March 21, 2009
Purdue Coach Sharon Versyp
Opening Statement- Sharon Versyp
“We knew it was going to be a tough battle. I have so much respect for Charlotte and their coach; what she has done with the program. They are an exceptional basketball team. We went man to man and that kind of helped us get some things going, and then with Brittany (Rayburn) hitting three 3-pointers back to back that really got us going as we went into the second half.”
Re: Several games this year where the opposition has taken advantage of your turnovers, recently
you have been taking advantage of the oppositions turnovers.
“That’s something that we have totally focused on. Our team defense has gotten better. We have worked had on that fast transition and making better decisions. You don’t always have to score on a fast break; you just have to keep pushing the ball up the floor. When you look at points off turnovers early on compared to now we have really improved. You feel like the kids have learned something when you see the opposite.”
Re: Brittney Rayburn only played 14 mins
“That’s Brittney. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. She is always slapping at the ball. She usually gets the ball pretty cleanly. They attacked her well. When she picks up 3 fouls, she has got to adjust. She has to mature in that area.”
Re: Brittney making three one of her 3’s and getting back on D to take a charge.
“Brittney is the only one on our team that takes a charge besides Jody Howell. She understands the angles. She is deceptive and gives up her body. “
Re: Brittney making three 3’s in a row, igniting a 15-0 run.
“I think that happened with both teams. They hit 3’s early and kind of set the tempo. Brittney is that shooter that gets in a rhythm. When she starts hitting those 3’s you keep going back to her. Obviously that was the big change in the game. You go up by 10 you get that comfort and confidence continues to grow.”
Re: Thoughts on playing North Carolina.
“Their staff is a class act and their program has great tradition. We have a similar tradition. It is always a battle. It’s just two teams going head to head. They keep saying they are not a No. 1 seed this year. It does not matter what seed you are at this point. We do seem to end up in the same bracket. They must enjoy seeing both programs go head to head.”
2009 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship The McKenzie Arena/Chattanooga, Tenn.
Re: Brittany Rayburn 3 3-pointers
“Anytime Brittany (Rayburn) can come of the bench and spark the team it is a great thing.”
Re : Defense
“In that first half we couldn’t hit a shot especially in the last 8 or so minutes. We were able to stop them however, which was huge for us. Then Brittany (Rayburn) came in and got those shots, which anytime we can make the stops and boost our offensive is great.”
Re: How much did the three 3-pointers jump-start the team?
“It was huge; we really weren’t knocking down shots early on. She (Brittany Rayburn) did a good job of getting us started and getting us on a run.”
Re: playing North Carolina
“They are a very good team, they always have been. It is a good opportunity to come out and play, it will be good match up and I think it will be a good game.”
“It always helps to have experienced leaders on a team. It is a lot about who goes out there and wants it more. I think we are ready to go out there and it doesn’t matter who we play.”
Re: Senior leadership on the team and experience in the NCAA
“First game nerves always get to you, but I am sure we will get more and more confident as the tournament goes on. It definitely helps to have been here before.”
Charlotte Coach Karen Aston
Opening Statement – Karen Aston
“First of all I think you have to give a lot of credit to Purdue. I thought that they were really good today. You watch them on tape and they are so consistent with what they do, experienced, and they played exactly the way I thought they would play. I did not know or think that we would turn the ball over as much as we did. It was obviously the difference in the game but I am really proud of my team. There were stretches were I think it could have gotten out of hand and we regrouped and talked about pride and I thought they did all the things that we asked them as a staff to do. We could have shut it down but I am really proud we did not and on top of that really proud of our season. Were those turnovers in the first half self inflicted?
“They were, but Purdue had a lot to do with that. Their pressure was really good, and you can’t discount them. We don’t see on a daily basis, the physical nature of how they play and their size at the guard position, not necessarily at the point, but the size at every position. I knew they would be a little imposing and things wouldn’t be as open as they were, and it wasn’t just that we were just turning it over it was where we were running our offense. We were running it 50 feet from the basket it felt like the first half. They were very good in the first half. Some were unforced some of them was the pressure they were putting on - we got in too big of a hurry. Even some of the shots we took, might as well have been turnovers because nobody was in the right place. They were rushed and forced and we didn’t have rebounders. Its been a long time since we’ve just had five offensive rebounds. We are a good rebounding team and our shot selection had a lot to do with why we didn’t have any offensive rebounds. How much did Rayburn’s three 3-pointers turn the tide toward them?
Purdue is in a situation that not only do they understand what the NCAA tournament is like, but I would imagine that every single league game, which our league is getting to that, every possession matters and in the NCAA tournament for sure. When she hit those couple shots in the first half, I looked over at my staff and said, “our players don’t really understand, that every possession matters”, and you can’t go under a screen when you’re not supposed to; can’t forget who your guarding and what they do best; it hurt our momentum. We were playing pretty well, we were in a good flow and that really got us out of sorts, probably scared our confidence a little bit, and then they started rolling Talking about tournament experience, is it playing in the atmosphere that’s an important thing for players to learn or in addition is it also the quality of the opponents that you face when you are in the tournament?
I think it is both, I told them in the locker room after the game, obviously we would have liked to have represented better, and all of them were broken hearted and the last thing you’re going to say is what you should have done. The thing I didn’t want to do on this specific experience was to say put our cameras up and you can’t get them out and you can’t take a picture of the NCAA logo. There were things that were first for them and this program. It is the experience of it all, going out of the hotel and the band’s there and everyone’s cheering. You have to experience all that, and then the next time it happens, they will be like, ok this is fun, but lets get on the bus and lets play, and everything will sort of make sense. We talked about it two weeks ago, we made a list these are the things that are going to happen when you go to the NCAA tournament, but until they experience it all; I don’t blame them for being excited, nervous and everything that they probably were and you can’t take that away from them. They took pictures of the court today, after shoot around, knowing me personally I would have probably would have said put your cameras up, let’s go. But I let them do it because it is something that they will cherish forever. I hope we get used to doing this, so that it is not
a big deal and it becomes routine. I doubt Purdue took pictures of the court today, its just the way it is.
Re: Purdue’s pressure.
“They did pressure us in the first half. I think it was a mixture of nerves and over excitement for us as well as their pressure that got us. I think we were kind of antsy and were shooting to fast and did not operate our offencs very well. We did not reverse the ball like we were supposed to and that is what caused the turnovers at first. I think we did better the second half but the pressure did affect us.”
Re: Your experience as a senior.
“It is hard to think about the experience right now but it has been a good experience. I am really proud of our team and our program for breaking records this year and making it this far. I am very happy with this season and what my team did.”
Re: Looking forward to next season.
“It was very humbling and was just a wonderful experience to come out here with all the cameras around and the court and the atmosphere will really help out team next year. I am really looking forward to what we can do next year. We will be back next year and we will make a statement. It has been a wonderful experience.”