March 20, 2009


Virginia Coach Debbie Ryan
"We are very proud and pleased to be here today.  It is an honor for us to represent the University of Virginia and the Atlantic Coast Conference."

"We have a lot of respect for our upcoming opponent, Marist.  We feel like they are a tremendous team, a championship team and a team that has given a lot of people a lot of trouble in this particular tournament.  We have prepared hard for this and we plan to come out and do our best."

On what it may take to beat Marist

"I imagine that rebounding will have a lot to do with winning any NCAA game. I think that is an important aspect along with the defense.  They have a tremendous motion offense.  I just have a lot of respect for (Coach) Brian (Giorgis) and the way that he prepares his teams every year."

On Marist forward Rachele Fitz

"Fitz is a tremendous player.  Fortunately in our league we have a lot of tremendous players, so we can sometimes be able to compare her to some players in our league.  She is just such a great finisher around the basket.  She can take you out and face up.  She is one of the centerpieces of their program."

Virginia forward Lyndra Littles

On what Virginia will do to have success

"Defense, I think that is what we need to anchor ourselves in.  I think if we do that, I think we will be in pretty good shape as opposed to other games that we lost. 

"These past two weeks, this team as well as our coaching staff have anchored us to work in the direction of defense.  So that is what we are going to do.  If we do that I think we will go far."

Virginia guard Monica Wright

On key to victory against Marist

"I think the key for us to get a win is definitely not going to depend on me and Lyndra or Aisha, it's going to be the young players.  They are going to have to step up big time and contribute."

On traveling to the West Coast
"I think we are all aware of the responsibilities that we need to take care of while we are in a three-hour time difference.  We are staying hydrated and getting the right amount of rest and we are definitely staying off our legs."

 Marist Coach Brian Giorgis
“Great to be out on the West Coast again, hope we can have the same type of ending that we had a few years ago. I think the kids are excited to be here and are ready to go.”

On being the No. 12 seed
“Since we don’t play in the ACC I guess you are going to be an underdog.  We know we have our work cut out for us with a very talented and athletic Virginia team.  But we have some players who have experienced success playing against teams that are very talented, very skilled and very well coached.  We just hope some of that experience will show and we can pull another upset.”

On schedule leading up to tournament
“We played a lot of good teams, not a lot of great teams.  Even though we are a very young team, it’s a very experienced team that has been in this situation before.  We know we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

“The main thing is that we feel we can compete with them and that is half the battle.”

Marist guard Julianne Viani

On being the No. 12 seed
“We are the underdogs and we have always been the underdogs coming into this tournament, which I think can be to our advantage.  Really, we just have to come out and play like we have nothing to lose.  Play our game and execute the game-plan in every way and I think that definitely we can play with these guys.”

On the mental aspect that goes into a game like this “The mental aspect of the game is 85-90% of it, to be honest with you.  If we go out there without fear that’s a huge part of the battle right there.  This game is going to require us to be smart.”

“Yeah, they are more athletic than us, but we have played teams that are more athletic than us, so we do have to be mentally ready and have no fear.  And I really think that if we do that, it is a major part of coming out on top.”

Marist forward Rachele Fitz

On physicality inside the paint down low “Myself and the other post players think we are preparing for a battle.  We know that they are talented, they are strong, they have got some height on us.  We are looking for another physical game.”

Marist guard Erica Allenspach

On freshman performing on this grand stage “Obviously when they come out they are probably going to be a little nervous, but I think once the first shot goes down, it’s just like another game.  Even after I shoot my first shot, then I am going to feel like it is a regular game.  Come out with a lot of energy and I think they’ll be fine.”