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UConn-UNC Post Game Quotes

Jan. 16, 2012

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Connecticut Head Coach Geno Auriemma

What was the difference in tempo in the two halves?

“We really played at the same pace almost the entire game, until we decided to change the pace, ourselves.  I thought it was really good and things were happening that you like to see happen.  It was kind of spontaneous and we were making plays.  Tiffany [Hayes] had another great game at that kind of sets the tone for us.”

What are your thoughts on the effort from freshman Kiah Stokes?

“I think [every game] is a learning opportunity and hopefully you take advantage of those opportunities when they come along.  Kiah [Stokes] has certain skills that she can bring to the game and those skills are going to help our team, but those skills are never going to be on display, unless she has a certain mental approach to the game.  Otherwise, she is just another kid that has some skills, if she doesn’t know how to apply it.  Yesterday at practice, she had a really good day and she followed it up with a really good effort today.”

Was Brianna Banks banged up coming into tonight’s game?

“I didn’t even see her [get hurt in practice].  It wasn’t really evident.  [Brianna Banks] got trapped at half court, slipped, fell down, and as she was going down banged into somebody’s knee.  Next thing you know, she’s in the training room, but nobody really saw it.  She went in and went through the whole routine and in today’s day-and-age, you want to be really careful with those things.”

Sophomore Guard Kelly Faris

Were you surprised by the score of this game?

“We don’t base our win off the score, but it’s still a little bit surprising for a program like that and a team like that. You don’t expect, going into a game where you are going to play UNC, for there to be a gap in the score like that. So, it was a surprise.”

Can you talk about how the game started, with five starters scoring the first five shots?

“It’s definitely helpful for the momentum. Any momentum you have in a hyped up game is good. When those baskets fall and it’s from everybody, it’s even better. So, that was a good start for us.”

On playing a team that likes to run:

“That is more of our game. That’s more how we play. We like a fast-paced game. So, we knew they were going to run and we were going to run with them.”

Senior Guard Tiffany Hayes

Can you talk about how the game started, with five starters scoring the first five shots?

 “When your teammates are making shots, it hypes you up. It hypes everybody up, the bench, the crowd, ourselves. So, when that happens it translates to our defense and, of course, our defense creates our offense. It’s just a back and forth thing.”

How important was this win against a ranked opponent after losing your past match ups with ranked teams?

“It was very important. I think we definitely did a good job against a ranked team. We played together. Everybody came in and contributed. It was a good win.”

Freshman Center Kiah Stokes

On progression this week:

“I just mentally have to step it up.  I love the game and I need to show coach that every day.  I think he has been pretty pleased with my progress up until now, but it is not enough and I have to keep going.”

On last games benching:

“I understand it.  He only does it because he knows I can be so much better than how I am showing him.  It is a compliment kind of but he is also saying I need to get going.”

On coach being frustrated on her play:

“In high school I was never pushed to use my full ability.  Coming here you never know what to expect, and when I got here it was a huge wake up call.  They do everything so much harder and so much faster, and it took awhile to get used to.  I’m still not fully adjusted but I am getting better every day.”

Sophomore Guard Bria Hartley

On how hard they came out tonight:

“We came out with a lot of intensity to the end.  I think our defensive pressure got them.  Early we were able to get some stops and steals.  We were able to convert on them.  I think we were able to sustain it because of our conditioning.  We work all through preseason and practice.  Coach is always pushing us and he makes sure we’re able to run because that’s the type of game we like to play.”

On being close to playing a perfect game:

“We always have our mistakes.  There are always things we can get better at and improve on.  I am sure coach will point them out on film, but it is a step in the right direction and that is what we want to do every times we get on the court.”

North Carolina Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell

Opening Statement:

“There is no doubt that UConn is a great team. I’m just sorry we didn’t give them a better game. We’ve had a lot of injuries. Tonight was the first time that the group that started played together out there. We were definitely out of sync. We were letting them score off of turnovers. We’ve just got to go home and get back in the gym working. UConn is a great team. I’m sorry we didn’t give them a better fight tonight. They are a great team; there is no doubt about that. We’ve just got to go home and keep working and get more experience playing together and being more competitive. We just had an unbelievable amount of injuries. I don’t want to harp on that because I don’t want to make any excuses, but we are better than we showed out there tonight. UConn, they’re great. They’ve got a lot of great scorers and their system is great. Here, the environment is tremendous. Hopefully this will make us better and make us work harder and be a little hungrier. We beat Miami last week, we had Maryland score at the buzzer to go into overtime, so we know that we can play a whole lot better than we did tonight.”

This three game stretch, with the injuries, is this the worst that the team has played recently? How do you rate it?

“Well it is. It’s almost like we are starting the season right now with the kids that we’ve got out there…I think I could add up all my years of coaching and not have had as many injuries as we’ve had just this year with this one team. That’s a part of it. Let’s not make excuses. We’ve got some people back out there and have to get some people out there and get ready for the rest of our ACC games.”

How surprised are you at the final outcome?

“Well, I thought we would give them a better game. I know they are a great team, but I am disappointed that we didn’t give them a better game because I thought we would. I thought we would handle their pressure a little better than we did, and inside I thought we would score a little bit better and we didn’t do that either. We shot 23 percent…We didn’t start out well tonight and UConn is a tremendous team. They play very well together.”