NCAA Second Round Press Conferences

LSU head coach Van Chancellor
LSU head coach Van Chancellor (@LSUsports) (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

BATON ROUGE -- On Monday, Louisville and LSU will take part in press conferences and closed practices at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Watch video and read the transcript of the press conferences online now.

LSU Press Conference
NCAA Tournament Second Round
March 23, 2009


Opening Statement...
“It’s such a pleasure to be here today and be in the second round with a team that has accomplished so much. There are special teams; last year’s team was special because of how far it advanced and this is a special team because of how much it’s done with its experience level and how much they’ve accomplished this season.

“We’re facing a real tough challenge tomorrow night. Louisville has a great team. They have everything – great defense, they ruin it and they have a great player who I think will be the No. 1 pick in the WNBA Draft this year. I think Angel McCoughtry is a special talent. She can pull up and shoot over people and doesn’t need any help getting her shot. She makes three pointers and shoots it really well. It’s not just a one-person team. They have a lot of other components that shoot the ball really well and are really tough defensively. They pressure you all over the court. For a young team, that’s going to be a great challenge.”

On avoiding turnovers against Louisville...
“That’s probably our number one concern. We’re going to have turnovers, but we just have to limit the number of turnovers. That would be one major concern that we would have among a number of others, but that would be at the top.”

On how he plans on defending Louisville F Angel McCoughtry and Candyce Bingham...
“You don’t stop great players. You just hope they don’t have a monster game. (Angel McCoughtry) is averaging 23 points and nine rebounds; she’s going to have a good game. We have to find some way to prevent her from having a monster game. They’re tough to defend and a real matchup for us because of their athletic ability and their ability to run up and down the floor. When you get into the tournament it’s all about matchups and this is a tough matchup for us.”

On what went through his mind while he was watching Louisville play Sunday night...
“To be honest, I was sitting there thinking how much I was enjoying being able to play Louisville. We are in the second round. That means we didn’t get beat last night. We’ve got to find a way to stop this in a hurry. When the bracket was announced, Louisville worried me. After I watched tape, they worried me. They worried me last night. As I watched them I thought to myself that they were great because they have a lot of good players. This is a deep team. This is a team that is part of a group of teams that can make it to the final four.”

On if Louisville is better than he thought before he saw them in person...
“I’ve been watching this team all year. Their other parts are really good; I knew they were good. We saw this team play against North Carolina last year in New Orleans. They’re as dangerous as I thought they were, and al of their other players are, as well. They run the floor well, defend well and play hard.”

On if there is anything different about what Louisville does with their pressure defense...
“They just run it a lot. That’s their bread and butter, so they press a lot. That’s their strategy. They’re very long-armed. Angel reminds me a lot of Sheryl Swoopes defensively. She’s really outstanding off the ball. She’s really good on the ball, but I think she’s averaging around 8-10 points per game just in steals and layups.”

On how he feels about the point guard position...
“I feel better about our point guard play than I have at any other time this year.”

On if he feels like reaching the Sweet 16 this season is as good as the final four...
“Reaching the final 32 is almost as good as going to the final four last year. At one time this season, we thought we would be out playing golf today, so I’m overjoyed. When I think about it, we have never had but one player that’s ever played in this situation. We went to Connecticut in front of 14,000 on national TV and we were down only eight points late in the game. It’s been a dream that I never thought was going to happen. I’m enjoying the experience of this team.”

On if he needs the same type of production from Allison Hightower in order to win against Louisville...
“That’s what we think. She’s really carried us lately. It’s been amazing. We’re going to need her because we’re going to have to score to defeat them. They’re not a team that you can just defend to win. We’ll have to have the same superwoman effort out of her. I’m sure they’re going to take some of that away from her, but we still need it.”

LSU Player Quotes

Guard Allison Hightower

On taking care of the ball against Louisville...
“I just know that when we take care of the ball, good things happen for us. When we have a high turnover game like 17 or 20, we usually end up doing bad or losing, but when we have low turnover games, it just really helps our offense and doesn’t give them any offense. There’s just a big emphasis on taking care of the ball in this game, especially because they have a very good defense, and they are very quick to the ball and a very athletic team, so that’s really big for us – taking care of the ball.”

On what she can do to prevent cramping tomorrow...
“It was about seven minutes left in the game (when the cramping started). It drained all of my energy, but I’m trying everything, starting earlier with drinking a lot of fluids, getting a lot of food in me and just trying everything so we can prevent it for tomorrow.”

On if the lack of NCAA tournament experience will hurt the team down the line...
“I don’t think it did. I think that in the beginning of the first half we had a little bit of jitters, which is expected for our first NCAA appearance as a new team, but I don’t think it will really affect us if we just come out, execute, play as hard as we can, just listen to the coaches and what they have to tell us, and prepare and execute to the best of our abilities, and I think we’ll be fine.”

Forward LaSondra Barrett

On defending Angel McCoughtry...
“Just by watching film, she’s a very versatile player. She can shoot, drive and pass. She’s basically the core to their team, but I don’t think I’ll be matched up with her tomorrow. I’ll still have to play help defense and help out, but I don’t think I’ll be matched up with her.”

Forward Kristen Morris

On defending Angel McCoughtry and Candyce Bingham...
“First off, I think we’ll have to play team defense. I don’t think any one player can stop her (McCoughtry) obviously, but that’s what we do here at LSU. We play team defense. As far as Candyce, she’s also a great player too. I don’t think many teams notice how well she plays, and I actually like her game as well, me personally, so we just have to make sure we try to take away the paint first. I’m sure Angel is going to hit a couple of jump shots. Great players do that. We just want to make sure that we contain her, not necessarily stop her and take her out of her game. If we can do that, it would be great, but we just want to make sure that she doesn’t have a 40-point night as well as other players have 12 and 20. We don’t need that. We just want to make sure that we give her her share and then stop everyone else.”


Louisville Quotes

Louisville head coach Jeff Walz

Opening Statement ...
“We are very excited to be here. It was a hard-fought game last night. We were excited to have the opportunity to give Angel (McCoughtry) and Candyce (Bingham) some rest, especially the way we had to play in the Big East tournament with playing so many minutes. We know tomorrow is going to be a great game. (LSU) is a great basketball team that’s well coached with some very good players. It’s something we’ve worked for all year. We’ve played a lot of games on the road against some great teams and with this being a true road game for us tomorrow, I think we’ve scheduled well enough to have us prepared for this. I truly believe that the team that executes the best and follows a game plan will come out with a win.”

On if he put any stock into the outcomes of games against LSU/UL common opponents ...
“At this time of year it’s not about who’s seeded where, the only thing that matters is who plays the best game on one single night. It’s not necessarily the best team that wins; it’s the best team that plays the best that night wins. That’s what we really try to explain to our kids that at this time in the season you can’t have an off night. There’s no more saying, ‘It’s my bad, I missed a screen, or I missed a box-out,’ it’s one and done now. Both teams will play extremely hard, I have no question about that, but whoever comes out and executes a game plan and follows through on assignments is going to win this game.”

On if there was any point he’d be satisfied with the season ...
“I think we’ve has a great season; we’re 30-4 right now. At 30-4, we’re coming in here on their home court and playing against a very good team. They have some great players. LaSondra Barrett, Allison Hightower, I think they have six freshmen that we recruited as hard as they did. At this point in the year freshmen aren’t freshmen; they’ve played way too many games. It’s going to come down to a hard-fought game. I’m expecting a great crowd in here tomorrow night, so it should be exciting.”

On if he saw any advantage in LSU not having a senior ball-handler ...
“I’m not sure how much of an advantage it’s going to be. They’ve proven all year that they can win against great teams. We will come out and play the way we have all season long and that’s press. We’ll run some full-court man and then drop back into our 1-2-2 and do some different things. If we get 20 possessions and they get 20 possessions in the half-court, we’re probably not going to win. We’re not a great half-court offensive team, but when we can get teams playing at our speed and going up and down the court and if we’re able to create some points off turnovers, then we become a pretty darn good team. We are going to have to try and press them; I don’t think it’s a secret. I’m sure Van (Chancellor) has prepared for that. We’re just going to have to come out and play our style of basketball.”

Player Quotes

Forward Candyce Bingham

On the development of the team over the season ...
“I think they are finally starting to realize that we do need them to step up. Angel (McCoughtry) and I cannot do everything by ourselves. Keshia (Hines) played really well last night, and if Becky (Burke) continues to hit shots that will just open up things for our post players and Angel and myself.”

On if the key going into the LSU game is getting them to turn the ball over ...
“That is part of the plan. I am not trying to give everything up. That is part of the game plan – put the pressure on them and get them to do things that they do not feel comfortable doing.”

Forward Angel McCoughtry

On putting pressure on LSU’s guards ...
“We are going to follow our game plan. We have been doing great defensively all year, and we are going to follow coach’s game plan defensively and hopefully that can get us the W.”

On if LSU can keep her from scoring as much as she wants ...
“I don’t worry about scoring. It’s about team basketball. I think we showed yesterday we can play as a team. Me and Candyce didn’t have to score 30-plus points. Everybody stepped up, and we each did our part. I’m a big fan of Coach (Van) Chancellor. You can quote that. I’m a big fan of this program, growing up watching those Final Fours. It’s an honor to play in here, and we are just going to try to come out playing hard and hopefully get to the Sweet 16.”

On if she has spoken with Coach Chancellor ...
“Actually I haven’t, but I watched him as a kid and I just loved the things he has done. I am excited to meet him for the first time.”

On whom Allison Hightower reminds her of ...
“She could easily be a First Teamer in the Big East. Because of the way she plays she can get up and down the floor and make those short jumpers. She is a First Team anywhere. She reminds me of a great basketball player. We just need to find a way to stop her because she is the key to their basketball team.”

Locker Room Quotes

Guard Gwen Rucker

On upcoming game...
“We’re excited about it. We have to win, and it will be a good challenge for us.”

On key to beating LSU...
“I think our key is outworking them and executing our offense and defense. Another key is probably going to be getting up and down the floor and playing a hard game.”

Guard Deseree’ Byrd

On upcoming game...
“I think tomorrow night’s game will be a tough game, but I think if we come out defensively and rebound and push the ball, I think we have a pretty good chance of winning this game.”

On match up against LSU...
“LSU is a very good basketball team. They’re very competitive. They’re very aggressive. I think if we come out with their tempo and match their intensity, I think we’ll come out with the win.”




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