Dec. 6, 2009
Louisville Head Coach Jeff Walz
(On Shelby Harper in the second half)
"I'll be honest with you. LaToya Johnson is banged up, she has a bad hip. We can't seem to catch a break on keeping kids healthy but that's part of the game. She wasn't able to do what she normally does and you could tell she was a step slow. At her size if you're a step slow that's not a good thing. At halftime I told my staff `I'm starting Shelby.' They all kind of looked at me like I was half nuts but the kid works hard. She's out there at practice everyday busting it. In a good way I tell her she's kind of like a pest. She's at your knees and officials don't call fouls on her. They say `That poor kid isn't going to hurt anybody.' She's out there harassing people. She turned it over four times but I'm really not upset with her turnovers. She had a really good game. The kid hit two big time shots, the pull-up in the lane and then on the drive. You have to go with her and right now I'll keep playing her. I'm hoping it motivates a few of my other kids because I keep telling them if you practice hard I'll play you. She's the hardest practice player we have right now and that's why she's playing in games."
(On half court trap and full court pressure)
"I was very pleased with the trap. We did a very good job of changing the pace of the game. We got them to burn their last two timeouts in one possession because we got them twice in traps. The hardest thing with this team right now is getting them to understand. They want to get a steal and they don't realize that we just made them burn all of their timeouts in one possession and they didn't even get a shot up because there was a shot clock violation. We've done our job, that's exactly what we want to do. Then we go on our run and they can't call a timeout. We did a really good job on our half court trap and I thought we did a really good job with our full court trap. I thought we got them to play at a little faster speed than they wanted. They are a very, very well coached team. She does a fantastic job, she always has and always will. What makes it hard to play them is that they set so many flare screens, back screens, and down screens. If you give them 25 seconds to run their offense it's a nightmare to try to guard because they are running you off every single screen. That was our goal today. We've got to get them down to 15 or 17 seconds to run it because we can guard it for that amount of time."
(On the unveiling of the banner)
"It means a lot. If you guys were able to hear what Candyce (Bingham) said in her interview I think she did a fantastic job because it is so true. It is not just Candyce Bingham
and it's not just Angel McCoughtry
. What I like to tell our players is you have to invest in this program - not just in our team. And I like to sit there and think `Okay, who is the person that hosted Angel on her official visit?' That's the person who needs a pat on the back. And whoever hosted that person. It's a trickle down effect. Everybody asks me how UConn gets all those players - players get players. When they come on campus and your kids show the passion for your program and tell them why they should come here and play. I think that says a lot about where this program is and where it is going because we're not finished. It might not look pretty out there right now but it is getting better. We've got a lot of young kids out there playing, we have a great recruiting class coming in, and we have some great kids committed already for 2011. We're making this thing go. To see that banner up there I hope all of our alum will come back and appreciate that today. They had as much to do with it as Angel McCoughtry
, Candyce Bingham
, Des Byrd, and all the kids that played."
Sophomore Guard Becky Burke
(On the win)
"I feel like in the second half, we started to follow the game plan, and we showed a lot more energy. In the first half, we were kind of dead and we really got our press together in the second half. We are a pressing team and a running team and I think we did that in the second half and we got excited. Our crowd was great and got everybody into the game."
(On the scout player)
"There were two main players No. 2 (Kalee Whipple) on the perimeter and in the post, No. 11 (Taryn Wicijowski). The scout was just preventing them from scoring and not to leave anybody else open, but to mainly just focus on those two on defense."
(On the changing line-up from game to game)
"It doesn't really matter, everybody plays with everybody at practice. If anything, I think it is more initiative to the younger players or even the returning players because you need to earn your spot every week. It is good competition every day in practice."
(On Shelby Harper)
"She has just surprised everybody this year and we are so proud of her. She does exactly what coach asks her to do and she's a little pest on defense and she doesn't try to do too much. She knows what she has to do in order for us to win. She came in and did a really nice job for us."
(On the pregame ceremony)
"It is still unreal. You can look back on it and was all a blur because you were so focused on what you were there to do. It is awesome to be recognized now and to have everybody ask you what the experience was like. It is something that nobody can take away from us and we are really proud of ourselves and everybody back here is proud of us as well."
(On being the first women's team at Louisville to go to the Final Four)
"To be the only women's banner up there is like an honor and it's like an honor to play with Candyce (Bingham) and Angel (McCoughtry). That was the best women's basketball team in the history of the school, and it is really cool to say that we played on the team and helped us get there."
Sophomore Forward Monique Reid
(On the key to the win)
"Basically, we worked to just follow the scout. After Central Michigan, I felt like we needed to pick up the energy and come together as a team. We did that in this game, especially in the second half."
(On the ups and downs of the season)
"It is just basically everybody being inconsistent playing. We have played good games and bad games. We just need everybody to have a solid game. We don't need 20 point games, we just need everyone to know their role and have a solid game."
(On Shelby Harper)
"I have played AAU with Shelby for two years and I told her to come to open gym because she wanted to walk on at Louisville and everybody was like, `Who is that?' I was so proud of her. I am really proud of her because I knew she would step up and be a good role player for the team and without her today, we couldn't have won."
(On the pregame ceremony)
"It was amazing. Every time I watch our little highlight reel, I feel like I will probably not be able to take it all in because I still get tears and it's like `We really did that?' It is an indescribable feeling and it is crazy. Catch me in 20 years and she might be able to tell what it feels like."
Freshman Guard Shelby Harper
(On what Coach Walz said at halftime)
"He told me when we came out that LaToya Johnson said that she couldn't go because her hip is hurting and I was going to be starting."
(On her thought process on getting into the game)
"I went out there and did what he (Coach Walz) told me to do, which was to bring energy, effort and to make sure to be ready for the plays. I went out and brought the ball down the floor and helped get my teammates open."