March 24, 2013
Michigan Head Coach Kim Barnes Arico
Opening statement ... "We're excited to be staying in sunny California for another few days. I thought it was an exciting game. I knew that since we were pretty similar teams it was going to be a difficult game. I think any time people play Villanova and they're not used to playing them, it's incredibly difficult. I think at least we kind of had an idea of what they were going to do. I thought we did a great job offensively on them and I thought we did a great job of getting (Laura) Sweeney in foul trouble and obviously that was a key to the game. She scored their first seven points. They wore us down a little bit late, but we were really able to take advantage of their size inside. I thought Rachel (Sheffer) was tremendous. It came down to the end and we're happy to be playing one more day."
On whether fouling Sweeney was part of the game plan ... "I was really concerned just talking to their coaches the last couple of days because they had mentioned our depth. I was really concerned that they were going to try to go at Rachel and that matchup with Sweeney. Even when Sweeney came out of the gates and Rachel picked up one, we tried to switch Nya (Jordan) on her but once Sweeney got her first, we kind of went right back at her and that was our game plan after that. Heck, if we can get her, she did all their scoring the first five times. So we knew if we could get her out of the game, that would really help us. I think obviously it really did."
On her impressions of the matchup with Stanford ... "They're a great team. Obviously I've had an opportunity to play against them and watch them the last few years. It's one of the best programs in the country and we're playing on their home court, which is never an easy thing to do. Like Jenny said, my focus the last couple of days has just really been on Villanova and my assistants are worried about Stanford. I'm going to spend the rest of tonight spending time on Stanford. I think they're incredibly athletic. (Chiney) Ogwumike really turned it up since her sister departed. She's doing a great job. (Amber) Orrange, she is playing really well. Today they did a lot of 2-man game late in the game, which really exposed Tulsa. We know that it's going to be difficult, but like these kids said, the game doesn't know. We're just excited about the opportunity. We're going to try to play four minutes at a time and see what happens."
On if being familiar with Stanford makes it easier ... "Definitely. It definitely does help. I thought that was to our advantage playing against Harry and Villanova tonight because I think if anybody in the country played them that is not used to his system, it's incredibly difficult. So I went through my practices for the last ten years in preparation for Villanova and looked at all the things that we had done over the years to defend them. That was definitely beneficial and I'm sure I'm going to go through my notes the same way tonight to see what we have done against Stanford. They play the same offense and do a lot of the same things that they've traditionally done. They shoot the ball exceptionally well. I thought Tulsa didn't have anything to lose tonight, it's the NCAA tournament. They just came out and played incredibly hard and were able to hang around. I think anytime you're the higher seed, you have a tremendous amount of pressure on you. I'm sure Stanford was feeling the pressure and Tulsa felt like they had nothing to lose so they went out there and played loose. We've watched games all across the country the last few days where there have been a ton of upsets, and those kinds of things happen when you hang around, hang around, hang around."
U-M Senior Guard Jenny Ryan
On not giving up the lead ... "I think the way we kept our composure was the biggest thing. Even if they got the lead, I felt good about our team and the way we were talking to each other in the huddle. Obviously anytime a team does get a lead it's a bit demoralizing. But I think the thing we talked about the whole time is that if they score, we need to score. As a program, we really pride ourselves on taking four minutes at a time and not looking to the end of the game. We try to win every four minutes and if we lost one, we just tried to bounce back. I think we just kept our composure really well."
On their defense in the last eight minutes ... "I think it's the same thing we do for any possession. Just value the possession and work to get a stop. We knew they were going to make runs, we knew they were going to score. That was just a momentum shift for them, but we went with the timeout. We focused on the next play and the next four minutes and just tried to work on what we practiced all week and it worked in the next possession."
On the rope she was carrying ... "We went on a retreat back in October and we had a guest speaker come and talk to us. Her speech had a lot to do with threes and we braided the rope with three strands. Basically it's that we're all together and we're all united. There's the 'hold a rope' speech and every person has to hold the rope, so throughout the season we've passed it along to someone who deserved it at that moment and whenever someone did something good, they held it for our team. You have it wherever you go so we know that someone is always holding the rope. It's kind of a symbolism for how we look at each other and look at our program.
"I did, I only had it for a couple of days while other people had to endure it for three weeks or so. I got it back just because we needed our seniors to carry us in the end. I think having it in a senior's hands in the postseason is what we want. I think our seniors have all held the rope throughout this period and I just hold it for us."
On having to make 10 threes to potentially beat Stanford on Tuesday ... "I remember awhile back Coach made a speech and our softball coach, Coach Hut (Carol Hutchins), talks about her whole thing which is the game doesn't know. We're going to prepare for Stanford like we would any game and I think we have the confidence in each other to beat any team in this country. I think the game doesn't know. So whatever happens come our next game, we're going to try as hard as we can. We're going to prepare like we would any team and you never know what can happen. We have Kate Thompson on our team who can light it up and we have Rachel and Sam Arnold and anybody, so 10 threes isn't out of the question for us. We just have to take it play by play like we do every day."
U-M Senior Forward Rachel Sheffer
On if her tipping the inbound pass to set up a three-point shot was a momentum change ... "I think it was. I think the momentum change was really big for us. Whenever Kate (Thompson) does hit a three, it's always a momentum change because it's usually a great shot. I think it really set us off and kept the energy up for us."
On winning the rebound battle ... "I think we knew going into the game, the style that they had. They do shoot a lot of threes so we had to take advantage of crashing the boards and getting out in transition. I think I had a double double but I think I was just in the right place at the right time for a lot of those rebounds."
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