Nov. 29, 2006
Debbie Ryan, Virginia head coach
On the box-and-one:
"We haven't used it in probably 20 years. And this team has never even spoken about it before we got in the locker room tonight and I said 'we're gonna try this.'" It's the first time they've even seen it or heard about it, but it works. We just stayed with it. I really didn't think we'd keep at it that long. It just seemed to be a good change, and once we got the lead I thought that we might go back to the 'man-to-man' but it was working so I never really had the chance to go back."
How did you pick Brenna McGuire for the "box-and-one?" Has she done something like that before?
"Actually I picked Monica Wright, but Brenna came up to me at the half and said 'I want her' so whenever a player does that, you put them on her. So I took Monica off and told Brenna she could have her as long as she could stay out of foul trouble and guard her. She did a great job. No, but I think that Brenna just really wanted as a senior to step up, and we talked in the locker room about stepping up, and we've been in that position before. We were down against South Dakota State. We've been down before, but the thing about this team is that it just continues to come together in very, very difficult situations, and I'm just really proud of the effort tonight. They had great effort, and they weren't playing particularly well. Offensively we weren't playing particularly well, but I thought we showed a lot of heart and courage, and we stayed together. It was just one of those games that was just a really good character building game."
What about Brenna getting called for faceguarding?
"I have no idea what that was. I just didn't understand that call at all, but I'll talk to him later."
What about Siedah stepping up?
"Yeah, Siedah was really not ready to play tonight. The trainer told me that she was okay to go but that she would only be about 80 percent. He said she'll be much better by the weekend. Right now she's really sore, so he said 'if you can go without her, go without her,' but when Abby picked up two in the first half, I had to play her a little bit. She was pretty good in that first stretch. I tried to keep her in-out, in-out, and in the times she wasn't in she was on the bike. I tried to keep her able to play, and I was really proud of her. She showed a lot of courage; she was in a lot of pain tonight. She should be better by the end of the week."
Can you talk about Dawn and the welcome she got tonight?
"It didn't surprise me at all. I think the world of Dawn, and I brought her here, so I wasn't surprised at all at the welcome that she got. Everybody loves Dawn. I don't know why you wouldn't. I was happy to see that she got that kind of a welcome, and I was happy to see that she was honored before the game with the video. That means a lot to me because she's meant a lot to me personally and as a basketball coach."
On the team:
"The thing about this team is that it continues to come together in very, very difficult situations. I am very proud of the effort tonight ... and offensively we weren't playing particularly well, but I thought we showed a lot of heart and a lot of courage."
What did you think when Coach Ryan called the "box-and-one?"
"We didn't even review it in practice. When you think of Brenna McGuire, you think "great three-point shooter." She really stepped up her defense tonight as you could see."
It looks you were having fun out there:
That's what I'm trying to do. I play better when I'm loose. You just have to have fun on the court. Basketball is still fun for us, it's not a job."
Do you think of Dawn Staley as the Michael Jordan of women's basketball?
"As a point guard, I can relate to what she's done. She's a legend, and what she's accomplished is a great feat for a man, let alone a woman."
Do you see some of Staley in your game?"
I think in the passing and being unselfish. To have Dawn Staley's name in the same sentence as mind is unbelievable to me."
What about Siedah Williams, we didn't even know if she would be able to play this game:
"Siedah is a warrior. She's been through surgery after surgery, injury after injury, and she's still battling. She can barely walk. We see her around campus limping, and we always have to wait up for Siedah when we walk together, but to see her playing on the court you wouldn't even know that."
What did you think when you rolled your ankle at the very end?
"I felt that I rolled it, but we had momentum, and I paid it no mind."
With so many players injured, like Aisha Mohammad, do you have to carry more responsibility?
"No, we have a great staring five, with four going in for rebounds. I'm not the only rebounder, and everyone has the desire to get the ball."
Dawn Staley, Temple head coach
What aspect of the team made it a tough night?
"We're a young basketball team. We're very, very, very inexperienced. We're getting better. We're certainly not quick enough to win these types of basketball games."
What did you think of the welcome back Virginia gave you?
"They always roll out the red carpet anytime I come back. It was a great tribute, but I was ready to play the game and get into the business at hand. But certainly there will always be great memories. I'll always think about the great times that we had."
How was it to play an out of conference game and lose?
"It's always great to play games out of conference. We came down to play Virginia and we go to play NC State Saturday, but that's why we do it. We don't shy away from competition, and we don't shy away from people putting us in bad basketball positions that help us. I'd rather play this schedule that we're playing than to play some other teams that can hurt us more than help us."
How was it playing in the new arena and seeing Debbie still here at Virginia?
"I'll always love U-Hall. Everything around here is so new and modern. It's really nice. Yes, I think about being a part of the 30 years Debbie's been here. I'm just glad she can sit back and see the fruits of her labor."
What about Sharneé Zoll?
She's the key. I think she's the general on the team. She recovers a good deal of what Virginia throws away. You need someone on your team that can run the team in tight situations. She may not light up the scoreboard, but with the things that she does, she really doesn't have to. She fires up the people and she makes them look good. And you want a point guard like that."
Was it frustrating in the second half?
Yeah, I guess it was pretty frustrating. I was expecting them to do something. They ran "box-and-one", and I really wasn't expecting them to do that. I was pretty frustrated. But Debbie has tricks up her sleeves."
What do you think about freshman Monica Wright?
"She's fearless. When you are a freshman, and you play relentless and fearless like that, sometimes it can blow up. Most of the time its something good that develops into something special. She's got it. She's got the skills. She plays hungry. The more basketball she plays at this level, the more talents of hers you will see come through like they did tonight."
What happened with all the missed shots tonight?
"I think my teammates did get open looks tonight, they just weren't able to knock them down. Usually, some of those misses would have been makes, but unfortunately tonight, they weren't."
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