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    Michigan Pre-Game Quotes

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    FIGHTING IRISH

    March 16, 2001

    NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship
    First and Second Rounds
    Joyce Center
    Notre Dame, Ind.

    Pre-Tournament Quotes
    March 16, 2001

    Michigan head coach Sue Guevara

    On playing in the NCAA Tournament . . .
    "I think our team is ready to play. We've had a pretty good week of practice. We know that we have a pretty formidable opponent in Virginia. I hope that everyone has their coffee and their brunch for the 11 a.m. start. I can tell you this: we will be ready. I think it's going to be a very, very good basketball game."

    On your impressions of Schuye LaRue...
    "The sky's the limit. She's pretty good. She's very athletic, gets to the basket pretty quick, has decent range on the shot. She'll rebound the ball and bring it down the floor. She's just a very, very good basketball player."

    On her team's half-court game versus Virginia's transition game...
    "We've talked a lot about stopping Virginia in transition. That's one of their biggest strengths. We like to run, too. It's going to be a matter of who controls the boards. That's something we've tried to work on a lot--rebounding the basketball and going after the basketball. One of our strengths is our half-court offense. One thing we've been working on is being very precise in setting and using screens, coming off the screens looking for the shot. I think it may come down to both of those, but I think it may come down to free throw shooting as well."

    On matching up against Virginia...
    "I think that Virginia is a lot like Penn State. They have good perimeter shooting. They have good inside play. I think, too, that Virginia has to match up with us. I think it will come down to our half-court execution and our ability to stop their penetration."

    On her bench strength...
    "We have nine timeouts, so I don't think it matters how deep our bench is."

    On her team's improved performance in the second half of many games...
    "The shots that we take in the first half are, for the most part, pretty good shots. They just don't always fall. What I appreciate about this team is that they are able to bounce back from that. We go into the locker room knowing that we're getting the shots we want, even if they aren't falling. They will fall in the second half, therefore, our defense still has to be the same in the second half, and you still have to take those shots. Once in a while, too, we talk about shot selection."

    On her team's confidence level heading into the Tournament...
    "We've been playing some pretty good basketball. I think the Big Ten really prepares you because the teams are so different from team to team. Going into the first round, you've probably played someone similar."

    On her team's seed...
    "I am happy with it. It's pretty ironic that, last year, we were seeded eighth and we finished second and we were 22-7 coming in and that, this year, we finished 18-11 and we're seeded eighth. I think it's a pretty fair seed. I like where we're at, just down I-94. We sold all our tickets, and I know we could probably use a few more. It's a great location and a very fair seed."

    On the role of the fans...
    "When we played up at Grand Rapids, we played Penn State, and we had 7,700 people watching that game. I'm hoping we get 7,000 people to come down from Grand Rapids for this game to watch it. To have that 'sixth player,' I think is huge. Just ask Notre Dame."

    Michigan senior guard Anne Thorius

    On her emotions as she enters the NCAA Tournament as a senior...
    "This is kind of it. This is the last chance at making a run at the NCAA Tournament. We have a little experience, and I think that experience will pay off. Obviously, I'm not ready to end my career, and I'm looking forward to the game and looking forward to our team stepping on the floor and giving 110%"

    On the chemistry of the backcourt...
    "Alayne and I know where to find each other on the floor. One benefit of our game is that we can pick each other up when things aren't going as we want them to. I know that if I miss a shot, Alayne is the first one there to tell me to pick up my head and that I'll make the next shot. When you know that your backcourtmate has that kind of faith in you, you are so much more confident on the floor. Another thing that helps us out is that so many teams, especially in the Big Ten, has focused on our inside play, and that has taken the focus off of us and left us open in situations that we weren't open in before. Especially in big games, I think we've taken advantage of that."

    On her team's improved performance in the second half of many games...
    "Obviously we come out ready to play, but for some reason, we commit some mistakes in the beginning of the game. We dig ourselves a hole, and we find our way out of it, and I think it is the confidence we have in our teammates and the thought that this team is never going to give up."

    On taking big shots...
    "I think a lot of it has to do with knowing what your coach wants you to do and living up to her expectations. Especially last year at Stanford, she wanted to have the ball in my hands and then this year, in the Penn State game in the Big Ten Tournament. Knowing that she wants the ball in your hands and wants you to create for yourself or a teammate is a comfortable situation to be in. I'm not going to hesitate taking the last shot if it comes down to that. I'd rather miss the last shot than have someone else end my career that way. It's definitely a pressure situation, but it's a fun situation to be in because if you come out successful, that's the best position to be in."

    Michigan junior guard Alayne Ingram

    On her knowledge of Virginia...
    "At this point in the season, there are teams in the Tournament from all over the country. You don't really get a chance to see a lot of teams in different conferences, and we know they're a good team. Right now, the bottom line is that we need to come out and play hard and do things that we're good at and stop them from doing things that they're good at. It doesn't matter who you're playing at this point. It's one loss, and you're out."

    On the chemistry of the backcourt...
    "Another advantage Anne and I have is that I've been playing the point a little bit more this year. That gives her a chance to play the off-guard and look to score some more. That adds some versatility to our game. It takes a lot of pressure off of her, and down the stretch we have more energy. Because our bench hasn't gone that deep, we both can play the off and the point, and I think that helps us our a lot."

     

     

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