First Round Notes and Quotes: Middle
First Round Notes and Quotes: Middle Tennessee vs. GonzagaMarch 17, 2007
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
Head Coach Rick Insell
(Opening Statement) Im real satisfied with this start. We tried to trap the ball with our press and we feed off that which is the big reason for our success. I think our quick start gave us a lot of confidence and I think it took them (Gonzaga) out of the game.
(On the focus of being a higher seed) We talked about being the higher seed before the game and that we have won games as a lower seed before. We have knocked off NC State and UNC and we have to apply the pressure early and not really worry about whats around you. We need to get in the passing lanes and in the second half we had a stretch where we were passive. We just had to come out with passion and not think about being a higher seed.
Middle Tennessee State Guard Chrissy Givens:
(On having NCAA Tournament experience) We came into this tournament with a goal that we take every game at a time and when we believe that goal we believe that every game is one step towards a national championship. It doesnt matter if we play a number one seed or a 15 seed, we will go out and play Middle Tennessee basketball and take care of business.
(On MTSUs offense) The biggest thing before the tournament we talked about was that it doesnt matter what the other team does, we have an offense that pretty much cant be stopped. If we execute and do what we know we can do and run our offense and set our screens, our defense often turns into our offense and thats Middle Tennessee basketball.
Middle Tennessee State Forward Amber Holt
(On MTSUs fast pace) Sometimes we get tired during the game playing up-tempo, but usually we are fine.
(On the forced turnovers) Starr Orr came out and had a big game and we really covered the middle of the floor, and we really played it great.
(On the 2nd half dry spell) Coach told us to come out and play hard and limit the turnovers and that we want to put this game away after the timeout.
Head Coach Kelly Graves:
(Opening Thoughts) First of all, I want to congratulate Middle Tennessee, Coach Rick Insell. They are a great basketball team that we made look a lot better. I was very impressed. We have not seen pressure like that since we played North Carolina, which was months ago. I was very impressed though. That was a good basketball team. At the same time, we didnt play our best game tonight, but Im really proud of our team, especially these two, who led us all year. I know its tough to say now, but this one game doesnt take away from a great season. Were going to learn from it, hopefully and hopefully well be back many times in the future.
(On what he said to his two seniors when he pulled them from the game at the end) Number one, I just let them know that I loved them. Weve been through a lot together. Im very proud of them. I wanted them to get a little recognition as they came out of the game. Theyve meant a lot to our program. I dont think you are going to find two better people than those two. Theyre good friends; life-long friends. I took a team, three years ago, to their first NCAA Tournament, Saint Marys College. I told these two that they always remember the first. Theyll have a special place in the hearts of Gonzaga fans and the Spokane Community. I was really proud of them. Thats tough to say after we just got blitzed, but theyre two special women.
(On Chrissy Givens) You just dont see players like that every day. I thought she was the one that really set the tone. We had to change some things up right at the get-go. We didnt have any answers for her tonight. Once we finally got her under control a little bit, then the floodgates were open. Lots of people were feeling good. I think, obviously, thats a team that feeds on her. But, they have a lot of weapons. You have those kids knocking down threes. Actually, I thought we defended the three pretty well tonight. Shes a very special player. No question.
(On Amber Holt) Theyre very athletic. They talk about being undersized, but rebounding has nothing to do with size. It has to do with determination, grit toughness and going after it every time. I think she definitely brings that. I thought both those inside players did tonight. Their four and their number one both did a very good job. We normally are a little better on the boards, but they took it to us tonight.
(On what areas he wants to continue to improve on) I think a lot of areas. This has been coming. Weve been building it. Weve put ourselves in a position now to dictate our success year in and year out, much like Middle Tennessee has done. People forget that experience matters. This is our first time here and we played like it. Thirty-seven turnovers isnt going to win us any ball games. They played like theyve been here before and done this and theres not substitution for experience. I think we just got to get better in all faces of the game. Our recruiting has certainly been excellent. We have some great players sitting on the bench thatll be ready for us next year. I anticipate that this isnt going to be the last people see of Gonzaga. Im proud of us. This is just a stepping stone. I think the futures pretty bright.
(On her collegiate career and this being her last collegiate game) First of all, this was just a great experience. This is what you work for all year. You constantly work to make the NCAA Tournament. It was our first appearance. It wasnt a great one, but Im hoping the younger girls will be able to learn from it and come back next year and advance further than we did this year. This whole experience has been amazing. Ive just had a blast with these girls. Im just really exci