Quotes from Middle Tennessee Press Conference at Notre Dame

March 22, 2004 · MT Media Relations


Middle Tennessee Head Coach Stephany Smith

On how Notre Dame compares with North Carolina... "I think they are very different, and they still pose us with a matchup problem, but I am very confident in our preparation. They are not the type of athletes that the North Carolina players are, but they are still very athletic, they're very strong. They play extremely well together, they are a team."

On her team's preparation for Tuesday's game... "We need to be aware of what their specific strengths are, one of which is [junior forward] Jacqueline Batteast, and to make sure we take away those strengths."

On facing Notre Dame junior forward Jacqueline Batteast.. "We'll have several different people guarding her depending on which position she is playing, either one of the players on our front line will match up well with her. However, no matter who is guarding her, we have to be aware that there needs to be support.

"We especially need to take away her driving lines to the basket. She is very effective from the high-post area and the free throw area, we're aware of that. We know what she wants to do and how she wants to maneuver." "With her playing two different positions, literally everyone will have a chance to guard her. Depending on what position she's playing, any of the six people that played on Sunday will spend time guarding her." On her team's confidence going into Tuesday's game...

"My staff gives me confidence, and my team gives me confidence. How can I possibly expect them to go out there and be confident and poised and compete, if I don't believe that we don't have a chance to win. It doesn't matter what the rest of the world thinks, and I know there is going to be a very boisterous crowd out there, and a majority of them will not be cheering for Middle Tennessee, but we're here to win, we are not just happy to be here. That's been our mindset the entire time. We wanted to get to the NCAAs, that was our goal the entire time, its why you've worked so hard, and if you're going to go, why celebrate on just going? I think we have a very good chance to win, if we play well."

MT Junior Guard Patrice Holmes

On being prepared for tomorrow's game... "They're going to make runs out there and we need to be ready to stop them. We're going to have to take good shots and play hard defense."

MT Freshman Forward Krystle Horton

On being the underdog in the game against UNC... "We did deserve to be out there on the court with them. Being the underdog just gave us more confidence. It was a great win for us."

On her approach to tomorrow's game... "It's been a great season. We had a great game yesterday, but we're not through. We're ready to go out tomorrow and give it our all. Keisha [McClinic], JJ [Jennifer Justice] and Yamil [Cordero] don't have any more turns and we want to fight for them."

On the community's response to yesterday's win... "People are really excited back home. I talked to quite a few people who call me and said, 'I watched on TV, and you were great!' My mom was telling me, 'You are all getting big-time now. You're all little celebrities running around.'"

Notre Dame Head Coach Muffett McGraw

On Middle Tennessee... "I honestly think the best team won the game yesterday. They played much better as a team and were very unselfish. They looked for each other and no one really went one-on-one."

On junior guard Patrice Holmes... "She is a great player, their team leader and their go to player, but the entire team is good I believe."

On what you saw in Middle Tennessee vs. North Carolina game... "They are fundamentally sound and rebound well. They don't go up and down the floor much. They play with great emotion, but also were very poised when North Carolina made their runs yesterday."

On having NCAA Tournament experience... "I think it really helped yesterday. Our experience at the end of the game, after playing in a ton of close games, really helped us. Our leaders stepped up and that really helped us. I think playing on our home court helps us more than anything."

Sophomore Forward Courtney LaVere

On the post play of Middle Tennessee... "I really don't know too much about Middle Tennessee. I know that they are a very athletic team but we have played a lot of very athletic teams before and I know that we can handle them. I also know that they have some very good players and I will have to look at film today to see how to take care of them."

On her play in overtime yesterday... "My shots were set up by the play of Le'Tania Severe and she did a good job of cutting to the basket. I knew that she was either going to shoot or pass, and I expected a pass. I came into the overtime knowing that I just didn't want to lose because I don't like losing. I thought that we did a good job coming together and coming through to get the victory."

Junior Forward Monique Hernanddez

On talking to younger players about moving on in the tournament... "This week in practice we took some time before and after practice to talk about the emotional intensity that it takes to make a run. It is hard to describe because for most of the player their last postseason experience was in a high school state championship and this atmosphere is completely different. Everyone is so excited to be here. We want to make sure that everyone is emotionally ready to play."

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.