March 10, 2003
NCAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
March 10, 2003
Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship
GW 56, Rhode Island 49
"Ugo Oha isn't too bad for a 2nd team All-Conference player. [The apparent snub] motived her, that motivated everybody. I thought it was a slap in the face, a lack of respect. People don't understand when she's double-teamed every game. Now, I'm excited for her going into the NCAAs. This will be a situation where she can be loose and free, and just play."
"I wasn't worried [about the close game]. If elt we had to keep our poise. The way the game was being played, I knew it'd be ugly and defensive. I would have been worried if they had started making 3s. But we matched up pretty well [on the perimeter]."
"I remember the ghosts of games we didn't win in championships...They were all greeat games, but it has been a while since we won. I'm just happy for the team. They weren't here in '94 and '97...Our loss in the quarterfinals last year was the first thing we talked about on the first day of practice this year. We had some unfinished business to take care of. I didn't think the players were going to leave anything to chance."
"Maturity made the difference this year. Last season, we played mostly freshmen and sophomores. It makes a difference when you have seniors like Lindsey Davidson and Erica Lawrence, and some good juniors. That was the biggest difference this year."
[on where GW will be seeded in the NCAAs]
"We've won 21 out of the last 22 games. Not many teams in the country can say taht. The way you play down the stretch is supposed to be a big factor in the seedings. But I just feel that we did eveything we're supposed to do. We played a national schedule, we were ranked in the top 25, we have some prime-time players, we kept our TV games close. There is no reason we can't be in a 3 or 4 slot. With the right matchups, we can do some damage in the NCAA tournament."
"This was the icing on the cake. We worked really hard in preseason, and changed our attitude and focus in practice. Coach is right; if you practice hard, the game is easy for you. It made a difference in getting us to the promised land and the [NCAA] tournament."
"We worked too hard to lose. Our motivation was our seniors. Four years they've been here. That's what helped us to win; their fire."
[on her emphatic reaction to a blocked shot]
"That block came from the soul. I just wanted to yell and say that yes, I can still block your shots. That got our team pumped up."
[on the difference in Rhode Island in the regular season game and tonight]
"When your life is on the line, you come to play. Rhode Island believed they could take out anybody. You could see they had that passion."
URI Coach Belinda Pearman
"I don't wnat to say this was a moral victory. But if you had told anybody at the school or in the state of Rhode Island four years ago that we'd be here today, no one would have believed it...The kids have done a lot to bring respectability to a program that was an embarrassment. I am extremely proud of them."
"I thought we could make it a game. I never thought our being here was a fluke. This is the time of the season to be coming on and playing your best basketball. Did it help to have played the first three tournament games on our home floor? Of course it did. But we put ourselves in a position to win every time."
"We didn't play our best defense tonight. This was our 4th game in 5 days, and it took its toll, especially since we're not deep. Our defense wasn't quite as sharp. That's not an excuse; we did give it our best. But we were running on fumes out there."
"We were so excited about today. All of us had dreams of it being a tight game. I dreamed that we would win on a buzzer beater. We knew it'd be tough playing here, but we were confident. We weren't the team they saw earlier this season. We were ready to play."
on the difference between tonight and the first GW-URI game.
"Focus; we hit a couple of bumps. Every team goes through rocky situations, and that was one for us. We were anxious to play GW in the tournament because in the first game, that wasn't us."