Nov. 12, 2010
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Louisville Head Coach Jeff Walz
On opening night of the arena and the effort the team gave
"It was fantastic. It is a wonderful thing to be a part of - to have 22,000 plus and a sellout crowd on opening night, to retire Angel McCoughtry's jersey. There were a lot of great things that went on tonight. Unfortunately the score wasn't all that great tonight, but I felt like we competed and gave good effort. There is no question that this team can get better and we are going to. We're going to be competing at a high level soon."
On what coming back from deficits says about the team
"We've got players who can play. There is no question about that. We have more offensive weapons now than we had last year. It makes a difference when you've got a variety of players who can score. They have to guard three or four of us. I thought we got the shots that we wanted throughout the zone. We had a couple of set plays called that we didn't execute in crunch time. We tried to drive the gap when there was no need to drive the gap. That's what I told them the last three days, you cannot vary from a set until you've run the set once. We're getting open shots but we're driving in there and looking for the first option but we're turning it over. We're playing hard. Every player that I put out there tonight competed at a high level."
On what he said to Shoni Schimmel at halftime
"She's fine. This was her first game. She wanted to go out there and play well and perform. She tried to make several passes up the floor and I told her I wanted the ball pushed up the floor. I just made a simple halftime adjustment. I told her you can't push the ball up the floor if nobody is guarding you. They weren't guarding her. They were enticing her to make her throw the full length of the court. Nobody was stopping her from continuing to the basket. You saw in the second half when she attacked some good things happened. As soon as she gets a grasp of that, and she will because she's a quick learner, we're going to be fine and she is going to be fine. She turned it over in the first half seven times and came out in the second half and only turned it over once. She got herself together and she is going to be very good for us."
On Shoni Schimmel being the focal point of the 10 point run
"The kid has a chance to become a great player here. She works her tail off. I don't think anybody should be disappointed with what they saw from the kid. She has a lot of hype out there but I think she's shown glimpses of what she can do."
On what he said to the crowd after the game
"I just wanted to thank everybody. I just wanted everyone who came tonight to know that I appreciated it and the players appreciated it. It says a lot about our city, fan base, and the people who are here. Tennessee brought some fans up. They travel well but it's not like they brought up 6,000. The majority were Louisville fans. I think there were some who were shocked. They were thinking that they were going to have thousands of Tennessee fans show up. That was not the case. We had the majority of the fans in here. It was fantastic. If we could have three or four games like that, I think people are going to enjoy what they see. We've got some freshmen that are talented."
"We got killed on the glass tonight. Rebounding was a key point that we tried to emphasize. We had to try to control the boards. Meighan Simmons had six of their 20 offensive rebounds. They just worked hard. They went after it. I thought we rebounded okay at times but we came up with ten offensive boards. We've got to do a better job of coming up with boards during crunch time and that's what they did."
Tennessee Head Coach Pat Summitt
"Obviously, this was a really good experience for us. There is no doubt about this Louisville team. I mean they are really tough-minded, very well coached and we had our hands full throughout the game. And I think that's a good thing because when you go on the road, it's very hard to win and to keep our players focused. We had some players come ready to play and we had others that played more so on one side of the ball than the other and that typically is offense and therefore our defense is not at the level that we had anticipated. But overall, I think just the environment was awesome and for us able to be in this situation and come out with a win I think we can build from it but also learn from it."
On Freshman Meighan Simmons
"Meighan Simmons, I think is the quickest guard to ever play at Tennessee and she hasn't been here that long. She's just fearless and I hope others will follow her lead. But she just came up big for us and when I watched her play, I knew she was a special player but I did not anticipate that she would have the confidence and the skill set that she has. She plays both ends and all I say is 'quick on quick.'"
On Tennessee's strategy at 45-44
"That we had to defend and we had to get the ball to the side. I thought our post-game stepped up but I thought our defense really opened things up for us. And defense and rebounding is how we build the program at Tennessee. We still have some young players but we had enough veteran players that it shouldn't have come down to that but it did but that's why we'll learn lessons from this game and I think in a very good way."
On rebounding in the second half
"Well Stricklen really did a good job of getting on the boards along with Meighan and we really needed that. I thought Glory had seven boards as well but talking with Meighan you know who had 22. We had two people in double figures and we should have more than that and that's why I think we can learn and we have to be invested in the fact that if you play great defense and you really get on the glass even in a bad shooting night, you can find a way to win and I thought it really came down to that with us."
On turnovers and bad shooting
"It was a combination of both. With 29 turnovers, it's hard to come out of a place like this with a crowd that they had. One thing you can say about a team is that they find a way to win and you have to appreciate that fact."
Rating on the road environments
"It was great, I loved it. I just love games like this. We have a lot of thos ein the teams we play because we have a tough schedule coming up. Stanford kind of sticks in my head coming up pretty soon but I like that. I don't do well when we play what I call 'patsy teams' because I think that sometimes our teams get bored and we get bad habits. So the tougher the schedule, the better I like it."
On Louisville's defense
"Their defense was really, really strong and I'm not surprised. They're so well coached and they're tough, tough-minded. There are a lot of similarities between the two teams so it didn't surprise me at all. There is no quit in them. And for that reason, I kept my eye on the score board probably more than I should have. But we were mindful that Louisville could get right back in this game."
On the new arena
"It reminds me a lot of Thompson-Boling with the same capacity and the sky boxes. I just think it's a beautiful facility. What a great place. We have already talked about trying to keep the series alive. I have to look at my schedule but I told him all I was worried about right now was this game so I don't even know what my schedule looks like in the future. But I think this is a great environment. We like to go to places where it's hostile and we have to find a way to work it out and get the win if we can. And if we get beat, then we go home and we learn."
On Jeff Walz
"He's excellent. He's really, really good and he's going to keep winning and he's going to keep getting players. I think he does things the right way and that's why I would consider us trying to keep the series going. But again, I don't even know who we play next. So I'll figure it out down the road."
On Louisville's BIG EAST ranking
"Well I think he needs to tell everybody that that's where they belong but we know better."