Maryland Postgame Quotes
April 4, 2006
DEBBIE BYRNE: Maryland is now joining us in the interview room. Let's go ahead and let Brenda make an opening statement and then we'll go to your questions until the players get here.
Brenda Frese: I'll tell you, I think we were, I apologize, celebrating and enjoying this party too long. But first and foremost, it's just unfortunate that any team had to lose this game.
What a great game. I thought Duke had a tremendous defensive game plan against us, really took us out of rhythm for most of the game. And I tell you, Mistie Williams, Monique Currie, did a tremendous job leading this team all season long.
But obviously very proud of these players, with the amount of hard work, the poise, the confidence they played with, my coaching staff, the assistant coaches, the support staff, everyone that is involved with Maryland athletics. I tell you, the fans that were here, they came out in waves and the fans back home and this is very exciting and we're honored to be the first women's team to be bringing back a national championship.
DEBBIE BYRNE: Go to questions for the girls first, please.
Q. Marissa, was there any doubt at all that once you got the game in the overtime you would win?
Marissa Coleman: Not at all. When Kristi hit that shot, we all went crazy in the huddle. Overtime is our time. And Shay looked at everybody, what better way to win a national championship than in overtime, which was our time all season long.
Q. Shay, can you talk about the injury, what happened, how did it happen? And could you have taken the free throws, or did the coach have to call the time out for you?
Shay Doron: Well, I honestly I lost feeling in my hand for a good few seconds. I was just trying to move it. I just fell really hard on my elbow and I guess the vibration, I guess, I don't even know honestly what happened. Our hands got tangled up and I ended up flipping over her shoulder, so I just fell right on the elbow. And I wanted to take the free throws, but it was a good decision not to let me, because I was very emotional and I felt like I could take the free throws, but our coaching staff is the best in the country and every decision they make I understand it.
Q. Question for Marissa: A year ago you were here as a spectator, you and Kristi, you provided the decisive points, can you just talk about that?
Marissa Coleman: Well, last year when Kristi and I were here sitting in the arena and we both looked at each other, at one point and I don't remember which game it was, and just said we're going to be here next year and we're going to win a national championship.
Towards the end of the game at half time my teammates we all just talked and said, we have been in this position a million times before this season. We just got to do what we have been doing all season and play as a team and we'll come out victorious.
Q. For the players, if you could each answer, Laura Harper was named Most Outstanding Player, if you each had a vote, who would you vote for?
Shay Doron: Every player stepped up so big and in different games and that's what makes our team so dangerous is you really can't pick out one player that is outstanding, but obviously we all are. And Harp deserves it just as much as everyone. But everyone is so important to this team. This team is so deadly at every single position, which is why we won the national championship, because nobody can stop us in any position.
Q. Marissa, first half Coach got in your face big time. What was that about?
Marissa Coleman: She knows that that's the best way to get to me, and get through me. My attitude was horrible the first half, I was hanging my head because I wasn't knocking down shots and had a lot of turnovers. It wasn't anything negative she was just saying that I've been playing this game for so long, just go out there, have fun, put a smile on my face and that this team needed me in order to win, so I just had to pick up my attitude.
Q. Kristi, tell us about that great shot and also tell us what your thoughts were when you looked at the person in front of you as you were taking that shot.
Kristi Toliver: Oh, we had set Jeffrey had set the play to have me go off one screen and then pass and then flare off another. But in my opinion big time players want the ball in big time situations. So I wanted to take the shot. So I went off both and I just kind of saw an opening, and I saw Alison Bales step up and I said, that's a big girl. She's very long, and I knew if I got it over her, it felt pretty good. So as soon as it left my hands, I knew it was going in.
Q. Laura, what picked up in your game the last few games through the tournament? What's different than like during the regular season?
Laura Harper: Everyone's game should come out in the tournament. And the Maryland girls are just hot right now, so. We're just hot right now. And that's the best way to describe it.
Q. Laura, congratulations on being named Most Outstanding Player.
Laura Harper: Thank you.
Q. As Shay mentioned, there are a number of members on this team who are probably deserving of that as well, if had you a vote, what would it be? And what was your reaction when you heard that were you named Most Outstanding Player?
Laura Harper: When they were about to say it I was chanting "C Lang" with the rest of the team and I was like me, I was like, oh, I just wasn't really even expecting it. I think my dad put it best when I gave him a hug. He said, "You tell this team that it was a team MVP." We're like the true definition of a team and tonight the better team won.
Duke has very, very talented players but we played I think together, we stuck together, we showed emotion like a team. I mean KT hit an MJ type shot. Everybody came up big tonight. So you can't even really put an MVP on this team.
Q. Crystal, first half it looked like every time you touched the ball there was Alison and Mistie staring you in the face. Talk about what you did to sort of respond to that.
Kristi Toliver: Well, I knew they were going to come out doubling, so our coaches told me that that's what they were going to do and just look for the open man and that's what I was trying to do.
Q. Crystal, being double teamed and not getting as many shots as you normally would, can you talk about how Laura stepped up tonight the entire tournament when you're being double teamed like that?
Kristi Toliver: Laura is a big player and she stepped up again for us. It shows how great our teams is. We had five players in double figures and I just love this team. I love this team.
Marissa Coleman: Maryland is just hot right now. We're hot right now.
DEBBIE BYRNE: We'll let you head back to the locker room. And now let's take questions for Brenda, please.
Q. Coach, it seemed to start the second half you were desperately looking for some kind of spark, the three point play where Langhorne drives and also gets the third foul on Lindsey, was that maybe the play that finally jump started everybody?
Brenda Frese: Yeah, we talked a lot at half time that we wanted to get the ball inside a little bit more with Lang only having one touch, but, yeah, I think that really got us jump started to get some emotion and get some energy, and I thought at that time after that play our defensive intensity really picked up.
Q. Coach, I think you'll fight back a smile to know that have I several text messages telling me that they're in the streets in College Park. If you could just talk about where you've brought this program, that's usually a celebratory dance for the men and to see that happen for your program after four years, what does that mean to you to know the students are behind you?
Brenda Frese: Well, I tell you I hope they're celebrating and being smart with what they're doing back there. Because this should be a time for us to rejoice and just enjoy the moment. And obviously with the University of Maryland and our athletic department, each and every team is given that opportunity with the support that we have from the day I was hired with athletic director Debbie Yow, this has been so special.
Our president, president Mote and the support that he gives and the support and the backing we have here at the University of Maryland is tremendous.
Q. You talked about the poise that your younger players have had and how your freshmen haven't really been freshmen because they played so much. But if you could talk about the way they stepped up especially in overtime, both Kristi and Marissa to want the ball in those situations.
Brenda Frese: Well, I think the biggest thing is we never really treated them as freshmen. From the minute they stepped on campus they didn't act it or behave like it. They wanted the pressure, they wanted the expectations and I think you were able to see as the game unfolded our leadership and our veterans really kind of kept us in the game, and then once our two young players were able to settle down, they just played with so much confidence. They have been there, they have practiced, they have put in the time, and they knew they were going to be able to step up and perform.
Q. You talked either yesterday or Saturday about the history of this program, Chris Weller brought a team here 25 years ago, can you talk about what this all means for people who have been with this program over that time?
Brenda Frese: It just continues the tradition. When you look back at 25 years ago we were one of the first teams in the Final Four. And obviously what Chris Weller was able to do with this, with Maryland, I'm living out a dream. She's invested so much time and energy and for us to be able to continue on with this tradition and bring back the first national championship, this is something pretty special.
But it speaks volumes of so many people that are involved that deserve this credit for this championship.
Q. Can you describe at all how you feel and how long you think it will take to sink in?
Brenda Frese: I think that the thing I enjoy the most is just taking in everybody else; Shay Doron and her emotions, these players, my parents, my husband, who would have ever thought in my wildest dreams that I would get two rings this year, one getting married and two a national championship. So it's pretty surreal.
But I think that the thing that's so special is just looking into the eyes of each and every person, player, staff member, fan, just how much joy is out there because they understand how much hard work went into this game.
Q. Can you talk about the half time message and what you believe really sparked this team in the second half?
Brenda Frese: We just really talked about I told them I was excited because as bad as we played we were only down by 10. And that we were going to be able to go out in the second half and we were going to regain our confidence and our composure and we were going to obviously throw away the first half and come out 0 0 and be ready to chip that thing away.
So I think obviously us being able to get them in some early foul trouble and then I just thought that our defensive intensity really picked up. Shay Doron, Kristi Toliver, Ashleigh Newman, were really getting aggressive and starting to chip away at their lead.
Q. Could you give your version of your discussion with Marissa in the first half and what you saw in her that you needed to straighten out?
Brenda Frese: Just knowing her and kind of what she thrives on, I knew I needed to be firm with her. I knew it wasn't going to be a coddling, it just was a firm action in the sense of hey, we believe in her, she's got to snap out of this, she's too great of a player to sit and get caught up in the emotions of the game, and that she just needed to kind of snap out of it, and that she's needed to start playing with poise and confidence on the floor.
Q. Much is made about how young your team is, other teams that have come here haven't been able to sustain a run like this for years to come. Can this team continue to be good throughout the future?
Brenda Frese: Hey, you know, on the outside, you say absolutely, yes. And you hope that we're building a dynasty here. But each and every season defines its own, the players define it with their character and really how they come together, and so you really have to take each team as its own. I don't think you can put any different, you know, added pressures and expectations, you know. I don't even want to look ahead yet to next year, because I want to enjoy this year. But every team is really it depends on your chemistry, how much you click. And I'll tell you, of all the years I've been coaching, never have I seen a team go through a season and play for each other the way they played tonight. And how fitting. I mean this game, five players in double figures, overtime win, just everything that was a culmination of this season all wrapped up in this last game.
Q. Will you talk about Laura Harper and her performance in the last couple games.
Brenda Frese: I'm so proud, obviously, to be able to see Laura Harper and her being named the Most Outstanding Player. Obviously when you look at someone like Laura and all the hard work that had to go into this season, she ruptures her Achilles' tendon last season, sits out all year, loses the year, and then for her to be able to come out and perform like she did in this tournament is just a tremendous thing.
Q. For that shot that Toliver hit to tie the game, was that what was designed, was there ever any question that that was going to be the shot or were you looking for something else and that's just kind of what you got?
Brenda Frese: Well, not exactly. My assistant Coach Jeff Walz did a great job designing the play. We were on the bench and we knew the ball we knew we were going to Kristi Toliver and we knew she wanted to take the shot. We were setting screens, we were going to look for a little flare action. She decided to dribble penetrate and keep coming off of screens. Hey whichever way was going to make her feel comfortable I'm all for it, and she just stepped up obviously and played with a lot of confidence.
DEBBIE BYRNE: Brenda, congratulations.
WINNING COACH Brenda Frese
"I'll tell you no team deserved to lose this game. Duke played a heck of a game and it was a game that I always had dreamed it would be. It was super. We've got kids that believe in each other that got it done together. It was just a great win as a team.
WINNING PLAYER Kristi Toliver
"It was a great game. This is the best feeling I've even had in my life. I'm really speechless. You just have to give a lot of credit to this team. We stuck together all season.
Sophomore Guard Ashleigh Newman
"They have no choice now but to say Maryland is a great team. I feel amazing right now. This is a feeling I'll never forget. 6-0 in overtime, 6-0. All year long people were talking about us going into overtime and it has worked out for us. We pulled through just like we've done every other time."
Sophomore Forward Jade Perry
"I'm about to go into tears. This is really unbelievable. It's really unbelievable how much success Coach Frese has had in the amount of time she has been here. It's unbelievable to rebuild the program into a national championship. "
Believe (rebuilding) could happen this quickly:
"Yeah, I did. I don't feel like we are a young class. We are by class but not by playing time. Crystal is just a freshman but she plays like a veteran. She is our bread and butter. And we have a great freshman class. So things are just coming our way."
Senior Forward Charmaine Carr
This is incredible. To go out like this on my last day of eligibility, words cannot describe how I feel right now, how much I love my teammates, how much adversity we had to go through to get here, and now we here and we are number one and no one can take that from us.
On how it feels to have started with the program four years ago:
Everyone has hopes of coming in and changing the program or at least contributing but to be honest, I never thought I would be here, speaking to you all after winning the National Championship.
On bringing the championship to her home state of Maryland:
I am bringing it home. That makes it more special.