April 4, 2004
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Q. Miss Davis, were you basically trailing that play toward the end or just going up court and you saw your teammate feed you the ball for the basket?
LaTOYA DAVIS: Well the plan was to double Johnson. Once she got the ball in her hand and once we did that, we tried to contain her when she got it and then when we double-teamed her, Ashley was there to tip it and Shy made the play and I scored at the end.
Q. I was just going to ask, would you just describe that last couple of minutes what you were thinking about or last couple of seconds rather?
LaTOYA DAVIS: They got the ball back and then when that happened I was thinking just try to contain her, not foul her and once she got the ball in, we double-teamed her and just tried to go for the steal and I think we did a very good job of doing that.
Q. Shyra, a lot of people would call this kind of run you all are on destiny. What do you call it?
SHYRA ELY: It's funny we were talking about that in the locker room and I guess the way we feel is that we're supposed to be here, because we keep on finding ways to win. So I think we're just going to go off the momentum that we have now and just execute this next game.
Q. Seimone Augustus comes into this game averaging about 26 points per game, shooting 65 percent, what did you do to slow her down? Anyone that would like to comment.
LaTOYA DAVIS: We just tried to limit her touches. Because Seimone is a great athlete. We just tried to do whatever it took to stop her and I think we did it as a committee. And I think we did a very good job of doing that.
Q. Question for Shanna, this was the fewest points two teams have combined for in a Final Four game. What type of game was it out there with the physical play and the lack of scoring?
SHANNA ZOLMAN: Well it was very physical. And both teams were working real hard. Both offensively and defensively. But I think as you can see from the stats that we didn't shoot a very good percentage. That obviously has a toll on us. But we were able to come out with a win, that's what's important.
Q. Shanna, talk about that 3-point shot you made right before the shot clock expired. Whether you knew it was getting close and just take me through that.
SHANNA ZOLMAN: Well in the time-out we were obviously told what we were going to be running out of bounds, and Coach told them I had to get open, so I tried to do that using the screens that they set and once I got it, I looked up at the clock and I should have shot it right away but I saw that there was two seconds left, when I look up and I tried to create somehow and give myself some space. Luckily the ball went in that time.
Q. Shyra, would you talk a little bit, the rebounding was like 20 -21 at halftime and then you out rebounded them by nine in the second half. Can you talk about that?
SHYRA ELY: We just wanted to get on the boards. Coach always says that defense and rebounding wins championships and that was definitely the main emphasis tonight. I wasn't really producing offensively so I wanted to do anything I could to help my team. So I tried to get on the boards and do anything I could to help. We rebounded as a committee tonight and that was definitely our goal.
Q. Could you talk about that last play where you were and you were the one that passed the ball to LaToya.
SHYRA ELY: Well the plan was for me and LaToya to double. And I guess LaToya was running, I don't know she was running next to her and Ashley came from -- she was supposed to be guarding Seimone and came from -- I don't know where she came from, and trapped her. I was just in the right place at the right time I think I just grabbed the loose ball and I saw LaToya and I just passed it to her. But I was worried about LaToya getting the ball off. I was looking at the clock the whole time. But she got it off with like two seconds left, so it worked out.
Q. LaToya, did you have any idea, was getting it off in time was that a question in your mind? Did you think you had time?
LaTOYA DAVIS: I just wanted to just finish the play. I knew it was like a slow release, but I just wanted to make sure it went in.
Q. Shyra, how do you guys always seem to be in the right place at the right time?
SHYRA ELY: I guess it's just being aware of good players and their key players. We just really bought into what Coach said that last minute. We executed out of half-time out so it was chancy but at this point in the season you do anything you can to win, so I think it was a good call by Coach, and it worked out.
PAT SUMMITT: Two points. (Laughter.)
DEBBIE BYRNE: Ladies thank you very much, we're going to let you go back to the locker room. Okay. Questions for Coach Summitt now.
Q. Pat, what was your big worry on with the six seconds left only, was your big worry Johnson going the length of the court and scoring or dishing to somebody?
PAT SUMMITT: Most definitely. I thought what she would do, she can get from one end of the court to the other in about two and a half seconds. So we wanted to double-team Johnson and make someone else have to make that play. I thought option two would be Augustus. And so we double-teamed her, I think the experience of being in the regional championship and seeing Nicole Powell get a look at the basket late because we didn't double, we instead put someone on the ball. I said if I'm ever in that situation again, we double-team. So we double-teamed. I thought Augustus was coming up to get the ball and it looked like to me she was going to screen. But Johnson actually I thought walked and mishandled the ball, and when she went to get rid of it, that's when Ashley got a piece of it. I think because Augustus was coming up to set that screen, it brought Ashley up, so really we had three people on the ball and we got a steal and obviously we were fortunate enough to hit LaToya for the lay-up.
Q. Coach, you've been behind at half the last three games. Could you talk about your ability to just hang in there and get to the last two minutes in every one of these games?
PAT SUMMITT: Well I probably should talk about my lack of ability to coach the first 20 minutes. But we struggled tonight offensively. I thought that their defensive pressure really bothered us and unfortunately we didn't have a great inside game going for us. We quick-shot the ball. I just thought that we were very impatient. We got frustrated and then started fouling. So now we're down. At half-time we talked about the fact that we have got to outscore them by 7 in the second half. And we said we're fortunate. We could be down 15. But our defense on Seimone I thought and on Johnson was pretty solid. And on Hodges. They were the big three that we thought we had to affect offensively. A second half I thought our switch to the zone broke their rhythm. Once they started to find the soft spot, which was in the high post, and as well as the baseline, we had to go back. We had to go back to our man. And I just thought that we made enough defensive plays and then we got on the offensive glass. That to me is pretty much what happened. And obviously we made a few shots along the way. Zolman made a big one for us.
Q. Coach, can you recall in your tenure in NCAA games a stretch like these last three games and the way that they have turned out?
PAT SUMMITT: Not in 30 years. So I got a whole lot of games to look at. How many post-season games I got? 101? Well I would say out of 101, the last three have been the toughest.
Q. Can you explain a little bit about your strategy against Seimone and how you thought it worked out?
PAT SUMMITT: Seimone was coming in playing so very well. And made big shots tonight. But we wanted to switch the back-screen, down-screen action. And we wanted to help on all of our curls. And I thought we just for the most part did a nice job. Ashley was on her some, we kept size on her. Because Tasha and Ashley were usually switching and then if they rescreened we would switch back. I intended to put LaToya on her, but I thought Butts did a nice job and I thought our post reacted to where she was on the floor. She got loose a couple times obviously in the zone, but man to man, we at least made her work for her shots.
Q. With six seconds left you said, did you call the trap on the first time-out or the second? They had called one and then you had called one.
PAT SUMMITT: Well, they called one, and the team was standing there looking at me. And I said, we are going to call a time-out. I want to see their alignment. But we're definitely going, I had already written double on the board. We're definitely going to double Johnson. So go out and tell the official we want a time-out after we see what they're in and before they hand them the ball. So we got the time-out. And then we talked about our strategy specifically. They knew they were going to double. They knew they were going to double Johnson. And then they knew Ashley was going to take Augustus for the size factor. And I actually thought about putting someone long and leaving their post player open. To have to bring it up the floor. But main thing was not let Johnson beat us full court.
Q. Coach, Johnson scored nine points in the whole game, seven in the first half. How big of an impact was that? 10 minutes she was injured, went down, do you think that inhibited her play and did you make adjustments for that?
PAT SUMMITT: Well, she's a great penetrator. I thought she had her way early of going right on LaToya Davis. And I thought LaToya did a better job in the second half. I would have to look at the tape and see if the injury was the factor or if we played better defense. And really got over her right hand. That was our strategy. But I thought she had some good looks. And missed some easy ones in there. But she's a heck of a competitor. I know at the beginning of the second half I thought she looks like to me she was limping a little bit. But she's so hard nosed she was going to stay on the floor. And she continued to get other people the ball.
Q. You talked all season about parity in women's basketball. Do you feel the events of the last three games and the this tournament are proving that?
PAT SUMMITT: I tell you, I think everybody's out to prove I was right. Fortunately we survived. So we're still here. But I've said that all year. I said there would be upsets at every round. I believed it. And here we are and obviously at the Final Four and you see a game like this, an opponent that we won against by 23 points, but I knew that anyone that believed that that was the type of game it was going to be would be wrong. I thought this game would go, as I said, to the last couple minutes. And it was decided obviously very late. That's typical of the women's game and we have seen a lot of these close games in pose season.
Q. Does this team collectively just have low blood pressure or what is it about their calm in the final seconds?
PAT SUMMITT: They have low blood pressure and my blood pressure right now, you would not even want to check it. I think it's that they have been in these situations. When you have been in overtime as many times as we have been in overtime, and you've been in the late game situations, they were very calm. Even in the last time-out they were very calm. So when players will take in that information and they believe that they're going to go make the play, we just didn't make the plays offensively, so we put ourselves in a position by not having the composure in our half court offense but fortunately we came up big and had good decisions on the defensive end.
Q. I know it's got to be somewhat tough for you to win at the expense of Sue a little bit, and the season and them making their first Final Four and so forth. Just your thoughts on that.
PAT SUMMITT: Well, Sue and I have been friends for along long time. And obviously when you compete like this, it's the teams competing against each other. I think the biggest disappointment was that Sue couldn't be on the sideline tonight. Obviously I know she's still very proud of her team and she should be.
DEBBIE BYRNE: That's going to conclude the Tennessee press conference.
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