March 19, 2010
TULANE HEAD COACH Lisa Stockton
"First of all, we're very excited to be here. It's an exciting time of year. Sitting and watching the men's tournament, and also having Tulane host the first and second round has made it very exciting to be part of the March Madness. I'm very happy this team has the opportunity to play on this stage. They have been tremendously consistent and have played with such great team chemistry that this is a team that has earned their way here. Hopefully they can enjoy their moment in the NCAA Tournament."
On what it's like to be back in the NCAA Tournament
"Those nine NCAA appearances in a row were tremendous. We certainly had some great players and some great teams come in during that time. However, it is so great to be back. It's great for our program and our school to be represented, and this group of young ladies has overcome so much. We've played a different style of basketball than we started off the year playing and these players were pretty humble up here. We're fast, we make teams play like we do, but I think we're very unselfish and this behavior has been rewarded by being here in the tournament. With only two seniors on the team, this group has laid the path to starting the trend again."
On facing Georgia head coach Andy Landers
"When I was first in Division I, I was at Georgia Tech and Andy had a tremendous program at Georgia. I have a tremendous amount of respect for what he has done not just for the University of Georgia, but what he's done for women's basketball and how far it has come in his career. The number of NCAA appearances in a row is really remarkable and going up against a program like that, we have to do what we have done all year. This team has gone out and hustled and made the extra plays and extra possessions to find a way to win. We've approached this as not a match up against Georgia and the SEC, but as a great opportunity for Tulane to show how great of a team we can be."
TULANE GUARD/FORWARD Danielle Nunn
On Tulane's team philosophy
"We like to get up and down the floor and play defense. We're going to get at you for 40 minutes and give it all that we have. We have a lot of heart and we've had to deal with a lot of injuries this year, but we've come together as a team. We're ready to showcase our abilities."
On Tulane's style of play
"One thing that stands out about our team is our defense. We play four guards and a big for the most part, so just being able to get up on the opponent and pressure them is what we're going to do for 40 minutes of the game. We're going to press, deny the ball and play our style of basketball."
TULANE JUNIOR GUARD/FORWARD Tiffany Aidoo
On Tulane's team philosophy
"We're a hard-working team that comes out [and] plays hard every game, regardless of our opponent."
TULANE SENIOR GUARD Chassity Brown
On Tulane's style of play
"Another thing that hurts other teams is we don't have one person who scores 20 points a night. We all can score and distribute the ball very well, so it's hard to match up with us. You never know who's going to have a big night."
On Georgia guard Ashley Houts
"In the film I've seen of her, she is a great point guard. She handles the ball well for Georgia and a lot of their offense goes through her, so we have to pressure her and keep the ball out of her hands as much as possible, which is the best way to defend anyone as great as she is. We'll just try to press up on her, throw a couple traps at her and make her get rid of the ball."
GEORGIA HEAD COACH ANDY LANDERS
"We're both excited and challenged with this opportunity. We're excited to be part of the NCAA tournament again and excited to represent the University of Georgia and the Southeastern Conference. We are challenged by the fact that we understand that all the teams are competitive, in particular our first round opponent Tulane. We feel good about our basketball team as we come in to this. We're reasonably healthy and had five or six days of good preparation to come into this event. We are so anxious now to compete against a very good Tulane basketball team."
On the Lady Bulldogs' season
"You have to understand the makeup of our basketball team to begin with and some situations we went through early on. The first day of practice, our returning starter Christy Marshall went down with a torn ACL. She has been out all year. We were already going to be a young basketball team with six freshmen. Now, what most people would have had as our starting team, changes. The two wings are going to be inexperienced and at least one is going to be a freshman, possibly two of them. That's where we started. Prior to that in the spring, our 6-5 center Angel Robinson had knee surgery and in the fall she needed to have her knee cleaned so she did not practice until three or four days before our opener against Oklahoma. She missed the entire fall. Jasmine James, who could earn a starting position at the wing position, bruised her femur bone the third day of practice. She did not practice until the week before the first game. She missed everything, which is tough for anybody, but it is impossible for a freshman. That's kind of the way things got started, yet we were able to pull through that on the shoulders of (Ashley) Houts, of (Angel) Robinson and on Porsha Phillips who had improved tremendously from her sophomore season. So we're riding the backs of three veteran players and starting a sophomore, who did not play any meaningful minutes as a freshman, and a freshman who hasn't practiced yet. We were able to win. We did that based on effort and to some degree there was an unknown about our basketball team. I'm sure we caught some people by surprise. We played extremely hard and as we did that, we tried to move each of those freshmen into games where they could contribute. Each of those freshmen made huge shots and game winning plays as we went on our 16-0 streak. What we had done in that streak; we had come from behind 10 or more to win in three of those games. We also hit a shot on the buzzer with five or six seconds left in overtime to beat Kentucky. So there are four of those games that could have gone either way. We played well enough to win, but still the game was in the balance in the closing seconds. We won them all but that's not really normal. You feel good most of the time if you win half of those. So we're sitting there, 16-0. During that time, Robinson [had] a head injury and miss[ed] games; she's missed seven games this season. It is during that stretch that Houts, one of the toughest players I have ever seen, sprains her ankle in the first half of the game against Tennessee. I didn't know until after the game that she had sprained her ankle. She did not practice for four weeks except to go through scouting for that night's game. She is the leader of this basketball game and to have six freshmen is never really a joy but it's less joyous when you're missing your senior leadership. At one point both her and Angel were out. So yeah, we struggled. But as we were struggling, we went into those close games and lost some. So maybe it was just a matter of the odds evening themselves out in the close games. We didn't play as hard in two or three of those games. If you don't do that in our league, you're almost assuredly going to lose. So we hobble in here with a 23-8 record, with six freshmen."
On Oklahoma State's Andrea Riley
"There are certain players on certain teams that are really important. You miss them when they're out for just a few minutes. It's really difficult when you know you're going to have to play without them. I would think Kurt (Budke)'s biggest challenge is mentally with the rest of his team. Her teammates know better than anyone the value she brings to the floor and two her basketball team. That is the biggest challenge is those players: understanding that someone else can play the point. There will be someone playing her position next year and they will still win. Somewhere in all of this they have to get comfortable with the idea that someone else is playing her position and they win because they're a team. They don't win because of her, they win because they are a team. She is obviously a big part of the team. The individual doesn't win. When you are going into a game without one of your best players, you appeal to the team you are playing. Oftentimes, the team that pulls together might play better for forty minutes and might play better without her, because they don't take certain things for granted. They are going to take positions for granted. They are going to defend because they aren't going to have instant offense. When that team pulls together, they are still Oklahoma State and they are still very good."
GEORGIA GUARD ASHLEY HOUTS
On the season
"We started off on a very good note. As I've said before we've tried to focus this season on change and we've tried to get this team and this program back where it needed to be. The feeling we have now is that we are very excited to be in this position, but with excitement comes a challenge. To be aware of that is very important, especially with the good competition we have here. The season has prepared us for who we are going to face. We're excited to be here."
On the ups and downs of the season
"We did start off on a very good note. We hit a rough patch. We've discussed as a team some complacency here and there where we didn't play as hard. That's not what we stand for or who we are. We've made a conscious effort to improve on that as we play each game. The 50-50 plays and the hustle plays were not ones that we typically got at the beginning of the year when we won 16 games in a row. I think we've grown as a team, I think we've matured a bit. We've prepared and I think that we're ready for the challenge we have tomorrow."
On playing for Arizona State head coach Charli Tuner-Thorne
"She first coached me two years ago and was very important to me at the time. She taught me a lot, especially on playing with the more experience girls. She led us to the gold-medal game this past year. She's very respectable person and knows a lot about the game. All the players have nothing but great things to say about her. She got the best out of everybody. I hold a very high respect for her."
GEORGIA GUARD MEREDITH MITCHELL
"Tulane is an athletic, quick team. They are a guard-oriented team. They're so great in transition and that has been our main focus in preparation."