March 20, 2009

Arizona State Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne

“I just like to thank the people of Duluth. Its wonderful to be here. Obviously we’re excited, honored to be here. We would like to thank the representatives of the Committee (NCAA). We are excited to be here but obviously we have had some transition recently losing our starting point guard Dymond Simon. We have had some time to practice and we feel really good about our team. We have six seniors and have a veteran team that has played in a number of NCAA Tournaments.

I’ve coached against Andy (Landers - Georgia head coach) a number of times. Obviously a really tough draw in the first round.

“Honestly, this is where the tournament is at right now. The last couple of years we have had the 18 pods and tried to go to neutral sites but obviously we weren’t ready. We realized that and we have gone back to tournament sites. The reason
the coaches did not want predetermined sites was because the higher seed would end up playing on a lower seed’s home court or hometown. You know what? It is where we’re at and I understand that and appreciate that. Bottom line is that we are here and we would not be in the NCAA Tournament unless we knew how to win on the road.

“Its kinda hard to really verbalize it (Briann January’s leadership); she’s tremendous. Obviously these three women (Dymond Simon, Briann January and Sybil Dosty) and we do have six seniors on the team this year, so we have been extremely blessed. We appreciate her attitude whether she starts or doesn’t start. She’s a key player. She puts her heart and soul and energy into the game and is kind of a role model for our team.

“They (Georgia) are still a very solid team. Obviously I haven’t watched all 30-plus of their games but I have watched some and I watched Angel Robinson score 30 on Vanderbilt. They are very deserving of being in the tournament. They are an outstanding team with a tremendous inside game. They are a very talented team that is well coached. The are often a slow starting team that lost some games early. Andy gets them to peak at the right time. We know it’s going to be a tough game. They rebound well. They finished second defensively in the SEC.”

Arizona State Player Dymond Simon

On NCAA Tournament – “I’m very excited to be here. We all are excited about the tournament and can’t wait to play.”
On her new role with the team/injury – “I’m just trying to help keep the team upbeat even though I’m not able to play. I’m kind of like a second coach. I’ll get into Briann’s and Sybil’s ear and everyone else’s the whole game! I’m just going to do whatever I can to help this team. I’m just really excited for tomorrow and I can’t wait.”
Arizona State Player Briann January

On post-season motivation – “We’re excited to be a part of the NCAA Tournament. We’re here to play hard and win the tournament. We do have motivation in winning, just like every other team in the tournament does.”
On adjusting to Dymond Simon’s injury – “We really just worked on toughness. That was the one thing coach wanted us to take from the USC game. A lot of the practices this week allowed us to lock down and focus on that. The extra time practicing without Dymond has helped us be comfortable with the roles we will be playing.”
Arizona State Player Sybil Dosty

On comparing Georgia to teams Arizona State has seen this year – “I think they compare very well to some of the teams we have seen this year.”

On adjusting to Dymond Simon’s injury – “We really just worked on being tougher. I think in the USC game we weren’t ready to play without Dymond, but I think we’re definitely more ready to play without her now.”
2009 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship

Georgia Head Coach Andy Landers
“We’re excited. We had a good week of preparation for the opening game in the NCAA Tournament against Arizona State.. We’re excited about playing in the tournament again and playing a very, very good Pac-10 team in an Arizona State team that’s really excellent on both ends of the floor. They run very good stuff defensively, and very are efficient offensively with the basketball. I feel like we prepared well for this challenge.

“I think [the selection process] is good, and I think it’s been good through the years. There are things that the NCAA has done, and has attempted to do with the sites. In my view, all these things have been attendance-driven. This is a piece of the tournament that all of us want to get better. Anything we can do in planning process has been good for the tournament
through the years. When we started the tournament, the advantages generally went to higher seeded teams in terms of hosting, and you could make the argument that those teams were deserving. We grew that to the point that we then wanted to do things away from campuses, more and more, first in later rounds, then to the point of doing it in the early rounds at neutral sites. Our Committee and leadership are such that there’s no need to question what we’ve done. There is no question that hat we’re seeking to do is what’s best for women’s basketball at this point. I think that’s the mark of good leadership and good decision-making”

On ASU not having Simon Dymond:
“Whether it’s late in the season or midway through, whenever you lose a key player, you have a six-day schedule to do whatever you’re going to do about it. Where ASU is fortunate is that they’re a deep basketball team to start with. They have philosophy of playing a lot of people a lot of time. It’s an easier adjustment for them than it’s been for us, through the years [when we’ve lost a key player]. You’re always more confident plugging junior or a senior into a position.”

Georgia Player Ashley Houts
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to be in the NCAA Tournament. We’re playing a very good team and we hope to play hard and to execute the game plan against a tough team. We also hope to have the support from our fans here.”

“Briann January’s quickness reminds me of Erica White from LSU. She’s a great player and attacks the basket and makes her teammates better.”

“I definitely think tomorrow’s game will feel like a home game. Hopefully our fan base will turn out. We’re excited to be playing close to home so that many of our families can see us.”

“We’re grateful of the opportunity to play in the tournament because of the opportunity itself. This year has been trying physically and emotionally but we’ve done a decent job of handling it. We’re grateful to have the opportunity to have another game.”

“Arizona State is a tough team with or without Dymond Simon. She’s a great player. It’s unfortunate but we’ll deal with what we have to. We’re just hoping for a good game.”

“After the Vanderbilt loss, a lot of us didn’t know what to expect about whether we’d get into the tournament or not. As a player, we don’t really know how the committee makes selections but Coach Landers did a good job of making us aware of where we stood.”

Georgia Player Danielle Taylor
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to play in the tournament and to capitalize. Our coaches have done a great job of preparing
us with the quick turnaround and the team responded well. Hopefully we will be able to come out and get it done.”

“We definitely have a home court advantage. We look forward to people coming to support us tomorrow.”

“We thought getting into the tournament was 50-50. Either we get in or we don’t. The pressure is still there. We have to play either way. We don’t have to beat 64 teams, we have to beat two, then three.”