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Dec. 28, 2006

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Debbie Ryan, Virginia head coach
On her reaction to the opening of the second half:
“I was happy. We came out of the locker room with a lot of energy and a little more resolve on the defensive end. We are still not where we need to be, but it is getting better, incrementally”.

On the close start to the game:
“Maine opened up the game making some pretty big shots. We were getting caught on screens and had to make some adjustments. I felt like we need to settle down and once we did, we were all right.”

On playing in a tournament, including ones at home:
“I think any time you go to a tournament it’s a chance to win a championship. Every tournament players are geared up and ready to play. It’s something you can win, there is something at the end. As far as it being here or someplace else, I think it has a little bit of significance since it is here and it is traditional. But they do take a lot of pride that it is our home court. “

On playing after a layoff:
“We had four days completely off, so yes, you have to get back on the court and get the rust out. But we were able to get back in a rhythm, and we were able to find it in this game, so we didn’t have to wait.”

On the play of the non-starters:
“I thought the reserves did a great job of keeping the game where it was. Most of our kids did not pick up their fourth and just playing solid defense.”

On Sharneé Zoll:
“I thought Sharnee had a great game. With 10 assists and 17 points I was happy to see that. I would have liked to have seen the turnovers down a little bit, but when you are throwing assists, you are taking chances, so I can spot her that a little bit. “

On Siedah Williams:
“She continues to bounce back. You saw her rebounding really well tonight, especially on the offensive end. She continues to be active, and I thought she shot the ball well and was very active on the defensive end. I was very pleased with her performance tonight.”

On Jayna Hartig:
“Jayna’s three was a big shot at the time. I thought she played well for coming off the bench tonight and stepping up and hitting that shot. I was glad she took her time looking at it.”

On Britnee Millner:
“Brittany played with a tremendous amount of energy tonight. I thought she did a great job of doing what we asked of her and filling in when Monica had foul trouble. “

“Her [Audra Smith] teams have gotten better over the last couple of weeks. Now they are playing really well. They were really offensive today. I hope we are ready for the challenge tomorrow. It’s going to be a big one. They are very athletic. They score a lot of points. That is is their strength. They have good three-point shooters. They have a good inside-out game, good penetrators. We have our work cut out for us. “

On playing a team coached by a former player/assistant:
“It’s not always the most fun thing to do, but you just do it. I just get ready for the game. Most coaches aren’t big fans of it, but we just do it.”

Sharneé Zoll
How did you play compared to the last game [vs. UConn]?
“Me personally? I hit shots tonight, and I think I was a little bit more aggressive than against UCONN. And I led the team better, obviously, because we won. “

How did you all play better in the second half than the first half? How about that play with Lyndra Littles’s left-handed layup? Did you know that was coming?
“I think it helped that I hit shots tonight. And when I hit shots it makes them have to play me a different way. They can’t just step off and wait for me to pass the ball. For that particular play, Lyndra [Littles] is a horse. She’s so well conditioned it’s out of control. She knows that when I have the ball she’s running because she knows that more than likely she’s going to get the ball. Nine times out of ten she is going to get the ball. So I knew she was going to run, and as soon as I saw her out of the corner of my eye, I just threw it to her.”

Were you upset to be on the bench for a little longer in this game than usual?
“No, not really. I like to see play who don’t get a chance to play all the time. I love when Tara [McKnight] gets into the game. And she gets a couple of minutes to warm up so she can get a shot off. I love Britnee. Britnee is a ridiculous defender. She’s tenacious on defense. I love seeing them play and getting some experience they don’t otherwise get.”

How did your offensive play work into the game?
“I think so, but we were getting really, really good looks from our offense, or from steals; Things that we work on in practice. Not just one on four or one on three. We weren’t taking bad shots. We had a lot of good shots, and we were getting the looks, setting good screens, and letting our offense help each other and be unselfish.”

You said after the UConn game that it was a game you would always keep with you. Did you think about that game at all tonight?
“We will never forget that game. It’s brought up a lot because the way that UConn played is the way that we aspire to play. We want to play like they played. It was definitely in the back of our minds. We can’t focus on the UConn game for the rest of the season because if we do we are going to let UConn beat us twice. We do keep the game in our minds when we are practicing. It serves as a motivating tool for us.”

Siedah Williams
Do you feel any different because this is your tournament in your house?
“To a certain extent we do, but we can’t let ourselves get sucked up into it. Anything can happen any given night, so we try to come out and play hard every given night, no matter if it’s our tournament or anyone else’s tournament.”

Did you play AAU ball with any of the people on the Northwestern team?
“Well, actually I didn’t because I didn’t play AAU ball.”

Did you see Audra Smith before your game?
“Yeah, it was great seeing Audra and Darryl because I played with them for a year before they went on to UAB. It was great seeing them back here, just like the old days.”

Did you see her screaming during her game?
“No, I missed that.”

What drew you to Audra Smith when you played under her?
“It was just that, her personality. She was like a mother to me. She guided me for a year, and she showed me the ups and downs. Everyday, she was basically just like my mother. That was the one thing that drew me to her.”

Are you excited to play against her tomorrow?
“Yeah, it’ll be a great game.”

Does it feel like you are getting back in the flow, in regards to both your offense and your defense?
“I kind of surprised myself getting 8 offensive rebounds. It was just playing hard and giving it extra effort. And getting this win tonight. “

Ann McInerny, Head Coach, Maine
“Virginia is a very talented and athletic team. They have so many weapons. They do a great job moving the ball. We knew Brenna McGuire was the kind of shooter that she is, and they have athletic guards. We did a good job of trying to control the tempo of the game. In the second half they were able to up their intensity an were able to run their transition and get their rebounds. In the second half they could use their athleticism. They are very well coached.”

Audra Smith, Head Coach, UAB
“I am elated that we were able to turn it around. We did it with our defense. I take the blame for starting us off in a zone when we were a bit flat-footed, but as soon as we made the change to man-to-man the women responded.”

“It’s great that we were able to limit them [NSU] to eight offensive rebounds. That’s a category we have been working on; normally it has been much higher than that. Only six came from the field of play, so that is a positive stat for us.”

“Northwestern State is a very good team who will do very well in their conference [Southland]. “

On the current five-game winning streak:
“The women have bought into [the system]. They have built up their confidence and they know they can handle the ball. We have achieved this streak with our defense.”

On NSU’s Chassidy Jones:
“She is a great player and we knew we had to guard her tight. Diamond [Rogers] and Brianna [Berry] were told to deny her touches and not let her get any looks. I think we made her work for all of her points [20].”

Jennifer Graf, Head Coach, Northwestern State
“We played a very athletic UAB team today. Obviously they are very good at the guard spot.”

“Unfortunately we only played 30 minutes in the game. They had the edge on us in rebounding, but we have to play a full 40 minutes each game.”

“Tomorrow is our last game before our conference schedule starts, so we are looking to gain momentum from tomorrow as we get ready for conference play.”

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