North Carolina-UCF Quotes
March 20, 2009
North Carolina Coach Sylvia Hatchell
“I am excited to be here in the great city of Chattanooga. I love being back in Tennessee, I attended college at Carson-Newman and also at the University of Tennessee. We are very excited to be here and ready to take on Central Florida. They won four straight games in their conference tournament to reach the NCAA tournament. They have a very young team, but are very athletic and get up and down the court very quick, similar to what we do. The tournament is what you work for all season and we are hoping toput it all together and make a deep run this year.”
Re: The South Dakota game
“Last few years we have that big gap between the ACC and NCAA tournaments. Up to this year we had won the past four conference tournaments so you have a few days less between. You sort of loose your edge with such a gap you work all year for the NCAA Tournament, so why would you take all that time off . We wanted to play a game and they (administration) said it had to play a legitimate team. South Dakota is in its fi rst year in Division I but they played in for a national championship last year so they came in with that winning mentality. I think it was good for us no matter what else happens and I hope that more teams will do this in the future.”
Re: Making the game a tradition
“We were down at halftime. And I said (to the coaches) who idea was this to play this game? But I think that we will try to play more games like this in the future.”
Re: Neutral site
“Oh you had to ask that, I don’t think there is enough time for me to talk about. I have been doing this for 34 years now and I have seen the ups and downs of the diff erent ways they have. ..I like the 16 sites, but I think the top 16 teams should be hosting. I have talked to a lot of people about it, this is not good to play at neutral, but that is just my opinion. You have earned the top 16 spot, you played that well all season. If you are up there then you have been winning all season and should have the fans at the games.
If you are playing at the top seeds home sites then you will have the better teams advancing. I think it would take the politics, so it is not who you know on the committee or how much money you put up…I had a conversation with ESPN back in November and said look at the teams in March and 12 of the top 16 teams are at both.”
Re: UCF losing 11 of 15
“We were last in league when I fi rst and within three years we won a national championship. I think Joy has done a lot of that at UCF. I think she’s starting a lot of younger players. They played a lot of top teams like Wake Forest, Florida State and Baylor. They won four games in a row to win their conference so they have that momentum. They are athletic, get up and down the fl oor and can rebound.”
Re: Younger vs. Veterans Players
“If its equal in talent, I think the coach has to make decision. Is it experience or can the young player be develop? Can the sophomore contribute more? I think Joy has made the right decision there. Not the fact that she is playing the young kids but how they are playing and they can play defense and win.”
Re: Charlotte’s Postseason Success
“I think they have the support of their administration but they have a tremendous commitment to women’s basketball. They have had a few coaches go to the ACC and SEC yet they have been able to maintain good players at the program. They are athletic and very talented. They have maintained stability throughout the coaching staff changes.”
Re: Fans at Neutral Sites
“Well we are going to the aquarium this afternoon. Chattanooga is a women’s basketball area and hosted the SEC tournament
here for years. We will have some good fan support but I am also hoping that some of the UT Chattanooga fans will come out to the games. I know Charlotte will have fans and get a good crowd here.”
Re: UConn Dominance
“I don’t think so much put a damper on it. They put it on us earlier this season and I would love to have another chance at them since it would be for a national title. They have a lot pressure on them because of their record. Over the past few years there has been a lot of parody in women’s basketball so its anyone’s tournament. Right now they are pretty dog on good. They have one of the best teams in history and they bring a lot of attention to women’s basketball. When they walk out on the court they look at you like “We are going to beat you.”
Re: Pat Summitt
“We both have had good success the past few years. Last season we both had two fi rst round draft picks. We have the number two recruiting class in the country coming in next year so time will only tell what till happen. Its hard to stay on top every year. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a run this year. Pat always has them ready to play.”
North Carolina Student-Athletes
Re: South Dakota game last week
“I thought it was a brilliant for the coaching staff to do that. The last couple of years we have come out fl at in
the NCAA Tournament and that showed in the South Dakota game. It defi nitely prepared us for the upcoming
games. You can’t take anyone lightly, they were a great team. We worked on a lot of things in practice
after the game; transition, getting out on shooters and knowing each others roles.”
Re: High School teammates with Charlotte player/Asheville Connection
“I have actually thought about it a lot since we heard the announcement. I have talked to Danielle and told
her congratulations. I’m really happy for Danielle. It’s a great thing for her because she has gone through
some adversity with coaching changes. She is such a great player and person.”
“It would be a fun thing to possibly play against her in the tournament because I haven’t seen her in almost
four years. It’s a great thing coming from the same high school along with Lauren and Nicole Powell. It’s like
a four-o. I think it will be a fun thing for Asheville and the players.”
Cetera DeGraff enreid
Re: Did South Dakota game keep rust off ?
“Yeah I guess you could say that. We had two (weeks) not being in game situations. I think we worked a lot in
the practices that we had before that and what we wanted to do for that game to prepare us for the tournament,
so it helped a lot.”
UCF Coach Joi Williams
“We are very excited to be here it is a very exciting time of the year to be here in March, anytime we are able to participate in March Madness. I am just proud of this team to be able to experience this and having the chance to win our conference tournament and earn the right to be here. We are excited for our fi rst time and for UCF and Conference USA and we are ready to get started.”
Re: Slow start and their tough schedule
“We felt like at times we might have been a little crazy making the schedule; obviously we were hoping to win a few more of those. We just weren’t able to close out some of those non conference games, but when looking at the fi lms and the break down,our kids saw that there were things we weren’t doing. We realized that it wasn’t something the other teams were doing, but rather things we could fi x; so that was a good thing. I remember January 2nd was start of our New Year and season, our girls made a decision that day to buy into the program and do the little things to become successful and make the turn around.”
Re: The decision to go with a young team
“Having ten freshmen last year we looked at the talent and skill level and decided to go with fi ve freshman starting; they were the ones that were going to win it or not. This year they played with more experience on the court and learned a lot during the off season. As coaches you live or die with your decisions. They have gotten better each and every time out there, and you can see it in their performance.”
Re: UCF players matching up to North Carolina players
“They are probably one of the most athletic teams in the country. Most teams don’t match up player for player with them. We know that we have very little room for error, but our team saw that playing Baylor and Wake Forrest. We have to carry out our game plan; everyone knows that they (North Carolina) do a great job of pressuring and running the ball, but I think we may be able to do some things to cause them some problems?”
Re: Thoughts on 16 sites
“I like the 16 sites, and I have been on both ends as a coach. Obviously you would love to have it at home, but for women’s basketball I don’t know if we are at a place that we are ready for a completely neutral site. I think the way it is now is great, I like it the way it is.”
Re: Thoughts on predetermining 16 teams in pre season, and them getting to play at home
“I don’t know about that. How would you determine that? You may have a team that is top 15 all year long and you hadn’t expected that, then what happens? “
Re: Playing in Chattanooga
“We were hoping to be in this area because of all our kids with family in Georgia. We would be happy wherever we were sent in the Southeast, but having some familiar faces in the crowd couldn’t hurt.”
Re: How is the team feeling?
“You can’t verbalize this for them, until they go through it. What is really fun is watching them as they came in as freshman and seeing how they have grown. We have practiced hard and they have really grown.”
Re: Playing 4 straight games to get to the NCAA tournament and being tired for the tournament
“We are refreshed, we got a few days off since then. Last week they had spring break so they didn’t have to go to class or anything. We all went to Disney World and got in some good practices. You don’t usually want too much of a break, but it was nice to have a few days since the tournament.”
Re: What being in the tournament will do for recruitment?
“Oh, it helps tremendously. We have had people calling us, recruits and coaches. This exposure with ESPN in the tournament will allow potential recruits to see us on the national stage. We are excited to be able to play in it this year. “
Re: Perseverance after 2-11 start?
“That was always hard especially after coming off our last season. We just kept fi ghting and we ended up
winning the conference tournament. We were a surprise from our conference so that is great.”
Re: Particular win that turned things around?
“The fi rst Southern Miss game really put a lot of confi dence into us because they were picked to win the conference
this year. I think going into that game, our fi rst conference game, gave us a lot of confi dence.”
Re: A lot of Atlanta area players on roster. Expecting big fan base?
“I know I have a pretty good amount of people coming. But it being only a two-hour drive we should have a
pretty good fan base.”
Re: So many young players. Who is taking the leadership role?
“I wouldn’t say that we have a particular leader but everyone has a job and they are doing it.”
Re: Early season tough non-conference schedule. Help against UNC?
“I think it helps a lot because we did play some big teams like Baylor, Villanova and Wisconsin. We competed
with them and this is really all we are trying to do is compete with a good North Carolina team.”
Re: Trip here so far?
“It has been a great experience so far. It is the fi rst experience for everyone on our team except the coaches.
It is great to be out here, hopefully not our last.”