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UCF Post Game Quotes

Jan. 9, 2018

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Geno Auriemma, UConn Head Coach

On UCF’s style of play:

“Well you’re right about that the way UCF plays, I mean, it’d be great if we could call every school and say ‘HHey this is the way we want you to play, this is the fun way for us to play.’ They’ll do whatever they think they have to do to be successful, and you want to try to win the game and they have to do what they think they have to do to win the game and I’ll do the exact same thing.  So the way they play defensively, the way they play offensively, is to shorten game and limit possessions, and I get that, and I thought the first half, we didn’t handle it great.  I mean, our defense was great in the first half, our defense was great the whole game, when you limit a team to 44 points that’s obviously pretty good.”
On the halftime talk and officiating:

“I think the first half offensively I think we were waiting, we got a little chip on our shoulder towards the officials.  I think our players didn’t think the officials did a good enough job helping UConn players.  I think that some players on our team think it’s the officials’ job to help them be really good.  ‘Cause as you noticed in the first half, we are incapable of making a bucket when somebody touches us, we are incapable of making a layup when somebody else is in the lane with us.  So, I am sending out word to the supervising official to tell them they didn’t get the memo, according to my players, a couple of them, it is their job to make sure UConn players are not defended, they are not covered, no one gets in their way, and if they do, it is the officials job to tell them that’s not allowed.  So once we got that crap cleared away at halftime, it was pretty good.”
On Azurá Stevens:

“Yeah you know, I think Azurá is like a lot of players that are pretty gifted…Azurá is great at both ends of the floor.  In the first half she plays this end really really well on offense and in the second half she plays that end when we’re on offense really really well.  So she’s got both ends of the court covered.  Unfortunately it’s never at the same time.  So all the things Azurá does for us that are so great offensively, which is what, everything.  She moves without the ball, she takes up space, she has great footwork in the lane, she’s become a pretty good passer, she’s a huge target, I mean it’s so easy for her on offense, and she’s not even making outside shots.  She’s as good an offensive player as there is in the league or in the country maybe.  However, when the score was 34 we said you know, try really really hard, let’s keep it under 40, and she gave up the next 6 points on layups and fouls.  So we got the only 6’6’’ kid who’s unguardable in college basketball, and we got the only 6’6’’ kid in college basketball who can’t guard.”
On second half run:

“It’s this simple: Gabby Williams single-handedly turned the game around in the second half.  The game basically came down in the third quarter to Gabby Williams completely, single-handedly turning the game around.  And once that started to happen, and we started getting out, and getting into our stuff before they had a chance to set their defense up, and the layups and the mid-range and the threes started dropping, then now all of a sudden it’s a completely different game.  The biggest difference from the first half to the second half was Gabby Williams, plain and simple.”

Crystal Dangerfield, G
On Azura Stevens:
“She is a huge target, especially with a team that is lacking size and being able to have her be aggressive, be down and wanting the ball, and wanting to score is going to be big for us.”
On Geno’s message at halftime:
“We can’t go out there and be a bunch of girls, we can’t be whining if a call was missed or anything like that, we have to go out there and play.”
On how they needed to play in the 2nd half:
“Harder and smarter, when a team is that aggressive there is more areas to beat them, but we weren’t playing to those strengths, we were kind of playing how they wanted us to play.”
Gabby Williams, F
On her chemistry with Dangerfield that sparked the offense:
“She kind of telegraphed the pass, I just went up to grab it, and I saw Crystal. I think Crystal and I have good enough chemistry, where she saw me coming to and we just needed a play to kind of get us going.”
On their struggle early in the game:
“I think we kind of got [lazy] and we were expected things to fall, you know, we weren’t really following through so we just kind of had to step up.”
On the team needing to show fight:
“We have to learn how to fight, we have to learn how to be tough and have some edge. We still don’t really have some edge. Other teams are going to watch this game and see what UCF did right and the way they played us.”

UCF Head Coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson

UConn came in averaging 91 points a game and shooting 53 percent from the floor. How pleased were you with the defensive effort?

"I think the first and the second quarters were the best, the third and especially the fourth, we lost a lot of focus. Obviously we were trying to key on the 3-point shooting and make sure (Katie Lou) Samuelson didn't get a lot of 3's. Overall they only made seven, so that was a key. They're great at transition, they're great at offensive rebounding, they're great at 3's and creating turnovers. Those were the four pillars that we were trying really hard to take care of. They took 21 3's but most of them were contested."
It’s so often pick your poison with UConn, what did you want to take away today?

"Just to prepare for our next game, which is South Florida, because they play the same kind of basketball, they just don't have the size and the bigs that UConn does. I want to see our team compete, be fearless and be tough and have a never quit attitude."
As a measuring stick game, what did this tell you about your program?

"That they are starting to find their identity. I want them to always be fearless, I want them to be strong, empowered young women. I want them to fight all the time, no matter what it is, if it's basketball or life, whatever it may be. We're getting there. It's just my second year."