Quotes - Washington

At the half, Washington held the lead 29-27 even as their best player and leader Quincy Pondexter was saddled with three fouls and a giant goose egg on the stat sheet. However, West Virginia came out in the second half and asserted themselves physically and they were able to run away from the Huskies ending up with a 69-56 win...

Washington players: Justin Holiday and Quincy Pondexter

Q. This is for Quincy: You did so much to kind of extend your senior year, longer than anybody would have expected. What was it like just kind of going out like this?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: It definitely hurts. We made a great run down the stretch, the last stretch of the season. You never want it to end, especially being a senior, being in the position I'm in. It hurts right now. There's nothing much to say about it.

Q. Quincy, given their size and how many of their players seem to be 6'7", 6'8", how frustrating was it to try and attack them and how guard are they defensively?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: It's tough overall for all of us, including myself. It was tough to get around them and shoot over their size. They have a lot of size. It's hard to even get easy baskets by offensive rebounding or anything like that. Their size really is a benefit for them. At the same time, I think we had our chances and abilities to win that game.

Q. For both players: Wondering defensively what was the difference first half and second? You guys looked to impose your will the first half; second half they got some points off you.

QUINCY PONDEXTER: Second half we weren't playing as sound defensively. We had a couple of holes which they got some easy baskets. And from then on, they kind of swelled up a bit to where they were confident in making plays and they a great job of executing their offense down the stretch.

JUSTIN HOLIDAY: Also, second half, if you pay attention to how both halves went, we were pressuring them the first half. Second half we came out and let them catch the ball and let them swing the ball the way they wanted to. That's not the game plan we wanted to do. That's why the both halves were different. We started off slower, not pressuring them the way we should have.

Q. For Quincy: The ends of your four seasons were no postseason, CBI, second round out, Sweet 16. I'm sure they all hurt in their own ways. But is there some satisfaction in that progression through your career?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: I haven't really had a chance to reflect. I think every season individually was a task that we really wanted to fulfill. It depends on how much talent you have. I think last year was a big step from the other two years. And this year was remarkable how we played down the stretch. The grading for each of my four years has been different. I wish they could have all ended up with championships. But that's not how it played out.

Q. This is for Justin: You guys really seemed to figure out the zone during the second half of the PAC-10 season. Today it seemed like it befuddled you in the second half. What was it about that zone that affected you guys?

JUSTIN HOLIDAY: I think it was because we were down, we were trying to be in a rush too much. We didn't understand we didn't need to rush. We had time to swing the ball around. The reason why we're so good -- we were doing so well against the zone in the past was because we moved the ball around, and we took our time. And because we were down, I guess just us being antsy and wanting to get the lead back, we didn't really take our time to move the ball, to swing the ball to others, really.

Q. For Quincy: Your foul trouble in the first half, do you think that affected your play in the second half? Were you trying to press? Why do you think your numbers ended like they did? QUINCY PONDEXTER: I played awful. That's it. Foul trouble might have got to me, but at the end of the day I'm supposed to play better than that for this team to win.

Q. Quincy, just kind of following up again, you said you wished that they could all end in championships. You did get two championships in your career in the regular season and the tournament. I know it's early, but can you prioritize the highlights of your career? Do you look back on something that makes you particularly happy about your four years at Washington?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: This last year I think given more responsibility as a leader, as the only senior on this team, I would probably say that PAC-10 Championship and what our team went through, how bad we started -- how bad we played in the middle of the season to where we finished up in the Sweet 16. But at the end of the day, we fill feel like we could have done better. We could have gone a little bit further. That's going to stick with us. I know it's going to stick with me the rest of my life.

UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar:
Q. Lorenzo, the relationship between you and Quincy is kind of undeniable. What was it like kind of seeing him go out in that way in his last game?

COACH LORENZO ROMAR: It is always hard. Probably never get to coach Quincy again. You live with someone for four years, and you establish a relationship two or three years prior to that when you recruit them. And it's like one of your own kids moving out of the house. It's time for them to move on, but you're going to miss them. You go through the ups and downs. Senior Day, all these things flash before your eyes when they're coming out of the tunnel. But whenever that horn goes off, you look and go, well, that's it. That's the last time you'll ever be in a Husky uniform again.

It was a great ride for him. I'm so proud of him, how he finished up his college career. He went down when it was all said and done as one of the greatest Huskies to ever put on a uniform.

Q. Coach, you talked the other day about facing Coach Huggins when he was at Cincinnati. Now that you've seen him, similarities, differences? Does it seem like almost identical to what he had at UC?

COACH LORENZO ROMAR: It's pretty close. It's getting there. I thought, you know, their length bothered us. Their length bothered us before. So many interchangeable parts with his teams. That's what he had at Cincinnati. So very similar look.

Q. Lorenzo, kind of the feeling at halftime, did you see that second half coming? Or what sought of gave you that "uh-oh" after the first half where things went pretty well your way?

COACH LORENZO ROMAR: We gave them some open looks at the beginning of that second half. The first half we didn't give them very many open looks. They also began to attack the glass. We were missing some -- we had some pretty good looks at point-blank range around the rim. And couldn't get those down. That combination proved to be lethal as the second half progressed. But I felt good. I thought we did a good job defending them in the first half. We had forced them into I think 14 turnovers, 13 turnovers. And they don't turn the ball over very much. I thought we did some really good things. But in the second half kind of went downhill in those areas.

Q. Lorenzo, this could have been an historic win for the program. Just to have lost for the third time in the Sweet 16, does that kind of add to the misery right now?

COACH LORENZO ROMAR: I wouldn't say it adds to the misery at all. You're disappointed, and it's something that these things happen. The questions start, can you ever get past the Sweet 16? I never understood why people were so hard on the Broncos when they couldn't quite win the championship. They did make it there. So I feel like we still have accomplished a lot, even though we didn't make that next step this year. But our program is growing. I think when you compare the last eight years with the history of our program, I think we've held our own. And that's just the next step. We have to get past this. And we'll work hard to try to.

Q. This follows up on that: Losing Quincy Pondexter is no small thing, but everybody else is back. If they pick up sort of where they left off the second half of this season, your thoughts on what might come back next year?

COACH LORENZO ROMAR: Well, for once in a long time we'll have three seniors and three, four juniors. We'll be an older, more experienced team. The success we had on the road this year at the end of the year, hopefully we can carry that into next year. But you know, we also have some guys that Justin Holiday, look how he played tonight. He stepped up. He may be able to take a big step next year. Matthew Bryan-Amaning finished the year strong. He can take a big step. Tyreese Breshers could be healthy, be able to go all year. C.J. Wilcox sat out. We have recruits coming in.

So the task at hand now is to have a dedicated spring and summer and come back next year and hopefully be a good basketball team.

Q. There's time out even before your technical when you kind of really lit into the players on the sideline about five minutes in. Were you sensing it kind of slipping away there?

COACH LORENZO ROMAR: Yes, yes. Because at that point all of a sudden we kind of lost the sense of urgency, I thought. They threw over the top of us for a lay-up. We were kind of jogging back. Once you see that, that's not a good sign. I felt we had to nip that in the bud right away. But sometimes you do that, and a team now has a little bit of a rhythm, a little more confidence. Sometimes it's too late to stop the bleeding. West Virginia didn't just come out and go on a 25-0 run. They just slowly, methodically continued to chip away and the score began to increase very slowly, the lead, rather.
Additional Quotes:
UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar: On WVU's length: Georgetown (smiles). The second half…down the stretch…that's the thing. They are long and they cover a lot of ground. Going into the game, that was something we were concerned about. But that being said, their length affected us in another area that was more important and had a bigger impact on the game; that was on the boards. They scored 17 second-chance points compared to zero for us. That was the game as far as I'm concerned, even with their length getting hands on some of our passes…that was the game. That put them in a position where they had a lead and they could go into their zone and we kind of rushed at that point. That set the tone.

On missing Quincy in the first half: Your leading scorer and leader is not in there. It's always something you have to overcome, but I thought our guys handled it well in the first half. We go into halftime and we're up.

On the five-tip in play that changed the game: I believe it was the turning point. At that point they began to separate themselves.

On the zone: It bothered us, but it bothered us in the sense that we were down when they went into it and when they went into it consistently. We tried to rush things; we tried to get it all back at once. Justin Holiday said it best; we did a good job attacking the zone, but we weren't rushing. We were moving the basketball. But tonight we tried to rush and force it a little too much.

On WVU using so many guys early: When we played Marquette and New Mexico, they really only had seven or eight guys. This team had guys, but they didn't have the quality of depth. So what they did is they put guys here and there just to rest guys a little bit. They really still played seven guys. Those other guys played sparingly.

On WVU starting Casey Mitchell: It was a little surprising, but they had to start someone (smiles). They really played seven guys; the other guys played zero, one, five minutes.

On Quincy's game: Quincy's had games where he started off where he didn't make his first couple and then came back and scored 20 in the game. Tonight when he got into foul trouble, that sat him down and took him a little out of his rhythm.

On where he takes this team for the future: Whatever lessons were learned, we learned. We just have to wait. I haven't had time to sit down and decide what this means. We're finished, we played well the last two months.

On coming back to being a top-15 team: Whether we were ranked or not, I felt like we were a very good basketball team at the end of the season.

Quincy Pondexter:
On what happened in the game: I played awful. We didn't win.

On why he played awful: I got in early foul trouble and I couldn't get into any type of rhythm. That's how the game goes.

On the fouls taking him out of his game: It's tough, but that's basketball. You have to live with it. It's officiating. You can't change it. You just have to go out and play.

On ending the season this way: It's hard. I take full responsibility for the loss, because it's my team. I wish I could have taken my team a little bit further, somewhere where a Husky team hasn't been in a long time.

On pulling to within six with six minutes left: We upped our defensive pressure, our defensive intensity. We had them causing turnovers, then they propelled. There's nothing much more to say about it.

On trying to negate the rebounding edge: Just getting more effort. They killed us on the boards, and that was really the big difference in the game.

On the pride of being a Husky: I love being a Husky. I mean that when I say it. I take Husky pride a little too far. I'm going to have to live with this day for the rest of my life. I'm always going to be a Husky, and I wish I could have taken my team a little further.

On looking back and appreciating what they did: It's really hard. I feel like we have practice tomorrow. It's a weird feeling. You don't know it's over until you wake up a couple days later and say man, we don't have any more games. I don't have any more games in my career. It's tough.

On it being weird because they haven't lost in a long time: It's a real strange feeling, because we still feel like we have games. When's the next one? Because that's the mentality we have right now. We've had such a warrior-like mentality the last couple of months. It's tough to see a game like this.

Isaiah Thomas:
On the battle with WVU: It was good. It just sucks we lost. It's never good when you lose. They were a great team.

On WVU surprising them at all: They rebounded. That's what they did good at. They killed us on the boards, that was the difference in the game.

On the way the game was called: You can't blame the refs. It's the Sweet 16, there's no excuses. They called it how they did, and we didn't adjust real well. And West Virginia went on a good run.

On being able to look back and taking pride in their run: Maybe, maybe in a couple of weeks. I don't know.

On using the game as motivation for next year: It always motivates you when you lose the last game of the season.

On ever having to deal with that much length before: Nope. But it only affected us in the rebounding. That was the difference in the game. We didn't box out.

On not being to get out in transition: We just didn't get stops. We can't get out in transition when we can't get stops.

Elston Turner:
On his upcoming off-seson: Just working hard and getting it into my mindset that this is going to be a new season. Roles have to change. I'm going to be working hard to be able to produce in all sorts of ways. Not just scoring. I'm going to be more aggressive. Quincy's not going to be here, so we're going to need someone else to step up and help out scoring. I feel like I can be that person. That's what I was trying to do earlier in this game in the second half, going to the foul line and creating off the dribble and stuff like that. That's the type of player that I'm going to try and evolve into for next season.

On not having that role earlier in the year: Just because it feels like we already have two main scorers, and that wasn't my role. And when nothing else is going, that's when people have to step their roles up and take things in their own manner to help the team. That's just how it goes.

On doing more than just shooting from deep: That's what I've been working on more throughout the whole summer and I started doing a little bit this year. Next year, I'll be an upperclassman, and I have to do something to help the team now that Quincy's gone. He's done everything for us. Isaiah, we need him to step it up too, everybody has to step up everything. We're going to be fine, because now we have the NCAA experience, the tournament experience. The freshmen this year are going to be older, so everybody is going to know what to do, what their roles are.

On the length making it tough for the guards: We've see it this year, but not all five players at the same time. They do have some length, and for tonight they got us. They are a great team and we tip our hats to them.

On the game slipping away in the beginning of the second half: They did go up four, but we re-took the lead. We battled back for that, but they just beat us on the offensive boards. We had 21 turnovers, and there's not a lot of times where a team can win and get out-rebounded by that much and have that many turnovers.

On West Virginia doing what UW expected them to do: Yeah. They got their lead and then they sat in their 1-3-1 zone, which we had been talking about. Our coaches told us that they are long, and they all have size, and when they get in that zone they are going to start forcing turnovers. And that's what happened.

On forcing more turnovers than WVU: That's what we wanted to do. When you force turnovers, you can't just give it right back up. That's what we did. They had 17 second-chance points, and we had none. That says a lot right there. You take away those 17 points…we missed a lot of easy shots. Once you take that away, the game could have been a different game.

On forcing him inside instead of letting him camp out deep: A little bit, but they are all long, so they don't play up tight anyway because they can always put a hand up. But I was just trying to be more aggressive and try to get our team going and it didn't happen tonight.

Matthew Bryan-Amaning:
On his role: I was just trying to get buckets. We knew we were getting killed on the boards throughout the game. We had to crash the boards. That's what we had to do if we were going to try and win this. I don't know how anyone else was feeling, but I was just trying to get the calls and do whatever I could do to keep these guys' heads up and fight through it.

On the comeback this season and motivation for next year: Last year after we lost to Purdue, we were obviously upset, but it fired us up for the next year and wanting to do better than we did in the past. I think we came real far, this team, and I'm really proud of these guys. We stayed believing in each other and stayed confident. We've been through so much, and we didn't want it to end.

On wanting to keep playing: We know everybody in the country was watching us right now, and we didn't want our season to end today, and especially to go out like that.

On length inside: We were just trying to get free. But with that length against our smaller guys, with the ball pressure, it was hard for them to give entries into the post for myself, Quincy and Elston. We tried to seal our man, and not saying there was anything wrong with our guards, but they were just difficult passes to make because of their length. The guy who was guarding Isaiah was 6-9 versus 5-9. Of course passes are going to be harder to make during the game.

On a sense of satisfaction by getting to where they ended up: I'm pretty sure we will later on, but right now I'm definitely not. We felt like we could be going further and playing deeper in the tournament. We've come a long way.

Darnell Gant On the length affecting them inside: I think we battled real strong. We had little guards in there fighting with their big dudes, and they were fighting hard. The refs were calling bogus calls, and everything wasn't going our way toward the end.

On if it felt one-sided: To me it did, I don't know how anyone else feels. At the same time we have to control the things that we can control. We should have boxed out harder, we should have shown more fight. Everybody on the bench as well as the guys on the floor…things didn't turn out the way we wanted to. Refs were calling their calls, and we didn't control the things we could control. They out-rebounded us by a significant amount, and bad things happened.

On coming around full-circle to being a top-15 team and a sense of satisfaction: We're definitely not satisfied. We knew we could have gotten to the Elite 8. Like I said, things didn't turn out the way we wanted to. In the beginning of the year, everyone was against us, especially when we fell out of the top-25. We had to fight to get back in the mix, and we made the tournament. We surprised a lot of people by making it this far, so it's a good accomplishment, but nobody in this locker room is satisfied.

On what he'll take from the season: Just learn how to play with things going on, personal things that are going on in my life. Learn how to deal with that and play basketball at the same time. A lot of big things happened this year in my life, personal things…and it kind of affected my play. It affected me on the court, but at the end I tried to put it behind me. This was a learning experience for me. Now I know how to get through certain stuff like this. Hopefully I'll be ready for next year.

Former UW player Jon Brockman:
On WVU's length: We were just talking about that. When they can have 6-7, 6-8, 6-9, 10 or whatever against Isaiah, and have arms everywhere. From where we were sitting you could really see the length out there and the ground they could cover in the zone and their defense. That was making it tough for us to score, and then you go down on the rebounding end with those long arms…they were getting multiple shots."

On his words to the team: What can you say at this point? For the guys who get another opportunity to get back here, they got a taste of how special it is. There's nothing like it, and hopefully they get a chance to come back. And for Q, he led the team all the way here as a senior. You can't ask for much more. There's only one happy team at the end of the year. He had a heck of a career. It's a funny thing when it's over. I know how he feels. You don't really know what to think."

On doing what they should of done: A little different order than I thought they would have done, but they are a good basketball team. They are one of the best Washington Husky basketball teams of all-time. People are going to remember this group; never again will this group be the exact same and be together. People are going to remember.

On the charter with Nate Robinson, Spencer Hawes and Rajon Rondo: It came together last-minute. We put it together in about an hour, hour-and-a-half. It just worked out that Rajon Rondo wanted to come and watch Kentucky, and me, Spencer and Nate all wanted to come and watch the Huskies. It just happens that we were in Boston getting ready for our game tomorrow. We threw it all together and made it happen. We got here at halftime. We left Boston after we left practice. It was like 6:15 and we flew right here.

On being Kentucky fans because of Rajon Rondo?: Kind of have to be (laughs). I don't have a favorite in the game, just looking forward to watching another game.

On his MCL and recovery: Healing real well. Just doing more and more every day. Hopefully I'll get back out there soon. No set time…I'm hoping a week, but I've been saying that for the last three days. I was improving real well for those first few weeks, swelling was going down and I was getting more movement. It seems to have leveled off a little bit. I don't feel comfortable enough to go out there and really bang yet.

Former UW player Nate Robinson:
On the length of WVU's guards: In college, everything is packed in. In the NBA, you can't do defensive three seconds in the key, so it opens things up. So quicker guys like Isaiah, Venoy and Turner, they'll get their shots off in the NBA easier because everything is so spread out. It makes it easier. In college it's way harder to score and way harder to play your type of game. Teams like West Virginia, they play 6-10 at the top, two other guys in the 1-3-1 that were 6-10, 6-9, 6-8, 6-7 and the point guard at the bottom. So it was kind of tough. You just have to find a way to get buckets. I think they did a phenomenal job on defense, as in pressuring them. They aren't a good ball-handling team. They fought. I'm real proud of them. I told them they had no reason to hold their heads, because people didn't think they were going to get this far. They've got a great coaching staff, great organization and great players.

On his words to the team: Just keep playing and keep your heads up. This is not your last game. A lot of guys will play next year, and some may go to the NBA or overseas. You're going to play again. Know how this felt, this sour taste in your mouth that you have right now. Just think of it for next year for motivation, and things like that.

On rooting for Kentucky: We came out with Rajon (Rondo). We're rooting for Kentucky. Cornell right now is kind of the winner. They've got a lot of fans right now, so Kentucky is taking kind of the underdog role right now. For the most part Kentucky is a great team, young, fast. They should past this test with flying colors.

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