Coach Summitt Talks About The Duke Win & The Week Ahead In LV Basketball

On the Duke game...

“Our game at Duke was a very challenging one. Looking back at that game, while we didn’t play particularly well with some of our key people, I was really pleased that other people stepped up. Angie Bjorklund had some big shots for us, as did Vicki Baugh. I think those two freshmen really helped us. Closing out the game, I think we had a lot of people make big plays and come up with some key stops. That is when our veterans really came alive and made a difference. Nicky Anosike made a big play and down the stretch Candace Parker, Alexis Hornbuckle and Shannon Bobbitt stepped up. It was a good team effort. Fortunately, we closed out the game and came out with a win.”

On the importance of rebounding consistently…

“I think this team sometimes flips the switch on when they need to and coasts at other times. In looking at our Duke, Arkansas and Vanderbilt games, I think we’ve been more consistent in being a team that plays hard for 40 minutes. We don’t always play great, but we are playing better. As far as the rebounding, that is something we are going to have to do, as a staff, to find ways to hold them accountable. Clearly it made the difference in the Duke win. That is a start there for this team as far as understanding the importance of defensive rebounding, not just offensive rebounding. A lot of the time there isn’t a lot of glory in it, the press doesn’t write a lot about it, but it is honestly the real key to being successful. At Duke, I thought it was very significant in the win. I always say it’s not what you teach, but what you emphasize. We’ve been emphasizing it and no more so than in that Duke game. That is where we put the greatest focus.”

On the nature of the Duke game and the importance of rebounding to overcome other problems in that game…

“It will definitely be heard from our coaching staff. I feel like after the game in the locker room, we talked about it. Again, we’re going to have to constantly make it a priority, talk about it in practice, work on it in practice, put it into our pre-game and halftime speeches and on the board when we write up keys to the game. We can’t impress it too much because of its significance.”

On your thoughts on your team’s effort at Duke…

“It was a great feeling afterwards. Reflecting on that game, it was great flying home and watching the tape and seeing other people make key plays for us. I think we felt it was a great team victory, but it also says that we have other people who can step up and make plays. Hopefully it will give them even more confidence in doing so. The depth of our team came through at Duke, in terms of being able to count on more than one or two people to score for us. That is always a boost for the players who haven’t had as many opportunities to step up and make those plays - especially Vicki Baugh. I think she is getting better and better and hopefully this gave her a boost of confidence. Angie Bjorklund was more consistent from an offensive standpoint. She was more aggressive and hunted shots within our offense. She made some tough shots, some big shots for us.”

On Alex Fuller…

“She is the type of player who can come in and knock down some shots for us. She is getting more aggressive with her board play. That is going to be very important for her and for us. She is a very dependable player and understands her role. There will be games where her role will be more important and her minutes will be greater. It depends on how the game goes in terms of our inside game. The thing about Alex, is that she can step out and play at the three. I prefer her to defend at the four, but certainly she can step out. She has been shooting the ball very well and shooting the ball well from the line. That, for us, is an opportunity to rotate players and keep them fresh and hopefully rested as well.”

On Alex Fuller being a good teammate…

“Alex is all about the team. Like any and every player, they want to play every minute of every game, which is what you want from them. She is a great competitor, but she is all about us winning. She trusts our coaching staff and has settled in to whatever you need coach – if you need me on the perimeter, fine; if you need me on the inside, fine. When I’ve challenged her to get on the boards, she gets on the boards. She is very coachable.”

On match-up with Ole Miss…

“I think they are very committed from a defensive standpoint. I am sure we’ll see a lot of zone. We’ve been seeing a lot of it. As far as from an offensive perspective, they break you down off the dribble and the question I never know going into a game is are they going to play up tempo or control tempo? From what I’ve seen on tape - I started watching them last night - is that they will run selectively. For us, it may be a little contrast in styles of play. Tempo is something coaches have to select and determine through coaching their players, whether they want to play up-tempo or control tempo. For us, it is up-tempo. The key for this game will be who controls the tempo.”

On staying focused against every opponent…

“In our preparation, we want to make sure we are prepared in how we want to defend and what our priorities are in terms of our defense and board play and then how we want to play from an offensive standpoint. Knowing that we will probably see a lot of zone and maybe see a bit of a different tempo and environment than what we just played in. This is the SEC and we are focused. I know our team wants to go undefeated and that is a difficult thing to do. The last time we were at Ole Miss, we did not play well. I just want us to come in and bring the type of intensity and focus that we need to. We will prepare in practice today before we take the plane, just like we do for every opponent.”

Story Courtesy: UT Lady Vols Sports Information


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