|AN INTERVIEW WITH: PITTSBURGH COACH AGNUS BERENATO & PLAYERS|
THE MODERATOR: All right. We'll go ahead and get an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student athletes.
COACH BERENATO: Just like to congratulate Stanford. I thought they just did a great job and they really I think took it to us on the inside. And the rebounding was a huge factor in the game. And we were out rebounded by 24. And that had a lot to do with the size of Appel and Pedersen. So congratulations to them and I wish them the best of luck as they continue on their quest to a National Championship.
At the same time, I just want to say just how proud I am of my team and of the university of Pittsburgh. And I think that, it was a great honor to be in the NCAA but we didn't just settle, we just weren't happy to be in the NCAA. We felt like we could really he do some damage and I just think that what the seniors have done, Marcedes and Mallorie and what they have done, it's just been great and Shavonte Zellous, she's an awesome player and she's a great teammate, she really took the team on her back tonight and I thought that you could see some of her explosiveness and she's charismatic on the court.
And I thought Mallorie Winn really stepped up and just did a great job.
So for what these ladies have done for the university of Pittsburgh and for the people of Pittsburgh, for our Chancellor and Steve and Carol and Don and our community. We're a hard working community, I think I mentioned that the other day and they bring their lunch pail and their hard hat pretty much every day and I just can't say enough about them.
Again, to the seniors, they were just, they're a pleasure. I don't look at it as that they're leaving or our season is over for them it's just beginning. And really that's what an education is all about. I think they will have great a careers and for Shavonte we have next year and we'll start working and I wish we could play another game tomorrow. We definitely, I definitely my staff Jeff, Caroline and Shay, we want to thank them.
We're not ready for this to be over. So to everybody involved but especially to my team, it's just a hell of a group of girls and ladies and you know what they're going to be community changers. They're life changing people. And I'm really proud of them.
THE MODERATOR: Take questions for the student athletes.
Q. Marcedes, how tough of a matchup was Appel inside and then the second part of that they seemed to double down on you a lot and it didn't seem like you guys were ever able to figure out how to get the offense going out of that double team.
Q. Shavonte, can you just talk about what it was like to kind of engage in a game like that, especially in the first half when it was so close and where you felt like it got away.
THE MODERATOR: All right. We'll take questions now for coach.
Q. Can you talk about at one point it was 49 46 with about seven and a half left and you took out both Zellous and Walker. And that's what when the game got away a little bit. They went on a run. How hard was it to see that happen under those circumstances, I guess.
I thought that really up until about two and a half minutes to go it was a three possession ball game four possession ball game and that's a reasonable ball game. We pressed them and I thought that we surprised them with that. But their size really hurt us. I thought that, um, you know, they just they really exploited us on the inside.
Q. Coming into the game did you ever imagine that they would have such an edge in the rebounding department, really physically dominate you the way they did?
But actually it was the reverse. And I thought they just did a great job of just running their splits, running their sets, running their curls and they just dominated us on the inside. Dribble penetration as well as just both Pedersen and Appel on the flares and the handoffs.
Q. I know it's tough to look at the whole season after a game like this, but can you put into perspective what the team accomplished this year and do you think you were maybe even a little bit ahead of schedule in terms of where the program is?
I'm not real good at like strolling down memory lane. I don't have a very good memory. I don't remember who I met five minutes ago, so that's in the past. But I do really think that I really live for today and I enjoy everything and every minute of what we do. And I feel like it was great year for us. We tied our record number of wins with 24, which is what we got last year. We beat I think five or six Top 25 teams. Which is a record. We beat a team in the Top 10 when Notre Dame was number nine in the country. We got our first Top 20 away win, which was DePaul, January 6, and we beat them by 30. We beat West Virginia who was 13th in the country, we beat Baylor who was just a national name.
But more importantly I think we have three seniors that Mallorie has already graduated. And Marcedes and Karlyle will graduate in April. And Shavonte will also graduate as you know she's a junior. And these people are just such wonderful people. And I think probably the most important thing that we have done and I always say winning is great, but losing like the highs of winning are not as low as the lows of losing. And it's hard to lose. But I don't think that we are losers. Tonight it was a double win for Pittsburgh. And I know some people might go, oh, that's so contrite or that's so whatever, but I really believe that. Because I feel like Pitt women's basketball has been embraced by the community. And has been embraced by the community of Pittsburgh as well as the university.
And I think that five years ago that's something that my staff and I, we were brought here to do. We were brought here to be healers and I think it's about people, it's about the story, and if you look at the stories of the kids on my team, it's so much more important and so much more valuable than pick and roll or a 1, 3, 1, nobody's more devastated than me for losing. But at the same time I think that we really he need to keep it in perspective and I think the university and I think the community and this team has really a lot to be proud of.
THE MODERATOR: All right.
COACH BERENATO: I'm just going to say before we leave. Okay. I probably have another minute, right.
THE MODERATOR: You got four or five.
COACH BERENATO: Damn. All right.
COACH BERENATO: Well let me no, I'm just kidding. Just, I just want to say to the NCAA, and I really I guess I really he can't see back there, but I don't really he know who is here but NCAA and to the people of Spokane, you guys have done a tremendous job just in hosting and you have embraced us. And to my host family, John and Karen, you guys are awesome and I'm sure you're in the audience somewhere. And Ray and Kevin, coming out here from Pittsburgh and to the other writers, if you guys don't write about our story, our story never grows. And as the NCAA they, we're the NCAA. We represent them. And women's basketball is the greatest story in the world. And they're great student athletes. And they're kind and they're gentle women and they care and they're great volunteers and they're just hard working kids and so I just want to say to everybody that's here, the auxiliary people that have helped with this, with facilities and travel and security and catering and I know all about it, because when I was at Georgia tech I hosted two Final Fours and at Pitt we hosted a regional last year.
And then just a special shout out to our Chancellor and Steve Petersen and my staff, you know, who has really changed the face of women's basketball at the University of Pittsburgh. I feel like that is team now, it's a team that people will recognize and they have worked hard for it and they brought great pride to the university as well as to the community. But we could have never done it if my staff and the community and the administration didn't jump on board.
So to all of you that are here tonight, it's late somewhere, in the world, and I just want to say it's like the saying it's five o'clock somewhere. Well, I just want to say on behalf of my team, thank you all very much because by you being here our sport will grow and grow and grow and all these NCAA events will be sold out in the future. So thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Coach thank you.
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