April 6, 2003
COACH SUMMITT: Post-season it's called survive-and-advance; that's what we are able to do tonight to a Duke team that I thought played very well together. Certainly our basketball team made some adjustments, I thought, at half time. We didn't manage the clock well late in the first half, but we regrouped and did what we had to do. In particular I thought we picked up our defensive intensity and got on the boards. Got some second chance points, and just really brought a lot more intensity on the defensive end and to boards.
Q. Gwen, you scored 9 of your teams first 13 points by the 6-minute mark of the first half then went silent the rest of the half; can you talk about what happened that second part of that first half and what you needed to do to turn things around again.
GWEN JACKSON: I think when I started off I didn't rush and the more I got the ball, I was more open than I thought I would be and I kind of rushed a lot of shots and started doubling down. I think once my teammates started talking to me and telling me, I got a chance to relax and play my game.
Q. Considering the circumstances, have you played a bigger or a better game at Tennessee than tonight?
GWEN JACKSON: I think I have been pretty consistent all year. I think what counts is when it counts and I think that this game for me and Kara -- I don't want to come to have to reflect about how I played. I think I'm a big time player. My teammates look me to score but also they look to me to play defense. My defense looked good. My offense is great. I try to carry that on the floor.
Q. It looked like you guys were hurting as much as you were hurting them running the ball early. Once you slowed down and started pounding it inside things seemed to work out, did you sense that or was it that coach kind of slowing you down? How did it work out, Kara and Gwen.
KARA LAWSON: We are a fantastic team. I felt that we got good shots out of our transition but we also had times where we made some turnovers and made some poor decisions. I know I had 2 turnovers early in the first half. We wanted to continue to push the ball on offense. What the coaching staff told us at half time once we pushed the ball on offense and we see they have five people back so slow it down. We felt we had an advantage inside. Any time you have a player like Gwen Jackson in there, she has been playing great all tournament long. We looked to ride her the second half.
Q. Kara, it looked at times you guys were nervous almost playing not to lose which is a good way to lose; is that true?
KARA LAWSON: I don't think we were nervous in the first half. I think we had a lack of energy. We weren't playing with the type of intensity that we had been early in the tournament. Half time was a wake-up call for us. When you stare down 20 minutes and you realize this could be the last 20 minutes of your season and for Gwen and I our careers, that puts things in perspective. We wanted to be the team in the second half that brought the most energy.
Q. Brittany, what were you trying to do when you came in the second half for the team.
BRITTANY JACKSON: The first half when I came in, I don't think I was focussed and as ready as I should have been. I had the opportunity to see what our team needed and what we were doing wrong. We just wanted to go in and different teams and I just came in and hit some shots and got the team going.
Q. Gwen, you got 15 rebounds, your team out rebounded them 40 to 30; what would you say was the most important factor; was it muscle under the board, desire, what actually was it right there.
GWEN JACKSON: Coach told me I didn't have anything to lose. If they weren't calling over the back, go pursue it, a lot of times, defensive boards and offensive boards. You can't let the person outwork you and the other one work easier.
Q. Coach, with Kara struggling, how important was it for Gwen to have the night she did?
COACH SUMMITT: I thought it was a very important that we had a strong inside game. Regardless of how we were playing to perimeter. Shyra Ely did not have her usual numbers and Gwen was the one player that was committed to playing hard both ends. I knew at half time we were in trouble. Tasha Butts doesn't have a rebound. Shyra Ely didn't get an offensive board all night. So Gwen was the one player that stepped up and played really, really big and she has been so focussed in the post-season. Sometimes Kara just tries a little bit too much and she has got to relax. Hopefully we are in that National Championship game. She has to relax. The important thing is she still continued to lead and she rebounded the basketball. She had 7 boards. Did a lot of good things for us. I thought that the Jackson girls tonight were pretty awesome. When Brit came in we were looking for a spark off the bench and we knew we needed offensive punch from the perimeter. Britney was in Final Four last game, actually started. I'm proud of her aggressiveness and her decision to go to the offensive end and also defensively. Our zone helped us but she played well out of the zone.
Q. Coach, out of curiosity I can imagine the consternation, playing them the first half and you are down (Inaudible), was there a need to yell or take a deep breath and say you played well; we can take this game the second half; what did you tell them?
COACH SUMMITT: It's not the time of the year you yell. I do that in October and November and December. Then you try and really give them valuable information. I was disappointed we didn't manage the clock better. We should never had an opportunity for 3 to be taken late. We should have had the last possession and controlled the clock. And then we just talked about the lack of commitment. We might have three people denying and 2 not. We didn't help, we didn't recognize we were in a trap situation on that last possession. We just talked through it. Basically I just said this is not the team that played the last 4 games because this team is not attacking things. We're not attacking the glass. We're not really attacking in transition to finish. We miss a lot of easy shots. But we're not going to quit running. I thought in the second half we had some chances to run and we didn't. I will take a look at that. I think what we did, we ran and missed layups, and we let that take a little wind out of our sails and we didn't have the same intensity on the defensive end. We talked about it. We wanted to play for a championship and we had 20 minutes to put ourselves in that position.
Q. Coach, I was wondering Duke was the team that you beat pretty handily at the beginning of the year, obviously you and the Tennessee program has a history with Duke the last five years, the energy for players, trying to get the level up to intensity, did that factor come into play at all or was it just one game at a time?
COACH SUMMITT: I'm not sure I understand the question.
Q. The history with Duke did that (Inaudible)?
COACH SUMMITT: No, no, I think it's the game. We have tremendous respect for Duke. We knew we had to bring intensity. We needed a lot of energy. I think that some players brought that and some were a little more conservative. And why -- that's just being in this game. But now hopefully that will be behind us and everyone will be aggressive and play the way they played in the last 4 games.
Q. Pat, the 2-3 zone that you played a lot of down the stretch, how much of that was designed to cutoff Beard's penetration; how much of that was because the teams you played before; your team seem to do a pretty good job with it?
COACH SUMMITT: Well, actually, it was more change of tempo and get them out of there two-man game. They went to there one, 4, high, and Beard and Tillis were going to take the shots and we pretty much knew that. Obviously Mosch got some good open looks. I thought they were just -- they are too comfortable in the man-to-man, two-man options. I took and looked at every possession they played in post-season and it was clear to me that when they got into tight situations they executed much better against man than against zone. We are not as strong in our zone as we are man-to-man. We didn't necessarily play to our strenghts but we thought we would be able to do a little bit better job of getting them out of their rhythm.
Q. Coach, what was the difference in Gwen tonight and when you all played Duke in November?
COACH SUMMITT: Well, she was with us tonight. And in November she just didn't compete. Looked very frustrated, didn't score on the offensive end and wasn't real inspired to run the floor and play defense. I think the one thing is that Gwen has made a decision now to show up for us every night and she is with us whether she is making shots or not. She just has been steady and she is playing with a great deal of confidence and a lot of heart. She did not do much in that game. But she did enough tonight to make me forget about that game.
End of FastScripts...