Women's Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Mississippi State women's basketball head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis and players talked to the media about their participation in the NCAA Tournament and making it to the Sweet 16.

Coach Sharon Fanning-Otis

What are your overall thoughts about the Ohio State Game?
"I think we were down 7 or 8 in the first half (and we were just) trying to stay focused at that point. I was a little concerned defensively because I don't think we were guarding as hard. They were 7 of 7 with their threes at one point and we weren't closing out to them and needed help on the weak side. I just emphasized to them to play harder and guard harder and to take great shots Y'all could see Alexis whether she was taking it to the rim, passing the ball or shooting threes, some things were happening for her. Then Chanel catches on and then somebody else drops a bucket. So, that leads toward success and especially that run toward the end of the half gave us some momentum.

"Ty (Tysheka Grimes) played four minutes when we didn't think she would go any further. We had B-Wash ( Bethany Washington) step in and make a three and also take the ball to the bucket . Rima (Kalonda), even though she's not our first person from an offensive standpoint, had a layup in transition in the second half. We put Mellie( Armelie Lumanu) at the four (Power Forward.) some.

"We had a few extra possessions where we hustled for the ball, came up with a few threes that may have been in a stretch where M-Kat (Mary Kathryn Govero) was making shots. We made a few extra passes and were seeing each other better and that's when the gap got a little bit larger. I'm just glad that we continued to play.

"I know the free throws were even as I know we missed some. In the second half we did a better job of rebounding from an offensive rebound standpoint and also limited theirs. Our team holding them below their regular season field goal percentage was important and us being able to hit above 55%. We capitalized on the things we needed to.

"It was a great win for us and a great team win."

Talk about Chanel's play in the tournament.
"We've been trying to emphasize to our team to get the right touches to the right people at the right time. If that's Chanel or if that's an extra pass then that's great. Chanel is an important part of our rotation and I think she is continually stepping up her game. Players should always take what's given and Chanel did a great job of that. She was doing a good job in both games of being more aggressive and physical."

Was the Ohio State game the best played game of the season by your team?
"We say this about our team; we have not played our best game. We touched on our best game of the season collectively against Ohio State. But if we don't improve then there won't be another game."

On ESPN analysis of MSU-FSU match-up
"There are no guarantees as to what any team's going to do day to day. That's why it is called March Madness, I guess. I know that right now you try to take what you've just done and try to emphasize to them what I said in our post game press conference and that is to stay humble and stay hungry. You have to realize what got you here. We have three days of preparations and we need to get better, and the young ladies are going to be the ones that make this happen."

On the possibility of playing UCONN
"Wait a minute! Who (sarcastically)? When we looked at the brackets we knew they were there and I'll say the same thing I said prior to this last weekend - if you're looking beyond anything else (than your next game) then you're not going to be playing that game. That is why I tried to keep it low-key for Ohio State because obviously that was a matchup that people talked about earlier. The greatest challenge we have is to be the best basketball team we can be on Sunday and however that falls then it's how it falls."

The Sweet 16 effect on the future of the program
"We want to be the best team we can be. We want to improve, and we want to work toward championships. There's championship in the League (Southeastern Conference), so obviously that is what you want to work toward. Then there's the national championships and we are in the mix for that. It's a blessing to our program and a good opportunity and testament to these young ladies. Hopefully, we can take that next step and realize what got us here and what it's going to take for us to continue."

FSU comparisons to LSU
"Florida State is different in that they pick you up full court and have a lot of multiple things going on. LSU will pick you up but they are more man to man. LSU does not have as much variety but are successful. Every team that we have played this year, they do something different. They (FSU) are a combination of the LSUs and Kentuckys but those teams are man to man. This team has a lot of looks so I don't know if they are like any team that we have played. They are very athletic, long, and quick. They have perimeter shooters, they play under the rim, and have a point guard with a great assist to turnover ratio. Florida State has had success and are balanced."

Players Alexis Rack, Mary Kathryn Govero, and Chanel Mokango

How does it feel to be going to the Sweet 16?
Rack - "Easy answer, good. It feels real good to make history and school history."

When did you realize you could beat Ohio State?
Govero - "It was a real emotional game for us and we were real hungry for a win and we wanted to beat them from last year. We thought it was over with about 50 seconds left; that's when we started feeling it."

Did you realize MSU Women had never been to the Sweet 16?
Govero - "We all knew it in the back of our mind but it wasn't something that we just talked about."

Talks about your comeback versus Middle Tennessee State.
Govero - "I guess (it was a feeling of) relief because we were down the whole game. We would get within 2 or 3 points and they would pull away again. At the four minute mark there was a media time out and we all got together and said we would leave everything on the court."

What was the gameplan against Jantell Lavender?
Mokango - "Umm, to not let her catch the ball because she is very good. I was talking to my teammates saying I'll get the front, you get my back."

Talk about Ohio State's level of play.
Govero - "When we got to a lead at halftime we knew they were going to make a run. We knew were going to have to make a run of our own. But I don't think any of us would have told you before the game that we would beat them by 20 points. We knew we could beat them but we didn't anticipate it would happen the way it did."

What are your thoughts about ESPN's prediction versus Florida State and criticism of Mississippi State?
Rack - "Show up to the game Sunday."

What are your thoughts about having something to prove?
Rack - "Of course we are definitely not satisfied with a win when people think they just played bad. But they just didn't play bad; we made the game, we took the game and it's not like they gave it to us."

What are your thoughts about Florida State
Rack - "We really haven't scouted them hard yet."

What are your thoughts about having to play the Ohio State game without Tysheka Grimes?
Govero - "I think before the game we didn't know to what extent she would play. We knew she practiced a little bit. We thought we would save her for game situations. I think at that moment none of us were really thinking about not having her for the rest of the game. We believe in each other out there on the court and anyone that comes in we feel they can contribute."

Jeremiah Short is a writer who covers various Mississippi State sports for GenesPage.com. He can be reached by email at moot2005@yahoo.com

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