Pat Summitt (photo by William Ewart)
March 21, 2009
Head Coach Pat Summitt
On motivation after being the #5 seed:
"I think for this team right now it is more about just getting ready to play. I expected us to be a five seed because of the losses that we had. I think that this team has really come together with a mission in mind. We've got to be a better team for 40 minutes and we have to be committed to our defense and our board play. That is going to give us a great chance to be successful. Ball State has great balance when you look at their scoring. They are clearly a team that has shot the three ball a lot more than we do. Therefore, defending the three ball will be very important. I think we are young and we are thinking possession by possession and doing what we have to do on our scouting report and on defense."
On the 1997 championship team:
"It is quite different than the past couple of seasons. We had a veteran team and had been in that situation many times where we were the underdog. But at the same time, I feel that that is motivation and it has obviously worked to our benefit in the past because I do think that at this point in the year that our team understands the competitiveness that they have to have and the fight they must bring. No way do I want to coach effort in the game tomorrow, no way. They know what they have to do and that they have to bring it. Sometimes when they're in that role I don't know how our freshmen will respond. But, when you are in the underdog role I think it takes a little bit of pressure off of you rather than being expected to win the national championship."
On the approach over the past three weeks:
"Since the selection show for some reason it got our team focused. I always expect that from upperclassmen but with such a young basketball team I didn't know what might happen. Alex has been a terrific leader and I've said a number of times that she is in the top five and I've been in leadership for over 35 years. I give her a lot of credit for getting our team focused. I think Angie has really stepped her play up and she is playing with tremendous confidence. She helps us tremendously from the perimeter and also opens up the post game. Kelley has really had an impact on how we are playing. They have to be the ones to let the freshmen know how they have to do it. I think they are all invested in helping them come along and we've made great strides because of that. Our freshmen are really going to have to contribute for us to win here."
Alex Fuller, F/C, Senior, #2
On how the team responded to coach Summitt's comments:
"At the time that was the reality of our team. That was who our team was at that time. I think right now our team is totally different and we have a totally different mindset. This is the postseason and we have come together during team sessions. We had to sit down and tell each other what we needed to do and what time of team we needed to be."
Angie Bjorklund, G/F, Sophomore, #5
On watching the tape of the 1997 champion Tennessee Lady Vols:
"We were kind of laughing because some of the comments that coach was making then are the same ones that she is making now. The only thing that is different is the names on the back of the uniforms. There are definitely a lot of similarities and hopefully history will repeat itself."
Kelley Cain, C, Freshman, #52
On being in her first NCAA Tournament:
"Since I was here last year but not playing and just watching it really helped me a lot. They told us to be calm and go out there and play our game and that we will be fine."
Ball State Head Coach Kelly Packard
"We obviously feel honored and excited for our first appearance ever in the NCAA Tournament. It is the realization of our seniors and their career aspirations for them during their collegiate experience. Quite honestly it is just like wow. You look at Tennessee and you better carve out a lot of time and read about their tradition. We come here completely in awe and respectful of the tradition of the Tennessee Lady Vols."
On winning in Diddle arena earlier this season:
"I think there is an advantage anytime you have been in a building where you were successful. Obviously that breeds a certain level of remembrance to the success that you've had. It is such a different experience when all of the sudden it is not the Lady Toppers but the Lady Vols. Other than being in the same room there's not much more."
On playing Tennessee and the tradition of their program:
"I think the awe is really just our recognition of their tradition. That is what we talked to our team about this week, which is after we recognize the great tradition then we have to make it about Ball State. We have to make it about what we have been doing all season long and how we have invested our time and how that time has resulted in the opportunity that now stands before us. Hopefully, the awe is the respectful part and then we focus on who we are as Ball State and where we are spending our time right now."
Kiley Jarrett, G, Senior, #12
On beating WKU in Diddle Arena earlier in the season:
"We went in to that game knowing the tradition of Western Kentucky University has had and knowing that they have been in the NCAA Tournament. We knew how important that game was and being able to come into their home and seeing the crowd that they had. It was a huge stepping stone for us. We really came in to the game knowing that we could win and coming back from 17 down was huge for us. To be able to walk out of there with a win was a big step for our program."
On her reaction to playing Tennessee:
"It was exciting. It is something that you dream about from when you are a little girl. Making it to the NCAA Tournament and not only being here but being able to play Tennessee with the great team that they are. There really are no words to this day. It has been a couple of days since we found out that we were going to play Tennessee but it is just a dream for all of us. It is an unbelievable experience to be here and play Tennessee."
Danielle Gratton, F, Junior, #35
On Tennessee being a five seed:
"We definitely realized when we saw the seeding that Tennessee was a five seed. Right now the team is just looking at it as another game and we are going to go out and play our hardest. We realize that it is Tennessee and the history but at the same time that is why you play the game. We're just excited and anxious to get out there."