April 4, 2004
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Q. T, could you talk about the last play and what happened out there ?
TEMEKA JOHNSON: I just lost the ball, I guess. I feel as though -- I don't know. I owe Doneeka an apology for not getting her what we were trying to get, but other than that, I just lost the ball. Turnover on my part.
Q. What was the last play that you wanted to run in that situation? What do you all talk about coming out of the time-out trying to do, to try and get the last shot.
TEMEKA JOHNSON: It was a designed play to get the ball in. If we get in trouble, then come back to the ball. But it didn't work. We didn't execute it.
Q. Temeka how bad was your injury? What was your injury and how bad did that hurt you as far as the rest of the game? It looked like you were limping from that point on.
TEMEKA JOHNSON: I got a knee early in the game in the high part of my thigh. But it didn't have anything to do with that play. It wasn't that bad. I stayed in the game the whole second half. So my injury had nothing to do with the turnover.
Q. I don't mean the turnover I just mean if in general, how did it affect you. Because it seemed look you favored that leg the rest of the game.
TEMEKA JOHNSON: It took away the pressure that I would put on my leg for my first step. My jumping ability. But other than that, it wasn't that major.
Q. Seimone, could you talk a little bit about the problems they caused for you out there tonight?
SEIMONE AUGUSTUS: Their defense was aggressive as usual. The shots weren't falling. I had good looks. Shots just wasn't falling. But they played Tennessee style defense from start to finish. That's what they do. They play aggressive defense, they get up in your jersey and do whatever they need to do to cause turnovers or alter your shots.
DEBBIE BYRNE: Anyone for the student athletes? Okay. For the student athletes. All right. Go ahead.
Q. For all three of the players, would you all just tell us where you plan to go from here, what do you learn and take out of this game to carry over into next season because at least two of you will be returning for another year.
TEMEKA JOHNSON: Well for me it's to put this game away, but don't forget it. Don't forget what happened and just keep mostly everything with me. But as for where I'm going is from here on out it's to prepare for next season. I still have another year. I have decided to come back as you all know. So I still have another year of eligibility. So that's what I'm going to take with me and that's where I'm going from here.
SEIMONE AUGUSTUS: Mainly the same thing. We have to put this game in the past. It's over with and done. But we can motivate ourselves from this loss just get in the weight room, work out hard, just get better. Just get better. It's not much that you can say about this game. We just have to leave it in the past, but use it to make ourselves better at the same time.
DONEEKA HODGES: I guess I could just look at it as a learning experience. It's obvious that I won't be back next year to be able to maybe experience the same thing, that same success that we had next year and being able to help these two, but I guess I just look at it as a learning lesson.
DEBBIE BYRNE: Final question for the student athletes.
Q. For Temeka, when you're making that last kind of heave at the very end and the buzzer's sounding, what were you thinking, because you guys have come so far to have it end like that?
TEMEKA JOHNSON: I lost the ball. That was the only thing that was going through my mind.
DEBBIE BYRNE: We're going to release these ladies now to go back to their locker room. Questions for Pokey, please. Go ahead.
Q. Knowing Tennessee was going to come at Seimone so aggressively was there anything you could do to counter that?
DANA CHATMAN: The counter is always the same. You play off of Seimone and basically she draws so much attention it will open someone else up. If she cuts hard, she will create help, someone else steps up and they can shoot a lay-up or easy shot, get us to the free throw line. So you can play off of Seimone. And Seimone alluded to it, she got good looks, they just didn't fall.
Q. Is it a case where the ending of the game kind of doesn't match the rest of the game, the two don't kind of seem to go together?
DANA CHATMAN: Yes. It doesn't for me. That will be talked about. Temeka is going to take that away from here and I hope in a positive light in terms of motivation. But she needs to forget about that. The ballgame was won in the paint in terms of second chance points. The statsheet clearly tells that story.
Q. How much do you think Tennessee's having been in these positions so many times made a difference in this game at all and your team has not?
DANA CHATMAN: I don't. You look at that game and I guess it sounds funny, Tennessee's been there before, it sounds really good, but the bottom line is you had two teams compete at a high level, carried out scouting report defense, took away each other's strengths, to the result of a low-scoring game and unfortunately it ended in such a way that it doesn't bring the type of satisfaction I think we need to take away from this experience.
Q. What did you tell your team in the locker room after this loss?
DANA CHATMAN: Talked basketball first. Because that's what it's about in terms of where the game could have gone differently. And I really drove that point home. I wanted them to understand all the positive things that they accomplished in terms of Ely was the head of the snake. She was 1 for 11. Tennessee forces turnovers. We only had nine. Tennessee dominate points in the paint. We had 30, they had 20. I drove all the positives home. And then I ended it on second chance points. It's been a staple of their program, and that's what's carried them through. And then we talked about they don't need to hang their heads. They need to enjoy this experience. I had fun. I don't think these kids were happy just to be here. They expected to win. I hope it stays with them long enough to get back again.
Q. Do you see Seimone as the next star player if she's not already the star player in women's basketball with the graduation of people like Alana Beard and Diana Taurasi and those kind of folks?
DANA CHATMAN: I'm a little biased, I see Seimone in that light now. But for different reasons. And so I'll make that reason known right now. It may be the rest of the country can think about it as well: I think the key to Seimone Augustus is she makes the other four players and the ones on the bench better. And no one can touch that.
Q. You mentioned, obviously, the second chance points and the rebounding. In the first couple of minutes of the game you seemed to be doing a great job of that. You were up 14-6 in rebound in early going. Did you start just not doing that as well for the rest of the game?
DANA CHATMAN: Yeah. Obviously, yeah. I think it boiled down to Tennessee really, they started taking their time and they started attacking us a little bit differently instead of trying to come down and one pass to the wing and to the post. I think they were just more deliberate in their attack. I'm sure Pat had a few word and you could tell Ely came out with some intentions of being aggressive. And I think that's what they did and they were flying to the boards. And there was just some balls we got our hands on and we didn't quite grab and they did. They made the big plays.
Q. Do you think looking at the program and some of the players you have coming in, is this like you think the start of what could be many appearances in games like this?
DANA CHATMAN: That's what I'm going to take away from this. Despite the loss, the experience that these kids will take away, not just from the tournament ride, but the early season losses. Everything. It can't help but be a positive. And those kid you just eluded to in terms that have recruiting class, they were a part of that because they watched it. And I think it will motivate them to want to get us back here.
Q. Can you surmise the feeling that you have as we speak about your coaching tenure as Head Coach taking over, how you felt, how you feel now, and think about what would happen next year if you're not the Head Coach and Sue Gunter comes back, talk about first how you feel now as Head Coach and if you're not the Head Coach next year, what are your feelings?
DANA CHATMAN: I just feel like Coach Chatman, I don't know if the answer changes if I'm as the Head Coach or not. I just feel like a Coach of a program that I played for and stayed with for 13 years. And disappointed in the outcome of a game. And I hadn't quite gotten to that point of taking a step back and looking at that. So I apologize for not having a better answer for you, but the title doesn't change the feeling. I'm looking forward to next year.
Q. Have you spoke to Sue since end of the game?
DANA CHATMAN: No, I haven't.
Q. Talk about the way this team has excelled in the tournament here at the very end, coming into the tournament not ranked in the top 10, but you've exceeded expectations of a lot of people. I'm sure you felt like this team could do this, but there are people out there that didn't think that.
DANA CHATMAN: That seems to be the case a lot. There's a lot of motivating factors out there for these kids. When you're competing at the highest level, we recruited these kids for a reason. There's some intangibles and those aren't always Parade All-American or Street & Smith All-American, it's about picking the right parts, the right ingredients, that makes something taste just right. And these kids have that, it doesn't always make the media, but it makes an impression on this coaching staff. And that's why we believe. And that's it.
DEBBIE BYRNE: Coach, thank you very much.
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