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March 7, 2009

Alyssia Brewer

Pat Summitt


Auburn – 78
Tennessee - 58

THE MODERATOR: Presenting Tennessee is Coach Pat Summitt and student athletes Angie Bjorklund and Alice Brewer. Coach?
COACH SUMMITT: Obviously we went in at halftime feeling pretty good about what we had done and just our defensive scheme overall.
The wheels fell off the second half. I thought we really, at times, we just didn't defend. They had their way with us in transition and off the bounce they obviously stepped up and DeWanna Bonner was terrific. And I knew they would probably have a good talkin' to at halftime and come back out, because they're a team -- they're so aggressive when they're in their transition game.
They didn't have to set up that much in the second half. We did a good job first half, I thought, of making them have to at least go against our defense in the half-court more. So that hurt us, but they obviously had three people that had double figures, you got Bonner with 26, Hobbs with 16 and Boddie with 19. Obviously we did not score well.
I thought our guards really struggled. Certainly not getting to the free-throw line, we were 7 of 11, they were 23 of 27. But we just, you know, a lot of it was I thought we weren't as aggressive to the paint as we needed to be, and I think fatigue set in on us probably. That's more mental than anything, but we just didn't compete the second half, really disappointed in how we played in the second half.

Q. Coach, what are your general thoughts on Shekinna's performance tonight? I know you usually expect a lot out of her, looked like she had difficulties in the second half, what were your thoughts on how she did for you tonight?
COACH SUMMITT: Well, you take Angie and you take Shekinna, and they're just two very important pieces of what we want to do offensively and defensively and they combined 10 of 38.
You know, it's hard to keep your offense where it needs to be, you know, Stricklen was 3 of 19. So players have bad shooting nights, and obviously let's give Auburn some credit. I thought their defense, they extended better and just defended better in the second half especially.
But as far as that goes, we didn't score well inside, either. It's hard for us to win if we're not having balance offensively.

Q. Pat, there were just under 3 minutes to go and you were demonstrative and angry in the huddle, 3 minutes to go, was that anything --
COACH SUMMITT: I just didn't want us to quit playing. I don't care if there are 3 minutes left to go, it's still a teaching moment. We caved in, we gave in in the second half, you know, and we didn't bring the same intensity.
That's a time to -- that's a teaching opportunity to say we've got to hang in here. I was trying to -- I said, let's try to cut it to 10, because I never want a team to quit, I want 'em to compete for 40 minutes, and that's just exactly why I went in the huddle and did what I did, because this team has to learn to compete all the time.

Q. Pat, when Boddie penetrated the second half, you want to comment on the help?
COACH SUMMITT: I didn't see any help, it's hard to comment on something you didn't see, Bob. But, seriously, I thought -- we just let 'em go right. We didn't force 'em left, we talked about forcing them left, we didn't give any help.
We had opportunities to take a number of charges, but they put us -- you got to give 'em credit, they put us on our heels in the second half because they turned -- you know, they turned the pressure up by putting us in that situation.
I mean, they were just dribble driving and attacking the paint and the rim and we didn't step up and do what we needed to do, which was to have a sense of urgency to defend and force 'em left and to take charges.

Q. Pat, heading into the Florida game, facing them the second time you said that game would be a chance to see where you're at. Same could be said with Auburn, so how would you answer that question? Where would you say you guys are at?
COACH SUMMITT: I think we're at the crossroads, we've got to decide who we are, are we going to be a 40-minute team, are we going to commit to our defense for 40 minutes. And we've got to make shots!
We got in the paint and missed so many layups. We've got to be more efficient on the offensive end and, you know, that would help us tremendously from a confidence standpoint. And obviously, you know, as we move into the NCAA tournament. We've got to be better.
We've got to be better on the offensive end and we've got to be really stingy on the defensive end. And when you're not making shots, you've got to make stops. If you don't, it can get real ugly.

Q. Pat, did you see anything in this tournament that makes you feel better about this team, going into the NCAA tournament?
COACH SUMMITT: Well, I thought the fact that, you know, the way we competed against Florida when they came back to make their run, I was really pleased. We did some good things, you know, and by no means am I giving up on this team. We're young, we've got a lot of skilled players. We've just got to learn a lot about how to invest in every possession.
We've got time to practice and they're going to get better. So from that standpoint, that game, yes, the way we started tonight was very, very good. I was disappointed in the second half. The team is disappointed. We were not happy with how we played, but we played a team tonight that was just better than us in the second half. And it was obvious that they were the more aggressive team and the more skilled team.

Q. Pat, could you talk about your view as to whether Auburn should be a No. 1 seed?
COACH SUMMITT: You know, I haven't really looked that closely at it, but I think if they win here, if they win out, then they've got a great shot at the No. 1 seed. And they may get it anyway, but I think definitely if they win, it says a lot for 'em.

Q. Alyssia, talk about the way the team responded in the first half. After Kelley went down, you guys seemed to play aggressively and with a lot of determination in the first half.
ALYSSIA BREWER: Definitely. We saw a player go down and we never want to see that, and we knew that we had to come together and replace what Kelley would give us and we did that in the first half, but we lacked it in the second half.
These past couple of days we were doing great, but in the second half we kinda folded.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies.

End of FastScripts

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