Jan. 5, 2013
UConn Head Coach Geno Auriemma
On Notre Dame's ability to execute down the stretch and Connecticut's lack thereof tonight:
"Yes, I guess it comes down to that. When you play against a really good team one or two plays, or one series up and down the floor sometimes decides the game. That can come at the fifteen minute mark, the ten minute mark, down the stretch. We got two really good shots and a great shot at the end of the game. I thought we did a great job coming back from not playing great and them playing awfully well in the first half. They made a lot of great shots in the first half; you look at the stat sheet, it's almost like a mirror image of each other. A play here or a play there decides the game."
On the anxiousness of UConn:
"I thought we were in pretty good shape, ready to go the way we started the game. They've got two really good guards; Skylar Diggins and Kayla McBride are both really good guards. We were taking over the game at one point and then Diggins made two threes to get them right back."
On freshmen playing in this type of game, specifically Breanna Stewart:
"It's really hard. You want to play really well, so badly that maybe you just get a little bit ahead of yourself. Obviously, it was a real struggle for her today at both ends of the floor. These are the kind of games that you play in January and hopefully you get better."
On Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis' missing three at the end of the game:
"You've got the best three point shooter in the country with a wide open three to win it and it doesn't go in. I'd be more upset if we had the wrong player take the wrong shot at the wrong time. I mean we came out of the timeout, had the right shot, it just didn't go in."
Junior Center Stefanie Dolson
On the last offensive possession of the game:
"We just didn't make shots. It just comes down to repetition in practice and getting better at being able to make those last second shots. That's not really what a game comes down to; those last-minute shots. We've just got to focus on the little things in practice and be able to execute them in the game."
Was this a case of playing poorly or being outplayed?
"[Notre Dame] just out-toughed us. They came out ready to play and worked really hard. We did a much better job in the second half and came out ready, but it wasn't enough and they did a great job of getting to the basket and getting fouled. We just didn't respond well enough to what they were doing."
Were you surprised by the outcome?
"We expected them to come in and give us a great game and really be physical with us. I'm just disappointed with the way that we performed as a team and individually."
Notre Dame Head Coach Muffet McGraw
"I was just really pleased with our grit and our determination. We came out well in the first half. They made a couple of runs but I thought we answered them. We went toe-to-toe with them. They made a 6-0 run but we were able to come back. It's hard for me to pick a player of the game. I was just so pleased with Skylar's (Diggins) leadership and her direction on the floor. She hit those back-to-back 3's. Ariel Braker's defense was game-winning. I thought she was phenomenal on defense. Michaela Mabry comes off the bench as a freshman in an environment like this and plays great. There were just so many great things that we did. Kayla McBride had her career-high tonight, and you just love to see a player get a career-high in a game like this. What a great game for women's basketball. Connecticut's a phenomenal team. What an amazing game."
On the play of Michaela Mabrey
"That's from Jersey. That's a Jersey girl that has no fear. She's not really a freshman. She plays that way all the time. She missed the entire trip we had to Las Vegas so she hasn't had a lot of playing time, but we had worked her really hard in practice this last week and she's responded well. She's not afraid to shoot the ball. She handles criticism well, so you can say anything to her. She's not a fragile player. She's a really good passer and I'm just thrilled with the game she had today."
On UConn having three shots to win the game
"We got the first stop that turned into the jump ball that I thought we just couldn't grab it, and then we had the blocked shot that ended up out of bounds on us as well. We were just thinking how many times we can put up our defense, so we thought of our football team and the three goal line stands. If they can do it, we can too."
On winning in Connecticut, given the rivalry
"I think it's great to win anywhere we play. But this is great for our team. It builds confidence for our team. It's January 5th, it's not a game that we're going to change a whole lot of things this early in the season. We are still learning and growing and hopefully we'll continue to get better.
Notre Dame Players
On Notre Dame players having big games
"We've been trying to get better every day in practice. I was so confident in our team, and I think we came in here knowing that the pressure wasn't on us, and that allowed us to play a little loose and get settled into the game early. Like Coach said, Ariel (Braker), with her defense, she's been stepping up all year. She's the most improved player on our team. Kayla McBride, I don't think she can be guarded, only contained maybe. She had 21 tonight. She's just a player that poses so many problems. From the 3-point line she can take it in or pull up and shoot over you. She's so strong and I think that showed tonight. And us crashing the boards, I think that was important, at the end especially. Our team just came together. We knew that this would be a tough atmosphere to play in, it always is, and I thought we did a good job of staying together."
What does it mean to you, beating the No.1 team here?
"It's a good win for us. We have a lot of basketball still to play this year, but this is a good win to have on our resume. Like I said, we want to continue to get better. We made a lot of mistakes. I've got to take care of the ball better. We are going to continue to get better and go over the film and see what we have to do and get ready for South Florida."
What has this rivalry meant to your college experience?
"I think when we play them, there is a lot on the line, whether it is a BIG EAST Championship or them being ranked higher than us or in the Final Four. This is good for us. The program, the history of the program, how many National Championships they have, how many All-American's they've had that have been successful at the next level. I think a lot of people are afraid of the name on the front of the jersey and I don't think we are anymore. I thought we did a good job of showing that and being tough."
On the drive that led to the free throws that put Notre Dame up at the end of the game
"I should have made it. It was a good play call by coach, and we executed well. Everybody was moving with a purpose and it made the defense turn their heads a little bit and it gave me a window of opportunity to attack the basket."
On her shooting performance tonight
"After last year, we lost a lot of big time players. Coming into a bit game like this you just have to be confident and ready to shoot. I think it starts in practice. Miss a shot, shoot the next one, and today more fell than missed."
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