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Virginia Tech at Virginia
Feb. 28, 2010
Postgame Quotes

Virginia head coach Debbie Ryan
Opening Statement
“We had a little slow start today. Some of that was Virginia Tech, some of that was us. I felt like we were dragging from Durham. We really tried to just get to the break. Once we were able to get back and collected again and straighten some things out, I think we came out with much better energy. I thought that Jayna Hartig came in and gave us really good energy in the first half and really showed what we had to do in order to match Virginia Tech’s energy. I don’t feel like we were matching their energy. That’s a really big no-no in basketball. Once we got going and got running and started stealing the ball, we were able to get some separation. And that was the game.”

On Monica Wright’s emotions at her last home game:
“She wasn’t real emotional today. I thought that she was emotionally spent if you want my honest opinion. When we were walking to the press room in Durham, it was the first time she ever told me she was exhausted.”

On Wright’s second-half energy:
“It was really remarkable. She just flipped a switch in the second half and got herself back on track and doing the right things. The little things she does are just amazing: a reach here, a tap there, a rebound. It just makes all the difference in the world. It’s been a long season. We were at Duke and if you could have seen the physicality of that game, if you could have really seen it and been there, you would have understood that it was like a football game. She was getting hit, shoved, pushed, nudged on every single play. That takes a lot out of a player. But she just kept on going. It was like the energizer bunny.”

On pressure over today’s game:
“I thought there was a lot of pressure on the team, and no pressure on Virginia Tech. They could come in here and just play, and we had a lot of pressure. Not that we mentioned any of it; it wasn’t about that. The players know. But, they handled it fairly well. I think that some of it was a little bit of jitters, trying to do what they could for Monica. That’s what they were really focusing on, having a great day for her.”

On the state of the team:
“I feel really good about this team. First of all, they’ve out-performed what everybody thought they would do. I think we got picked fourth in the ACC, and we’ve out-performed that. I think that they have a swagger about them. They’re never down. Even when we’re down in a game, they’re never really down. They play like they’re always ahead, and they understand when you make adjustments. They understand when you get on them. They understand when you’re being funny with them. They get it. They just really want win. They put everything they have into it. Even my young ones, they go up and down like yo-yo’s. But you watched Lexie [Gerson] today; she was all over the place. On every play she was going to get that ball. She doesn’t always make the right decision, but she always makes it hard, whatever she does, and I can’t fault her for that. Whatever she does, she does hard.”

Virginia guard Monica Wright
On emotions today:
“It was just pretty steady all day. The girls mentioned earlier today how sad it was going to be. It came down to warming up, pre-game and all of that, We were all focused on the game. We didn’t really talk about it at all, so it was pretty steady. Throughout the day I didn’t really think about it until after the game, of course. We were definitely focused on the win. We knew how bad we needed this win because of our seeding in the ACC tournament. I’ve got to give credit to the coaches for keeping us focused.”

On the upcoming ACC Tournament:
“I think around this time of year, a lot of teams are just going through dead legs, just being tired. It’s been a long run. She’s [Coach Ryan] given us a nutrition plan that we need to start doing Monday. We get on the website and start eating some good things. She’s giving us a good thing to work for, and she’s going to help us by giving us some rest this week. When we go down to Greensboro, it’s going to be a dogfight. It’s not going to be easy. I think those games are three times as hard as ACC games in the regular season. We’re going to be preparing now for those games and leaving the season where it is. It’s basically a brand new season right now.”

On retired jersey:
“I’m honored to be up there with Wendy [Palmer] and Dawn [Staley], Cathy [Grimes] and Donna [Holt]. Their numbers are actually retired, so I hope one day I’ll be on the list with them. It’s an honor to have my name in the rafters forever, for as long as UVa exists.”

On the getting the UVa women’s basketball program to a championship:
“I feel like it’s not only a focus for me, but it’s been a focus for the team ever since the first day of practice. In our huddle we say “championship” before every practice and before every game. It’s a focus for our team, and it’s been instilled in us all season. It’s something that we all feel we need to get this program back to because it’s a legendary program. We’re going to start with the ACC Tournament and from there we’re going to move on and work our hardest to get this program back to the championship.”

Virginia guard Paulisha Kellum
On the importance of the win:
“This game was pretty important. Our focus was on the outcome of the game. We knew this game was a big one and we had to win. I kept in mind with the team that we owed Monica one since she broke the scoring record, and we came out and we lost. It was just a reminder to the team that this was payback, and that we needed to win this one for her.”

Virginia Tech head coach Beth Dunkenberger
Opening Statement
“Before we even stepped on the court, I thought this was a Virginia team that is really going to turn up the heat and be aggressive in an attempt to help Monica [Wright] win that game. They were the aggressor and they got us on our heels. We had some spurts when we attacked and looked good but unfortunately it just wasn’t enough. Virginia played like a team that wanted to get a last home victory for Monica Wright.”

On Virgina’s defense:
“They did change some things up. They were switching a lot on the defensive end, which they hadn’t done last time we played them. We hadn’t really worked much on that and it has probably been several games since we have played a team that switched up their defense that much. The difference between them and us was that they continued to be aggressive.”

On playing in the ACC:
“I think the ACC tournament is wide open. Obviously, Duke has separated themselves somewhat but we know that we can play with any team in this league.”

On Monica Wright:
“She is definitely an x-factor for this Virginia team. She drops 27 points a game on nearly every team so let’s all just have a big party and welcome her into the WNBA. The difference between Monica and everyone else is that she has both speed and strength. She has one of the most explosive first steps and where she uses that most is on the defensive end.”

Virginia Tech guard Shanel Harrison
On the changes Virginia made for the second half:
“Like [Head Coach] Beth [Dunkenberger] said, they started the second half by putting a lot more pressure on us than they did in the first half. They kept switching between man-to-man and zone defense so we just couldn’t get in sync.”

On Monica Wright:
“Well I played against her in high school and she has always been a fabulous player. I can see from playing her in college though, that she has grown in so many ways. She’s a great player and I’m proud of her. It’s hard to contain a player like her but we tried.”

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