March 22, 2009


North Carolina Coach Sylvia Hatchell
Opening Statement

“We are excited about playing again. We have played Purdue several times in the last few years and know each other well. They are a very very good team. I actually think they are a better than - I know they are better than - their record indicates because they have had some injuries and those types of things and they are probably even better than their seed. So this a really tough second round game - I’m not sure that any of the other games like this is as competitive as these. I haven’t really looked to be honest with you.

We have played them before, it’s been like Sweet Sixteen or Elite Eight or something like that. They are talented and they execute well. I was very impressed with them and what I have seem of them on film. This is going to be a great game and we’re excited about playing.

I want to say thanks to all the people in Chattanooga, they have been great. I have been doing this for a long time and we’ve gone to a lot of places and to a lot of NCAA tournaments and the hospitality here has been fabulous. I also like their accents.”

Re: Contrast in styles - is it harder to prepare?
“They are very good at their style, and we try to be good at our style. Off of missed shots and turnovers they can go. I think they can be a great fast break team. They’re smart and they read things well, and we’ll try to take them out of those things. It’s like a chess match. Both schools we have different styles, but we have a good relationship. We have a lot of respect for each other. It’s an
honor to play a team like Purdue. It’ll be fun.”

Where do you draw the line on how many turnovers is too many?

“Two things, it depends if it is transition turnovers or half court turnovers. Most of our turnovers are not in transition. They are in feeding the post or poor decisions. When we grade out we do points per possession. It’s a true evaluation of performance. If we have less than 100 possessions I get upset. When we do it like that, 18-20 turnovers isn’t that bad. We do points per possession and some people say I don’t care about turnovers and that’s not true.”

How good is Purdue’s Wysdom-Hylton?

“She’s one of top draft picks. She’s smart skilled, and older now that she had an injury and had extra time. She is a smart, skilled, and athletic ballplayer.”

How does Rashanda McCants bounce back after struggling yesterday?

“She usually comes back and plays well. She made mistakes and she knows what she didn’t do well. Sometimes Rashanda can be her own worst enemy because she thinks about things too much and doesn’t just play. Usually she comes back and plays well.”

Re: The last time these two teams played, Purdue didn’t have Wisdom-Hylton.

“We’ve already looked at talked about that, and I think they are much better than their seed. I’ve watched quite a bit of tape and I’ve been amazed. They are a very competitive team, and I think a lot is going to come down to inside play and think rebounding will be big.”

North Carolina Student-Athletes

Rashanda McCants

Was yesterday kind of a frustrating day for you due to the foul and the bump. Where they doingthings to frustrate you, or was it just one of those off days for you?

“Yea, it was just an off day for me. I’ve tried to forget about yesterday, move on, and play better tomorrow.”

What do you recall from those last tournament games against Purdue in the last few years?

“Full of intensity. Each year that we play them is a good game, and they are a good team. I think that we have the best match up of post players, guards, and you can’t really take them for granted because they are that good. To have the point guard that can push it like Cetera, and then have a three-point shooter like Italee, and they have the big guys down low. I think that it’s going to be a
challenge for us, but we’re up for it.”

The last time you played Purdue was in the regular season last year in the big ACC Challenge. They didn’t have Jodi Howell (00) or Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton (32) - how much will that make a difference for Purdue’s side and how much do you have to be aware of those two tomorrow?

“I think they are both very talented players that Purdue missed last year and by the same token we are a different team, and we have different approaches to the game. I think that it is just going to be a fast paced game and I think we are going to probably have the upper hand in that. Wisdom-Hylton, I know her from USA basketball and she’s really good, but I think that the match up between Jessica Breland and Iman McFarland - I trust my players a lot and they are not going to back down from anything. As far as how? Keep our hands in their face we will do good. I think just pushing out tempo and playing our style of basketball we’ll be in good position.”

I know on your shoes yesterday you had all sorts of writing. Was there anything in particular that inspired you to do that, or is that a postseason ritual?

“Yea, I’ve been writing on my shoes for a while. They’re more like reminders that kind of help me to refocus. I have all my teammates on there. To let them know that I’m playing for them and not playing for myself. And just like small things like rebound, get back, drop to the basket. I have one that is saying this is my last chance, so I definitely look at that before every game and just kind of live in the moment.”

Can you discuss a little bit further this being your final NCAA tournament?

“It’s one of those things that’s going to happen to every player that comes here. I think that I’m just fortunate enough to still be here with my teammates whom I love very much and with this coaching staff who just makes me a better player each time I’m out there, so I think that I’m just kind of living for the moment and wanting to be out there so that they can teach me more and so that I can stay with my teammates that much more longer.”

Can you talk a little about Purdue’s defense. They are really good at getting people off their game and their shot and forcing people to shoot poorly. You all scored very well, do you think breaking down and getting the shots that you want will be the key?

“Most definitely. I think we are well-prepared for this game. Our coaches have us work real hard at breaking down their defense and their offense. I think we have a great game plan and as long as we execute it we should have no problems scoring the ball, or fast breaking and doing what Carolina basketball is.”

Jessica Breland

Can you determine which group of forwards is going to dictate play a little bit?

“I think the game is going to be determined on who has the most heart. Like RaShanda said we match up pretty well, and it’s going to be determined by who has the most heart.”


Purdue Coach Sharon Versyp

Opening Statement

“Obviously I think it will be a great battle with two great traditions and two great programs. I think both teams are playing really good basketball. We’re just excited for tomorrow to get here and obviously to be fortunate enough to be playing."

Re: Biggest concerns

“We have to value the ball quite a bit, get back on transition defense, and crash the offensive boards. We have to take out their 3-point shooters a little bit.“

How much does already playing UNC prepare you?

“It’s the experience, you understand their style. We played Maryland this year and played close to them. We’ve been able to compare ourselves to somebody like that and we’ve grown quite a bit. I just think with your conference and non-conference for us, and our strength of schedule, it just enables us to be prepared for a game like this.”

Do you like playing UNC again in tournament?

“We have no control of a lot of things in our world. If it was a No. 3 seed somewhere else the great thing is that we’re on a neutral court. Whether it’s destiny for things to be that way, we’ll see what happens.”

Re: Brittany Rayburn finding balance

“She’s been very good at attacking people and getting people in foul trouble, and then she has the three ball. If they take that away she understands and we’ll talk to her about that. She’s just really grown and matured.”

Re: Experience

“I think it’s very important, the players discussed it in front of me, ‘we’ve experienced great things with the NCAA.’ When you have five seniors and three juniors it’s a great opportunity. You can have the experience but the ball has got to go in and you’ve got to defend and do those kinds of things. We’re not happy just to be here.”

Re: Trip to Rock City

“I loved it. We went to Lookout Mountain when I was really young, but I think I was two so I don’t really remember it. It was neat to see, we want to give our players a different type of experience, a team building experience, and they enjoyed it. I just like to see all the girls laugh and smile and just really enjoy what they’re doing.”

Purdue Student-Athletes

Linsday Wisdom-Hylton

You played multiple games against North Carolina. What are the keys to beating them and staying in the game. What do you guys have to do?

“I think we need to match their aggressiveness, they like to push the ball up and we need to be just as aggressive and we have to box out and they love to crash their boards. We really need to concentrate on boxing out.”

What do you recall for the last couple of matchups with North Carolina?

“Other than the losses, they are very physical and aggressive and we need to just match their aggressiveness and box out. They scored very easily last time, so we need to play better defense.”

What was it like for you yesterday being back in the tournament after sitting out for a year? Any nerves yesterday?

“Just a few since it’s my senior year. I’m just very excited about being back, being here and playing with the team.”

The team went to Rock City. Can you just talk about that experience?

“We walked through the narrow pieces of rock, people got to rock climb and I got to hang out with the team.”

You both talked about dealing with their aggressiveness and intensity. The way that you all have been playing defensiveness this year do you think you might be in your best position to try and do that with your defense that that might be your strength that you can use effectively?

“Definitely, I think that our defense has picked up toward the end of this season, but we are playing good basketball right now. We have been switching up our defense doing man and zone, and full court pressing. We just want to kind of mix things up for North Carolina, so that they won’t get to comfortable.”

FahKara Malone

You played multiple games against North Carolina. What are the keys to beating them and staying in the game. What do you guys have to do?

“The biggest thing is getting back on transition defense and matching their aggressiveness and intensity on both sides of the floor and converting their turnovers into our own offense.”

Do you ever look at this match up and think will this tournament ever put you in a bracket that doesn’t include North Carolina?

“Honestly when we saw it we were like here we go again, but it doesn’t matter which side of the bracket we’re on. They are such an amazing team and you have to go through the best and to get to the top that’s what you have to do. We’re happy that we get to play them and challenge ourselves since they are such a good team.”

The team went to Rock City. Can you just talk about that experience?

“I think the best part was the really scary bridge that you can go across which Lindsay and Danielle were the worst on it. It was really exciting getting to see everybody have a good time on a lighter note than what we have to do while we’re here.”

You both talked about dealing with their aggressiveness and intensity. The way that you all have been playing defensiveness this year do you think you might be in your best position to try and do that with your defense that that might be your strength that you can use effectively?

“I think the biggest thing is that we have 8 or 9 players now that come in and out of the game and everyone plays so well together that we don’t have to be in the right place to make the right plays and we just continue to play off of each other and communicate well.”