March 21, 2009

Head Coach Beth Cunningham
Opening Statement-  “Congratulations to Rutgers.  I’m really proud of our kids.  It was a game of runs and unfortunately we came up on the wrong end of the stick.  I thought it was critical in the second half the first four to six minutes, but our kids really battled for the full forty minutes.  One of the biggest keys was giving up some key offensive rebounds that either able to score off of or get to the free throw line.  I thought our kids competed the entire game.  I’m really proud of what our kids accomplished this year and what these two seniors have accomplished since they stepped foot on campus.  We’re disappointed, we prepared and we practiced and we competed to win.  I’m certainly disappointed, but I’m really proud of what these kids accomplished.
(On the stretch in the second half when Epiphanny Prince looked like an All-American) “We knew coming in she would be one of the most talented guards we’ve seen all season.  I thought we did a pretty good job on her in the first half.  I think she had two field goals.  She presented a tough match-up for anybody.  A player of her caliber at some point is going to get going, certainly being a leader on her team.  She stepped up for them in that half.  She took her shots and she’s so poised.  She doesn’t show a lot of emotion, as far as getting too high or too low.  I think she’s just steady.  Good players are able to continue to just stay in the moment.  She’s talented.  I’ve seen her play a lot with USA Basketball. 
(On staying in the game despite Rutgers quick start) “I think our kids knew coming in that at some point Rutgers is going to make a run.  That’s not necessarily how we wanted to start the game, but that’s how our kids have competed all year.  They’ve really been a team that’s been focused and consistent, regardless of what the other team is doing.  I talked about earlier that we’ve played in some difficult environments this year.  I think those experiences have helped us.  They came out from the beginning and got going.  And we responded and continued to compete.  I think we really started to play our identity on both sides of the court and we really started to develop our confidence.  I certainly thought those first four minutes would be critical. 

Student Athletes
Quanitra Hollingsworth Sr. C 
(The difference in the stretch in the second half) “We both played a lot of defense and rebounding.  We took it all the way down to the wire.  In the last six minutes, you can’t let a team run, but we stayed in it and tried to commit. 
(On the run at the end of the game and the chance to pull it out) “We never stopped thinking this wasn’t doable.  We believed that we could win and we never stopped believing that.  I don’t think there’s a point in the game that you don’t think you’re going to win.  I don’t care how much the opponent is up, you should still have the desire to win and get it done.  We showed it tonight.
(On playing against Kia Vaughn) “Every time this question is brought up, I say the same thing.  I just came out and played my game.  I saw her as every other post player I played against in my college career.  I can’t come out saying, ‘Oh Gosh, she’s going to this or that to me.’  Obviously she played a great game tonight.
Radoslava Bachvrova Sr. F
(Comparing the difference in the program from when they came to campus to now) “When coach was recruiting me, I knew VCU wasn’t a great program, but she wanted us to commit and our goal was to get to the NCAA tournament.  We made it here and for us it was great. There’s a big difference from two years ago.  We learned to set more goals for ourselves and set higher standards for the program.  We didn’t have any set goals for the team; we were just playing it day by day. Coming in we played as a team, and we knew where we wanted to get to, so we had to take stepping stones to get there.  This is just another step in the VCU program.  I believe they’re going to make it to the tournament again and they’re going to make it next time.

Head Coach Vivian Stringer

Opening Statement:  It would have been good if we would have been able to start the game with when we took the starters out so I am glad we won the game. It was important that I had an opportunity to play everybody but also we struggled and that’s disappointing to me because I think it has been like that all year. On the other hand the same seven or eight people have been carrying the vast majority of the minutes. They did a nice job. For Auburn we are going to have to step it up on a much higher level, Auburn is a team that has beaten Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and everybody else. I would like to give credit to VCU they did a great job. They hung in there they were aggressive and just didn’t hesitate in their attack offensively. We took fewer three point shots which was probably good in the end.
Reasoning for keeping freshman in so late in the second half- The game is not going to get any easier it is just going to get more difficult. I am trying to bring the freshman along. it’s as simple as that. So I thought if there was a chance they could demonstrate that they have come along that I would like and they would like then we have a chance to put it on stage, so lets see. We are home so if you run the risk you do it at home. 

Feelings on seniors departing- We are losing the guts of our team. So even though we are playing for the NCAA I am totally conscious of the fact that Heather and Kia, who are the internal guts, the number four and five will be gone. So I thought let me play the freshman together and see what they can do. I should have known that all freshman feel some wide-eyedness and make poor decisions which is what was starting initially.

Feelings on defense- I was upset with our initially group because I did not think we were playing great defense. The guards weren’t listening to the screen that was being called and they kept getting hammered so Kia would have to come over to help.

Epiphanny Prince, Jr, Guard-
Did you feel you had to take over in the second half to get RU going? Coach is always telling us that Kia and I need to be the keepers of the house. So I was just trying to be aggressive. I saw my shots weren’t falling so coach told me to drive so I kept doing that and we were successful doing that.
 Feelings on last five minutes of the game- Coach thinks highly of me so she especially looks to me to take the underclassmen under me. I have to step my game up to be able to make them look good. I think it is important to do what coach is telling
Feelings on Monday night game against Auburn- I think they are a good team. They have some great players. They push the ball from what I saw today, and we have to come out and play great defense and stop them in transition and break up their play a little.

Kia Vaughn, Sr., Center
- How it felt to sit out last ten minutes of first half- Rashidat was in at the time and I told her to keep up the intensity and to finish out the game. I don’t think I was offended because I was in foul trouble. I was just ready to go back in and waiting for my time.
Being a senior what does this mean for you- I think being a senior I am on high alert. Every game is taken as my last game because anything can happen so I have to be on top of everything, on top of my teammates and make sure everybody is alert and everybody is on the same page as everybody else. And cherish the moments.

Brittany Ray, Jr., Guard-
Biggest difference between halves- I think offense approach came from our defense. Coach Stringer told us that we weren’t playing the defense that the Scarlet Knights usually play so I think once we stepped up our defense our offense was much, much better.
Brittany- On what triggered offensive spark- We take a lot of pride in our defense and I think we were a little e disappointed with our defensive effort in the first half. We wanted to rebound the ball and Coach Stringer stressed it at half time that we need to step up our defense. Earlier she told us that offense wins games, defense wins championships. She was just trying to remind us that defense is what got us here.
Epiphany- Feelings on Monday night game against Auburn- I think they are a good team. They have some great players. They push the ball from what I saw today, and we have to come out and play great defense and stop them in transition and break up their play a little.