Texas-Mississippi State Quotes
March 21, 2009
COACH SHARON FANNING: I was very pleased with our focus and intensity and
our team effort. We said at the beginning of the game we wanted to try to
keep it just as simple as possible and our game is sort of like we said in
the press conference really yesterday, you have to defend, you have to
contest shots, and I was going to be upset if they got layups, so I was
upset several times. But for the most part we tried to contest, and I
thought the rebound effort was significant. We held them under 30% in the
first half. The goal defensively is to hold a team under 40% and I think
that that's huge.
Offensively we want to try to get about 45%, we didn't quite get
there, but I was pleased with shot selection. That was another simple
thing that we said is together, collectively, how are we going to be
patient and take great shots. Down the stretch, I think the best shot we
can take is a free throw and you can definitely see the percentage there
and know how important that is to us, but you had to be in a position to
put yourself there from a defensive standpoint, a rebounding standpoint,
where they had to foul and I was very pleased with our team that they
You know, we did get in some foul trouble. We were rotating four
people at the perimeter, five people at the perimeter really and three in
the post. Our two guards with the most experience out there ended up with
four fouls pretty early. I thought Diamber Johnson came in, she's done
this all year as a freshman at that point position. M-Kat and Ty, I
thought they really stepped up and then the players that came in, they were
composed and they played with fouls and that's what great players have to
do. They have to take the positions that are there and they have to
But it was a total team. On this basketball team, if and when
we're successful, which we have been this season, it's going to -- it takes
every single one of them, it takes the bench, it takes all that enthusiasm,
the stats, the rebounding column, the free-throws, the percentage, I
thought we took better care of the basketball in the second half and made
better decisions as a team, but for us, this is a big team win and
hopefully we can continue to get better as a basketball team and execute
better the next game we play.
REPORTER: I'll ask both of you, but I'll start with Alexis, about
the period when both guards were out with foul trouble, you guys were in
and out with foul trouble and yet Texas made a run, and you guys answered.
You kind of held on there during that period. Can you just talk about that
ALEXIS RACK: Talk about what, how it felt to be out of the game?
REPORTER: I guess just how important it was that the lead was
maintained or even expanded while you guys were in foul trouble.
ALEXIS RACK: It was very important. Like Coach was saying, our
defense played a very important part of us winning this game, period, and
during that time, I think when they made their run, all we needed was that
one stop and then when we got it, it was all right.
MARY KATHRYN GOVERO: I'll just echo what she said. We emphasized
the whole season and in this game the importance of defense and the importance of team defense and when you have a key leader like Alexis off
the floor, just the fact that people were able to come in off the bench and
provide that spark, just to help us maintain our focus and to keep that
lead was very important.
REPORTER: Alexis, the Texas head coach, Gail Goestenkors, she
compared you to Andrea Riley from Oklahoma State, have you seen her play
ALEXIS RACK: I saw her play last year.
REPORTER: Coach was making the comparison because you're both
smaller but very speedy, would you agree with that comparison and if not,
how would you define the game?
ALEXIS RACK: I can't hear you.
REPORTER: Sorry. Would you agree with the comparison to Andrea
Riley about being a smaller guard who shoots well and if you don't agree,
how would you define your game differently?
ALEXIS RACK: I really haven't seen her play this year, but last
year I thought she was a pretty good shooter. She was real quick. So I
guess I see myself as a good shooter also. I can get to the goals. I
think that's a good comparison.
REPORTER: Alexis, you were on the free throw line there on the
end, you all hit 13 in a row, how do you keep your wits about you when you
know it's an NCAA playoff game and you've got to protect your lead? What's
going through your mind at that point?
ALEXIS RACK: We've been doing this all year. We shoot about 100
free throws in practice. I felt like I was in practice. I felt real
comfortable and just focused.
REPORTER: Did you feel like you were the more aggressive team? It
seemed like early on you really kind of set a tone.
MARY KATHRYN GOVERO: Well, we knew how important it was to come
out from the tip. We've had games where we've struggled in the first half
we've come out with that energy and being the aggressor and we knew how
important it was to come out from the tip and be the aggressor in this
game. The coaches told us in the scouting report and everything that they
were a second-half team, we knew they were going to make a run, but we had
to continue to get our stops and to keep attacking them and not back down
from that, so it was very important for us to be the aggressor in this
REPORTER: Coach, it's out of your control, UT has come up, they've
made the score and making a game of it, you've got Alexis on the free throw
line, was that money in the bank for you guys?
COACH FANNING: It was today. Obviously getting the ball in her
hands is very important and I think you have players, certain roles on the
team and that's one that Alexis has, but we have confidence in all our
players, like she said, you practice that, you drill it. Everybody has to
be in a position in these ball games where anybody can make them, everybody
can play defense, everybody can rebound, everybody can take good shots,
goes back to what I said yesterday, keep it simple, everybody has to dow
their part, she did her part today.
REPORTER: I guess, Coach, I'll ask you the same thing I asked them
about how you felt with the guards in foul trouble. Is it nerve-wracking?
Were you trying to buy a few minutes with them on the bench? What was your
thought process there?
COACH FANNING: Somebody had to step up. Usually if somebody gets
a fourth foul you wait until the four- or five-minute mark, maybe, six or
seven, depends on what the score is. We actually did expand the lead I
think a couple points here and there and we knew that we'd have to give the
other kids a rest and I think, I don't know if it's seven or eight or nine,
I put Alexis back in, we tried to alternate them there. We ended up --
Texas, they usually press and we knew that they're very quick, but we had
the whole team step up. Donnisha Tate, for example, she missed a couple of
buckets in the first half and if a player doesn't have confidence and
they're not ready to take the next shot then the next plays don't happen.
I thought she had a couple key buckets down the stretch that you had to
have when it was on the line. I think that's basically what they did.
They pulled together. They're not, what you say, the stars, but each and
every player stepped up. There haven't been a lot of games where Diamber
and M-Kat and Ty are the three-perimeter players together a lot, usually
Alexis or Armelie's on the floor to compliment just because of experience,
but those other guys had to step up and as we've practiced at home, they've
been playing against them all year and I thought they showed composure. I
thought M-Kat came up with a couple key buckets and found some holes.
She's a good jump shooter and was able to find some shots. They changed up
defenses a little bit and basically we handled the pressure, tried to take
good shots where we had them and just be patient for the most part and was
able to keep a lead and of course get to the free throw line down the
stretch when they had a foul.
Texas Postgame Quotes:
COACH GAIL GOESTENKORS: Well, just congratulations to Mississippi
State, I thought they just did a great job. They did what was necessary.
They rebounded the basketball, rebounded the heck out of the basketball
and, you know, they hit their free throws. And in a tight game, those are
the two factors. And they defended us. I thought they defended us very
well. We missed some shots. Didn't rebound the ball as well as we needed
to and obviously didn't take care of the ball as well as we needed to, but
credit goes to Mississippi State and we'll just be back next year.
REPORTER: Brittainey, you hadn't started since before the Big 12
tournament, you came in and close to the end when you guys made it
competitive, you hit those two big threes. What was going through your
head when you closed it to a 2-point game?
BRITTAINEY RAVEN: I knew that we needed to get something going and
I thought Ashley did a good job of penetrating up and finding the man and
she was finding me in the open spot, and when I got the first one, I felt
good. When I got the second one, we continued to push on, but towards the
end we continued to have several mistakes and turnovers and it cost us the
REPORTER: Do you think if you and Erika had hit your stride
earlier it might have been a different outcome in this game?
BRITTAINEY RAVEN: Yeah, it could have. They were up the majority,
most of the time in the game, so maybe if we would have hit a three or got
some stops or got some rebounds, it would have changed the ending of the
REPORTER: How difficult was it your starting point guard missed
her first start since January of '08? Because you hit shot 22% in the
first half, did that contribute to it or were you all just ice-cold for
SPEAKER1: I think a little bit. I think through this whole year
we've come to depend on Carla to keep us calm and she has so much composure
on the court, so I do think we missed her for that, but I don't know if
that necessarily had to do with us missing our shots. We just weren't
REPORTER: What was it you guys felt you didn't do today that you
normally do? Was there one thing? You talked about rebounding, was it as
simple as that or was it something they took you out of that you like to
do? What was the key factor, do you feel?
EARNESIA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't think they took us out of
anything we like to do offensively. It was just, it came down to -- at the
beginning of the game it comes down to taking care of the ball and
rebounding. We didn't do it in the first half. We didn't rebound in the
first half very well, picked it up a little bit in the second half, but
it's too late when they have 27 rebounds in the first half.
REPORTER: Can you talk about playing your last game and whether
this was representative of what you've meant to the program?
EARNESIA WILLIAMS: I just -- I didn't worry about it as being my
last game. It could be my last game. Like any other game, I just come out
and play hard like just how I play. I play for my teammates and I play for
my staff and my school, so I just come out and play.
REPORTER: And Brittainey, can you talk about what it's like to not
have Earnie next year?
BRITTAINEY RAVEN: When we need something in the game, she does it,
whether it's an offensive rebound or a steal or a tip or just really good
defense. And not having her next year, we're going to have to have
somebody step up and do the things that Earnie did. Obviously we needed
more than one Earnie this year, so next year we're going to have to have
everybody play as hard as Earnie did and want it and be as passionate as
Earnie was this year.
REPORTER: Coach, when their guards got into foul trouble,
obviously at one point both of them out of the game, you guys make a run,
but they answered. Did you feel that was a key time there where you
weren't necessarily able to make more strides with their guards out?
COACH GOESTENKORS: We did. We made a run and they came back and
actually extended the lead. At that point I was a little concerned because
we weren't able really to tie the game or push ahead with their best guards
REPORTER: I wanted to ask you about MSU's faster style of game
play, their up-tempo movement, a lot of their traps and presses, but I was
looking at the first half and you guys actually kept up with them for a lot
of it on fast breaks and drives. Do you think as the game went on, it
started to wear on you, all the up-tempo playing or was it just -- I mean,
was it a factor?
COACH GOESTENKORS: Not at all, we're an up-tempo team as well, we
press and trap, we did more tonight actually than they did. We play the
same style, so that really wasn't a factor for us. A couple of times, they
got two transition lay-ups in the first half and that was when Carla was in
and Carla, I think, was so worried about her hand she wasn't getting back
on defense, so other than that, we did a pretty good job. I think they got
a couple transition buckets on us, we got a few on them, so that really
wasn't a factor for us.
REPORTER: Once you do tie it up, what did you feel didn't happen
on those next few possessions that you needed to have happen or what did
Mississippi State do to kind of end -- I mean, besides the free throws
COACH GOESTENKORS: Right. When we tied it up, the next possession
they had they got an offensive rebound putback, so it was the same story
that we'd seen all game. They really killed us with the -- we got some
offensive rebounds, they tended to score on their offensive rebounds, so it
was a putback. We came down and then we turned the ball over, so we turned
the ball over the next two possessions, so it was a little difficult for
us, and then once you get down four -- we started fouling, unfortunately
fouling Rack, which was not what we wanted to do, but that's the way it
REPORTER: Gail, there at the end, you seemed to be going more with
your youth than you did with your seniors. Can you talk about why you
decided to do that? I think you put Ashley in with what, the next minute?
COACH GOESTENKORS: Ashley Gayle was a greater defensive presence
than Ashley Lindsey was, and I felt like she was rebounding the ball
better. I thought it was coming down to rebounding and defensive presence I felt like she was a greater presence for us on the defensive end than on
REPORTER: You all put together three of your less than spectacular
offensive games the last three games, could you see it in practice or is
this sort of a surprise?
COACH GOESTENKORS: We've been having good practices. I think our
last two games in particular, Carla hasn't been in the game much. She
played four minutes today, she only could play 16 against Iowa State and
she broke the finger in the game before that. She makes us go and she's
played the majority of the minutes at the point. It made a difference.
You're just not as comfortable when you're used to getting the ball in
certain situations. And it was in Ashleigh Fontenette's hands and that's a
lot of pressure for a freshman especially against the great defense of