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ACC Teleconference Quotes - MaChelle Joseph

March 3, 2009

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Head Coach MaChelle Joseph

Opening Statement
“We really feel like we finished the season strong. We have won seven of our last 10 games. We had a big win for our team and our program against Virginia on Sunday. The fact that we’ve been playing 10 freshmen and sophomores most of the year with only two upperclassmen getting significant minutes, it’s been a great accomplishment for our team.. It’s only the second time in the history of our program that we’ve finished with a winning record in ACC play. Obviously that was one of our goals coming into the season and the other thing we talked about was getting to the NCAA tournament and advancing past the first round. We know that playing in the ACC tournament is going to help prepare us for that, for the next step. We’re excited about our seed, one of the highest seeds we’ve ever had at Georgia Tech. I’m excited to see what this young team is capable of. We really feel like we hit our stride just recently. Starting out the season, I thought it would be the middle of February before we were playing as good of basketball as we needed to play to compete in this conference. I really feel like we’ve accomplished that. Our freshmen and sophomores have started to figure out what it takes to win on the road in the ACC and what it takes to win and compete against the very best teams. It’s been a fun year and we’re excited about this weekend in Greensboro.”

On parity in the conference
“I definitely think so; you have to look around the league. Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, they’ve been athletic and deep for a while now. They’ve had 5, 6, 7 players that had tremendous speed and athleticism and I think the rest of us have really tried to go out and recruit those type of players that can compete at this level. I don’t know if there is a conference in the country that is as athletic top to bottom as the ACC. I definitely know that 6 years ago when we started at Georgia Tech, one of the programs I looked to, that I thought we wanted to be the most like was North Carolina. You look at their style of play, their athleticism, the way they get up and down the floor. That’s just one of the things we looked at when went out and tried to recruit student athletes to fit our system was, how we wanted to play. We wanted to be up tempo, we wanted to crash and run and that’s one of the things we look at Carolina and say hey, they’ve had tremendous success in this league over a sustained period of time and that’s the kind of program we’re trying to build at Georgia Tech.”

On playing a tough non-conference schedule
“There’s no doubt that that has made us a better team and our players understand what it’s like to play in the ACC. We went up to Connecticut and they didn’t know any better, they just played fearless. We ended up losing that game by 11. We played a great first half and actually pretty good second half against a great Connecticut team. But then I thought that playing a team like Texas and Michigan State and beating Georgia at home by 15, the largest margin of victory we’ve ever had in that series. I think it really gave our kids a lot of confidence, poise, and purpose. They understand, they got a taste of what it’s like to compete at the highest level. Then we went into ACC play and your doing it night in and night out, you don’t get a break. Top to bottom, this is one of the toughest leagues in the country and in my 6 years probably the deepest league. It really has helped us and it’s the toughest schedule that we’ve had since I’ve been a Georgia Tech, non-conference, but it’s really paid off for us. We played every power conference in the country. We played the Big East, the SEC, the PAC 10, we went out to Oregon and played Oregon, we played Michigan State in the Big 10 and played Georgia in the SEC, so we’ve basically seen every conference. Obviously playing in the ACC has helped us and we’re getting our stride. Again, we’ve started all freshmen and sophomores the past 7 games and it’s starting to pay off for them.”

On whether a conference tournament helps a team
“I guess you never know what you miss if you don’t have it. I never had the opportunity to participate as a player. I had one year as a coach at Purdue, and in the SEC tournament at Auburn, and now the ACC tournament. I will tell you that the ACC tournament is above and beyond, it’s a tremendous opportunity and it really prepares teams for the NCAA tournament. I think it helps your kids and your coaching staff mentally prepare for what’s next. To have that situation where your one and done, you have to win or your gone. I never had that opportunity as a player to get ready for that next step, the NCAA tournament.”

On playing early in front of a large amount of local children
“I think it’s an unbelievable atmosphere. It’s exciting; it’s a credit to the ACC for the job they’ve done to bring that kind of excitement to the Greensboro area. We’ve had the opportunity to play in the 11 o’clock game 3 of my 6 years, I’m kind of experienced at that 11 game. I think it’s a great atmosphere for our players, they seem to enjoy it, and the kids seem to enjoy it. That’s what it’s all about, about us giving back and if we influence 2, 3, 5, 6 little kids to want to play basketball, to want to compete at the highest level, to want to go to a great academic school and achieve things that they never thought they could, then it’s worth it. I think it’s exciting, the fact, that we get that opportunity to be a part of that game at 11 o’clock.”


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