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Quotes: NCAA Selection Show



March 12, 2012


Head Coach Pat Summitt
On playing her alma mater in the opening round:
"How about UT-Martin? I would have never thought about it, but that's kind of neat. Obviously I loved being at UT-Martin. Honestly I'm not very excited about anything except we want to go win.I like my alma mater but I like winning and moving on."

On reacting to the region:
"It is tough, but everybody has a tough region. You take it one game at a time and not look ahead and make sure this team stays focused. Holly, Mickie, Dean and I understand that."

On starting the senior class:
"I would anticipate that that would be the way we would start. It has worked well for us. If it aint broke, don't fix it. Just go on and do what you have to do." On the chemistry of the senior class igniting the group:
"I think because this is it for them [they are igniting the team]. It is a group that we have really liked having those seniors on the floor. They have gotten us out to a great start and we just have to continue to do that."

On Ariel Massengale playing in her hometown:
"Well let's hope she gets ready to go play."

On finally having a bracket:
"It is great to have a bracket. Now all of our coaches can try to get a game plan."

Associate Head Coach Holly Warlick
On reacting to the region:
"We take it one game at a time. This group is familiar with that when we played Ball State and lost in the first game [in 2009]. I think this group is going to be focused and I hope eventually we get a shot at Baylor. But we have a tough first and second round. First we are worried about UT-Martin, then we have to scout BYU and DePaul. We are familiar with DePaul because we played them. This group has to stay focused and concentrate on who we are playing at the moment."

On starting the seniors being a turning point in the season:
"I think for this group it has been [a turning point]. I think if the seniors are going to go out on top the way they want to -- like at the SEC Tournament, it was in their hands. I think as a coaching staff we said that we are going to start you and get us off to a great start. And they have. As Pat said, if it's not broken, you don't have to fix it. We are going to continue to start those young ladies and hope they get us off to a good start. And then we have a great support staff coming in."

On Ariel Massengale playing in her hometown:
"She has won a couple state championships there so I think she is pretty comfortable with it. I'm glad she screamed - she's excited." On being in the Des Moines region with Baylor: "Obviously Baylor is the number one team in the country. If we get to play them - everybody's tough so eventually you are going to have to play somebody really well to get to the Final Four. We just hope that at some point we get the opportunity to play them. You can't dodge anything and we can't go back and change what they put in the bracket. It's going to be a challenge no matter who we play."

On the regional sites:
"We have incentive to play regardless of who we play. Baylor has beaten us and so that's an incentive to try to get there. It's going to be hard because we've played DePaul. Everything is a challenge for us. We really just have to stay one game at a time and not look ahead. That's going to be key for this team."

Senior forward Alicia Manning
On the NCAA Tournament bracket:
"I'm really excited about it. I like how they did the brackets this year. I feel really confident and like the teams we're going against, just ready to get things started."

On the role of the senior class down the stretch:
"It's the coaches' decision, we always respect the coaches' decisions and we came out really strong in all the games we started. Defense was our top priority and that really helped us in the (SEC) Tournament."

On whether she expects the team to build on the momentum of the SEC Tournament Championship:
"I'm really excited, I think we built a lot of confidence and consistency and I think that's what we need. Hopefully we can carry that over (to the NCAA Tournament)."

Senior guard Briana Bass
On the final NCAA Tournament bracket release of her career:
"Today was definitely an emotional day, not in a bad way, but just excited knowing that this is the last time, the last go around, so it's definitely an exciting experience. We've got to go in there focused."

On the role of the senior class down the stretch:
"I think that us (the seniors) coming in together and going through so much, the highs and the lows, and just being able to go out there and have the chemistry on the court. I think that's definitely an important aspect for this team."

On whether the team is peaking at the right time:
"Absolutely. The seniors, we know that this is all or nothing, so we've got to leave it all out on the floor."

On Chicago playing host to the First and Second Rounds:

"I'm excited. Chicago is a big city and I used to want to live in Chicago when I was younger. I don't know about now, because the traffic is terrible, but it's going to be an exciting experience and I'm looking forward to it."

Freshman guard Ariel Massengale
On playing in her first NCAA Tournament:
"I'm looking forward to it, being able to go back to Chicago. Playing in front of friends and family is always a great opportunity and I'm just excited."

On her role on the team as an on-court leader as a freshman:
"That was something the coaches talked to me about coming in as a freshman. The upperclassmen were there for me, they had my back, and helped me out along the way. I feel like the seniors have really stepped up lately and, bringing what I can bring, I feel like this team is ready to make a run."

On the confidence level of the team going into the NCAA Tournament:
"We showed some really good signs (in the SEC Tournament) and I think it's time for us to peak. There's no other time in the season that we want to peak other than right now."

Freshman forward Cierra Burdick
On what she's looking forward to in the NCAA Tournament:
"I'm excited just to get out there and play in my first NCAA Tournament. I think we're capable of doing great things if we play to our fullest potential and I'm looking forward to seeing where we go."

On her role down the stretch for Tennessee:
"You know, the midrange shot is a lost art in the game so I love the mid-range jumper, that's my game. Anything within the three-point line, that's what I love, so I was just thankful that my team got me the ball when I was open and I was able to hit the shots."

On what it's like to be a part of something she's only seen on TV before:
"It's surreal, but this is what I've dreamed of, so it's just awesome to come closer and closer to my dreams. Hopefully, we can just play as hard as we're capable of and get the National Championship."

On the role of the seniors:
"We definitely need that, their leadership is incredible, it brings such an asset to the floor. They flow so well because they've been playing together so long. It's great that they can get us off right and hopefully they can continue that as we go in to the tournament."

Sophomore guard Meighan Simmons
On Tennessee being a #2 seed
"I thought the seeding was good. I really do like our bracket. We have some amazing teams like DePaul, Delaware and Baylor of course. I think we just have to go out there and play Tennessee basketball, like I always say, and try to take it one game at a time instead of looking at the future."

On being prepared for the first game
"I really just think we need to work on us, you know building our team camaraderie. Like I said, throughout the year we have been trying to do that and its starting to get better and better. I just think we need to focus on us, focus on our offense, focus on our defense and make sure we are all in sync before we set foot on the court before the First Round."

On what the team needs to do to be successful"
"We just have to be consistent, it's all about consistency and making sure we come out there and are mentally and physically ready. You know getting a lot of rest, making sure we are eating right, being able to watch film and things like that."

Junior guard Taber Spani
On the tournament field being announced
"It's always exciting to find out where we are going to play and who we are going to play. We are excited and looking forward to it. Right now it is one game at a time, so we have to prepare for UT-Martin and have a great week of preparation."

On the key to Tennessee's success
"I think we kind of got a jump start off of our SEC Tournament. For us, it's all about focus and it's all about want to. We are going to go in and hopefully have more heart than every opponent we are going to face and that is really what is going to put us over the top."

On how winning the SEC Tournament will benefit the team in the NCAA Tournament
"It gives us a lot of confidence knowing we've gone in with a three-game win streak. We kind have started to gel as a team, obviously with the seniors out there and the underclassmen filling in with their roles. We feel good about it, we are really coming together and it is going to be exciting."

Senior guard Shekinna Stricklen
On UT's portion of the bracket
"Delaware, you know Elena Della Donne, and then on you have Baylor, so I mean we have a pretty tough bracket but I think we have a pretty good matchup for each team. I think it is going to be hard for them to matchup with us. I think we have a great matchup with Baylor, we played them good at home and I have confidence in our post in Vicki (Baugh), Glory (Johnson) and Izzy (Harrison).

On carrying over the success from the SEC Tournament into NCAAs
"Winning those three games in the SEC Tournament was great. We needed that as it was like confidence. The reason why we won it was because of our defense and everyone committing to defense and it controlled the game. With that, we really learned that we had to commit to defense every game, no matter what. That is what we have been working on in practice and that is something we have to carry over into the tournament."

On the importance of defense
"We have to commit to defense and communicate. Teams are go on runs but we need to be able to make stops when we need it and be able to and execute our offense and score when we need it."

 

 

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