home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 7, 2008

Alexis Hornbuckle

Candace Parker

Pat Summitt


THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you could, an opening comment and then we'll take questions for the players, then come back to questions for you.
COACH SUMMITT: Well, I thought our basketball team came in with great energy. Certainly being able to score off of our defense early and just by pushing tempo. I thought Shannon really got the ball and got us some good open-court looks. Candace ran the floor hard and was consistent in running hard, and obviously that gave us a chance to score in transition.
I thought our guard play between Shannon and Lex was really solid, and that's exactly what we need, and I think it's what we have to have to be the kind of basketball team that we need to be, not only in this game but as we move forward.
So overall a good effort, good energy. Good off the bench. Vicky Ball brings a lot of energy and certainly did a nice job coming in, and Nicky Anosike is always doing a lot of the things that go unnoticed but her defense and her toughness and just how hard she works at both ends of the floor.

Q. Alexis, talk about your shooting game today. This looked like a real upgrade for you. What was going on today?
ALEXIS HORNBUCKLE: I just tried to come into the game and relax and let the game come to me and not force anything. My teammates were doing a great job of just running the floor and pushing the ball inside, so I just took any open opportunity I could.

Q. Question for Candace. Can you talk about you and Shannon hooking up in transition and how much better that makes you guys?
CANDACE PARKER: I think we've really emphasized in practice the last couple days just up tempo and pushing the tempo every chance we get on makes or misses, so I think Shannon did a great job of just looking up the floor, and I just told her I was in a run, and she made some really nice passes.

Q. Alexis, in the second half there was a play where you were leading a break up the left side and you kind of looked back to the middle, Candace was there and somebody else. You misfired and sure enough, somebody picks it up and hits a three. When things are going good for you guys, even a bad play can turn into something nice?
ALEXIS HORNBUCKLE: That definitely does happen. I definitely saw Vicky's ball first, and then I saw Candace, and a girl hit my arm so I misfired. Luckily Angie was there to pick it up and knock down the shot.

Q. Since you made your decision that this is your last year, is there more of a sense of urgency with tournament time coming?
CANDACE PARKER: Honestly I think there's always a sense of urgency. This is what everybody plays for in the postseason, and I know our team has stepped it up. You know, this is the time of year that you play for.

Q. They seemed to have so much trouble underneath early. One of their post people was 1 for 8. How much do you kind of discourage them from thinking that they can score those kind of easy baskets, and is that an early victory that kind of sets the tone?
CANDACE PARKER: Honestly, Nicky and Vicky and Alex really try to take pride in if the guards get beat or if our men are in the paint or anything like that, own the paint and making people earn their baskets. I know myself, I felt like I disciplined my team early on in the season because when people penetrated or something like that in there, I wasn't there to block a shot. I think just having a post presence and having the type of bodies that we worked hard on, that discourages easy shots.

Q. Candace, could you talk about just the way this team played overall offensively today? It looked like you got a lot of nice things going here at the start of this tournament?
CANDACE PARKER: I remember before the game, Nicky an Vicki pulled us all together and said we didn't start off the tournament last year well at all, and that it set the tone for our loss to LSU in the semifinals last year. We all knew that we had to come to play. Florida is a great team; they were playing well. I think we just decided to play with a lot of energy, and we played a 40-minute game. Didn't we?
COACH SUMMITT: We did (laughter). I'm glad to say that. It makes me happy.
CANDACE PARKER: It's on the record. Write that down, please (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, players. Questions for Coach?

Q. Maybe you can expand on the fact that you finally got that 40-minute effort you've been looking for.
COACH SUMMITT: Well, I think it's sometimes -- and I've talked about this, but coming off of a national championship, it can be very challenging in terms of getting the players to understand how they need to play every possession and have a sense of urgency, and as coaches you always feel that.
But I think with this team, they had so many returning players that I think in some regard they wanted -- if they could, they would probably have said let's fast-forward this season and get to the postseason. You want them to always enjoy the process, and I think they have. But I think at times they've just played in spurts and just tried to be able to close out games. And that's what really, I think, hurt us in our last loss against LSU, and take nothing away from LSU, they just dominated us in the second half.
I think we're very focused. I think they came in focused, and if today is any indication and we can build on that, then I feel like our basketball team is going to be ready to play.

Q. Florida seemed to hang around in the first half and then you kind of blew it open the second half. What was the difference there?
COACH SUMMITT: Well, I think a couple things. We changed our defensive scheme, and I think the change was good for us. But at the same time I thought we did a little bit better job on the glass and on the defensive boards, got in passing lanes and created some opportunities in the open floor that gave us easy scoring options. I just think our play was better. Alexis and Shannon played really well, but Alberta came in and was very efficient for us, as well. That's something we haven't had in the past consistently is great guard play.
I don't think we can win this tournament here, I don't think we can get to Tampa, if we don't have great guard play.

Q. LSU really had an easy time of it today. Was it significant that your team, as well, didn't really have to exert or extend itself when you think about going through the entire tournament?
COACH SUMMITT: Well, I think it's important for us as a coaching staff to be mindful of winning and taking the opportunity to not give extended minutes.
I know we were talking about it coming out of halftime, they said, "we need to press, we need to press." I said, "no, we don't need to press."
I understand, because they're a lot like I am, and with Nicky and Holly, they both played in the program, so they know we're all about keeping pressure on with our defense and extending our defense. But I told our team I'd really like to run our match-up zone as well as we could as well as our three-two zone and get better in the half court. I certainly never told them we weren't going to play hard by any means.
I think we had some good looks at what we needed to do to cover the three-ball, and they adjusted well out of it for the most part, our team did.

Q. I had kind of a silly question. How's your shoulder doing?
COACH SUMMITT: My shoulder is fine. That raccoon is in bad shape.

Q. Which shoulder was it?
COACH SUMMITT: It was my right shoulder. Anyway, not a very good decision on my part. Sometimes I tend to react without thinking. But I am here, alive and well.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach, we'll see you tomorrow.

End of FastScripts
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297