UT MARTIN POST GAME PRESS CONFERENCE
Kevin McMillan, UT Martin Head Coach:
"I thought that we did exactly what we planned on doing in the ball game. We wanted the game to stay at 60, in the 60s, and not get out of the 60s. I thought we executed and did everything we wanted to do. We tried to defensively make them get a little frustrated and take some time off the clock and we wanted to try to get to the foul line and keep the rebounding fairly close. Most of those things we did. I though these kids...it was an extremely, extremely large challenge for us because that's not how we play. We press and we run and we shoot it quick and I think we're 3rd in the country in scoring. For these kids, especially these two seniors, to buy into changing that for this basketball game was actually unbelievable. That's what I was the most scared about was changing what we do. Now it really didn't change it because what we try to do is try to control the basketball game and I thought they did. I thought these two guards controlled the game and we needed it. We needed a loose ball, we needed a layup, we needed to get on the foul line one more time, and we needed one other little thing to happen and not a scoreboard coming down, and not an emergency management system popping in, and not going to the monitor. We didn't need those but I though overall we did just about everything that we could do in that ball game."
On how much UT Martin changed their style of gameplay
"No, it was zero percent change in our offense. It was just a change in what way we want to do it. We play like they do, we want to push it, and we press, and we score a lot of points, and we want a lot of possessions. But here's the thing, we can't compete against 5, 6, 8 , 10 All-Americans all doing the same thing. We had been in the situation before, we had played Notre Dame and Tennessee and Duke in the NCAA tournament and I learned a lesson a long time ago coaching high school, everybody says you dance with what bought you there, so that's what we did. But I've also been taught that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and over and expect a different result. But we've been here three times and we've done it a certain way so we were going to do it different. So I walked into practice when the draw came out and I told the girls, I said, 'Guys we have three ways to play this and one of them is crazy and you're guys are going to think I've lost my mind," and I talked about the other two and I said, "Now what do you think?" Well, I basically said, "What has to happen for a 13 to beat a 4 in the NCAA tournament?" And Katie Schubert said, "Something crazy" and ever since she said that I said this is the way we're going to do and we were going to control the game with the ball...we did it our first year here with a bunch of walk-ons. So it's not like we hadn't done it before and we did it at Florida State in the second half so it wasn't like they hadn't done it but it was totally different from what we had been doing in the past. That was what I was most scared about, were our kids, especially our freshmen going to buy in."
On North Carolina's defensive intensity
"Basically if the game was an athletic physical game, we were going to get killed. So what we tried to do was try to slow it down and try to make them think a little bit to do some things. I thought they turned up their defensive pressure at the start of the second half and I thought that they really got after us in the second half. The funny thing is that we went to the free throw line less in the second half less that we did in the first. I thought that they were much more aggressive in the second half. I mean, poor Butler, she had to tuck her jersey in about six times. They're holding and grabbing and I tell you what's great about that, those are All-Americans grabbing a 5-3 kid."
Heather Butler, Senior Guard:
On her team's overall effort today
"Oh man, I felt like we played way better than we have been all season. We fought, we fought, and it's just really hard to lose that ball game when I know we deserved it. We deserved it. We fought so hard and just had it in our hands and there it went. It hurts and it's going to hurt probably for the rest of my life but you know that's the way it goes sometimes."
Jasmine Newsom, Senior Guard:
On the change in North Carolina's style of play with 10 minutes left in the second half
"We were just going to continue what we were doing because that was the game plan to get them frustrated and to get them to turn around their offense, which they did the majority of the game. We weren't going to change our style just because. But they weren't attacking like we thought they would, and they were just standing around, so ... "
Ashia Jones, Freshman Forward:
On UT Martin's preparation for today's game
"It takes practice, we practiced throughout the week to get better and to get ready for this situation."
NORTH CAROLINA POST GAME PRESS CONFERENCE
Andrew Calder, North Carolina Associate Head Coach:
"Congratulations on the performance that Tennessee-Martin put on the floor. Some talented, young players and they're very, very well coached. They ran a triangle-and-two on us. We have seen that this year with UCLA and Wake Forest, so we kinda knew what to do; but at times, Diamond [DeShields] and Xylina [McDaniel] just had to make plays. Xylina, when we put her on 34 [Ashia Jones], I thought that changed the game and gave us an opportunity to come back. I think she was dominating us a little bit. I thought that was big, and I thought the intensity in the second half with our press and just the will, the want to play for each other carried us through."
On UT-Martin's final shot of the game
"We told our team that they would go for the win, that we thought they would go for the win. We thought they'd run the flair play for 11 [Heather Butler], because we were prepared to switch. Our back door 11 on the weak side and gave her a chance to play one-on-one. We did not go over the drive-and-kick, but Xylina [McDaniel] who got burned on that in the first half, did a great job to help cover 12 [Jasmine Newsome] on the drive. We knew Newsome likes to drive right. So Danielle played her somewhat that way, she still took it that way. Xylina faked at her and then went back to the shooter and blocked the shot, so that was a great job on her part."
On keeping the team in the right mindset
"We just continue to fight. We just tell them, 'Fight. Play for each other.' We continue to battle. I can look at different things. We haven't played in a couple of weeks, but a lot of people can say they haven't played in a couple of weeks. Maybe I didn't handle this stretch in the two weeks the way maybe I should've handled it to give us more scrimmaging. We finally got going in the second half, and we're hoping that carries over to Tuesday night. They continued to fight, and they were still very confident on the bench that we were going to come back."
On UT-Martin's defense
"There were a couple of shots that may have been tough, but in the triangle-and-two we had some open players that didn't knock it down and they got very hesitant with their shot and didn't shoot it with rhythm. Then I thought we missed some shots inside. I didn't think they could handle us down inside. I thought we rushed some shots around the basket. I think we only shot 50% in the paint, and we should've done better with that. I thought we got a reasonable amount of shots in the paint, which was very good. We were expecting them to press. We practiced so much against the press it's unbelievable. They came out in this little triangle-and-two after maybe the first or second TV timeout. We knew what to do, but you just have to execute.
Xylina McDaniel, So. F
On why the team started slowly
"We do tend to start off slowly, I really don't know why we do that. It has been going on all season, and I still haven't come up with an answer. So I honestly don't know why."
On second chance opportunities
"It definitely helped us. Second chance points, that's what we do. To be honest, Coach [Andrew] Calder got on us about how many offensive rebounds we had. We had like 17 missed shots, and it was unacceptable. He really just told us that that's what we had to do to change this game around, and that's what we did."
On whether she had doubts in her team
"No, not at all. I have so much confidence in this team. I know that nobody can run with us; and so if we just kept pushing it, it was going to be our game. I have all the confidence in the world."
On the basket she made while on the ground
"To be honest, I was not thinking. I was trying to go back and think about why would you even do that, but I don't know. I was just so wide open, I guess. I was just so close to the basket.I don't know, it's just one of those things that happen. I won't do it again, though."
Diamond DeShields, Fr. G:
On what changed in the second half
"I think we collectively decided that we didn't want the season to end, especially not like that. Especially not on our home court. With time running down in the second half, we had like 10 minutes to continue our season, basically. I know I wasn't ready to stop playing. So when the flagrant got called when I got hit in my throat, it kind of just lit a match under everybody. Then we just collectively decided that we were going to win the game."
On underestimating UT Martin
"I really think it was completely our fault. As far as preparation goes, we weren't mentally prepared for that game. UT Martin did everything that they were supposed to do, they did everything they were coached to do, they did everything they were capable of doing. Had we have came out the way we should've, I think the game would've been a lot different. I think that was completely our fault, and we'll just have to be more conscientious of our preparation when we come and play Michigan State."
On making her free throws
"There are certain things that you definitely can control, and I feel like a free throw is one of them. Defense is one of them. A free throw is a free shot, there's no defense. No foul. I just feel like if you want to get yourself going, you've got to be able to do it on the free throw line if that's where your opportunities are presenting themselves. I took what they gave me tonight. It was hard for me to get the ball offensively in our sets, but I was able to draw fouls and get to the free throw line and I was able to hit the free throws."
On her faith in her team after she fouled out
"I probably shouldn't have taken that drive to the basket, but they were still quick to pick me up. It wasn't me hanging my head. I wasn't down because we still had a ball game to win. It wasn't about me. It was about the team. They got some huge stops, and I expected that of them. I was very comfortable on the bench basically cheering them on."