Head coaches of all twelve conference teams provided insights on what happened during the regular season as well as what they expect for the upcoming tournament that will begin play on Thursday.
Even while all teams were seeded according to their final place in the league standings, including some that were determined by a proverbial coin toss, many coaches pointed out that regardless of placement, every team had the potential to win games and that upsets were possible.
Here is a quick recap of select points from each coach’s comments as they prepared their team for conference tournament play that begins on Thursday.
Boston College’s Erik Johnson on coming in as the No. 11 seed:
“We certainly can't look ahead to North Carolina. We have to talk about Virginia right now. I hope Virginia has to prepare for Boston College, being prepared to come out and win a basketball game. You can throw out seeds because it's who is playing their best basketball.”
Clemson’s Itoro Coleman on NC State’s depth:
“Depth is something that we've struggled with all year, from injuries. Even when we played NC State the last game, I had seven players dressed. Depth is really important around this time, to keep bodies
fresh. Obviously NC State, I think they play about 10 people. That's not going to change. Our approach, like I said, from a defensive standpoint, we have to do a better job of guarding on that perimeter and keeping them out of the paint because that's where they hurt us.”
Florida State’s Sue Semrau on refocusing after winning and losing crucial games:
“I think the season is extremely long. Sometimes I think it's a little bit too long in college basketball because it's not just the physicality, not just the wear and tear on your body, but emotionally there's a lot of things, a lot of different nerve stimulation to handle. It can be extremely exhausting emotionally, so for us, we're taking some time away. I think it's important that they come back fresh with a little bit of renewed emotional energy going into the tournament.”
Georgia Tech – MaChelle Joseph on playing with a young team at tournament time:
“All season long, we looked forward to the ACC tournament. We played such a tough schedule in our non-conference - we played all the top teams in the country - outside of Connecticut and Notre Dame. We're not going into the ACC tournament overlooking anyone. We'll take it one game at a time. We understand where we are, what we need to do to get to postseason.”
Maryland’s Brenda Frese on what’s important in dealing with injuries and playing through adversity:
“We've always focused on us. I think we had a very challenging open-and-closed conference play in terms of the teams that we faced. We knew that going in. So, if anything, those teams continue to show you what you need to improve on. I think for us, coming out and playing the way we did in our last home game against Wake, then going into ACC tournament play with a wide-open, clean slate, (what’s most important is) playing some of our best basketball.”
Miami’s Katie Meier on gradually peaking throughout the season:
“I thought we put together a really challenging non-conference schedule considering there were about a bazillion questions about our team going into the season, including who was going to be your point guard - and that's a scary thing - you know you're a talented team but who really is going to be handling the ball for you in key moments, and that question hasn't really been answered until recently. We've had a lot of adversity to have to figure that question out. I'm really confident right now with our team.”
North Carolina’s Sylvia Hatchell on emerging in ACC play by winning non-conference games:
“We had a real good non-conference schedule. We won the preseason WNIT, and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt got the MVP of that. We beat some really good teams in that tournament that have proven to be really good throughout this season. And then the Big Ten-ACC Challenge was a great game for us. So we've played a lot of good teams, and they did prepare us well for the ACC. But again, we've had a lot of close games that we've been able to pull out, and I think that shows a lot of the grit that these kids have.”
NC State’s Kellie Harper on playing with a deep bench:
“You know, I go into every game with an idea of what it's going to look like in terms of our personnel. But the game will dictate my substitution patterns. The game will dictate where we're looking to score offensively. I have been blessed that we have several different players that have been able to put points on the board, and I think when we're clicking, when we've got a couple different people making shots or finding ways to score, it makes us so much harder to guard. And hopefully we'll come over and if someone is struggling, then we'll have someone else step up. In our wins, that has definitely been one of our strengths.”
Virginia’s Joanna Boyle on the possibility of upsets in tournament play:
"Yep, we're going to have to win it, and like every other team that's battling for that position. I think this year in particular, it's kind of wide open. A lot of the teams in our conference have struggled with injuries, and you put people in tournament play and anything can happen, so why couldn't it be us?
Virginia Tech’s Dennis Wolf on playing the same team for the third time:
“You know, my thought on that, with playing a team three times, I have often thought when I've been on the other end of it that it's been hard to beat a team three times, that the advantage is with the team that would be in the position that we're in. But where we're at with the state of our program and trying to get back up off the mat, so to speak, and the fact that Miami is an established team that's clearly playing for an NCAA berth, I don't know if that thought process really holds true. You know, it's a one-game thing. We've just got to go in and we've got to try to put the season behind us, good and bad, and then do the best that we can to try to win the game.”
Wake Forest’s Jen Hoover on knowing how to play in the ACC tournament:
“We're excited to be going to Greensboro this week. I have a senior team, five seniors that have really relished in their experience at Greensboro and the atmosphere there at the ACC tournament. Although we've been a little disappointed in our play as of late, we're really encouraged and excited about the opportunity to play a better game, and just kind of refocusing ourselves in on what it's going to take to advance and talking about this season coming upon us.”
Duke’s Joanne P. McCallie on how to prepare as the No. 1 seed:
“Each year it's been the same, we've prepared the same. We've won it a couple years and then had lesser success other years. The reality is it's a brand-new season, and seeds don't matter. That's just how you figure out who plays who. So from our standpoint, it's a brand-new season, everybody is 0-0. It's refreshing in a lot of ways – the regular season to me is very, very difficult and kind of a grueling endurance contest. So the ACC tournament is one for the fans - it's exciting, it's in a great place - and it's an honor to be a part of it and it's a lot of fun. But without question it's a brand-new start for everybody, for every team, and I think that's what really brings it a lot of energy, and I think that's the way to look at it.”