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Virginia v. Longwood
Nov. 21, 2010

Virginia Head Coach Debbie Ryan
Opening statement:

“First of all I want to congratulate Longwood. I thought they played a very strong game today and I was very impressed with some of their new players and how scrappy they were. I was obviously disappointed with our start. I guess you could say I was very disappointed with our start. I think that one of the things that we have to learn as a team and as a group of players is how exactly to figure out our mindset as we come into the game. That was led for many years by Monica Wright and now we have to figure out how we do that every single day. It’s an area of the game in which we have to get a whole lot better not only on game day, but also on practice days. As a matter of fact we didn’t practice well after a day off. It’s the beginning of the season and I’m sure that once we get ourselves together we’ll be all right. I’m not convinced that we have the rotations quite right yet because we have had so much in and out that it’s hard to get the chemistry going. I’m going to continue to work on that but I was happy with the rebounding and I thought that Ariana Moorer had a tremendous game again today. She was a very good leader on the floor. Of the starting five, I felt like she was the only one to have a good start.”

On Virginia’s rebounding:
“It’s tremendously important and it was the area of the game that I was most worried about. I think you can see that the addition of Jazmin Pitts and players like that have really made a big difference. Ariana Moorer is one of the best rebounding guards in the conference and she proved that again today. I think that players like Chelsea Shine stepped up today. Simone Egwu usually rebounds the ball a whole lot better than she did today. I think she had an off day so I hope she’ll be able to turn that around and be a little more consistent on the positive side for us as we head down to St. Thomas.”

On being down by 16 in the first half:
“I wasn’t worried about being down by 16 to anyone in particular. I was concerned about our play and our play alone. I think the more you try to bring into it the emotion of ‘you should be winning by this much’ just adds to the pressure so I just reminded them that this is not the way we play. They knew it and they tried to figure a way out of it and they did so as long as we have good leadership on the floor and someone like Paulisha Kellum who really stepped up today almost from start to finish, you’ll be fine. My biggest concern was the way we came out initially and I was surprised because we had a great shoot around this morning. We were really feisty and ready to play so I was surprised. Today we were obviously really battling ourselves.”

On Virginia’s inside game:
“I think that what we were getting good shots in the paint in the first half but we weren’t finishing with contact so I reminded them that we know how to do this and that we were going to go inside a lot so that’s what we did. We got our feet set and that’s how we played the game. We were looking to take more layups than frees and that’s how we broke the game open a little bit.”

On the relationship between defense and offense:
“As a matter of fact, I reminded that at half time that if your defense isn’t playing well, your offense definitely isn’t playing well. We are a team that’s built on defense and that’s something we have to be better at. We’re a work in progress there. We were just a little bit spacey today on the offensive end. Once we started to settle down defensively you could see that we started to run a little more, we got a lot more tips and we started winning the 50-50 balls, which was critical. That’s the good news, that we got to the line a lot more.”

On the upcoming Paradise Jam:
“We have a really tough stretch. Our next four games are against teams in the top 20. It’s not like we’re not going to be prepared, we have already been on the road against a top four team and we handled that very well. I think that it’s really a challenge but it’s also a good thing because we’ll be very focused for it and I won’t have to worry about whether we’ll be ready to play or not. It’s a really great atmosphere down there. It is just like the ACC Tournament and will be really good practice for things to come.”

Virginia Guard Ariana Moorer
On overcoming halftime deficit
“It was really important for us to get our energy up and I thought we were able to do that by not panicking and focusing on the rest of the game.”

On Longwood’s performance:
“They came out really strong and we did not match their intensity early on.”

On offensive game plan:
“We wanted to keep attacking them off the dribble and that was the game plan from the beginning.”

On upcoming road trip:
“We play three highly ranked teams and if we can come back from this trip with a few wins it will say a lot about our team.”

Virginia Forward Jazmin Pitts
On post play:
“They were really scrappy so we were really trying to stay low in the post. Early on a lot of our shots were not falling – but we were able to draw the fouls and convert on our free throws.”

On halftime adjustments:
“We talked at halftime about picking it up and keeping our heads up. We stayed together as a team and were able to get the win in the end.”

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