First Round Notes and Quotes:
First Round Notes and Quotes: Georgia-Tech vs. Purdue Pre-gameMarch 18, 2007
Georgia Tech Quotes Press Conference Head Coach
Georgia Tech Head Coach MaChelle Joseph: Opening statement: Im really excited to have the opportunity to be here and have the opportunity to play against a team like Purdue. We know we are in for a battle. We know they are one of the top teams in the country. We have tremendous respect, not only for their tradition, but also the players they have on their team and the way they have performed throughout the season. We know we are playing a Big Ten champion and a team that has had a tremendous amount of success. We know what kind of battle we are in for and are looking forward to it. Its an interesting matchup, because both of our teams are built towards defense. They hold their opponents under 60 points and we hold our opponents under 60 points, so we feel like its going to be a defensive battle.
On having a defensive coaching philosophy despite being a great offensive player at Purdue in collegiate career: Its kind of interesting, because of the fact that I never played defense (laughs), so Im surprised I can coach defense. Its been very interesting because as a coach, my philosophy changed from being a player in the fact that I felt like for us to win games at Georgia Tech, our program had to be built on defense and rebounding. Things we could control when we didnt have as much talent as everybody we were facing. To beat the teams that were above us or to compete on a night-in, night-out basis with some of the top teams in the country in the ACC, we had to play defense and we had to rebound. We had to keep the games in the 60s to have an opportunity to win. So as a head coach, I started to develop my philosophy defensively on holding teams below 60 points and trying to outrebound them. We try to get 20 offensive rebounds a game, thats our goal going into every game. Our first-shot offense isnt necessarily our best offense, its usually our second- and third-shot offense thats our best offense. Were relentless on the boards, were relentless on defense. Those are things we can control, because theyre effort points.
Does Purdue compare to anyone that youve played this year? We were watching tape last night and I said they are very similar to Vanderbilt, in the fact that they play a matchup zone for 40 minutes or theyll press a little bit, 1-3-1 or half-court trap. Their matchup is really good because its so spread out, its as wide as the Mississippi River, their arms are long, theyre big, theyre athletic. And thats very similar to Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt is a tremendous shooting team, inside-outside and balance. You saw they won the SEC Tournament championship. We played them in January, so we had an opportunity to play a team that is very similar to Purdue. We faced a player thats very similar to Katie Gearlds in Maryland and Marissa Coleman. Somebody with size on the perimeter that can score from the three, can hit a 1-2 pull-up jump shot, is great around the basket getting offensive rebounds and tip-ins and put-backs. Its not a situation that weve not faced anybody or teams or players that are similar to Purdue.
On Purdues coach being an offensive-minded player but a defensive-minded coach: (laughs) I dont know if she played much defense, either, I think she took a lot of shots, too. She actually finished at Purdue before I got there, she was a senior before I became a freshman. I remember walking in and looking at the record books trying to figure out what my goals were, and I remember seeing her name all over them. I think she took about as many shot attempts as I did.
On going against her former program and the emotions after helping bring Purdue to an elite level: Its kind of a unique feeling. Its exciting and it makes you reminisce a little bit and think back and wonder, Wow, this has really come full-circle. Now Im going to be standing on the sidelines against the team that I actually played for. The first time that happened to me was at Northwestern this year. It was the first time I coached against a Big Ten team. Standing in the locker room, I had a really weird feeling looking down at that bench, because it was the same locker room, the same bench and I realized that now Im standing up here and not sitting down there. And I have less control over whats going to happen the next 40 minutes. It was a really weird feeling. But getting an opportunity to play against Purdue is obviously an honor for me, a privilege. I have tremendous respect for that program and all the people that have helped build the program. Theres been so many great players come and go. So many great coaches. The administration has done an outstanding job of continuing to keep that tradition alive and continuing to bring in coaches and players that can not only keep it where it was, but add on and make it a better program. Its an honor for me to have an opportunity to coach against a program like Purdue.
Georgia Tech Quotes Press Conference Players
Georgia Tech Guard Jacqua Williams: On Georgia Techs defense: Kind of like our coach said yesterday, our team is built on defense and rebounding. The more stops we get, the more opportunities we get on offense. In order for us to win ball games, its going to have to be on the defensive end -- scoring isnt everything and defense wins ballgames.
Georgia Tech Forward Janie Mitchell: On defending Purdues Katie Gearlds: We had a chance to watch some film earlier today and like coach said, we have a lot of respect for their team and we also know that she is a senior and shes a great player, and I know that shes going to take it to another level. But I think that we have done a great job so far in the tournament of rising to the occasion, and I think that you will continue to see that tomorrow.
Georgia Tech Quotes Locker Room Players
Georgia Tech Guard Jacqua Williams: On the game plan against Purdue: We are just going to play Georgia Tech-style defense -- all-out, aggressive, hustle. Were going to play defense with an urgency.
On either preparing for Purdue or preparing your own team: Night-in and night-out, we prepare for what we do best, and we play Georgia Tech basketball -- which is, we cant really worry about what the other team is doing. We have to be in control of what we are doing, control tempo, and do what we do best.
On the match-up with Katie Gearlds and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton: Its going to be a tough game inside due to height, but I think our advantage is our quickness, and we are going to have to use our athleticism and our quickness to help us overcome a lot. But I dont think their height is going to be a major impact on the game.
On Coach MaChelle Josephs history with Purdue: Our coach sacrifices a lot for us and does a lot for us. I know this game will mean the world to her. She hasnt really talked about how much it would mean to her for us to win this game, but us as players know we have to go out and get it done because of how much she has put into this program.
Georgia Tech Guard Chioma Nnamaka: On the game plan against Purdue: Going into each game, we already know the point of emphasis. Going into the DePaul game, we wanted to stop the three, and just going into tomorrow, we are probably going to key in a little on (Katie) Gearlds because shes a great player, but we are just going to go out and play the same hard defense that we play every game. You are going to see a lot of pressure on the guards, but we are just going to play hard and rebound the ball.
On the match-up with Katie Gearlds and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton: All season, Ive went into games being an undersized post, but the key to this game is, when we do get the ball in the post, play slow, and make them guard us. Its not only about guarding them, but them guarding us too.
On Coach MaChelle Josephs history with Purdue: I know this is a big game for her, and I feel like everyone has her back in this game. We are going to go out and play hard -- win, lose, or draw, we are going to go out there and make her proud either way. Yesterday coming into the locker room, we were like, Coach, who do you have next? Everybodys just excited. I think we are all on the same page.
On the carry-over from yesterdays win: I think that game last night gave us a lot of confidence, winning a first-round game for the first time, and I think that we are going to come out more comfortable, relaxed, and just do what we know we can do tomorrow. I think thats great that we get to do it in the second round, not the first!
Georgia Tech Forward Brigitte Ardossi: On the game plan against Purdue: Our game plan tomorrow is to just go out and do what weve been practicing, preparing for the tournament. Weve been watching a lot of film on them. Theyve got a deep team, theyve got inside and out, so we are going to have our hands full, but we are pretty confident in our defense tomorrow.
On the match-up with Purdues post players: Im going to be excited because when we were watching film, Coach Jo was saying how the post players are physical, theyre aggressive, they pursue the ball, and thats the player I like to play against, because thats the type of player I like to think of myself as.
On Coach MaChelle Josephs history with Purdue and who she is rooting for: Shes definitely on our side, theres no doubt about that, and weve got her back. Its not only about getting our seniors further in this tournament, theres been a lot of emphasis on the fact that this team hasnt been as far as we have, and these seniors have meant a lot to this program, so we are trying to play for them. And the fact that Coach Jo has held so many records at Purdue makes us want to go out there and attack them even more and get the win for her.
On the carry-over of momentum from yesterdays game-winning shot: In practice were always excited, were 100 percent -- 110 percent excitement throughout each practice. Were a pretty loud and rowdy team, always got energy, so to carryover last nights energy, I think we are going to be pretty good with that. We had a good practice today, so I think we will be pretty consistent.
Purdue Quotes Press Conference Head Coach
Purdue Head Coach Sharon Versyp: Opening statement: We are just very excited to continue our trek in the NCAA Tournament. Playing the late game, most our players didnt get to sleep until 2:30 (a.m.). So we tried to make today a little bit light for them. We watched a lot of video and were just getting focused on Georgia Tech right now and ourselves.
On two defensive teams with head coaches that were offensive stars as players: I think that both teams are strong defensively. I think its going to come down to rebounding, shot selection and how well both teams do shoot the ball and shoot effectively. For us, we have to control the rebounds, especially the turnovers, and make sure that doesnt happen.
On Coach Versyps defense during her playing career at Purdue: I thought I was pretty good. I led in steals in the top-10 category, so I played a little defense.
On two Purdue alums coaching head-to-head in the NCAA Tournament: I think its great for Purdue University. Having a lot of women right now, whether it is Division II or Division I, head coaches or assistants, thats representing your program -- how strong the tradition has been and I think its fantastic. The further you can go along in the tournament, and for young coaches, I think its an opportunity for us young females to continue where the Kay Yows and Pat Summits and all the people that have been in the game for such a long time for us to give back. I think its a great opportunity for us to have this stage right now and help womens basketball grow.
On Purdues rebounding improvements: Weve worked on it since the first time Ive got to Purdue. Defensive rebounding always been key -- Lindsey called it a gut-check -- how bad do you want the ball, how bad do you want to win? When youre in the top three categories in the Big Ten and youre last in rebounding -- you know thats a weakness that you have to work on. Youre not going to be great at everything, youre always going to have a weakness. However. Ive adjusted our defense at the end as well and I think that is allowing us to box out better. You change your defenses, you change your philosophies with teams. But I think weve made more of a conscious effort -- if you want to win championships, even in the NCAA when youre talking about Purdue -- we can go along way if we rebound. Thats a choice that, as players, they have to make.
On preparing for Georgia Tech as the hunted and not the hunter: I dont get into those type of things. Weve been playing all along as the hunter. We still feel like were the hunter, not the hunted. We wanted to win the Big Ten championship in the regular season and we didnt. So were still the hunter. We won the Big Ten Tournament championship, so obviously next year well be the hunted. Weve had a goal to go as far as possible. We havent been to the Final Four for a while. My mentality with this group is that weve never been the hunted this year; were always the hunter and we always have to be hungry.
Purdue Quotes Press Conference Players
Purdue Guard Katie Gearlds: On the chance to advance to the Final Four: We talk about it a lot, coming to Purdue to win championships. Obviously this is a championship that everyone -- that every little girl -- dreams of winning, and Erin (Lawless) and I have talked and this is our last shot at it, and we are just trying to play as long as we can. Were just trying to play as long as we can. Were not quite ready to be done with college basketball yet, but we got to take it one game at a time and hopefully survive and advance for as long as possible.
On FahKara Malone: I think she has done a good job for us all year. She scored for us yesterday, and in the games before that she hadnt scored, but she did a great job running our floor -- you know, running our team. When she plays well, we tend to play well. Shes smart, shes heady. Shes got a good head on her shoulders and works a lot with coach on the mental side of the game. FahKara has done a great job for us this year, and (were) just looking for her to be the engine of this team for us.
On possibly coaching one day: Ive thought about it and its definitely something that I want to do. When my legs are gone and I cant play ball anymore, just to stay in the game as long as possible. I think I know the game pretty well and I would be a good bench coach one day, and I think that its great to see Purdue alums on the sidelines running (as) the head (coaches) of universities with Coach V and Coach Joseph. I would love to, but when the time comes, well see what happens.
On Georgia Techs defense: Theyre athletic, so they are going to defend. They are going to crash the boards hard, and obviously you watched the game yesterday. We talked about it in our eight-game stretch, we have done a good job of dominating the boards. That is something you have got to do to be successful in this kind of tournament, and weve got to dominate the boards. We cant let them get second or third opportunities or its going to break our back, and weve got to take care of the basketball. We have to be on the boards and take care of the basketball to be in a position to where we can win the game.
On Ohio States loss last night: Like we said the other day, seeds mean nothing, the Wisconsin men went down to a No. 7 seed today. You feel bad for Ohio State, you definitely want to see the Big Ten do well and my heart goes to Jess, she is an all-American, she is a great kid. Us and Michigan State are the only two teams left from the Big Ten right now, and obviously you want to do everything you can to represent your conference, and with only us two left, hopefully both of us are able to go a long way.
Purdue Forward Erin Lawless: What did you do all day yesterday before your late game? There was a lot going on yesterday and we had a few practices, shoot around. We kind of made sure that we were calm -- not staying too busy, but at the same time staying focused on the game -- and we just had shoot around and made sure that we were mentally focused to go out there and play, and it was finally the day to play, but it felt like midnight by the time we were finally able to play. By the time the game started, we had enough adrenaline going and our band was actually outside our hotel and that helped us a lot and pumped us up and gave us some energy. Finally by the time the game started, we were ready to go.
On the chance to advance to the Final Four: You know the same thing, it is Katies and my senior year, and we just want to go here and make sure that we finish the best that we can, and we feel that we have a lot of momentum going in right now into this tournament, and everything is going the way that we want it to right now.
On possibly coaching one day: Honestly, I dont think Id be a great coach. I love the game as far as its concerned, but I dont think that Id be a great coach, so thats not something I feel like Id be able to do.
Purdue Forward Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton: What has been the key to the eight-game winning streak? I think that not only just in these eight games, but all the games throughout the season, we have been able to stay together. We have great team chemistry. I think we have been building on that from the beginning of the year, and I think were so strong with that right now. It has helped us get through a lot of games, especially these past eight that we have won, and I think we just need to stay focused and our preparation for the games really well this year, and I just think we need to keep that team chemistry thing going, and we should be OK.
2007 NCAA Division I Womens Basketball -- Minneapolis Second Round Sunday, March 18, 2007 Purdue vs. Georgia Tech Purdue Quotes Locker Room Players
Purdue Guard Katie Gearlds: On feeling the pressure of playing her final games in the national tournament as a senior: Not really, because Ive enjoyed my time here at Purdue and weve done a lot of good things. I dont feel any pressure to win the next game and the next game; just take it one game at a time and hope we advance, because, as a senior, you want to go out with a bang. Just take it one game at a time and savor it the best I can.
On the possible height advantage over Georgia Tech: Weve got to use it to our advantage. Obviously they are athletic and are going to be able to jump out of the gym and over us, so weve got to do a good job of putting our bodies on someone, boxing out, because if we dont, our height will mean nothing. We like our post players inside, we like them against anyone in the country. Lindsay (Wisdom-Hylton), Erin (Lawless) and Danielle (Campbell) have done a great job of handling the low post for us, and usually when we get a lot of offensive production out of them, we have a pretty successful game.
On good things and bad things from the Oral Roberts game: We didnt make a conscious effort to box out. I think they had 10 offensive rebounds or something like that, and we cant let Georgia Tech get second and third opportunities, or it will come back to bite us in the butt. We had a lot of turnovers too. Weve got to take care of the ball against Georgia Tech, where theyre going to want to capitalize on those. I think we handled the situation of the NCAA Tournament very well. The first game is always the hardest, to get it out of the way, but I like how we stayed composed and handled what Oral Roberts was doing. Right now, practice is to focus on Georgia Tech and be ready to go tomorrow.
Purdue Guard FahKara Malone: On the first-round win and getting the jitters out of the way: Most definitely. I think the first game is that everyone is so excited, anticipating playing after a couple weeks off, and I think were ready to play now. Everythings out, all the nerves.
On the game plan against Georgia Tech: We have to control the boards. Theyre a great offensive rebounding team and they get the ball of defensive boards just as well. Theyre a very quick and athletic team. We just have to play our tempo and not theirs.
If the height difference between Purdue and Georgia Tech post players will be an advantage: I hope so. Their post players, like I said, are pretty good on the boards, and their post players can step out and shoot the 15- and 18-footer as well, so hopefully they can get some hands on the ball and distract them a little bit.
On playing against speedy Jacqua Williams: I just have to go by her. Shes as just as long as she is fast, so you cant play with the ball out there. You have to be aggressive just as she is aggressive, you have to go at her and not be tentative.
On both coaches being alums of Purdue: I kind of feel like its about her, but for our coach its always about us. Its always about her team and her staff before its about her, so I know coach is just worrying about how well we perform out there and about us getting the win.