March 29, 2009

MARYLAND QUOTES

Head Coach Brenda Frese
Opening Statement:

“We’re obviously very glad to be here and to be playing another day. We’re definitely looking forward to our next opponent being Louisville – obviously a team that we know extremely well, a team that we’re well prepared for, a team that’s going to press us for 40 minutes, try to disrupt the rhythm, the patterns, make it their defense against our offense. They’re obviously led by a very talented player in Angel McCoughtry. She does so much for their team and for their program. It’s going to be two great styles of play, two teams competing, and we’re just really looking forward to the matchup.”

On facing a former assistant:

“I’m really looking forward to it. Obviously in terms of the fact that I think both coaches are going to be well prepared. Obviously when the ball tips, it’s Maryland versus Louisville. It doesn’t have anything to do with two coaches. It’s all about two teams that are competing as hard as they can for 40 minutes.”

On Louisville Coach Jeff Walz:

“Coach Walz is intense. He’s going to lay it all out on the line for 40 minutes. He’s a tremendous coach. He’s going to be well prepared. He loves defense. He loves the Mad Dog. He’s going to bring a variety of things. He’s extremely hard working and has had a lot of success at Louisville.”

On Candyce Bingham:

“Obviously she’s their second option. When she’s able to step up and play with confidence, obviously she’s a tremendous rebounder on the glass. It sparks them. It gives them great energy.”

On what the keys will be, especially in the first half:

“The nice things is our conference and non-conference prepares us – when we play UNC, Duke, Georgia Tech and Rutgers. We’ve played against pressing styles of teams. Valuing possessions, being aggressive – those are obviously keys. Just not letting the 25 different presses that they run, similar to UNC, get into your head because at the end of the day they’re all the same. You’ve got to be ready to execute, be ready to break them.”

Marissa Coleman, Sr. / G-F
On going up against former Maryland assistant and current Louisville head coach Jeff Walz
“It will be fun, but like Coach [Brenda Frese] said once the ball is tipped it’s not about playing against Coach Walz, it’s about playing against Louisville and ultimately getting to the final four.”

On after winning the national championship as freshmen and not making it to the Final Four since that time
“We have been on paper been picked to win the past couple national championships, but on paper doesn’t matter, it’s what you do between the lines. It’s a couple things. Last year I just don’t think luck was on our side. The stars were aligned for Stanford. I don’t think too many people would have been able to beat them last year. The year before it was all on us. We didn’t prepare as hard as we should have and we didn’t play Maryland basketball and put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

On your emotions as you move one step closer to the Final Four
“I don’t even think I can explain it. It’s been hard to sleep. They’ve had to give me some Benadryl to help me fall asleep because I’ve been staying up until three or four in the morning. Knowing that it’s one game away and all we have to do is take care of business tomorrow and we’ll get back to the Final Four, it’s an incredible feeling to know what this team’s been through. At the beginning of the season, there were so many doubts with what we lost last year. I don’t even think I can explain it. It’s been hard to sleep. They’ve had to give me some Benadryl to help me fall asleep because I’ve been staying up until three or four in the morning. Knowing that it’s one game away and all we have to do is take care of business tomorrow and we’ll get back to the Final Four, it’s an incredible feeling to know what this team’s been through. At the beginning of the season, there were so many doubts with what we lost last year. We have proved a lot of people wrong and we can accomplish something great with a win tomorrow.”

Kristi Toliver, Sr. / G
On going up against former Maryland assistant and current Louisville head coach Jeff Walz
“Like Marissa said, it’s about Maryland vs. Louisville. It will be nice to see him on the sideline again. I haven’t seen him in a while, but it’s not about him and us. We know his team is going to be prepared and ready to go just like this team.”

On after winning the national championship as freshmen and not making it to the Final Four since that time
“I think sophomore year coming off that national championship we knew we were going to have a target on our back, but I don’t think we really understood what getting people’s best games really was. It was definitely a wakeup call for us and that’s why we prepared so hard in the off-season and went into our junior year and had a great year. Stanford, the stars were aligned for them. I don’t think there was a better basketball game all year long than the Maryland vs. Stanford game last year. We came up short not because we weren’t a great team. It there could have been five teams in the final four last year we would have been. So this year that gives us extra motivation to get back where we started our careers and finish off right.”   

On what Louisville head coach Jeff Walz taught her
“I think Coach Walz showed me a different side of me. He wasn’t afraid to speak his mind with me. He is very blunt and bold with his approach towards his players. I was able to learn a lot from him in how to handle situations and how to respond to certain situations so I think that’s what I got the most out of the time we spent together.”

Lynetta Kizer, Fr. / C
On the close game against Vanderbilt to advance to the Elite Eight
“It was just a wakeup call. Yesterday could have been the end of the season, but Marissa stepped up and the rest of the team stepped up a played hard. We know how we have to prepare to move ahead.”

On defending the screen and roll against Vanderbilt
“As far as the screen and roll I think it was our communication. One of our plans was to switch on off-ball screens or any type of screen there was, but I think we didn’t communicate that well enough until the last five minutes of the game where we started getting stops on transition buckets. I think we just need to communicate better on the defensive end.


LOUISVILLE QUOTES

Head Coach Jeff Walz
Opening Statement:

“We’re excited to still be playing, one of the eight games as we continue to play some games today to be left. It’s an opportunity for our program, for these kids to make the next step and play on a national stage. I told them we’ve got nothing to lose. We’re coming out here playing to have fun and enjoy it. I’m really excited about the opportunity to play tomorrow.”

On the matchup with Maryland and the familiarity with the program:

“There’s not going to be a surprise of individual skill. I’m familiar with all of their kids. I recruited them and coached a few of them. Now it’s going to come down to what team executes the best on the defensive and offensive ends of the floor. Marissa Coleman was just fantastic yesterday. That wasn’t a big shock to me. I’ve seen her do it before in games; I’ve seen her play that well in practice. We’re going to have to come out and really do a good job to make things a little bit tougher for her. She proved in the game yesterday it’s tough to guard her one-on-one. We’ll have to make some adjustments and make some changes as the game goes on. It’s going to be fun. Those kids are still friends of mine. They still call and talk. I think ¾ of the team came to our Georgetown game this past year. They came out to see us play and came to see me and say hi. It’s going to be a lot of fun for our kids to play and for me to coach.”

On Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver:

“Kristi Toliver has been an outstanding player for four years. She’s got a great personality. She loves to compete, loves the game. She’ll always be known for the shot she made in our Duke game in the finals. That’s something that every kid dreams about and she had the opportunity to live it.”

“Marissa Coleman, I’ve been so impressed with her for her four years and when we recruited her out of high school with how hard she’s always worked. She’s always in the gym, always trying to improve her game. She’s a well-grounded person. I’ve really enjoyed the chance to continue a relationship with her. She’s a great kid. Her family is outstanding. I was excited to see both of them play well. I’ve been especially excited for Marissa, especially with the way she’s been playing for the last month. She has been without a doubt the one that’s been carrying that team on her back. It’s been fun to watch, but I’m not sure how much fun it will be to coach against them.”

Angel McCoughtry, Sr. / F
On what it means for her to get credit for the rise of Louisville women’s basketball
“It means a lot, but you can’t give credit to just one person. I have to thank Tom [Jurich] for putting money in the program and saying let’s take another step. When I first got to the program, the mentality was ‘Let’s just try to make the tournament’. Now the mentality is ‘Let’s win the whole thing.’ So that’s the difference from now and then, but you have to thank the team, the championship caliber coaches for believing in us. I will not [accept any responsibility]. I just try to play and have fun.”

On the book she is writing
“It stems from when I realized I was a role model for a lot of people. People come to me, even grown ups, say ‘I didn’t watch women’s basketball before, but now I love it.’ Even little girls say ‘I struggle with this and what can I do in this situation?’ Basically in my book, I’m writing how to encourage young people, how to motivate them. I’m telling them about my life and they can look at my life and say ‘Hey I’ve been through that. Now I see that she went through that and I shouldn’t feel so bad about myself.’”

On wearing the same number of Darrell Griffith and her relationship with him
“I [didn’t know who he was] at first. Not until somebody said ‘Hey you have a legend’s number, then I started doing my research and my homework. Then I realized he was somebody special. He’s like a mentor now to me. He has a championship under his belt and I’m just trying to be like him. He gives me a lot of advice and tells me to go out there and have fun, enjoy the moment and experiences because he’s been there and done that.”

On wanting to play at Maryland after high school
“It’s Maryland, who wouldn’t want to go to Maryland? At the time the men had just won the championship and there was a lot going on and the women were on the rise so I would have loved to gone to Maryland. Unfortunately things didn’t work out that way and things work out for a reason. I’m glad I’m here at Louisville and we’ve made history and I’m part of history. I’m happy where I’m at.”

Candyce Bingham, Sr. / F
On preparing and playing differently for Maryland
“They have different players so in that aspect you different things. They’re a great team, they’ve already been on that stage. In that way they have the upper hand. We’re going out there and execute a game plan and whatever happens happens.”

On her mom’s influence on her
“It was just her and me since I was born. She’s my best friend and she’s always there. She says things sometimes that I don’t want to hear, but in the end she ends up being right. She’s my world. I don’t know where I would be without her.

On Angel’s biggest improvement
“I think being able to be coached and allowing Coach Walz to help her out instead of trying to do things on her own. People care about you and I think she’s really starting to see that.”

On what they can do effectively against Maryland
“I think we can offensive rebound and get out in transition and push the ball. We’re going to have to execute and play harder than them.”

On the team’s defense and level of intensity
“We want to play hard just like Vanderbilt did. They came out and played really hard. We’re going to come out and do like we always do, play hard and execute on offense and defense.”