Postgame Quotes Following Maryland's ACC Championship Victory over Duke
March 8, 2009
THE MODERATOR: While everybody gets settled, I'm joined for the last press conference of this tournament by members of the 2009 ACC champion Maryland Terrapins. We have with us head coach, Brenda Frese, student athletes Marissa Coleman, Kristi Toliver, Marah Strickland and Kim Rodgers. Coach, when you are ready an opening statement.
COACH Brenda Frese: Well, I guess we continue to show overtime is our time, you know. I'm just so proud on so many different fronts here, obviously, for our two seniors and the goals that they set for this team, and the season. And obviously for our entire team.
What a tremendous game, a tremendous win, and against two teams that really had the will to win. It's disappointing that any team has to lose when you have hard fought battles like this game had. Again, you know, we hung in there. I thought we were very tough, and, you know, just an amazing moment. We talk about opportunities and opportunity that we're going to treasure for a lifetime.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Coach, can you talk about what you talked about going into overtime with your team to get them mentally prepared after losing your lead?
COACH Brenda Frese: Well, the first person I talked to was Kristi because she looked so mentally and physically exhausted. I just wanted to get into it, her mind, in terms of just letting her know she was going to find the energy and be able to push through because she was exhausted and rightly so. And talked to our team. Overtime is our time, and continuing to build the confidence that we were going to be able to come out in over time and continue to play the way that we had played for the first 40 minutes and be ready to go get this game.
Q. Marissa, the 3 pointer that put you guys ahead with 2:54 to go,, is that the time you just kind of insisted on the ball, and you decided you were shooting a three on that possession in advance or did it just develop that way?
Marissa Coleman: It just developed that way. I can't remember who set the screen. Then came off another one, and I just happened to be wide open. It's just the way the play worked out.
Q. Coach, with the way this tournament has gone so far, especially getting a challenge from the No. 9 seed Wake, and going off to beat North Carolina and Duke, would you say not only are you one of the top teams in the nation, but one of the most battled tested teams especially with the parity of this conference?
COACH Brenda Frese: Absolutely. How can you not, especially down the stretch, the teams that we played ad, the close games, to be as strong as we have in terms of our finish in league play, as well as this tournament. It gives us great confidence knowing we have seen every situation, being up, being down and going into overtime, and we are excited about the NCAA tournament.
Q. Kim, you hadn't gotten a whole lot of playing time with this team and in the three games here in Greensboro you really did play a key roll in helping this team to victory, can you talk about how that was coming in and all of a sudden having a major part of this team?
Kim Rodgers: This was a rebuilding year for me. In the beginning of the season Coach B and I talked about how I had to be patient and keep working, and it just happened that I peaked, and everything started to come together during this tournament.
Q. Kristi, can you talk about how important it is to beat Carolina and Duke on back-to-back days and when you guys came out for warm-ups, for both days scuffing the conference logo?
Kristi Toliver: It's huge for us to beat Duke and Carolina back-to-back. Two games in two days. Like you said before, we've been battled tested. To beat two teams of that caliber, in the state of North Carolina, is huge for us. We will take that confidence into the NCAA without a doubt.
Q. Coach, obviously lead by the two seniors today what made this game and the whole week a team effort for you guys?
COACH Brenda Frese: Their will to win. Just to hear the talk in film sessions, around the hotel, in the locker room. What makes it so special is every single person was involved from players and support staff, assistant coaches. That's what's going to make it so special. Everybody had key contributions at key times in the three days.
Q. Kristi, after the loss at Cameron earlier this season, you said it's too early in the season break the Dukie's hearts, how much during today's game were you thinking about that loss and the game at Cameron and building off those experiences?
Kristi Toliver: I think we showed in the second game, the second opportunity we had to play against Duke that we had a revenge factor. We didn't think the loss at Duke should have happened. But it did. I don't want to say it was a good thing that it happened, but I think it definitely motivated and refocused our team. So we were able to take care of business at home, and for us to do it back in North Carolina playing them in the championship with the championship on the line is huge. It's too bad we had to break their hearts twice.
Q. Kim, you guys were 23 of 24 at the foul line today, did your teammates give you confidence when you went up to the line with 12 seconds left?
Kim Rodgers: Whenever you see your teammates doing well you want to do well. And wherever you take a shot from wherever it is you never want to second-guess yourself.
Q. Marah, when you came into the game, when you are playing in the game in the early part, it seemed a little slow, it looked like you were trying to find your shot, and one 3 pointer it just seemed to take off from there, could you comment on what seemed to click and Coach if you would go along with that as well?
Marah Strickland: I think in ever game you have to find the rim. And being a shooter I had to find the rim. KT kicked it to me on the right side, I focused in and knocked it down. After that I was feeling comfortable.
COACH Brenda Frese: You know Big Stick as we call her, she loves to make big plays, and I knew every time that we were able to penetrate and get some really great looks. I knew just the confidence that she was shooting the ball, and I credit the teammates for finding her. I thought we really fed off of some of the key shots that she hit.
Q. Marissa, did you say anything going into overtime to kind of rally the troops after kind of a stunning end there to regulation?
Marissa Coleman: We just talked about 5 more minutes, to have fun and to play. We weren't everywhere. We had a lot of momentum after hitting that shot. We just stay composed. I think that's what we did throughout the tournament. When we played Carolina, they went on their runs. Wake went on their runs, and Duke had their runs, so we just stayed composed throughout.
Q. Coach, late in regulation both your bigs Lynetta and Demauria both got into some foul trouble. Can you tell how the game planning worked there, trying to have that defensive presence?
COACH Brenda Frese: I think a credit to our staff collectively, we were trying some different things from a defensive end. Offensive end, especially with their post players being in, and trying to be smart. We talked about it, whether we were going to win the game in regulation or overtime, we needed to be smart saving our bigs. I can't say enough for my staff, the assistant coaches, because they were completely tuned in and I thought did a tremendous job.
Q. Brenda, the same question as yesterday, 12 seconds to go, you are 3 did you contemplate fouling at half court?
COACH Brenda Frese: We didn't o. I think the momentum was so quick, and I can't remember if we were out of time outs. But it was just such a quick turnaround. No, we didn't.
Q. Brenda, you said that overtime is you all's time, can you expound on that?
COACH Brenda Frese: Yes, especially for our seniors, they were here when we went to six overtimes their freshman year, and I think the tradition has obviously been set. What I love about overtime, and our players know this, it's a mindset. You got to be tougher. You got to be more confident. You got to welcome it. Just a credit to this team to just relax and play with such great poise in over time.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions?
Q. What do you feel this win today does for your lasting legacy at Maryland
Marissa Coleman: I think it adds to it. Something that hasn't been done since '89. But more than anything, there is one more goal we need to accomplish, get to Final Four and win another National Championship. We are going to enjoy this and focus back on getting to another National Championship.
Kristi Toliver: I think it shows our competitiveness and refusing to lose. That's what both of us are about, we are about winning, and we have one more to win.
Q. Coach, quickly ask about Duke's defense, they were changing up a lot, forcing turnovers, can you talk about what you had to do to manage that?
COACH Brenda Frese: Yes, I thought they did a tremendous job between their man, their shown, their press, and we just at times lost our composure, so it was really about bringing back our poise and having confidence and knowing that we were going to be able to break their press and being able to execute on the offensive end.
THE MODERATOR: We have with us to my far left Chante Black, to her right, Carrem Gay, and to my left Joanne P. McCallie. Coach, an opening statement when you are ready.
COACH JOANNE MCCALLIE: Just what an incredible basketball game. I think it has to go down as one of the greatest tournament games in the history of the ACC women's tournament. The excitement and the plays that were made on both sides of the ball. I'm very, very proud of our team. I'm very proud of our fight. Obviously, there are things that we will take from this game to work on in the future but the leadership exhibited at various points in time is outstanding. Carrem was total in her game and her aggressiveness, as was Tae. And I just think a lot of different people stepped up for us having 5 people in double figures. 8 turnovers were outstanding, given the fact we were on the floor a long time. The rebounding battle must be won by us in the future and we will work on stops as well. But I'm very proud off of our team. It was a great basketball game and a great atmosphere for sure.
THE MODERATOR: Questions to the Coach or student athletes?
Q. Chante, talk about the rally there at the end of regulation and the last shot that you hit?
CHANTE BLACK: ACC is all about this tournament. We knew we've had given it our all within the last 4 minutes. If you are talking about that last shot, I just knew that Jas was going to attack it. She only had 8 seconds and there was a possibility that it would come off. It would come off weak side and I just rose up to the challenge and prayed to God that that tip-in would go in.
Q. Chante, to follow up, how did you to manage to talk yourself through the game even though earlier you were having some foul trouble? Talk about that process of kind of regrouping and coming back and forgetting the first half?
CHANTE BLACK: As I am sitting on the bench I'm just watching what they are doing out there on the floor. I saw Carrem could take the post and attack them pretty well. But at the same time also I had my teammates telling me you need to be ready, you need to come back to the game and help us win this all at the same time, so I had to stay focused.
Q. Carrem, having watched you for the last few years you seem to be playing your very best basketball in this tournament. Do you feel a real sense urgency? What's going on?
CARREM GAY: I just think it's a good energy going through the team. I think everybody is pretty confident about where we are right now. I think we are trying to play off each other. The team is keeping me open in the high post, and I'm comfortable taking that shot and my teammates are comfortable in me shooting it.
Q. Coach, can you say where this team should go from this point? What you should take from this type of game and the way you've played in this tournament? What are some of the little things that you want to build on?
COACH JOANNE MCCALLIE: Well, I think this team should just take a lot of additional great experience. We have had had so many different experience this year, and also know that if we play together, and play off each other, there is nothing that we can't do. We can do anything. It's fascinating thing. March is a terrific time of year. You certainly cannot take anything for granted.
Q. Coach, how strong an option is Abby on that last shot since she made the only three pointers you made in the game?
COACH JOANNE MCCALLIE: Abby is a very strong option. It's hard to find her open. I thought the team did a good job executing. What we needed more than anything else was a few more stops. Not too many. It's a close game. It could have gone either way, but we had to make that happen by getting a few more stops on the defensive end. And that's the thing. We are a pretty good defensive team. That's the thing that will really sting for us when we watch it on the film.
Q. Chante, growing up in Kernersville like you did, you understand you've grown up with this tournament, how has it been for you to play the last two championship games?
CHANTE BLACK: It's been great. I even worked here at the Coliseum for like two years, I believe. So actually I've been out there on the floor, in the environment, watching you, it's great. It's great to be a part of it. Like coach said, this is a great game. It should go down in history. We really did play hard. It's just bad that it went the other way.
Q. How do you regroup from this and get ready for your next games?
CARREM GAY: I think we have to look next and take what we can from this game. We will watch a ton of film. Will break things that we need to improve on and take that to the next step.
CHANTE BLACK: And just get ready for the next game. Defensive games, we'll work a lot more on defense. We will label that as a defensive team and we got to get those stops, and we'll comeback and do that.
Q. Carrem, what will you say to Abby who will no doubt try to take this all on her shoulder? What will you say to her about the tournament she had and just that shot that just wasn't to be for her?
CARREM GAY: Abby does take things pretty hard, but we are just going to let her know we have great confidence in here. It was a great shot for her. We know she can knock it down. Just not to lose her confidence and keep her head up and we have a couple of more games to go to get what we want.
Q. When you were down 10 there in the second half, when you got together in huddles and so forth, what were you telling each other, what were you trying to get back in, what were you doing?
CHANTE BLACK: We were just saying one stop at a time. We got to get a stop. Go down and score and make sure we get another stop and build upon that.
Q. Coach, how does this compare with the Big Ten?
COACH JOANNE MCCALLIE: It's just very, very different. There is no league like the ACC, particularly this year. The Big Ten is a great league too. The speed, the athleticism is at a whole different level. Particularly this year, the ACC has been very strong as you know. It's a great, great conference. I hope a whole lot of teams are represented. It should be the case. The fact that Wake Forest plays Maryland to a 2 point game, and then you see this kind of game. This is a very high level game that took place. Very much a March game, very much a season game. I just can't say enough about it. Again it's why I was so drawn to the ACC myself as a new person to the league, that excitement, that athleticism and obviously Duke.
Q. This is for both players. You're obviously disappointed with this loss, but to see the way Marisa Coleman played today in the game she had. Can you talk about defending her and just what it was like facing her and guarding her and stopping her on occasion and trying to stop her?
CARREM GAY: The biggest thing was don't foul her. That's one thing we stepped away from. She got a ton of free throw attempts. We just have to stay low, keep active and hope your teammate will help when she spins. She is a good player though. I definitely respect her game.