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March 4, 2006

Tye'sha Fluker

Candace Parker

Pat Summitt


THE MODERATOR: From the University of Tennessee, we have Coach Pat Summitt, Candace Parker and Tye'sha Fluker.
Coach Summitt, if you would start off.
COACH PAT SUMMITT: I really felt our basketball team played with great intensity both ends of the floor. It was obviously a hard-fought game. The one thing that stood out in my mind was our ability to really to a great job on the boards. If you can control the boards, you usually have a great deal of influence on how many times -- how many possessions you get, how many opportunities you get from that. I felt we had a lot of opportunities.
Obviously, Ty and Candace did a great job for us. It was a great team effort, particularly the second half. I felt we played very well together as a team overall. But just -- we worked on a lot of different looks. I felt Candace handled the ball well for us. The one thing Georgia did at Georgia was really take us out of our offense. We turned the ball over, I think, 28 times. Better effort tonight. Just really pleased for our team.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions.
Q. Pat, the game really kind of deteriorated into a lot of fouls there in the second half. Did that play to your advantage at all, do you think, or not?
COACH PAT SUMMITT: Well, I think that obviously both teams fouled, but the fact that they were full-court pressing us, I thought we did a nice job of taking the ball off the dribble and really forcing the issue offensively. I think that's when they probably got caught up and had more fouls in that situation.
We could spread the floor, and we did. I thought it probably did play to our advantage as opposed to just bringing the ball up and going right into our offense.
Q. Just your thoughts the last five, six, seven minutes of the game on how well you feel you guys execute.
COACH PAT SUMMITT: Well, I thought we did a great job late in the game. That's something that I've seen from this team in a number of games. You know, we did that at Georgia. Certainly we did it tonight. It was just a matter of us stepping up and everyone taking responsibility and ownership on the offensive and defensive end.
We executed very well. I just give our players a lot of credit for that. Obviously, Candace wanted the ball in her hands, but she's a player that can see over people as well as go around people. Not many people in the country that have the good fortune of having a player - I don't know what she is - 6'2", 6'3", 6'4", 6'5". Anyway, she can see over the defense. I thought that was huge for us.
Ty, she's obviously playing the best basketball of her career. There's no doubt about that. Having a go-to like that. Nicky came up with some huge plays for us as well. Our frontline game last year struggled. That was costly for us. This year they've really stepped up and played big.
Q. Georgia really hadn't been able to exploit its advantage of quickness and athleticism in either one of these two games. Why do you think that is?
COACH PAT SUMMITT: I really thought the first half down there, they were able to do that. I think because Shanna could not see over people or she had trouble getting by them, and Candace went to the point, then we worked on this by design for tonight. I think that just because of our size and our passing skills, I thought we did a nice job of just passing the basketball.
It's hard to beat Georgia off the dribble, because of their quickness. I thought it was to our advantage to be aggressive off the pass and the dribble. We obviously got some fouls when we went to our dribble attack. But just having the size, I think our size.
I told our team, "Don't feel in a rush. We don't want to rush our offense." I didn't mind if we got late in the clock, we just didn't want to turn it over. I'd rather have a five-second count than turn the ball over. I thought we had a lot of composure, even more tonight than we did in Athens.
Q. Tye'sha, you were very vocal out there tonight. I saw you talking to teammates, talking to the ref. Can you talk about your performance on the court and your level of involvement out there, not just when you have the ball in your hands?
TYE'SHA FLUKER: I think it all started, you know, more so when Lex went out. I just told my team I would step up in leadership. Not only, you know, step up with stats in my play, but just try to bring, you know, leadership through being vocal and being emotional to help us stay in the moment while we play.
I thought it was, you know, my job to, you know, stay in everyone's ear, make sure we knew we were in, just making sure I was positive out there. When we had mistakes, we got it back, didn't hold our heads down.
I think for the most part we did a good job of having hustle plays after we made mistakes.
Q. Candace, can you talk about this game? You had the great start, then they came back in the second half and got the lead briefly. You were able to really finish well. What did you think was going on in the last 10 minutes that allowed you to finish the way you did?
CANDACE PARKER: I think it was just great communication, free-throws. Actually struggled with my free-throws lately. Ty did a great job of stepping up to the line and hitting free-throws.
I think it helped us later in the game because early on we valued every possession. We didn't waste possessions by turning the ball over, quick shooting, things like that. I think once we settled down and just communicated and everybody knew what we were in, we were able to close out the game.
Q. Candace, it seems like Georgia brings out the best in you. Is there any particular reason for that? Is it match-ups? You seem to play your best ball against Georgia.
CANDACE PARKER: Well, I just try to bring energy to the team. I know that Georgia is, you know, one of the best in the SEC. I think everybody tries to bring their best game against a great team together.
I just think that it's just focus and just communication and just execution.
Q. Pat, I know you want to savor this one. Can you look ahead to tomorrow night, how this lineup you have now may affect Sylvia, the inside game that LSU has?
COACH PAT SUMMITT: Well, I think that they're probably as strong defensively as they are offensively. Most people talk about their great offense.
Having played them earlier in the year, obviously we're disappointed with how the game ended. Their overall team speed and quickness is exceptional. But I think we're a better basketball team right now than we were when we played them.
We're going to have to really take care of the ball because I think that they generate a lot of points of their turnovers. Obviously fouls inside is going to really challenge our frontline game.
But I feel good that we can go inside against them and we'll look to do so. We just have to really take care of the basketball, we have to be able to rebound with them. For me, those are the two big stat lines you are going to take a look at and know how we're going to fare with a team like LSU.
Q. Coach, you had to go to Dom and Sybil when Nicky and Sid got in foul trouble. Can you talk about the job you got out of them tonight?
COACH PAT SUMMITT: Well, I think when you go to the bench, you don't want anyone to come off the bench and hurt your play. You hope they help it.
I thought Sybil was consistent. We didn't really lose anything there. We maintained our position. I thought Dom stepped up and did some good things for us. We need that off the bench. I mean, we obviously shortened our bench tonight by design, and we just felt we really needed to keep the players that were the most efficient on the floor.
We had really good rhythm offensively in the second half in particular.
Q. Pat, you said you're a better basketball team than you were the first time you played LSU. Even though you have Hornbuckle, you believe that? Why do you think you're a better team?
COACH PAT SUMMITT: Well, I have to think outside of having Hornbuckle because we don't have her. The reason I think we are better, I think our shot selection is better. Obviously on the defensive end, we miss her tremendously.
Nicky Anosike has really taken on a lot of responsibility for defending on the perimeter. We miss her ball handling. Candace has stepped up and handled the ball for us. We've asked everyone to handle. I think we're a little better passing team. That's not to say that if we had Lex we wouldn't be a whole lot better, but I do think that in some aspects of our game we are better. We're not as good defensively, but I think we may be a little stronger offensively because of what we're seeing now out of Candace, Ty, Nicky, and Spencer has stepped up and had some big games for us. Shanna played well in the second half.

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