Sunday, March 27, 2011

Parting words from Debbie Ryan

Some words from Debbie Ryan and China Crosby from Saturday night's postgame press conference after Charlotte ended the Cavaliers' run in the WNIT quarterfinals.

Ryan on walking off the court for the last time:
I can't tell you how incredibly humbled I am by the way my former players and my present players have embraced me. They have been absolutely amazing. I've been so proud to be a part of my former staffs, my former players, just everybody who has ever been here for me, whether they played for me or Dan Bonner or Barbara Kelly. Everyone is a family here. They just rallied around me. Everyday, there were four or five people calling just to be sure I was okay. I mean, I just can't tell you how humbled I am by that. It's amazing to me how they've been.

On weeks since she announced she would be stepping down:
It's going to be really different. I imagine I will have a reaction, whatever that means. It's going to be really hard. I've never done this before. It's going to be kind of interesting. I guess I won't have the anxiety that I've had for the past two weeks, which is a little different. It's just been a really hard two weeks. You want to do you best for them, and yet you're not quite yourself. None of you in here would understand this, but I could compare it to the three days you have to wait for a blood test to come back to tell you whether your cancer has returned. It's the exact same feeling. But I've had it for two weeks. It's a hard, hard feeling. Even though you know what's going to happen at the end, it's just hard. There's nothing like the doctor telling you. You get the symptoms all back, everything comes back again in those three days and you think you're going to die and all that stuff, and then the doctor gets on the phone with you and says "you're OK." And then everything goes away. Just like that. It's like nothing ever happened. But those three days, while you're waiting, and unless you're a survivor you wouldn't understand it. 

These last two weeks have been like that. It's been just really hard, because I've tried to be who I am, but it's just been really hard. And they know. They've picked up for me, and they've been funny around me, and they didn't actually ask me to dance or anything, which would have been really funny. They didn't want this to end either. But it did. Now we have to deal with it. I do imagine I will have some sort of reaction to it.

Crosby on the last game under Ryan:
We wanted two more games. We just tried to make the best of it for her [Coach Ryan] because it was her last game here at JPJ. For the seniors, we tried to play our best. We weren't thinking about this being our last game. We were just thinking about Charlotte and what we can do to win this game. At halftime she stressed that we have to come out, to be more physical, and try to get this win so we can go ahead to the Final Four of the WNIT. We just tried to play our butts off for her. Of course, it was in the back of our heads, thinking that we have to play hard because of what she gave to this program and her legacy. We have to do it and end it strong for her. We tried. Just like Coach Ryan said, she didn't think about it being her last game. We don't think about what's in the future, or that it's her last game. We're thinking about Charlotte, and what we have to do to win this game. That was our main focus. It wasn't about "dang, this is going to be our last game out at JPJ." It was more like, "We have to focus on Charlotte."

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