April 5, 2004
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Q. Pat, coming into the Final Four there was a lot of talk about parity and top seeds being knocked off, yet it comes down to you and Connecticut. Obviously you probably think that's a pretty good thing but I just wonder if you think that's good for the game of basketball?
PAT SUMMITT: I think what we saw throughout the tournament was an example of the parity in the women's game. Certainly we were a team that managed to pull out close games and in our last three games we have won by a total of six points. So obviously I think there's parity in the women's game. But to have Tennessee and Connecticut in a championship game, I don't think that's a bad thing for women's basketball because both programs are very high profile. And hopefully it's going to bring a lot of national attention and newcomers even for those people that have watched this tournament and obviously witnessed the parity they still are very familiar with Tennessee and Connecticut. So it's like a great heavyweight fight. I think a lot of people want to see it.
Q. Coach, I don't know how you personally feel about the rivalry itself, but I have an idea that a 6-11 advantage to Connecticut must be grading in some ways. Besides players, where has the difference been and where have you thought of ways to change?
PAT SUMMITT: Well I think obviously Connecticut's had their way with us in the last number of games. Won five in a row, eight of the last 10. Obviously we had success with them and we had Holdsclaw and Catchings, I think the thing that we haven't been able to do is win close games against them. They come into Thompson-Boling and beat us this year on our home floor. And it just comes down to we have to make more plays. I thought our turnovers before half-time really put us in a hole. And we never completely recovered. But you have to think about this Connecticut program. They have had a lot of great players and a lot of great teams, as has Tennessee. But of late they have definitely been the better team. I'm sitting here thinking we lost three players from our championship run last year, and now we're a team that's had to pull together and everyone has understood it is a team. A lot of people say there's no way you can compete with Connecticut tomorrow night. But I believe in this team. If this team will believe in themselves, I think that we'll have us a great basketball game. But we have to have everybody playing. We can't have Ely coming in here and scoring four points. We can't have Ashley Robinson not scoring. Our post game has to step up. I thought in Knoxville they just really dominated our post. And that right there has been a big part of it. We haven't made the big plays and they have made the big plays.
Q. Pat, ESPN was talking that their highest rated program when it comes to sporting events is now women's college basketball. No. 1 overall. What does this match-up with UConn essentially -- I know you talked about it for years, women's college basketball, but what does this truly mean for the sport, UT and UConn again?
PAT SUMMITT: Well I think it's what it is. When you think of women's basketball and you think of post-season play, obviously these two teams have been very involved and very successful. And to have this match-up in the championship game is, I think, going to again bring even more viewers to see what's going to happen. I just think it's going to be a great contest, great for the women's game. Would it be better if it was two teams that hadn't been here before? In my opinion, these are the two teams that people will tune in to watch.
Q. Coach, your players referred last night to doing things by committee. Could you talk a little bit about how your team has changed from having a dominant player and what that's brought to them.
PAT SUMMITT: I think it's brought accountability to each member of our team. Certainly with the leadership we have had from our seniors, I think they have held their teammates accountable for stepping up and making plays, whether it's a defensive play or getting a board or they're the type of team that they call each other out and they address what needs to be addressed, whether it's in practice or in games. I think as a team they have been very receptive to each other. And they understand that how much they need each other, which we all understand that. And I think that's been a really a joy of watching this team and coaching this team. Because they all understand that they play an important role, whatever that might be, last player to come off the bench plays a valuable role for our team. Our starters are no more important to the success of our team tomorrow night than the players that will come off the bench. We all have to get it done. And they understand that.
DEBBIE BYRNE: While we have all the student-athletes here together, are there some questions for the student-athletes? Any of those people with their hands raised.
Q. For Tasha. One could understand if this thing with you all and UConn got a little bit tiresome over the years, you see each other so much. Is the magnitude of the games what keeps it a little bit fresh?
TASHA BUTTS: I think so because when you have two teams that whenever you play each or you go all out. You want to win the game. And just because the rivalry is so big, that doesn't mean that we're going to stop any less or I guess, you know, get tired of it. Whenever you're playing for a national championship I don't think that ever gets old. Whenever you're playing a non-conference game against one or when someone's ranked one in the country or two, that never gets old. Because you always want to knock someone off. And I think that this rivalry between us, I don't think it will ever get old. Especially to the players and the coaches it won't.
Q. I could run this past any one of the players but I'll ask it of Shanna. Given the last three games that you've had, all close calls, how much do you think that your success in those games owes to the fact that there have been so many Tennessee teams that have been in the situation before, had the tradition, have won in these spots and because you wear the orange uniform that you won those type of games?
SHANNA ZOLMAN: Well I think that obviously the last couple games have been very close. And I think that just shows the character and the heart of this team. Never giving up and never wanting to fold under pressure. I think obviously with Tasha hitting some huge shots and free throws, and then LaToya with the key basket at the end of the last game, it just shows the kind of heart that we have among our team. I think that just being Tennessee in itself, that that really shows a lot about us and knowing that a lot of people are doubting us, a lot of people are against us, except for our own fans, but that's what we all come together and I think that the past three games have really shown that. Knowing that when we may be down, when we may be losing at a crucial point of the game, but we always have the confidence in each other to get it back.
Q. Coach and any of the players, in the manner in which you've won the last three games, a lot of people are thinking, boy that's a team of destiny because of the way it's happened. Coach, do you like the players having that kind of positive thought in their mind or in the back of your mind do you have to guard against them thinking, well, it will just come down to fate and it will take us through ?
PAT SUMMITT: Well I like their thinking. But sometimes my thinking is we're living on the edge. I really like the composure of our team when we're in late-game situations. And the execution. I thought last night was a great example and we really had two bad offensive possessions. But we managed to come up with a great defensive possession that led to obviously a winning basket by LaToya Davis. So I really feel that this team has a lot of confidence. We just got to make sure that we put ourselves in a close game situation and make those kind of plays.
Q. Question for Tasha, could you talk about your evolution as a point guard whether you like the position, how much more comfortable you've become with it.
PAT SUMMITT: You better like it. (Laughter.)
TASHA BUTTS: Well like Coach has said, I better like it. I have no choice. I have one more game to play. But obviously I think in this tournament and a NCAA tournament I've grown to actually I love it. I think that just being a leader on this team, you have to be ready to step up and be a leader, no matter what position you're playing. And right now I've been put in a position to play point guard, so I think it's something that I've grown to love just over the games. I've gotten a whole lot of confidence over the tournament at playing point guard and I think it comes a lot from my teammates. Because they have confidence in me, they feel like I can lead them in the right direction and also our coaching staff has confidence. So I really think that I've improved from the beginning of playing point until now. And my confidence as grown a lot also.
Q. Miss Robinson, I would like to ask, as a post player what has been maybe the big one frustrating thing in battling Connecticut dealing with them in rebounding or trying to stop their motion offense, because they do seem to get a lot of lay-ups?
ASHLEY ROBINSON: They're just really strong. They have a tough post game. We just have to make sure we bring our A game and those girls never say die. They battle with you from the tip until the end of the game. No matter what you're winning by or what they're winning by. So we're just going to have to really win the battle on the boards and just the physical battle. Because you can look at them and tell they're all really strong and they really come to play.
Q. Question for Shyra. Can you sort of talk about what went wrong against LSU and how much you're looking forward to being able to come back and erase that 1 of 11 from last night.
SHYRA ELY: Well I just think that I just couldn't score. And it happens. It will happen again. But I just feel like I was telling someone else I would rather have a bad game and be able to play and redeem myself than to have a bad game like that and have to go home. So I'm looking forward to producing and playing for my teammates.
Q. For any of the players, can you just talk about what you guys learned from the last UConn game and how you've improved since then.
LaTOYA DAVIS: I just think that as far as improvement we know that we can't take possessions off. We know that rebounding and making defensive stops is key. And it's going to get us what we want. And that's a national championship if we all commit to doing that. And I just feel like we're excited as a team. The team is playing together and that together necessary is going to lead to us a national championship.
Q. Ashley, one of the things that's made Pat such a great coach is she has away of not sugar-coating things. As you sat up there and listened about the last UConn game, and the essential point was your post play did not get it done and must tomorrow. What are your thoughts?
ASHLEY ROBINSON: Well, we got to get it done or we're going to lose. That's what happened the last game. And we don't want to lose and I definitely don't want it to be the post player's fault that we lose. If we're going to lose, we need to lose as a team and everybody doing everything that they should do. So I know Shyra and I, we have to come ready to play and our bench, all the people that's coming off the bench, as post players we have to represent the Tennessee way.
Q. This is for whoever is responsible for Taurasi tomorrow night. Who would that be? Have you made up are mind yet, Pat who is it going to be primarily?
PAT SUMMITT: For Taurasi? We're not that far along yet. I could tell you probably several people.
Q. Well then maybe I'll ask you, what are the keys to stopping her defensively?
PAT SUMMITT: Well I don't think you stop Diana. I just think she's such a great offensive player. I think if you can contain her at all, that's success. But she makes everyone else on the floor better because of her passing skills and it's a lot like what we faced with a Nicole Powell. And obviously her ability to shoot the 3, take you off the dribble, and I think that the thing that Diana does so well is that she sees the open player, and takes advantage of any double team or any difficult defensive assignment. So it's just going to be obviously a great, it's got to be a great effort on our part to do the little things that we think might slightly disrupt a rhythm or affect in any way how they run their offense. Because they are the best passing team in the country, in my opinion. But it all starts with Diana.
Q. Any of the players, as you probably know by now Coach Geno Auriemma has a pretty unique since of humor, especially when it comes to poking fun at Tennessee. I was wondering if you guys understand his point of view or his sense of humor or are you irritated by it?
TASHA BUTTS: I don't think we have noticed. (Laughter.) We don't get caught up into that. His sense of humor is his sense of humor and the way we take things I guess stays between us. So we really don't get caught up into that.
DEBBIE BYRNE: Ladies, thank you very much. They're going to head to their individual breakout rooms.
Q. Pat, to the point of the last question, do you get the sense that because the Connecticut team is sort of a relative newcomer in the last 10 years, have done so well, in that 10-year period, while you guys have been, you and other schools, like Auburn, Georgia, have been there for the entire time, there's a sense of resentment about what you guys have done and perhaps that you guys don't recognize what they have done?
PAT SUMMITT: Well, I don't know if there's a resentment for what we have done. I certainly recognize what Connecticut has done. I have tremendous respect for the success that they have enjoyed in not only regular season play, but more importantly in post-season play. I respect what the coaching staff's done, I respect the players, I don't know if they respect us, I don't know what the resentment is if -- but we're not going to go away. We are here. And a lot of people didn't think we would be here. We planned on being back again. And I would hope that you would respect the consistency in our program and you can look over the last 27 years in particular. We have been pretty consistent. So if people don't respect it, then maybe they resent it. So be it.
Q. Back to Geno's unique brand of humor, after the Evil Empire comment and your response, the feeling was there was no love lost between the two of you. What's the deal there and how would you characterize your relationship with Geno?
PAT SUMMITT: We really don't have a relationship. We coach against each other. As I said before, I don't have his cell number. We don't talk. We speak before and after the games. That's it. But that's the relationship that Geno worked very hard to create. At one time I thought we had a pretty good relationship. So I don't know why it went south, but that's the way it is.
Q. When did it go south?
PAT SUMMITT: I don't know. You would think as many times as he's beaten us, he would feel sorry for me and talk to me. (Laughter.) So I guess when he started just beating us all the time. I don't know. Ask him. It's hard to figure.
Q. Could you comment on Tasha and her role of stepping in for Loree at point guard and what she's done.
PAT SUMMITT: Dick, if you would have told me Tasha Butts was going to be my point guard this year and we were going to be in the national championship game, I would of said, what's wrong with you? I thought you knew a little bit more about basketball. But Tasha knew more than I would probably have thought at that time about what you have to do to be a great point guard. You have to be a great leader. You have to step out and take some risk. You have to manage your team and manage game situations and just stay consistent and commit to the system as well as to your teammates and your coaching staff. She has done that and more. She's made big plays. I was thinking just last week about her play in post-season last year. She forced a lot, didn't knock down a lot of shots, got really impatient, and now you look at her. And that just speaks volumes for her ability to step up and not fear the position, but embrace it. And lead our basketball team and watch tape and learn and just get better with each and every game. I really appreciate her willingness to do that for our basketball team. Not that I gave her a choice, but I appreciate her doing it.
Q. When you look at the All-Americans' performance in these two games, I guess except for Janel McCarville, you look at the other four, Diana, Shyra, Lindsay Whalen and Seimone, none of them had particularly great shooting nights, what does that say about the defensive focus on those star players and the need for all those other people, especially at this level and these games, to support them?
PAT SUMMITT: Well, that's obviously a great observation. In this tournament, if you're a basketball coach, going against a player like Seimone Augustus, like Whalen, whoever it might be, you have to make that a priority in your defensive scheme. There's some coaches that believe you just let the best player get all the points they can get and stop everybody else. Or you limit the best player and make other people obviously beat you. What do you want to do? You know, do you want to key on the best or not? And for us we want to guard everyone. But we really want to make sure in those games that we make it at least hard or difficult at times for that player to just continually make those plays. And we want somebody else to make them. I thought we did a great job on Nicole Powell for example, she gets 31, and I go back and watch the tape and I thought if we hadn't have defended her in a number of key possessions, she may have had 51. Because she was that good. I felt the same about Seimone last night. Ashley did a great job on her. Switching off and at least she had some tough looks at the basket. But she still got a lot of good looks. So it depends coaching-wise what your philosophy is. I like to guard all five people. And if we can contain at all the best players on the floor and not let the other people go off, then that enhances our chances.
Q. You've coached in over a hundred post-season games, the way your team has played and won, the past few games, very exciting finishes, have you learned anything as a head coach?
PAT SUMMITT: Well, I learn every game. I think the thing that I've really learned over my tenure has been that I can't get too emotional. I think as a young coach, obviously I'm a screamer anyway, but now I'm not screaming at my players as much as I'm probably screaming about a call, but regardless, I have to maintain my focus and my composure and just try and help the players opposed to getting caught up in the emotion of a game. I think that's what you learn as a coach. And you learn a lot of other things. But for me it was just to find a way to get a feel for what the team needs. It's not about what I am feeling, it's about what they need.
Q. Obviously another Tennessee-UConn final will play well in Peoria in terms of television ratings and what have you, but do you feel any kind of rising sense of resentment from the have-nots of the sports, the new programs, the fence-sitters, that these are two programs that win too much, win too often? You've been characterized as like two versions of the New York Yankees in women's basketball and do you feel like a growing sense of resentment from the fence-sitters?
PAT SUMMITT: Not at all. I like that. That's a great compliment. When people are on top, obviously a lot of folks are going to going to cheer for the underdogs. Last night, some of our fans said there wasn't anyone in the arena for you unless they had on orange. Well, that's fine. But we have been in that position for a long time. And we accept that with a great deal of pride and responsibility. And we're just wanting to continue to do things the right way and year in and year out be in the hunt. And hopefully people, while they may resent us, hopefully they will respect us. And it's all about performing at a certain level and holding your standard high and I think in the end people may not like you, but they should respect you.
Q. A lot of people look at this as Geno/Pat rivalry as maybe more so than Tennessee/UConn since the players change so much. He's catching up with you with titles, if he wins tomorrow it will be 6 to 5. Does that weigh on your mind at all?
PAT SUMMITT: Not at all. This is about Tennessee. And it's about our players. And it's about this team. The Pat versus Geno, Geno versus Pat, that, to me, in my mind, no. It's not about that. I think it's important that our players see this as obviously what they have to do as players and how they have to prepare and there's no team in the country that we have greater respect and admiration for than Connecticut and rightfully so. So it's, that's strictly what it is. It's going out and Tennessee versus UConn and the players obviously our players versus their players.
Q. Obviously both teams are stacked with elite players, are there some players on Connecticut who you recruited heavily back in the day?
PAT SUMMITT: Obviously Ann Strother. We recruited her and would have loved to have had her in our program. Initially we look at obviously Barbara Turner and Diana Taurasi, but I think I talked to Diana one time. So aside from the players on the floor right now then, no.
Q. As a freshman, you remember Diana Taurasi and you were at a game up in Hartford you say four years of this after watching her make some long bombs. With the stakes being what they are tomorrow and the four years being finally up, can you talk about what it means to have her as that final stumbling block between you and the championship and how satisfying would it be to finally get the best of her on the game's biggest stage?
PAT SUMMITT: Again, Diana's a great player, she's played very, very well against Tennessee. I mean, it's amazing. The numbers she's put up against us. And yet she is best at coming and playing in the big game. So that doesn't surprise me. And I'm not thinking in terms of what Diana's going to do and she will be gone after this. I'm just thinking about how we can go out and match up against Connecticut and do the best job we can possibly do on Taurasi, understanding that she's going to make plays for herself and other people and she's going to score points. I've got to be realistic on our approach. Hopefully we can have a good individual defense and good team defense against them. I just thought they really broke us down in Tennessee. And their offensive rebounding, I mean last night, the offensive boards kept them not only in the game, but put them in the lead. And consistently when the shots didn't fall, they had the weak side boards and the put-backs. So it gives Diana, obviously, I think Diana and Conlon, Ann Strother they are have to be feeling very comfortable about putting up the 3 ball because they know if they miss, their post people, I mean they rotate four post people about every five or six minutes. That's 20 fouls. And they are very physical. So they don't hold back. They go for it. And as a result, they're very successful in that rotation. But their offensive boards is really just key.
Q. Leaving you versus Geno out of it, having dominated the sport not that long ago, how hard has it been on you personally not to win?
PAT SUMMITT: I have to be realistic. If I feel like we had the best team and we should have won, then it's really bothered me. But I don't have this personal thing with Geno that everybody somehow thinks I have a personal thing with Geno. I have say this over and over, I think he's a great basketball coach. And it is not me and versus him. I'm not out for Pat versus Geno. And it hasn't eaten away at me. I hate losing, to anyone. But you have to take that and handle it. I don't know what people want me to do when we have lost five in a row. Go crazy? Start talking about their program or start talking about Geno? No. That makes me respect him even more. So that's just the way it is. As I said, they have had our number and they will have our number until we get their number.
Q. Let me ask you this: When you had a good relationship with Geno, how warm and fuzzy was it and how much similarities do you see with his personality and your good friend Steve Spurrier?
PAT SUMMITT: Well, it was never warm and fuzzy. But I think that his personality and Coach Spurrier, it's hard for me to compare the two because Steve and I are good friends. I think probably a lot of people, because of some of the things that Steve would say before he competed against Tennessee in football, for example, fired up the fans. But I always thought that Coach former handled it and that's what you do. You can control a lot of things in this world, you can't control what other people say about you. You really can't. So they can say what they want to say. I am who I am. And I don't want to get into a verbal war with anyone. So.
Q. Beyond you and Geno, you look back at the Lakers and the Celtics, Yankees and Red Sox, is that what's becoming of this rivalry in women's basketball and how good is that for this sport?
PAT SUMMITT: Well, I think it's good. I can see the comparisons. And I can see how people are really intrigued with that type of competitive environment and just the match-up and the players and the coaches. So is it good? I think it's good for the game. You say well you're the woman that's been crying parity. Parity is good for the game. We had parity throughout the tournament. Now we have what probably a lot of people throughout this country wanted to see. And you can't tell me that television isn't excited about this match up. Why? Because those are the two teams that competed a year ago for the national championship, and they're the two teams that will compete tomorrow night. So it has to be a game of great interest nationally.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the significance when you guys won three in a row from '96 to '98, and how fitting is it that while UConn's trying to win their third in a row, that they have to face a team that the only team in the history that's done it before?
PAT SUMMITT: Well, when we won three in a row, we didn't win three in a row quite like Connecticut won their last two and the team that they have this year. In '96 we were certainly not the favorite. We won in Charlotte against Georgia. We were fortunate beat Connecticut in the semi-final game, which went into overtime. But we win that one and then in '97, we had 10 losses. Probably our biggest win was that we beat Connecticut in the regional championship. A team that overachieved, in my opinion, our Tennessee team, and then we went on to beat Old Dominion in the championship. And again, I don't think many people thought we would do that. And then in '98 we have our best team ever, and go 39 and 0. So it wasn't like we were dominating women's basketball for three consecutive years. But we did manage to win those three. And obviously that was history for our program and then the women's game. So going against Connecticut and they're going, obviously, to try that, to me, that hasn't been even mentioned. Tomorrow night is all about our team, for me, it's about helping this team. We're not thinking about we have got to stop a streak. We're a team that wants to go out and play well and put ourselves in a position to win a national championship. So that will be our focus, it will be execution, not any record or any upset, it will just be about execution.
Q. No Geno question, I promise. I would like to --
PAT SUMMITT: Thank you.
Q. I would like to ask how you've felt about coming back to an arena setting this year after the last two or three years of this being in dome situations. Has it been a different comfort level for the players? Does it feel more familiar to them, and to you, this kind of surrounding?
PAT SUMMITT: Actually, walking in here it was a lot different for us. Even in our first practice, I thought our players were a lot more relaxed, shot the ball better. I don't know if that's because last year we went in the dome and we were just overanxious on everything, uptight even in shootaround. Even on game day. I don't know if it's because we are a more confident team, but I did say to our coaching staff when we came in here, you know, this arena looks a lot different, much more like where we play. And I think that there was much more of a comfort level with our players. I think from a shooters' standpoint I think a gym like this is much more favorable than a dome. But then you have to give up a lot of fans and people that could be here. But I like it personally just for the players.
Q. Have any of your fans or family offered any interesting nickname suggestions for Connecticut to offset Evil Empire?
PAT SUMMITT: No. I'm sure we may come up with one today. No, we haven't even talked about that.
Q. Connecticut's got a senior class that have been to four Final Fours, you've brought a team to the Final Four I think four years in a row a couple times --
PAT SUMMITT: Three.
Q. Three. How special and how satisfying is it for you to see a recruit come in and then close out their career on the biggest stage every year?
PAT SUMMITT: Well, it's very gratifying. And I think it's really been unique for us to be able to make three consecutive Final Fours and obviously for Connecticut to be here what, five times now in a row and these seniors play in four Final Fours, and what, three national championship games. So it speaks to the level of consistency in both programs. Also the level of talent, the players that have gotten the job done year in and year out, and typically when you're in that situation you're a top dog and everyone's trying to knock you off. So I think obviously both programs have maintained their position with great consistency because of great players.
Q. I apologize, back to you and Geno. I'll give you a what-if scenario. What if you're driving down a dark highway in Tennessee, car broken down, it's Geno, do you drive by, do you stop or do you drive by and call for help and why?
PAT SUMMITT: Well, I stop and ask if I can help him. Why wouldn't I? Reverse the role. (Laughter.) I would stop and say, Geno, you need any help here?
Q. Coach, you mentioned that you talked to Taurasi during the recruiting process. Can you walk us through that, how far in the process did you get, did you actually offer her --
PAT SUMMITT: One phone call.
Q. What happened? Was there no interest on her part?
PAT SUMMITT: Just didn't get a good feel. So I guess that means I didn't think she was very interested.
Q. Reflecting on parity, it's not necessarily just the players are improving but the coaching across the board seems to be improving. Can you reflect a little bit on what you have seen on the young coaches coming up and even how established coaches like yourself and such have modified their own coaching styles to meet the quality of the player coming in.
PAT SUMMITT: Well, certainly players are better and coaches are a lot better. I think you look in this tournament and look throughout the season at the number of coaches that pulled off some big upsets. You have the veteran coaches and then obviously you have a lot of young coaches. I think a great example obviously in our regional with Kim Mulkey and then you have Tara Van Derveer. So had you a veteran coach and a young coach and both teams were extremely well prepared. You can look at the regional out west and you had Andy Landers in the finals against Pokey Chatman. So you had a veteran coach and you had a first year interim coach. And they went head to head to the wire. But a lot of great play calling, adjustments made during the game. So to me that's what we're seeing and it's exciting to have great young minds in this game that are impacting the parity that we're now seeing, not only in recruiting, but in their ability to teach and teach the game and manage the game as well.
Q. Seeing your recruiting class for next year it's obvious you still like stars and any opportunity that it gives you to win. But how much, how enjoyable has this year been, having a team that maybe the expectations were a little bit lower in a more starless kind of team?
PAT SUMMITT: There's a different feel when you know everyone has to do it collectively. Going into it, you're not real sure whether or not they can get it done. The interesting thing, we took a trip to Rome and played an exhibition game in August, and then we went on to Athens, and ironically, Loree Moore was not with us. She was at the Pan Am games. And so Tasha Butts was our point guard along with Shanna Zolman. And watching that team play the Greek national team in an exhibition game and we're down 22 at half-time. And I'm thinking, what a miserable year this could be. And I remember getting out my schedule and starting to look at it. And I go, I can't look at it. I just can't look at it. We have to come together. We came back and made a decent game out of it in the exhibition, but we still lost the game. And now we start the tournament with Romania, Bulgaria and again the Greek national soon-to-be Olympic team. We won our first, lost our second, and then we're ready to play the Greek national team again. Our team grew up a lot in just a matter of those four games. An interesting enough is that we came back and we won that game. And played really well. And LaToya Davis was our superstar. She led us in scoring. And LaToya Davis obviously played limited minutes for us this year. But not to make this too long, but we, when we finally won, I had talked to George and the national coach, and visited with him, and saw sitting there the trophy and I thought, man, this is going to be great. We're going to try and pull this off and win this trophy. So after we won, we kept sitting there and sitting there and I thought we would have some type of post-game recognition. And after about it was almost 10 minutes, Ashley Robinson said, Coach, is there any reason why we have to sit here? And I said, no, Ashley. I thought we were going to get a trophy. And so we left. And before we left obviously someone on our staff saw the trophy and it had the Greek national team already engraved on it. So we didn't get a trophy. So we're still looking for a trophy. So I guess this is it. We're back here looking for trophy a without Loree Moore, and with LaToya Davis being a big playmaker and Tasha Butts as our point guard. So you never know. But I wouldn't have thought when we left there that we would be here particularly having Loree Moore go down.
Q. I know it's hard to win one national championship much less two in a row. How hard is it to win three in a row?
PAT SUMMITT: Wasn't hard for us, because we had our best team ever. I think the hard part was winning the first two. But then what made the third one much easier was because we had the players. We just had Holdsclaw and Catchings and Randall and Kellie Jolly just a great team. So that made it a lot easier.
Q. Somebody mentioned the New York Yankees before with UConn and Tennessee, the Yankees' main rival was the Red Sox and those two teams are always aware of the recruiting players, free agents over the winter, it got out of control the last couple years, how aware, talking about recruiting before, how aware do you think the two schools are of each other's intentions and what's going on with regard to who you're close to signing, who you're zeroing in on, is it something of a chess game or does it not get into what they're doing, it's just what you're doing?
PAT SUMMITT: No, I think we -- I can speak for Tennessee, what we do is identify young talent. We like to get in and know the best 8th graders on up in the country. And start to look at who we would see as the best fit at whatever our needs might be, point guard, best shooter, best player, best post player, and then we target that pool and then we start the recruiting process by going and watching and you really, I know for us, it's not, well, if Connecticut's recruiting and we have to recruit them or if Duke is recruiting them, we just assume if we think they're the best and they think they're the best then we're going to be competing in recruiting, just like we compete on the basketball court. But it's not like we track that. We recruit a lot against or we did this past year, we recruited a lot against Duke. More actually than we did against Connecticut. We did, we recruited Charde Houston who chose to go to Connecticut, but other than that, I mean Duke was probably the one school that we went head to head with for more players.
DEBBIE BYRNE: Okay. Thank you, Pat.
PAT SUMMITT: Thank you.
End of FastScripts...