first official game in our new arena. It'll be the first men's or women's basketball game in our new arena. I think that says a lot about the commitment our athletic department in general for women's athletics to allow us to open up our new arena."