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Feb. 4, 2007

Recap | Box Score | PHOTO GALLERY media-icon-photogallery.gif


Debbie Ryan, Virginia head coach
On the slow start to the game:
“I thought we were going to handle better than we did, in terms of the turnaround. That disappointed me a little bit, because I felt like we learned. There was not a lot of energy when we started the game. I didn’t feel it in the locker room, but once we got out there, we didn’t have a lot of energy, and when people don’t have good energy, it drains it from those who have good energy. Monica [Wright] had good energy, Sharneé [Zoll] had good energy, but I thought that we were trying to play our way into it. Siedah [Williams] had good energy before the game, but I didn’t see it when she got on the floor, so that was the difference. It was a little bit of a concern, but at halftime I was able to get them to see what it was. They already saw it, and they were able to come out in the second half.”

On ending the losing streak:
“That is a hard streak to go through. Very difficult.”

On the fast start to the second half:
“I really hope it was a light bulb. I think they realized that the energy wasn’t there, and they went out there trying to shut the door in the first five minutes of the second half. I think they just about did that. That was the whole thing. We needed to pick up the level of our play. We can’t just go out there and just play, you have to have a certain presence, and you have to play at a certain level. It hurt us not to have Lyndra in there for most of the first half. It hurt her, because it took away her timing. But it’s something you have to plan for, because if you pick up two quick fouls, you are going to sit down. That’s typical of any coach.”

On the play of the captains:
“I thought all three of our captains stepped it up. I was pleased with the shots we took and the shots we got. Once we settled down in the offense end; that took us some time as we were trying to force everything instead of letting the game come to us, we were trying to go to the game, and it doesn’t work like that. I thought we forced a lot in the first half and I needed them to relax and make better decisions and not try to get it all back at once, or in one pass. They have to make more passes, run a little motion. That really helped us, the motion was very good to us today. I thought we did a good job; we cut hard, we ran hard, and that was a big difference in the game.”

On freshman Monica Wright:
“Monica has been like that all year long. She comes ready to play every game. It’s just like she is going to work with a lunch pail. I never have to worry about Monica. She always has pretty good energy. She played good defense today. That was another thing I was really happy with today. Our goal was to hold down [Renee] Taylor and [Maurita] Reid; I think Grimsley hurt us today, but we held Taylor and Reid in check and that was an important thing for us, because we know Reid has had 25-point games in two of her last three games. That was a real important accomplishment for us. We didn’t match up well at times, they actually played five guards at one point and that’s where it got hectic out there.”

On jumping out to a 12-point lead late in the second half:
“Well, it was great, because you don’t really get that often when you are playing an ACC opponent. Usually it is nip and tuck, and then you make a critical error and you could be losing the game during that time. It was fun to see them smile and enjoy it. Halftime wasn’t fun, but that was up to them, so . . . “

On the weekend overall:
“I think we gained a lot from the Duke game. We gained confidence, and we gained poise. This game could have gone a different way if we had not picked up over the losing streak, particularly the Duke game. This streak has helped the team define themselves to a certain degree and realize that every night you have to come out and play. There were able to turn it around in the middle of the game, which was great, but the confidence and the great feeling the Duke game gave them helped them a lot.”

On the pregame warm-up:
“You are playing a game, this is not life and death. You have to keep that in perspective. Do I want them out there being silly, throwing the ball up in the air and acting like it doesn’t matter? No, that’s not what you want, but that’s not what you saw. You saw kids who were committed to what they are doing and dedicated to this game. But this game has to be fun for it to be successful, and I like the energy we have pregame. I watched it, and they made a lot of shots during pregame, so I was fine with the way they warmed up.. This is not a team that does well with that total focus, game-face thing. That’s not them, so we have to do what’s best for the team.”

On Super Bowl Sunday:
“We’ve always done well on Super Bowl Sunday. There was just one game in the last couple of games [Maryland, 2-5-2006], where we haven’t done well.”

On inserting walk-ons Tara McKnight and Lauren Carson in the game:
“I always hear the crowd chanting, `We want Tara!’ I have to be careful of the matchups in the game. We were not dominating at that point in the game; they were trying to make a run, so I did what I could. I always hear that, but they start that at halftime.”

“She [Carson] is very proud to be a part of this team, and she deserves the right to get out there and show what she can do. I was really pleased to be able to get her out there, especially in an ACC game; that means more to these players, it really does. These players work hard every day behind the scenes; they do their job. Every day they are ready and prepared. She’s a good little defensive player, a good athlete.”

Sharneé Zoll
On how good it feels to snap the losing streak:
“It takes a lot of pressure off. Miami is a great team, but we just had to come out. At first we started out with no energy, and then we came back in the second half, start of the second half, and we played like we know how to play.”

On her teammate Monica’s first half:
“Moni always plays well. Like I said from the beginning of the year, Moni was struggling a little bit when she got into foul trouble early, but I told everyone ‘You haven’t seen Monica. Monica will play well in the second half.’ She’s starting to come into her own.”

On the current attitude of the team:
“For the last week or so in practice, everyone has been smiling. Basketball is a game. It’s not a job to us. We’re not getting paid for this, and we’re all 18 to 22-year olds. This should be fun. This is what our passion is, so if we don’t enjoy playing this, then our lives are messed up. We just go out there, and I make it a conscience effort in huddles to tell everyone to just smile and forget what the score is. I think it helps us a lot, obviously from our performance.”

Monica Wright
On how she responds when her teammates are not scoring in the first half:
“I follow behind Sharneé’s lead, when she just used to take teams on her back and just score lay-ups back-to-back. I told her I can probably do that too at times. With Lyndra having two fouls, I felt like we were probably going to need some extra plays just to keep us in the lead.”

On the Cavalier’s losing streak:
“I took it pretty hard, but I am sure everyone did. We were all in a drought situation. So just to pull this out and use this response to the Duke game really meant something.”

On what made them come out playing the way they did in the second half:
“I just feel like everyone knew that we had to pick it up. I feel like that was the best second half start we have had in a long time. Everyone already knew what we had to do, and we just did it.”

Katie Meier, Miami head coach
On if it was the start of the second half that she would have liked to avoid:
“Yes, it is exactly what we talked about in the locker room. I told them, ‘They [Virginia] haven’t been running, and I know their coaches are talking to them right now saying you better just pick up the tempo a little bit. They were playing flat, and I knew they were. I said that’s what they are going to do. The first five minutes of the second half, they are just going to put the wave on you. And that is why I am a little disappointed. It wasn’t like they caught us off guard.”

On Charmaine Clark:
“She had a tough night. I think she did a little too much, but I am really happy with her. She has been playing great. Our last three or four games, she has been phenomenal. Tonight, she was just taking a little too much off the dribble. She was excited, and I’d rather have a kid who is excited and playing too hard than the other. I really think Charmaine is a real gem, and she is going to be a heck of a player for us.”

On what it’s like with only eight players:
“It’s not easy. In a night like tonight where Renee is a little off focus, and you don’t have the luxury of sitting the kids down for a long time and coaching them through a bad game, it’s harder.”

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