March 19, 2010
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
LOUISIANA TECH - March 19, 2010
LOUISIANA TECH HEAD COACH TERESA WEATHERSPOON:
Opening Statement: This is an exciting, exciting moment for us. This is the first time for our kids to be here and they're bright eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to go. Since we're sitting here with this Vitamin Water we play in the WAC so, we've traveled quite a distance and we need to replenish, it's a replenishing thing. We're playing against an incredible, incredible basketball team in Florida State University. They've had an incredible season, they're two time back-to-back ACC Champions, and they're on their home court, something that's going to be a difficult task for us. It's really exciting for us to be here, this has been a first class event, the hospitality has been absolutely wonderful and it's been wonderful to be back in the atmosphere.
Q: The other three teams playing down here have averaged around 13 days off between their last games and tomorrow, you guys are only missing a week which is still a long time during any part of the season. Do you think that in any way that will be an edge for you tomorrow?
A: I think its going to be great for us , I have to speak for just us how good it has been to just rest everybody a little bit, and take care of some of the injuries. Also to kind of clean up some of the things we need to clean up offensively, and to be able to study and scout for a great period of time.
Q: How great does it feel to be back in this atmosphere?
A: It is an awesome feeling, not for me but for my kids, because they have worked hard and have bought into the system and our philosophy. They trust the training and have worked very hard. And people not believing, but they believed. It was all about our expectations, not of anyone else's. That has been a tremendous difference, because they believe in themselves and play to their expectations.
Q: What have you been able to tell them as far as your past experiences, as far as what for them to expect going into tomorrow?
Q: Are they still brimming?
A: That's a great word to use, because I always say those are my babies, they're brimming. I actually think they're peaking at the right time.
Q: Will you talk to them at all tomorrow how the lower seed is not supposed to win this game? Will you talk to them in a sense that there's no pressure on them tomorrow?
A: Of course they understand they're not picked to win, but like I always say this is still the game of basketball, you got here for a reason. The ball must go into the basket for you and it must go into the basket for them. What it takes is a great deal of will and training and hard work to make it go your way. If you don't go out there and work hard and you don't believe you can win there's no need to step between the four lines. We must believe and that's what we've done all year long, regardless of where we are, we've always believed. This is a tremendous basketball team here in Florida State University. 15-1 on this court, a very good basketball team, a well coached basketball team. It's going to take every bit of effort and every bit of will that we have to play here.
SENIOR SHANAVIA DOWDELL
Q: How does this avoid just being happy to be here and not getting caught up in rankings?
A: We know that we are the underdog, but we can't come in already defeated. We have to be confident. People aren't expecting us to win, but we have to come in and work hard and show everybody that we deserve to be here and that we are going to play our best no matter who we are up against.
Q: How much do you look forward to the matchup with you and Jacinta (Monroe)?
A: I love a good challenge. I like playing against post players that are bigger than me because it's my chance to step up to a challenge and show people that just because we are undersized doesn't mean we can't play. I just accept the challenge and I am looking forward to it.
Q: How do you make sure the girls stay focused and what have you told the team about concentrating on tomorrow?
A: I don't think we have to say much to anybody. It is a big thing to get here and we have worked hard to get here, but we don't want to just get here and show up. We want to make some noise. We don't have to say much to anybody because we are all focused and on the same page, and we know why we are here.
SENIOR TIAWANA PRINGLE
Q: To travel to Florida State, where it is essentially a home game, how has that affected how you prepare to make sure that you are not distracted by their fans?
A: I don't think it is going to be a distraction because we are prepared no matter who we are up against. Our coaches do a great job of preparing us. We just have to come out and execute.
Q: Can I ask you about the amount of pride you have to wear that uniform and coming from Coach how much that it can mean that you're representing Louisiana Tech?
A: It's a great opportunity for us to go in and play hard for her. Understanding what she has done and all the things she has accomplished, we just want to get to that level. We are working hard each and every day, and we aren't at that level yet but she continues to push us to move forward. That's what we are for from her, to push us and to know that we will get there with her being such a great coach.
JUNIOR ADRIENNE JOHNSON
Q: Do you embrace the "it's us against the world" feeling with it being a home game for Florida State?
A: We are just going to come in and play our hardest. We are prepared, our coaches have prepared us with scouting reports, and we are just going to play hard.
Q: Can you just speak about being a part of something special such as Coach Weatherspoon's first team to make it to this level? Given the Lady Techsters long standing reputation for outstanding women's basketball how important is it to be a part of this group and what coach is trying to do?
A: It's very important. Coach Weatherspoon is a great coach. We work hard every day in practice. We just try to do our best because she is a great coach.
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
FLORIDA STATE - March 19, 2010
FLORIDA STATE COACH SUE SEMRAU
Opening Statement: We love to be here in Tallahassee and to host such a great event. And first of all, I would just like to compliment all the people who have worked so hard and tirelessly to put this event on. Early on, I know that there was a lot of talk about the NCAA tournament and we're just so excited that it's finally here. I am excited about our team and where we are, and we're ready to go.
Q: Your team has been very good about coming off of losses this season, but we've never had a stretch like this. How has that been, both on the coaching staff and on the players, to wait that long after a tough loss to Boston College?
A: I think it's tough on all of us. You know, you don't know who you're playing. So you're just going back to working on your team, which is great. But, your scout team is on spring break. So, that really changed everything. I thought our team really came in and focused on the days that we had them. We gave them a couple of days off. And then to finally be able to prepare for an opponent is really a welcomed challenge the last few days of practice.
Q: Could you talk about the genesis of getting this tournament here. When did it start? When did it become official? And how excited were you throughout the process thinking that, "Wow that's going to be a great advantage if we can get this thing here?"
A: Yeah, actually we bid for this tournament when there were fewer sites to have. So it was really exciting when Florida State was actually chosen. It was only one of eight at the time. You know, I think it was a few years back when we first started talking about the bid how important it would be to our program. And I think it's just the support that women's basketball is getting from our administration. I hope that we can reward the city of Tallahassee with a great bunch of games this weekend.
Q: Talk about the difference playing on your court as opposed to playing on a neutral court or at another school's home court.
A: You think about what happened yesterday, five or seven double-digit seeds went on. It's unbelievable. That makes it a lot of fun. I love that. I think that's great. I think the women's game has yet to get to that point where we can be completely neutral. So until we get to that point, there are going to be teams that have the opportunity to host. We haven't gone back where it used to be, where there were 16 sites, and all of them were the top seeds. Now, they're predetermined. I don't know if that's better or worse. I think there were five or six sites where the host school did not participate in the NCAA tournament. It was a few years back when after our program had been to the tournament, then had some big losses to graduation, they hosted it in Tallahassee and we weren't one of those teams. And I still feel sick about that. So to have us here, finally, and be apart of it, it feels as though things have finally come full circle.
Q: Did you watch some of those games?
A: I did, and they were very difficult.
Q: Can you give us a quick rundown of the highlights of going around town?
A: Well, Welcome to Moe's!!! We have a great marketing assistant in Drew Longnecker. He has busted his tail all season long to bring awareness to women's basketball in Tallahassee. Our attendance has been way up. The atmosphere has been the best we've ever had. Nobody really had an idea that we could ever play in the NCAA tournament at home. They know in the men's tournament that would never happen. So, we had to do a lot of education. We didn't have unlimited resources, so we couldn't put billboards up all over. So we pretty much said, "What can we do?" We sat down and decided and mapped out as many places as we can. I thought the coverage of our local media was fantastic with that. It was fun being able to go out and be a part of the community for a week, and go to the community rather than get the community to come here. We went to a lot of different places, and it was different every time.
Q: Do you feel that it needs to be addressed with your team that just because you are home, because you're a three, that this isn't going to be a cakewalk tomorrow?
A: They know that because they have been part of a team that went to Stanford and beat them on their home floor. They know that because they were able to do that. I think that our seniors have just ingrained it in our players from day one that they cannot take anything for granted. I think that's why we've been a better basketball team. If we don't come out and play sharp tomorrow, I will look at the two week layoff. I will look at a lot of different things. Maybe I didn't prepare them well. But, I won't look to that.
Q: Does Louisiana Tech remind you of anyone in the ACC?
A: We've been trying to figure that out. They are an ACC-caliber team. I can't really pinpoint it. We have gone from Georgia Tech to NC State. We have gone all over the map. I can't pinpoint that. But, their post play is as good as we've seen all year. Shanavia Dowdell is averaging 18 and 13 in her conference. She is a beast on the blocks and can step out and shoot it, and we're going to have our hands full with her. Then, you think she's the only one. You look over and see Adrienne Johnson, and she's Chasity Clayton-like in her athleticism and her ability to get to the rack. And then, they have shooters on the outside. They have penetrators. They are a very good basketball team. They are very balanced. I look at stats. Those numbers as a 14 seed are real easy to throw out the window.
Q: Because you're at home, did you do anything this week to shake things up to make them feel like a tournament environment than being in a home environment?
A: As a coach, you wonder what button to push. We really believe that the most important thing that we have that no one else has is our home-court advantage. So why would we take that away by saying, "This is so different than playing at home. This is the NCAA tournament." They know this is the NCAA tournament. They're excited about the fact it is. The [seniors] are the ones doing the leading.
Q: Louisiana Tech is trying to return to glory. You're trying to build a program here at Florida State. Do you see any similarities?
A: None whatsoever. We had a solid program when we were in a different conference, and that was before my time. I think that all the people here now have worked tirelessly to get us to this point. They are like Southwest Missouri was, and those other teams that maybe didn't have the conference identity. I talked with Teresa [Weatherspoon] earlier today and she is as excited with Louisiana Tech as she has ever been. And I think that is just great for that university.
FLORIDA STATE SENIOR JACINTA MONROE:
Q: Your ACC tournament ended in a way you didn't expect it to, how mentally challenging has it been to have to wait two weeks before your next game?
A: It's been tough but life goes on and we still have a lot of playing ahead of us. So, I just looked at it like that and was treating and rehabbing and getting ready for the tournament.
Q: I was talking to coach yesterday and she mentioned your growth not just as a player, but as a leader. Where do you feel your biggest strides remain in leadership aspects and how have you molded your vocal nature into that of a leader?
A: For the first part of that question, I think I've grown the most mentally. Before I was a little hotheaded, I'd get mad at myself very quickly when things don't go our way. I really worked on that and trying to lead by example now and keeping a cool, steady head.
Q: Is there more of a buzz around town, around campus right now? Does this game seem bigger than any other you've ever played here?
A: Yes, it does; probably because it's the NCAA tournament game. It's not like the regular season where you lose, you play the next game, and work on things you didn't do the previous game. It's extremely important. It's one and done, so we have to go out and get after it from the tip and not wait around like we have a tendency to do.
Q: Louisiana Tech didn't know a whole lot about your team when they found out they were playing you, the only thing they knew was size. Obviously, you're the leader in that. What do you know about Louisiana Tech and how do you think this team's size will help you?
A: I know they're a very good team, they're versatile, they're fast and they play in a good conference (the WAC). So, our size is definitely a bit of an advantage, but at the same time we can't rely on our size because that's not going to cut it. We have to play.
Q: NCAA tournaments are in the seniors blood because you've been to so many. Does this one feel different because it's the culmination of your college careers?
A: I think this is the granddaddy of them all, it's the last hoorah for the senior class and I think it's that much more important because at the same time we can't add undue pressure to ourselves. We just have to keep a steady head and just play relaxed, but play hard.
FLORIDA STATE SENIOR ALYSHA HARVIN:
Q: Being at home can maybe be considered both a blessing and a curse. You're here, which is a good thing and you're supposed to win because you're at home and you're the highest seed. Can that bring a little extra pressure than just knowing it's one and done out there to begin with? Can being at home raise the stakes even more for you guys?
A: I don't look at it like that. We've been doing great here at our home site; I don't think we've lost but one game here. I just think we're looking at it as we already know it's one and done. So you have to come out without really thinking about where you're playing. It's all about who you're playing and how you're going to play that game.
Q: Does this feel like a different experience than your past three trips to the NCAA tournament, we've been all over the countryside. You're here at home, you get to sleep in your own bed, you get to play in your own gym, practice at your own court and come out of your own locker room. Does that feel different? Does it feel like an NCAA tournament?
A: I'm going to say it doesn't, but at the same time you named all of the things that we have that give us advantages. We can use that to our advantage in knowing that we are at home, we can sleep in our beds and we just have to come out and play. I mean, it feels different.
FLORIDA STATE JUNIOR COURTNEY WARD:
Q: How excited are you to be in front of this home crowd? What kind of crowd are you expecting? Have people in the community, people on campus talked to you about it and said that they are coming?
A: I think we're very excited that we get to play on our home court. I only wish that fans that come to the games normally will mostly be there, and that other fans will come, students and everybody else. So, I think that will be the lift of us playing at our best.
Q: You've worked really hard the last two weeks in practice, but you've also worked really hard in the community pumping up the tournament. How much fun was that and seeing your crazy head coach and things like that?
A: It was very exciting because for one thing, we got to celebrate coach's birthday by going out at Moe's. I think that everybody saw how excited we were and maybe that will make them come to the game.