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March 5, 2011

Meighan Johnson

Glory Johnson

Pat Summitt


Tennessee – 82
Georgia - 58

THE MODERATOR: We're ready to begin with Tennessee. Coach, if you'll give us your thoughts on today's game.
COACH SUMMITT: Overall I thought we had great focus, we had a lot of people step up. I thought our intensity overall, both offensively and defensively, was where it needed to be.
You know, we have a lot of respect for Georgia. We knew that it would be a battle. Obviously, it took us a while to open the game up the way we wanted to. But a lot of different people stepped up. Obviously, Taber started out playing well.
Glory continues to understand how important it is for her to do the job inside. Does a great job as a post player. Her skill set has really developed to a great place for her, and obviously it helps us.
Shekinna did a good job. I just think a lot of different people. Certainly Meighan came in and did well. I don't know why I have to tell Angie to shoot the ball. Obviously, she's feeling a lot better. With her being better, that's a good thing. Getting Vicki good minutes, wanted to do that, as well as Kelley Cain.
A lot of people came in and did some good things for us. I think the depth overall of our team is one of the strongest things that we have going for us.
THE MODERATOR: Glory, your thoughts on today's game?
GLORY JOHNSON: I think we came out strong. We brought the energy from the beginning of the game and finished it pretty strong. Just working our five defense, switching up defenses, going to zero, going to 2-3, that helped a lot. It kind of shook up Georgia a little bit.
I think we played hard. I think we communicated a lot better on defense today rather than yesterday. We were all on the same page, and that helps to maintain success. I think we've got to keep that up.
THE MODERATOR: Meighan, your thoughts on today's victory?
MEIGHAN JOHNSON: I think we played extremely hard today. We learned from a lot of mistakes we made from the previous game. Pat was talking to us to say, You can't just arrive in this game, you have to be prepared for everything, any challenge that comes towards you.
I think we communicated a lot better today. We played Tennessee basketball. We didn't play down to our opponent. We just kept the pedal to the metal and kept going.
THE MODERATOR: At this point we will take questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Meighan, coach was talking about watching a lot of video with you this morning. What was the focus of that video session and what did you get out of it?
MEIGHAN JOHNSON: I think the focus of that video session was her explaining I can't just ball watch all the time. I have to be in a stance 24/7. I have to know where the ball and my man is at all times.

Q. Meighan, yesterday you told me you weren't so comfortable. You said things would be better today. What was the comfort level for you today?
MEIGHAN JOHNSON: I just think I got good rest last night. Of course, I wasn't so focused on my ankle today. I just wanted to go out and play hard, get my teammates involved, learn from the mistakes I made yesterday, from the film session. I didn't want to let my coach or my teammates down.
That's just a part of the process: you have to learn from your mistakes and move forward.

Q. Meighan, coach said yesterday she wanted to see more from you. Was there added pressure when you came in today? Did you feel differently than when you came in yesterday?
MEIGHAN JOHNSON: Yeah, there was a lot of pressure yesterday. I've never been in the situation. But I think the second game, my mindset just totally changed. I just have to go out there, play my game, not be intimidated by my opponent, listen to what the coach has to say because she knows what is best for us. Just go out there and play hard.

Q. How good is this team right now and how good can you be?
GLORY JOHNSON: I think we're at a level where each and every game we learn something different about ourselves, along with the team. We learn things that we need to improve. As far as communication, we have to maintain communication on offense and defense just to avoid confusion on both ends of the floor.
When we do that, even though we mess up, as long as we go hard and we bring the energy, we can mess up here or there, still make up for it as long as we're communicating and having each other's back.
I feel like we can go so much further. You learn something new every day, every practice, every game. Everyone has room for improvement. I think it shows within our team. I think we're still at a high level. We can just go a lot further.
MEIGHAN JOHNSON: I think this team can be a very great team. I think we're a national championship team. I just think as far as, you know, everybody's mindset has to be on the same page. We have to want to go out there and win and fight for the national championship. Like we've always been talked to about, Well, where you want to be later on in the season? Well, we want to be there.
I think everybody's mindset now that we're in the SEC, we have a point to prove, and we have to get past the SEC in ordering to go the NCAAs.

Q. Glory, as a veteran player, can you empathize with the situation with Meighan where she comes in as a freshman and play a prominent role, particularly point?
GLORY JOHNSON: She has a huge role for our team. She's at a position where she has to pull the whole team together as the point guard. She's the one that has to lead communication. She calls the plays. The coaches communicate through her to get to us on the floor.
I think she stepped up this game. Coming in first game SEC, you never know what to expect. As a player, you want to play your role. You don't want to do too much. You want to be there for your team however you can. I think she's getting there.
Her confidence is back. When we talk to her, we bring the energy, you can see it in her. We just want to maintain confidence throughout the whole team and make sure that she's looking positive all the time no matter what. Turnover, forget about it. Move on to the next play. As long as she's doing that, she's fine, as you saw today.

Q. Glory, how hard is it to keep the intensity level up when your opponent is struggling?
GLORY JOHNSON: As long as we're talking to each other. We're messing up, too. Might not look like it, but we are messing up, too. We'll just make up for it. We have each other's back. It looks like we're trying to be on the same page.
As long as we keep communicating, like I said before, it keeps us focused and making sure that we're doing the right thing the next play.
On offense we're going to try to work the ball, hit the hot hand. On defense, we're going to try to switch faster, get steals. We're not getting as many steals as we want or, we're not pushing on transitioning and getting as many layups as we want to. We're working on it.
It's not a point where we're playing against Georgia just to play against Georgia. We're playing against ourselves, too. Every game we're trying to get better, no matter the opponent.

Q. Glory, the past two days you missed a lot of open layups.
GLORY JOHNSON: It's just focusing, something that we are still working on every day, like I said before. That's just focus. Going a little too fast when you have wide-open layups like I had today. Just slow down. A layup is something we make every day in practice. Something we know we can do. Focus on the finish, that's all you have to do.

Q. Meighan, Glory was referring to your confidence, That it's back. Has it waned in the last few games? Did you have a drop-off in confidence?
MEIGHAN JOHNSON: There was a moment of time where I felt I could have gave more. Even though my team said I did a good job. Sometimes I get hard on myself. I say, I could have did this better, I could have did that better.
My confidence is slowly starting to come back. I'm starting to feel more comfortable with my teammates encouraging me, film sessions with Pat, all the assistant coaching there encouraging me no matter what, keep working hard, pushing forward.
THE MODERATOR: Ladies, we'll excuse you. We'll continue with questions for Coach Summitt.

Q. There seemed to be a difference in play from Glory's first and second half. What did you see?
COACH SUMMITT: Just encouraged her to, you know, really battle on the inside, to get touches. You know, she's a tremendous athlete. But sometimes, you know, she'll go and play, and you're thinking, What did she accomplish? Just challenging her to really, on both ends of the floor, be very focused.
I think she's doing a much better job at using the glass. I think she has a lot of confidence in the paint. She likes to step out, shoot the three ball occasionally. Not happening anymore, not this year, not on my dime. I think we got that squared away.
But you're talking athletic and someone that really makes a difference on the defensive end, as well. She can create a lot of havoc for the opposing team.

Q. I remember at the beginning of the year talking to the girls. They said more so than in years past they're joking and laughing. This is a team that always has fun. I know you mentioned their maturity. Have you noticed a change in camaraderie?
COACH SUMMITT: I think so in the fact that they all get along with each other and they like each other. I haven't had a lot of teams that got along with each other and liked each other to the extent that they do.
But I think if you look at it, just the maturity of our team, how long they've been together. I mean, Meighan is a new kid on the block. I'm sure at times when she came in, she was thinking, Oh, will I ever get it? They've really brought her along. I think that's where she feels a lot better. Kamiko is more confident. It is a team that's really like family.
I've enjoyed, really enjoyed, the opportunity to travel with them and listen to them. I mean, they'll work hard. But off the court sometimes they can be a little crazy. That's when I go to my room.

Q. Talk about where this team is now. How far can this team go?
COACH SUMMITT: I think this team can win a championship. There's no doubt in my mind. But in order to do it, you can't have an off night. So the one good thing is I go back to our depth. If someone is having a bad night, then somebody else has to step up.
Fortunately, with the depth of this team, this junior class in particular, I think that keeps the coaching staff with a lot of options.
I think every player is really invested in trying to win a championship.

Q. Talk about your zone, how long and strong you guys are, especially inside. Not much air in there.
COACH SUMMITT: Well, the one thing that I think has been a great benefit for us, whether we're in our zone or in man, but particularly when we are in our zone, we can go really big. It's hard for people. A lot of teams will choose to try to shoot over it as opposed to attacking it. I think that works to our favor.
But, you know, it's been great. It's been really great for us. We've used it a lot. We've certainly used it against Georgia when we played Georgia at home. We've used it just about every game. We'll mix up, you know, whether we want to play zone or man. We'll mix it up and come out of timeout so we can keep people off balance from that regard.

Q. Pat, obviously you want to win every game. Winning the conference tournament is important. Does it really mean more or extra to be undefeated throughout the whole conference season? Is that something that is really important to you, other than the obvious?
COACH SUMMITT: Never thought about it because didn't even think, you know, we need to do this. It was just one game at a time.
You know, I think our team was very focused on trying to go through our conference undefeated. I don't think our coaching staff really thought about it. It's one day of practice at a time and one game at a time.
But as we got closer, I didn't want to lose. You know, I started to feel my hands a little sweaty when I was coming to the gym, because I thought, We've gone this long, we don't want to lose. I think it's something special. It came from this team. The coaches can only do so much. But they're the ones that said, We're going to get this done.

Q. Now that you have a chance to cap it off, is there that sort of light at the end of the tunnel? Does it mean that much more to know you're one win away from finishing the whole thing off?
COACH SUMMITT: It's on all of our minds, in our hearts. That's what we want to do. I'll be disappointed if we don't do it. It's not the end of the season, you know, overall. But, you know, hopefully we've got more games to play ahead of us.
I know that it's a priority for this team, and I know it's certainly a priority for this coaching staff. I have a feeling it's a priority for all of our fans and the chancellor and the president. Everybody sitting in this room. I'm like, Oh, my goodness (laughter).
At least they're smiling. Got the governor the other day. He spoke to the team. It was great.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, Coach. Best wishes for tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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