Story Links

Dec. 2, 2006

Recap | Box Score


Debbie Ryan, Virginia head coach
On Seton Hall:
“They’re going to be a good team. They’ve gotten a lot better since last year, and I think they’re a team that has some size and some athleticism. They have some really nice offense players. We had trouble guarding them at some points tonight.”

“I thought that when we had the better players out there. We were very active on defense, and we were very aggressive. We had put some new things in that we’ve been working on, where we did a lot of trapping and some surprise elements, coming out of time-outs ready to do something different. And I thought that our team responded extremely well to time-outs tonight, which is important. I think we did a really good job coming out of them, either scoring or creating problems for the defense.”

“I would like to start off a little better defensively. I didn’t feel like we were as sharp defensively as we were offensively to start the game, and I wish that we had come out a little more aggression on the defensive end. And then once we got going, we forced a couple turnovers and we started feeding off that. I think we got more and more aggressive as we were making them turn the ball over.”

On Brenna McGuire:
“Brenna was really in rhythm tonight. She was coming off screens ready to shoot the ball. There was only one time when I questioned whether she should have shot it or not. And even if her first shot wasn’t a great shot, she didn’t shy away form shooting. She came right up on the next possession and put it in.”

On Sharneé Zoll:
“The other night I played her for 40 minutes. There are point guards that can go all season for 40 minutes, but I don’t want her to be one of them, because we’re planning on competing in the off season. We really want to be able to go a long way, so we want to get her as much time on a bench as we can so that she has good fresh legs at the end of the season.”

On Monica Wright:
“Monica adds so much athleticism, and she can actually pass the ball as well. So Monica actually finds Brenna a lot when Brenna’s really comfortable shooting. Monica really looks for her. We have to work with Monica on her passing, because sometimes she passes the ball too low, so as she gets more comfortable and better with her balance, she’s going to be really good at finding Brenna. Then Monica could guard some of the better players. It takes the pressure off Sharnee having to guard people. If we could rest Sharnee, that’s where we could rest her a little bit– put her on some people who aren’t really offensive-minded. She brings so much to the table that it helps both those players get a little bit of rest.”

On trapping:
“There will be teams that it will help with and there will be teams that you can’t do that with. It just depends on who you’re playing. But we used it more tonight than we’ve used it all year, so it’s just a matter of getting comfortable with it. Now that we’re a little more comfortable in terms of who’s playing and getting them more experience with each other, it’s become a little bit easier. We’re playing so many young people that it’s hard to get a new scheme like that in without having a little bit of time in the court to practice.”

On Sharneé Zoll’s coaching ability:
“When I lit into the group tonight, we played good cop, bad cop. She was the good cop, I was the bad cop. She grabbed them after I had them in the huddle and reminded them how good they are and how they can do this, and things like that. I was saying to them that I see them everyday in practice, and we weren’t pleased with the way they were playing at times. They needed to be coached and I coached them. But I was a little harsh and she picked them up and that’s the way we do things.”

On their 6-2 record:
“I’d really like to be 8-0 and I think we could be 8-0. Except for a play or two here and there. I’m fairly happy with where we are at the moment, I still think we have a long way to go and we can be a whole lot better than we are now. I think our team feels the same way-that we can be a lot better than we are now.”

On Britnee Millner:
“I thought Britnee gave us good defensive minutes tonight, and she rebounded the ball extremely well. She had four rebounds, but we got her good playing time tonight, good experience. It can only help. She goes 5-for-8 from the free throw line; you can’t ask for more than what she gave. We just have to cut the turnovers down a little bit for her and she has to focus in.”

Sharneé Zoll
You’ve played so many close games. Does it feel good to pull away so early?
It helped us a lot. It shows that we’ve learned how to put teams down. In a lot of games we’ve gotten up 8 or 10 points and let them back in. Playing in the league we play in, we have to learn how to put teams away and not give teams confidence.”

Does it help when Brenna knocks down those threes?
Yeah. It gives everyone a lot more open lanes, and it gives the posts a lot more room to work. The game comes so much easier when Brenna hits like that.”

No offense to your other teammates, but what has it been like playing alongside Monica Wright? Different than last year?
Like you said, no disrespect, but it’s a lot easier to know that you have someone behind you that’s willing to do anything to get it done. Myself, as soon as I get the ball, off a rebound or the post, the first person I’m looking for is Monica. I’m not even looking up the court. I’m like, ‘there she is,’ and that helps me because it gets our offense started quicker and I don’t have to dribble up the court as much. The pace gets faster and faster as Monica runs, and she attacks the basket so well, people have to run back and they’re back on their heels. So it makes it easier for me. On defense, if I know we’re running our jump press, as soon as I get somebody turned I know that Monica’s about to take the ball. You think you’re going somewhere, but Monica’s about to take it, so it’s a lot easier knowing that somebody’s behind me like Monica.”

Coach says we haven’t seen all of Monica. Is she going to get better?
“I mean, 5 steals. She gets like, 20 in practice. She’s so strong and so fearless like Coach has said. Once she starts getting acclimated to the college game, she’s just going to get a lot better. It’s kind of scary.”

Watching you on the bench, you’re kind of like another coach? Do you like that?
Of course. Hopefully you guys don’t hear what I say, but I feel like things come easier to me because I can see things a lot of people don’t see. It would be selfish of me to not tell them what I see, especially the younger people. Pooh (Paulisha Kellum) being in there, she hasn’t had a lot of college experience playing, and even when she’s in there with me, she’s playing the 2, so I need to help her out as much as I can. I’m old now, so I have to help the younger ones out like people helped me in the past.”

Would you like to coach in the future?
Of course…I would love to coach…anywhere. Sharnee Zoll, coach.”

Did you ask Dawn Staley about coaching?
No, I didn’t. We won, and I just let her enjoy being honored here. She seemed a little upset over the game. She’s a really competitive person, so I just let it alone. But I still have years to play, hopefully. At least a year and a half here, and then maybe after I get done. But I really want to coach some time in the future.”

Are you the shot coach for Tara McKnight?
“I’m going to get a technical one day, because I’m really just all over the floor. When Tara gets in, it’s like a sudden burst of energy for all of us because a lot of people don’t see that in practice she plays so well and has so much confidence. Sometimes when she gets in the game, she doesn’t exude that confidence. But once she hits that first shot, it’s like, how many can she hit? She can go on for days, just hitting shot after shot after shot. Once she hits that first shot, we get excited because there’s probably a lot more to come.”

Is Britnee Millner an unsung hero, too?
“I love Britnee. Her defense is amazing. Her full court, pressure defense is like a knack. I know I’d hate for her to be guarding me. She really is an unsung hero; she does all the little things for our team. She works her butt off every single second she’s out there.”

It’s funny to watch her [Britnee] out there fling herself across the court.”It is, but that’s Britnee. If she didn’t do that, it wouldn’t be her. She hustles everywhere, even to the huddles. She hustles to the bathroom. She hustles everywhere, and that’s why we love her. That’s her role on the team and she does it very well.”

Are you excited about the break, or would you rather just keep going?
“I’d rather keep going. We now have lots of conditioning days. I’d rather keep the games rolling.”

Does Siedah agree with you?
“Of course. Siedah’s old.”

Monica Wright
Does it help when Brenna knocks down those threes?
“Yeah, from the beginning, Coach Ryan just wanted us to pressure them and not let them get to many easy looks. Coming up and making them run a little bit helped us gain a large lead.”

After 8 games now, do you feel like you have a connection with Sharneé Zoll?
“When I run back on defense I look back at her eyes. It’s like fire in her eyes. You can tell when she’s ready, and its time to put them away. When I was running back on defense I looked back at ‘Nee and it was like, it’s time to go. You feed off of her.”

What have you learned as a freshman so far this season?
“There are still some things I know that I have to learn, like when it comes to just stepping up. Coach Ryan always says, ‘There’s no age in basketball,” so I take that and just play the game. With all the leaders that we have, we just get behind them 100 percent.”

What have you learned from the team this year on the road?
“Just that the main thing is focus. You can’t pay attention to the crowd. Sharnee always does a good job of getting us into the huddle. You focus on what we have to do, so the main thing is staying focused on what we have at hand on the court and not to be bothered by distractions.”

Are you excited about the break, or would you rather just keep going?
“I’d rather just keep going.”

Phyllis Mangina, Seton Hall head coach
Opening statement:
“The first six minutes of the game went well. When Virginia went to their trap on our young guards, I thought we didn’t react well, and that’s when they got the separation in the game. It went from about four points to 19 real quick. Our point guard couldn’t handle the trap. Then, we started rushing offensively. We didn’t handle Littles at all in the post. But, give Virginia credit for the pressure they put on us. They had 24 points off of turnovers. That’s what determined the game. Zoll is hard to play. She gives you so many problems off the dribble, especially off her screening. You really have to pay attention to her. And, they did a really nice job at going at us inside. They did the two things I was worried about, pressuring our guard because of her youth and going at our bigs.”

On the difference of your other point guard:
“She had a year under her belt in the Big East. She had a tremendous season last year in which we had some trouble. She played point guard almost exclusively for us. We’re trying to adjust a little bit and since then Ashley has come in as a young player and has done just a tremendous job for us. In the second half after she called down a little bit, you saw some good glimpses of her. Without Shantel it hurts us a little bit, but we still have to do a much better job. Our bigs did not react well to helping out when we were trapped. We knew they were going to jump the ball and we just didn’t react well. A couple times Ashley tried to spin out of it and I told her this isn’t California. It’s not high school, especially with Virginia guards coming after you. But, she learned a lot and this is going to be a good lesson. That’s why you go on the road and play these games. We have a Big East game on Tuesday and this is the kind of competition we see every night in the Big East. She’s a quick learner, and if Providence does that against us on Tuesday, she will handle that much, much better.”

On how would you rate UVa against the Big East teams:
“Both the Big East and ACC are tremendous leagues. I would put them with our better teams. They’re a good club. Playing them on their home floor, they’re really good. Their inside game is excellent. Zoll can play with anybody. They’re comparable to a lot of the very good teams in the conference. It’s the competition we see all the time.”

On Monica Wright:
“The thing we’re worried about with her is her ability to take it to the rim. You try to put an athletic player on her, but the real secret is McGuire sitting on the other side. When McGuire can sit there on the other side, that makes Monica so much more dangerous. I think she’s tremendous.”

Print Friendly Version