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Feb. 11, 2007

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


Debbie Ryan, Virginia head coach
On sophomore forward Lyndra Littles:
“She wasn’t comfortable. They did a good job at playing her tendencies, and she was trying to force the puzzle piece where it didn’t fit. I kept taking her out and trying to tell her, if you can’t take it in there on the first try, you’ve got to skin the cat a different way. She finally figured that out and played much better the second half. I think that she got much more comfortable.”

On her technical foul:
“It’s been ten years since I’ve gotten a technical; I don’t really know how to get one. I just walked on the court and stayed after her. It was a buildup of frustration over the calls. I was just trying to stand up for my players. I didn’t say anything disrespectful; I’m not that kind of person. I respect the officials and the job that they do. They’re working just as hard as we do to maintain the integrity of the game. I just felt like I needed to step up and give my team a chance, and that was the only way that I could do it. I didn’t say anything disrespectful.”

Did the lack of foul calls under the basket effect the way your team has to play?
“Yes, we were at a disadvantage. Then when you take [senior center] Siedah Williams out of the mix, there’s not a lot of moves that I can make. [Freshman forward] Jayna Hartig’s not going to be able to match Crystal Langhorne or Marissa Coleman. It just doesn’t match, and it’s not where we are right now. I played her for a few minutes, I tried to get [sophomore center] Abby Robertson back in. Abby has a stress fracture in her foot. I can only play her so many minutes. I probably extended that too long today. I’m really limited with what I can do.”

On her halftime talk to her players:
“We didn’t focus on the officiating at all. I didn’t feel as if the officiated was bad, necessarily. When you play a team that’s bigger than you, you aren’t going to get a lot of calls. I instead focused on my team and letting them know that I wasn’t happy with their play. I wasn’t happy with their defense, and I wasn’t happy with the way that they weren’t being aggressive. I don’t ever talk about officiating; that’s not important. At halftime you have to make corrections to their play. We took care of that. We came out and scored 47 points in the second half and did much better.”

On her team’s ability to play best when down 28 points:
“We’ve learned a lot. The thing about this group is that they are young and pliable. We’ve been through close games where we’ve run through adversity. I told them not to even worry about the score and just play. That really loosened them up a little. We play better when we’re not worried about every little aspect of the game. We try to keep it positive with them. I was on them about the defense and the rebounding. I didn’t talk to them about offense; I just let them go. I try to stay away from coaching them on offense, because they already know what to do. I knew that they would relax and get back into the game. It’s hard when you don’t have a lot of different moves you can make. I certainly didn’t want to play zone. They have three-point shooters everywhere.”

Sharneé Zoll
On having no margin for error:
“Everyone needs to come and bring their average in every aspect of the game, and they need to do it every night. It’s not like we have people that can make up for things. We all are making up from the beginning, so everything that we bring needs to be there from the beginning of the game every single night.”

On being a closer team through adversity:
‘You don’t learn about yourself, your teammates, or the people you love until you go through adversity and hard times. No matter what happens, we’ve gone through a lot of hard times this year, and no one has ever folded, no one has ever tried to leave, and no one has ever pointed fingers. We’ve all taken the blame on ourselves and carried each other. That’s why I think we’re a lot closer than anyone else-because we’ve gone through the hard times together.”

On the close finish:
“It’s tough taking losses, but again, we fought hard. Nobody gave up. If we had given up at any point, it would have been tough to take this loss, but no one gave up. We fought as hard as we could, and we did what we could. If we didn’t dig ourselves such a hole in the first half and the beginning of the second half, this game would have been a lot different. We fought back from 30 points. At one point I looked up and it was a 30 -30point game. We fought back and ended at a 9 point game. If we had 2 more minutes it would have been a different game. We dug ourselves such a hole.”

On playing Maryland:
“It’s a big time rivalry, and you always get up for games like this. For me, I know I played with a lot of these girls and I’ve known them for a while. It’s definitely easier to get up for them. But our season, they’re ranked in the country, and it doesn’t get any better to get up for them.

On the upcoming Virginia Tech game:
“Virginia Tech is a hostile environment, because of the rivalry we have between the two schools and the history between the schools. We have no room for error, and coming off this game I feel like we’ll have a lot of momentum. Everybody is really focused, and we see what we can do. We see our potential and how close we are. We see the things within our grasp, and it’s in our control. We’re just going to go in there and play as hard as we can and do what we need to do. The coaches will prepare this week for Virginia Tech and hopefully we’ll come out with a win.”

On the Virginia Tech game last year:
“Lyndra [Littles] was amazing at Tech. She carried us last year, and like I said, you just get up. It’s Virginia-Virginia Tech-it’s so much bigger than you. It has nothing to do with the names on the back of the jerseys; it’s about the names on the front that we’re playing for. We can’t come back here-I don’t want to leave Virginia Tech if we lose to them. We already lost to them once this year, and we can’t do it again.”

Monica Wright
On foul trouble:
“I feel like it affected us a lot. With Siedah and me getting two quick fouls in the beginning, I apologized to my team for that because we need Siedah in there rebounding. It was frustrating knowing that my team was working as hard as they could out there, and after a while you get winded and you need people to come in and give you a break.”

On Coach Ryan allowing her to play with fouls:
“She just came down to the bench and told us she was putting us back in and that we had to play smart. We knew basically what we had to do-just go back in and give the team what we had to give. I guess she had faith in us. It’s good to know that.”

On close competition with ranked teams:
“It just feels like we have one more hump to get over to get to the point where we can knock down a couple of teams and get an upset. I just feel like we have it in our grasp and we’re on our way-it’s right around the corner.”

Brenda Frese, Maryland head coach
Overall thoughts on the game:
“I just thought Virginia showed tremendous fight in terms of not giving up. Especially their intensity in the second half-they came out aggressively. We’re extremely proud of our defensive intensity, especially in the first half. I think we were really clicking on all cylinders, playing extremely aggressively. But they were too different halves and I thought Virginia was the more aggressive team in the second half. This is an area that we need to be able to learn from. But we’re proud of the win and being able to come into a difficult place and win in a difficult conference. We’re just looking forward to being able to move on to our next game.”

On Virginia’s second half:
“They were quicker to the loose balls, the offensive rebounds, they were tipping them out, and just being really active. We kind of got slow and lethargic. I think they just have a lot more energy in the second half.”

On their lethargy:
“We’ve obviously had a tendency to do that before this season. It’s something that we’re trying to correct to be a dominant team. It’s an area where we need to focus for 40 minutes.”

On the game’s flow:
“Anytime you see the amount of fouls that are being called, and going up to the free throw line as often as we did, the flow is interrupted. But that’s true for both teams, but I thought we handled the adversity in the first half extremely well. I thought Marissa [Coleman] and Crystal [Langhorne] were so active for us that first half, pulling down rebounds. We’ve got to be able to continue to do that, regardless of the number of calls that are being made on both ends. You have to be able to go with the flow. “

On the team:
“I think they brought great energy. In terms of the adversity for both teams, I thought they were really determined, to be able to go and get offensive stickbacks. They just brought a ton of energy to the table and that’s what we’ve got to be able to have-that kind of intensity for the 40-minute game.”

On the rebounds:
“I think we were just being aggressive. Being able to understand that we wanted to get the hustle plays in the first half, we wanted to be active, and that’s just your will deciding that you want to make an impact in the game.”

On her bench players:
“The energy that both of them brought was tremendous. Especially with Kristi [Toliver] getting into foul trouble early on. They didn’t miss a beat. They brought better energy in terms of getting us into an offense sync. And that’s what you’ve got to have because you’re not going to play 27 game perfectly. When we know we can rely on each other, there isn’t a lot of pressure placed on individual players because you win as a team. I thought Jade [Perry] was playing well and that’s great because we’re going to need that in the post positions.”

Crystal Langhorne
On her inside play:
“[The other players] really open it up for me. Having such great shooters, so many people that have the outside shot, you can’t triple, you can’t double us, it’s very difficult with guard-tending shots.”

On the team’s tendency to get lethargic:
“I think we just need to keep focused. When you get a lead like that [30 points], you loosen up a bit and you just really need to focus on getting defensive stops and executing plays at the point.”

Marissa Coleman
On her focus:
“As far as the first half, we fed off the crowd’s energy. The crowd came in earlier than usual because they felt like they weren’t getting the calls they wanted. We definitely fed off their energy, and we just fed off Virginia’s emotions.”

On team energy:
“I think we’re just feeding off our team energy. As a whole, I know Jade [Perry] was playing amazing, I was just feeding off of her energy. Especially that play where she just sprinted off the floor and got that charger. That was a big momentum swing for us. We all fed off each other’s energy,”

On if the team is where they need to be:
“Definitely not. We saw what we could do in the first half, especially with our energy and defensive intensity and just flowing on the offense. That’s something that we need to work on and make it something that we can do for a complete game if we want to be successful in the post-season.”

Kristi Toliver
On the lack of energy in the second half:
“I’m not sure why the energy wasn’t there. I sure didn’t bring it today. It’s just disappointing in that aspect. But overall, everybody came in and brought a lot of energy when I just wasn’t bringing it. So we helped build each other up and that’s how we ended up winning this game.”

On playing in her home state:
“My mom had about 130 teachers come tonight. It’s great to see familiar faces. I can’t wait to go out and talk to them and catch up. I like Virginia because my family lives here and they’re able to come and see me play. I could hear some of the people in the crowd saying ‘Kristi, you’re always going to be a Virginian.’ So I just enjoy it.”

On additional pressure in her home state:
“It’s unfortunate that I didn’t play very well, but they [her family] got to see what Maryland’s about-especially in the first half. They’ve seen me play before so I’m not really worried about it.”

Heather Burge Quella, alumna (1990-93)
honored at halftime during the National Girls & Women in Sports Day celebration

On John Paul Jones Arena:
“This arena makes me a little reminiscent of U-Hall days, and it’s very nice. I would love to play here, but U-Hall was good when it was there.”

On visiting UVa:
“I come back two or three times a decade.”

On her experience as a UVa player:
“[They were] the best four years of basketball that anyone could ever experience. We had three Final Four appearances, one final eight. That’s how we started our basketball. Playing for this prestigious university and going to school here, you just can’t parallel the experience. We stay connected, because Debbie [Ryan] and the crew here are so faithful to send us mailers every couple of days. She writes us hand-written cards and we really feel like we’re a part of the family. As far as the basketball years here, we only missed winning it by a few points. We had triple overtimes against Maryland, against NC State-those stick out as memories. We had a great four long years.”

On the rivalry between Maryland and Virginia:
“They were probably our biggest rival with Chris Weller. She and Debbie definitely were rivals. We got to go up there and it was sold out. That was pretty exciting. Those were marks in the history of basketball for the sport.”

On other memories:
“The final four in Knoxville when we kept Tennessee from going to their own Final Four. They had 27,000 pre-sold seats. That was exciting for the 18-year-old I was at the time-to play in front of that many people. I think we averaged around 6,000 a game, which was unheard of back then. We had set some really neat records.”

On the movie:
“It made this generation know who we are. Because otherwise we’d just be some other sisters that played basketball. I know that all those kids get excited about having a dream. They took from the movie that you don’t have to have begun so young to be able to go so far. Disney did a great job making that movie. My 5-year-old nephew knows I hurt my leg years ago. I don’t think they would be that interested without that movie.”

On Virginia’s current team:
“They’re in the top 25. It’ll take some work and some building years. With this arena as an attraction, I don’t see why they won’t attract some good recruits in the future.”

On talking to her sister:
“It’s hard with kids and everything-you just can’t jump on a plane. If we’re lucky, we see each other every couple months. If not, eight months will pass by. Our families are growing, but it’s good to have opportunities like this.”

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