Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Quotes from Wednesday's NCAA Press Conference
The Lady Vols answered questions about winning the NCAA Championship
Chair - NCAA Women's Basketball Committee
On the tournament:
"Last night 20,704 people -- the 15th sellout in the 26 year history of the tournament -- had the opportunity to see a truly fine basketball team win our National Championship. I'd be remiss if I once again did not thank the people of Cleveland for everything they did for our coaches, our student-athletes and our fans to provide us with a truly memorable experience. We had the opportunity last night to be with Tennessee when they had their welcome by their fans and it's truly a magical moment when you have the chance to experience something like this. I certainly would like to take this opportunity once again, Pat (Summitt) to congratulate you and your student-athletes on a truly remarkable season and congratulations on your seventh National Championship."
Tennessee Head Coach
"Obviously, I'm really proud of our basketball team. It was a very special night for us with just the effort that this team put forth and the environment we were able to be in. All the Tennessee fans that came out to follow this team throughout the tournament, it was just amazing the number of Lady Vols fans that supported us, which I thought really inspired our basketball team. Certainly, this group has been just exceptional in terms of wanting to come together to have one common goal and to hold each other accountable along the way. This one has been a team and a journey that was a joy to coach. It is a team that had great passion for getting it right. They obviously came together at the right time. This group will always be very special to me."
On the subtle changes she made by moving Sidney Spencer in tournament play:"I think being able to play Sidney in the post defensively allowed us to have the quickness and athleticism and size on the perimeter. Sidney had never defended on the post, but I said let's go with it, and we stuck with it. And, it worked for us throughout the tournament."
On the team's balanced attack:
"I think all year we've been a team committed to our defense and our board play and going inside. In the game last night, we did have a little bit more balance because Candace (Parker) drew so much attention. Rutgers is such a great defensive team, they really tried to take away our paint points. I thought they had a good defensive scheme, but we had other people step up and make good plays for us. Certainly, controlling the boards was important. I think this was a great team effort. Shannon Bobbitt got hot for us and I thought that really took the pressure off us. It was a total team effort and win. Candace has been our go-to player, but the thing about this team is that they have all worked hard in all aspects of their game. When people double and triple-team Candace, the other players have stepped up and made plays. I thought last night was a great example of that.
On what defines this National Championship from others:
"I think every team that has been on that platform and won a National Championship, you remember for certain things. I know with this team, we really had a tight-knit group that really policed themselves and each other. We had great leadership. The togetherness of this team was something that was very, very special. It's not something that a coach can force on a team. It's something the players have to determine for themselves. I know this team wanted to win. I sensed that in our practices from the beginning and as we faced some adversity along the way. This is something we hadn't done in the last few years. When I think about this team, I think about a team that took ownership for what they wanted to do and how they went about it. They are a team, that for me, I enjoyed coaching so much because sometimes I feel like I didn't have to coach them, they coached themselves.
Sophomore - Forward/Center/Guard
On the contributions of Shannon Bobbitt and Alberta Auguste:
"Shannon and Alberta definitely stepped up last night. Shannon was great from three-point and Alberta filled her role and then some. She gave us a boost on offense and played good defense too."
Junior - Guard
On prospects for next year:
"It was funny because after we won everyone was asking if we were going to repeat. We're just trying to enjoy the moment right now because not too many people get the chance to be in the position we are at right now. Obviously, we are losing a great player in Sidney (Spencer) and I'm going to miss her outside shooting and her presence and leadership. Fortunately, we have a great recruiting class coming in and a lot of them are really excited to be a Tennessee and work real hard."
Junior - Forward/Center
On defense and rebounding, carrying their effort into next season:
"I don't think we have a choice. We're talking about getting to Tampa and winning, we don't have a choice but to be as good as we were on defense this year."
On the difference in Cleveland from last year's regional:
"Cleveland has changed since the last time we were here. It's a nicer city. There's construction everywhere and we tried to dodge it, but it's all worth it."
Junior - Guard
On being taken out after three-point attempt to beat shot clock:
"It definitely wasn't pretty. The previous game against North Carolina, it also happened, and as a point guard, you should always know the shot clock. I did it again, and I think I just had to sit down and think about it."
Senior - Forward
On being part of the Tennessee legacy:
"As a little girl, I used to watch the '97, '97 and '98 teams and I always dreamed of being part of that. To now be in that same group and just create the legacy we did last night with that win, it was something special. Something that you dream about."