South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley
On beating an SEC first-place team
At this point every win is a big win for us. We’ve lost nine games this season, and we probably let some of those games get away. But anytime you can get a win in this conference is huge, because they don’t come by easily.
On La’Keisha Sutton’s performance
She was really focused for this particular game. Keisha really gets up to play opponents’ top players or scorers. She came in early to look at more film today to find ways in which she can limit her [Bianca Thomas] touches and not give her so many clean looks. Our game plan for her [Thomas] was to play both sides of the basketball. She’s got to play offense and defense so her shot wouldn’t be as fresh, and she got in foul trouble early, which helped our cause.
On Ole Miss’ offensive struggles
They attacked the basket a lot, it’s one of the things they do off ball screens. If you’re around them, they’ll miss shots, and that’s where we wanted our players to just stay in their shots. They do miss shots, and they all don’t shoot a big percentage on the floor. So you got a shot at staying in the play and getting rebounds and getting back at them. We just wanted to make sure they played both sides of the ball, whether they were playing man or zone, we just wanted to attack.
On how big this win is
For the coaching staff it is a huge win, but for our team, they look don’t look at the standings and take it one win at a time. I know they know the Tennessee and the LSU, but Ole Miss is having a tremendous year. I think our team understands that every win is big for us. And anytime you can get a win is big. But we’re just trying to instill in them that you need to take care of home, and we’ve done that so far this year.
Freshman Center Kelsey Bone
On getting this win
It feels really good, and we’re hoping we can repeat history where at the beginning of SEC play we dropped two then won three in a row. So, now we dropped two, but hopefully we can come back and win three in a row, giving us momentum going into the tail end of the season. Like Valerie [Nainima] said, the Florida lost really hurt us because we really needed it. But to come in tonight and play like we did and play together with everyone contributing, it feels really good right now.
On whether this win prepares the team for next game
It gives us a lot of confidence going in to Sunday, but Tennessee is a different beast. We still have to execute the game, and there is a lot of practice that goes into preparing for them. But it does give us the confidence to play with the top teams in the SEC.
Junior guard Valerie Nainima
On beating a team like Mississippi
It’s very big for us, and it’s also big for our confidence. We lost to Florida and lost previously to LSU,but to get a win at home is very big for us. Our goal is to get to the NCAA Tournament and getting this win will definitely help us.