Auburn-Rutgers Quotes, March 22
March 22, 2009
C. Vivian Stringer, Head Coach (Opening statements) First of all let me say that in viewing Auburn, [they are] an incredibly gifted and athletic team, and I think they present some unique circumstances. While we played Candice Parker and we played Maya Moore, I think she presents a little bit more. She is a 6'4" player but I don't think Candice Parker can shoot it at that range. She can go inside, she can go outside. She's athletic and quick but obviously Maya Moore isn't that size. I think this team is really well balanced, they have one of the leading players in the country in [Whitney] Boddie. They run the floor well, they have the outside shooters and the elements that are necessary to be successful. I think going into the last week [of the regular season] they were a shoe-in for a number one seed. This is a tough, high powered team that likes to run the floor and we look forward to the challenge.
(On Auburn's DeWanna Bonner) Her skill set, to see a 6'4" (player) put the ball on the floor and shoot it at a five-point range, she is well outside the NBA range, and that is no joke. Her skill set is incredible. How many times have you seen a 6'4" female be able to do that. She is very capable of handling the ball against the press. She goes in the post, she rebounds, she gets up. For as thin as she is, she uses every ounce of energy she has. Kia said one key word, she has passion. You can see her will that team and win.
(On what the Maryland game meant to the season) I think the Maryland game, at least to me, and probably us as a group, was a coming together time. We really had some soul-searching to do, and we either could give up or go forward with people who truly believed. I think that was a defining moment, I think both Heather and Kia stepped up in terms of being the leaders.
Kia Vaughn, Sr., Center (On thoughts of making the NCAA tournament after early struggles) I would have thought that we were not going to make the tournament and that we had a long way to go but we made it through the struggles and we actually got here. Now that we are here we appreciate more, the struggles that we went through. With tomorrow's game on the line we know we have to play hard and do exactly what we have been doing all season, playing like a team.
(On what she saw from watching Auburn's first round game in person) When we went out, it was the second half, so they had a good lead on [Lehigh], and their starters were on the bench. Their second [unit was] still highly motivated, they play together, they move the ball, they transition well on the floor. Having known a couple of their players, I know that they have heart and passion. It is going to be a tough game. It is going to be a challenge, but it is going to be a good game.
Heather Zurich, Sr., Forward (On thoughts of making the NCAA tournament after early struggles) I think it shows how much we have learned especially coming in with four freshmen. Coach Stringer is a teacher of the game so it shows how much we really stepped up and started to trust each other more, communicate on the floor and played Rutgers defense. So those are the important things we are going to need to concentrate on tomorrow.
(On whether the team has an "us against the world" mentality) It's great being at the RAC having all our fans here. We just have to fight for everything, no one is going to give us anything. So, in that sense, it is us against the world. It is our team against whoever, so we just have to stay together and play as a team.
Head Coach Nell Fortner Opening Statement- "Well we had a good practice and we worked hard to prepare the team on what we are going to see at Rutgers and also prepare them on pacing themselves in front of a loud home crowd. We feel good about our preparation. We look forward to playing them in the second round and seeing what we can accomplish."
(On watching tape of Rutgers, how they prepared) "Rutgers is a great team I can't believe that they are a seven seed, I think that that's one of the biggest surprises in the bracket, this team is extremely talented with a great coach and they bring a tremendous amount of athleticism to the floor, size, they are very physical so it's a lot to prepare for. The difference for Auburn is they played in SEC, which is a very physical league with size. So, it's not that we have never seen that before, that is a good thin g for us. To play in this environment with the prize that awaits at the end of it turns it into something `wow', that's pretty deep."
(On home court advantage for Rutgers) "We can debate that all day long but it is what it is, until it gets changed to some level that's just the way it is. It's been a few different ways but this is just the way that it is right now and we have to play in it. I'm sure that Rutgers feels pretty good about playing at home, they have been on the road for many years and they have been the higher seed and have gone on the road to play, I'm sure that they feel pretty good about being at home and I would be too if I were them. If you want to win the whole thing, you have to get used to playing in some tough environments everyone wants to win the whole thing all the time so you're just prepared to go wherever you are going to jump the ball and just play"
(On shutting down Epiphanny)"I have watched Epiphanny since she was a freshman in high school, I haven't seen anyone who can really slow her down. She is just a tremendous scoring guard, she is very difficult to contain and I'm not sure we can .We can try our best and see what we can do with her but she is a phenomenal scoring guard it will be a real challenge for us. But, we have a phenomenal scoring guard of our own, so it will be a nice day to watch some basketball."
(On feeling like the underdog playing on Rutgers court, despite being number two seed) "Well No, we don't feel like the underdog we just know that we have a tremendous challenge ahead of us playing on a home court I feel that way for wherever we [would play] in this country. I would imagine that even UConn would feel this way if they were playing on a home court at this point in time in the tournament, we just have to go out and play the game. The game is played in between the lines, the fans aren't shooting the ball, the coaches aren't shooting the ball, the players are playing so they are the ones who have to figure it out on the floor."
(On watching tape of Rutgers, how they prepared) "We watched tape on them and they were really good defensively so we really worked on our offense and they are one of the toughest number seven seeds out there so we had to work on our execution."
Whitney Boddie (On feeling like the underdog playing on Rutgers court, despite being number two seed) "I don't feel like we are the underdog, I think that both teams have a lot to play for just in their situation they are playing at home, but we are really both playing for the same thing and we are just trying to advance so like coach said we are going to play hard on the floor and let things take care of themselves."