March 25, 2009
Georgia Tech Head Coach MaChelle Joseph
“Well obviously, I’m very proud of the way my team competed, especially in the first half. I really thought that we got down, battled back and we showed a lot of character in that first half. I was really pleased with our interior defense; I really thought that we did a great job on the inside against the best post player in the country, in Courtney Paris. I also thought that, with Ashley (Paris), we did a good job of guarding her primarily with the two freshmen and a junior. I thought that they played extremely well. It’s one of the things we’ve talked about all year, against the number ones, number twos, numbers threes, top five teams in the country; we’ve been able to compete for a half. It seems like we get in foul trouble when we win the first half or the second half. We have to be able to put two halves together, like we did in the first half, to go to that next level; to go from being a good team to a very, very good team. The fact that we’re losing one senior that played a lot of minutes in Jacqua Williams, that makes us excited about the future of this program and where we’re headed; to be able to compete with a team like Oklahoma for 20-25 minutes. We know the work we have to do to get ourselves in position to get to the sweet sixteen and beyond, and that’s one of the things that we’re going to focus on over the course of the next six months. You have to give Oklahoma a lot of credit, their guards really stepped up huge tonight and made a lot of shots from the perimeter, we just weren’t able to match those three’s. When Jacqua got in foul trouble, it was obvious that our youth and our inexperience really showed up. But again, I’m very proud of this young team and what we’ve been able to accomplish this year. I told them in the locker room that they showed a lot of character and perseverance because a lot of people wouldn’t have even had us here in this game tonight, so I’m really proud of the year we’ve had. Again, matching our most ever wins in the history of our program in back-to-back years and winning only our second game of our history in the NCAA tournament, we have a lot to be proud of.
On defending Courtney Paris
“I thought Sasha Goodlett, in particular, did a very good job. For a freshman going against the best post player in the country, I think this is only the second game that she hasn’t had a double-double, and that’s just a tremendous compliment to Sasha, and that’s something that we can really grow off of in the off season. I also thought that Brigitte Ardossi, Iasia Hemingway and Chelsea Regins, those freshmen and sophomores really did a great job in there, and like you mentioned, their perimeter shooting was just phenomenal. I thought Whitney Hand was huge for them, especially the first five minutes of the game, I think she scored the first eight points and really got them going offensively. Ironically enough, that was one of our focuses; trying not to let her hit a three. The first five minutes of the game she scored the first eight points, but on the interior I was really pleased with the way we defended, the way we rebounded. I really thought that if we could rebound with them, we would have an opportunity to be in the game and to have a chance to win. We ended up getting 18 offensive rebounds to their nine, so, you know, that’s one of the best rebounding teams in the country. I was just really pleased with our effort on the boards and our effort on the interior defense.”
On confidence of the programs future
“Yeah, we’re very excited about the future of our program. I mean, why wouldn’t you be. We lose two seniors, one senior that plays significant minutes, and we have one junior that will be a senior next year that plays significant minutes. Everyone else are freshmen and sophomores, so we obviously like the future and what they’re bringing. We also have a top-20 recruiting class coming in as freshmen, so we have a lot to look forward to and we’re very excited about this off-season. We’re excited that we’ll have Alex (Montgomery) back, she’ll be 100% by next season, and we’re going on a foreign tour in May with this team. It’s going to be an exciting time for us to grow this program and grow this team.”
On the value of the NCAA tournament experience for this young team
“Well I was looking out on the floor one time tonight and we had four freshmen out there and a sophomore and I thought, `Oh my gosh, we’re playing the number one seed and one of the top teams in the country with freshmen and sophomores.’ You know, that gets me excited, I had to smile right then, I mean, we’re down 15 but I’m smiling. Throughout the course of the game that’s what I was thinking, `I couldn’t be more proud of these kids’. We’re out there competing against some of the best players in the country, and they’re freshman. They probably don’t even know what they’re doing half the time. They just know that coach said to do this, so we’re going to go do it. You know, Sasha Goodlett is guarding the best post player in the country and she’s getting defensive stops and getting rebounds and I was just really excited to see that. Metra Walthour, who only played one minute against Iowa, came into the game and played 24 minutes with no turnovers against a very good defensive player in Robinson from Oklahoma. I mean, that’s a credit to her. Her ability to hold the ball for 24 minutes against such a tremendous competitor, you know, that gets me excited to have a point guard come back that is just a freshman that was able to go out there today and get us in our offensive sets and just really be able to run the offense without turning the ball over.
On Oklahoma’s defense in the second half
“Yeah, we shot 17% in the second half and obviously that was the difference in the game. When they made that run, we couldn’t score. I think a lot of it was that they were sagging in the paint. They played a saggy man-to-man, they guarded the ball, but everyone else was in the paint. One of the things we rely on is our dribble penetration and we were going to have to pull up and take jump shots, you know 15 feet, and that’s not really our strength. Tonight you saw where we missed Alex; she’s able to stretch the defense with her three-point shooting. That’s one of the things with Oklahoma, I have to give them credit, their defensive game plan was exactly what they needed to do, to stay in paint and make us shoot jump shots. We weren’t able to get to the basket and one of the things we’re really good at is getting to the rim.
Georgia Tech Sophomore Deja Foster
On Oklahoma’s 15-4 run at the beginning of the second half
“I feel like we got back on our heels. They delivered a punch and we didn’t deliver one back. We didn’t battle back like we should have. That’s it.”
Georgia Tech Senior Jacqua Williams
On being forced to shoot more three-point shots
“Their post was having their way inside. We took a lot of shots outside rushing. I think we should have gotten the ball inside a little bit more. Sometimes they fall, and tonight they just weren’t falling.”