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March 15, 2012

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Texas Tech – Eastern Illinois Postgame Press Conference

Wednesday, March 15, 2012

Texas Tech Head Coach Kristy Curry

Opening Statement:

“I want to thank our crowd tonight. I thought it was really great for a spring break crowd.  A lot of energy and their enthusiasm. I thought the alumni band was outstanding. We appreciate everybody that came out on a pretty day on spring break. We look forward to seeing everybody Sunday at 2. We’re going to try to keep this thing at home and we're going to try to win it. If we're in it, we might as well try to be in it to win it. So we appreciate everyone that came out tonight to help us.”

On out-rebounding Eastern Illinois in the second half:

“It was huge. We talked about it at halftime. (Shauntal Nobles and Casey Morris) can both tell you what was it at halftime. Fifteen to fifteen. So it obviously a point of emphasis and I thought our energy on the glass was outstanding. I thought Shauntal was unbelievable. If she didn’t get her hands on it, she was keeping it alive and we were running under it. Kelsi (Baker) I thought was giving us a spark on the glass and took up some space. I thought it was a great effort on the boards on the second half and it’s critical. I didn’t think at the half that giving up 36 points and it was 15-15 on the glass that we were doing the things we needed to do and part of that was probably my fault. But you play as many people as you do and you want them to improve, that’s the only way they’re going to get better so just pleased in the second half in that area.”

On having a big second half after sluggish start:

“It’s important. We’ve had those spills before but we’ve also been able to put ourselves in a position to win games in times that we have and times that we haven’t. Tonight I thought we were tougher in the second half. We sustained that at a different level.”

On Jordan Barncastle’s 3 before the half:

“It was huge. And the fact that I thought that she looked past a couple of open looks in the first set of the game, she was wide open and we want her to pull the trigger on that. I think JB says she probably didn’t have her best game tonight we just kept trying to tell her to stay positive and let the game come to you right there. We want her to shoot it. She’s such a threat for us and opens things up for others. She’s gotta take shots, but I was pleased with her. Proud of her leadership tonight. Thought she was a good senior leader.”

Turning negatives into positives:

“I think that the way they came out says a lot. They want to continue to play. I think that they are thankful for the opportunity. I’m really pleased with how they’ve been all week long and it’s not just coach speak. They’ve absolutely worked every single day to improve and get better. And you know we talked about the first half, but it’s not that I think we played poorly. You have to credit Easterm Illinois. They’ve got 22 wins, they’re 13-3, and I was surprised that they got sent here. I thought that maybe they were better than to get sent to Lubbock in the first seeding. They played Missouri to two, and they’ve had some great wins. They're a good basketball team. Most first halves are close in this game across the country.”

On defense in second half:

“I think if there is one thing defensively, we gave Nixon too much and we didn’t do as much as we should. We closed out soft, and we gave up too many drive-bys and we had to help, and our rotation wasn’t much help and she’d score. We went back to the zone some and changed our defenses and kept the a little bit off balance and out of sync. I thought the zone was effective. We gave up a couple threes, actually gave up 3 threes late when we subbed. Up to that point, it was really good, and we were changing defenses. Credit the kids. I mean they had to have a lot of energy in the zone. They did a good job with it. We rebounded well, and we were able to run out of the zone. I think that’s important too.”

On being a part of the Texas A&M team that had success in the WNIT and what it would mean for Texas Tech to win the WNIT this season:

“It was such a great experience for that team because we were trying to teach them how to win. It gave them momentum heading into the next season. We had some big wins and it was a great experience. Obviously with this team, we’ve talked about six wins and now we want to get the next five. The situation we’re in, we put ourselves in, and we want to show that we've learned from it. We want to show that we’ve grown from it. We want to show that we’re better today than we were yesterday. I feel good about who these kids are trying to be. I’ve said that all year. That’s the best finish we can have so we're going to shoot for the best one that we can get."

Texas Tech Sophomore Forward Shauntal Nobles

On physicality:

“It seemed to be really close in the first half and I just wanted to do my best to be aggressive and try to expand the lead as much as possible and I think that all my teammates want to do that and do their best to contribute and it just happened to be me tonight.”

Difference in halves:

“Just kind of settling into my shots settling to the move. The first half I was just kind of thinking, dribbling before settling, posting and coming up with the move just by the way the defense was guarding me. Just taking my time and trying to give up less turnovers.”

Texas Tech junior guard Casey Morris

On three-point shooting:

“I didn’t think (EIU head coach Brady Shallee) wanted us to shoot more threes. I would have shot some more. I was just shooting what was open to me like Coach Curry always tells me, just keep on shooting. When I was open, just let the game come to me. Just like the rest of our teammates did if I was open, if I had a good look, I didn’t force anything that was inside when we needed to, just came back out and shot when we needed to so we just executed well.”

On EIU defense figuring her out:

“I felt like they just got a little closer to me. I still think that there were some open looks but the inside was still working in the second half so we kept going inside. So like I said, whatever works was there. So I think that the second half the post were dominating, so why not get it inside to them.”


Eastern Illinois Head Coach Brady Sallee

Opening Statement:

“I said this to my staff after the game - that was a lot of fun. We’ve been on this stage a few times in my run. I want to thank the NIT for including us in this. We were excited when we saw the draw because I knew that we were coming to a place that really embraces women’s basketball and this my 19th year in it, and I’ve been down here as an assistant, and I’ve seen it first-hand and I’m really excited that I got to bring my team down to this. To drive on Marsha Sharp Freeway and see those banners with Sheryl Swoopes and the crowd did not disappoint.

“I’m proud of my kids. I thought they competed their tails off. Texas Tech, I can probably tell you their halftime speech, maybe not with all the verbs and adjectives, but they talked about rebounding because it was even at the half. They clearly talked about throwing the ball down into the post. I think everybody probably knows what our game plan was to make them shoot as many threes as they could and try to keep it out of there, but they imposed their will, and they imposed their will on the boards and into the post. They live to keep on playing. Our team came down here and battled their tails off and for that I’m proud of our effort, and maybe if our genetics were a bit different we could have matched up a little bit better and the outcome could have been different. Not necessarily happy with the loss, but proud of the team.”

On the play of guard Ta’Kenya Nixon:

“She’s a big time player as you saw. I told her when she came out at the end that she belonged tonight, maybe like you said was the best one out there. But she’s been that her entire career, to be honest, for us. I’m excited to get her in front of so many women’s basketball fans that can appreciate a player like her and EIU has one, and I feel like we do.  You talk about will with Texas Tech - she’s got a will to win, and she’s clearly a kid that we try to build this program around and she does a heck of a job for us and is a joy to coach, and as a great of a player as you saw tonight, she’s a great kid and student too. I think it’s somebody that I think the Lubbock fans could look out there and feel good about seeing one on another team. And I know on this league, they see a lot of them.”

On rebounding:

“I don’t think anything on our end, and I think and this didn’t necessarily change it, but genetics kicked in. They’re 6’5” and big and we’re 6’1” and we’re not. I think it’s a matter of probably Coach Curry embracing them at halftime and explaining to them that they were even on the boards and the only way they were going to win if they got that figured out. It was something we talked about, it was something we knew was coming. They went and got them and to their credit, they figured out what was going on. Between that and their ability to continuously throw the ball into the post even though we were trying to keep it out of there that was the difference in the game.”

On Tech’s ability to hit the 3-point shot and any disappointment in defending it:

“Not at all. I didn’t care how many they shot. I told our team before the game, I said my goals it make them break records in how many threes they make. And if they do that, we’ll beat them. They don’t want to win games that way. So it was fool’s gold the shots that were going in. That’s not the way they play, and we were trying to take them out of their comfort zone and to their credit they didn’t sit out there and bomb them. They shot 18. We wanted to make them shoot 30. To their credit they know who they are. They’re disciplined and know where to get the ball. They knew the great equalizer would be if they stood out there and bombed it and they didn’t throw it in their where they knew they had the advantage. So again, kudos to them to figure that out. We weren’t trying to trick them, we were trying to go with the  game plan that hopefully we could get them to do what we wanted to and it didn’t play out.”




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