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UConn-Syracuse Post Game Quotes

Jan. 19, 2013

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Head Coach Geno Auriemma

On Stefanie Dolson’s maturation process:

“I think it’s something we’ve been looking at as coaches, players and fans, watching her do the things she does. I thought today was a good indication of all the things she’s been working on, and all the things she wanted to be good at. Now we have a center that can shoot the ball, who’s a good passer and a good defender. I just think she’s put herself in a great situation right now and I just hope she keeps getting better every day. I know that’s her goal as well.”

On having a lot of crowd support:                             

“Maybe it was the time of day, or the time of year, I don’t really know. Four o’clock games on weekends are always really good times for people to come to games. I think you can pretty much look in the stands and see that the crowd was different today, not so much in terms of how many people, but it had the look and the feel of what we used to take for granted with Connecticut basketball for all those years. Hopefully we can have more of these.”

On Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and the 3-point threat:

“Well every time she’s open she makes them for the most part. There are people around the country that think they’re really good 3-point shooters, but she’s above and beyond that. Right now, we’re trying to become a better balanced team but one of the things that has helped Kaleena is that she’s not usually the only 3-point shooter on the floor. Sometimes we have three or four of them out there so the defense has a tough time matching up to all of them. When she’s actively looking for it, as opposed to just waiting for it, it’s a whole different story. I think today, especially in the second half, she was actively going to find shots and that’s a sign of maturity.”

On the importance of getting offensive rebounds:

“Well, we talked about Syracuse averaging 85 points the last four games and they offensive rebound the heck out of the ball. We knew going in that was going to be a huge priority for us. We felt that if we could do the same thing to them, that they do to other people, the game would go our way.  They’re not an easy team to defend. They have some good young players and a lot of quickness. So it’s been a steady progression for them to get better, and today I was thrilled. We had a little stretch at the beginning of the game where we weren’t great, but I thought the last 30 minutes or so we controlled the offensive and defensive rebounds for the most part.”

Junior Center Stefanie Dolson

On her role on this team:

“I think I see myself as someone who is willing and able to do anything to help my team. If it’s a night where I need to score, I’m going to work hard to do that. If it’s a night where I need to rebound and get someone else open shots, I’m willing to do that too. I think I just fill the niche that needs to be filled for the night. ”

On pushing to become better:

“I don’t think anyone comes to this program to just be here. I think you come to become the best player you can be and do big things.”

On maturing throughout her career:

“I’ve grown so much as a person, and it’s awesome to know that my coaches and my teammates have been with me since the beginning. It’s a good feeling.”

Sophomore Forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis

On facing Duke on Monday:

“They’re doing really well right now. We’ve got to make sure that we rebound hard, because they crash hard. We need to make sure that we play Connecticut basketball. We have to keep our own tempo and make sure that everyone is contributing like they were tonight.”

On Bria Hartley rolling her ankle:

“Bria’s a key player of ours. She’s our only All-American right now. We just have to get her back in the flow of things. She’s just got to feel more comfortable and be confident out there.”

On why she’s been so successful from beyond the arc:

“I just think that we have some many offensive people inside, like Dolson and Stewart, that the defenders get sucked in there and it opens things up for everyone else.”

Syracuse Head Coach Quentin Hillsman

On Kayla Alexander being in foul trouble most of the game:

“It definitely made a difference. We played a really good team and she only played 11 minutes. When your best player only plays 11 minutes and takes five shots that’s not good.”

Can you talk about what they did to get her in foul trouble?

“Stefanie (Dolson) made a lot of shots in the high post and drew Kayla out. Kayla got those two fouls early and had to come out of the game. Obviously they did a great job of spreading us out and moving the ball. They just kept coming and being aggressive going for the ball on the rebound.”

Your team is 15-2 now, 3-1 in the BIG EAST. Is your team showing you what you wanted at this point in the season?

“We have tough kids. They are just tough. This is a tough place to play in. They (UConn) draw well and they are a good team. We knew that going in. We wanted to play good for 40 minutes and ended up playing good for about 33 minutes. There were seven minutes that we didn’t play well at the end.”

How do you think the freshmen did?

“I think they did really well. All I wanted them to do was come out and compete. I thought they competed every possession. That’s all you ask from them.”

Can you talk about the play of Rachel Coffey?

“Rachel’s a good player. I always talk to Rachel about accepting her role and she does that. She’s coming off the bench this year and she’s really helped us. She’s aggressive and you know when she gets the ball. She’s a good player.”

On the 3-point shooting of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis:

“Kaleena shoots two or three steps away from the 3-point line. That’s tough. She’s a great shooter. She’s shoots 50 percent from the 3-point line and we knew that. She got free a few times and made her shots.”

On the play of Breanna Stewart:

“She’s a good player. I’ve seen Breanna play for a long time and she’s a great kid. I wish her a lot of luck and a lot of success.”

Syracuse guard Brianna Butler

On the game:

“I think we did play very well. They are a good team but we did a good job with what we needed to do.”

On Kayla Alexander missing much of the game due to foul trouble:

“Kayla’s definitely our go-to player. She leads us in points and rebounds so it put us in a bit of hole, her being out.”

What does UConn do that other teams that you’ve played don’t?

“Obviously, UConn is a really good team. They move the ball very well and take advantage of short corners. They were able to move the ball faster than us tonight.”

Are you still a confident team after tonight?

“I think this game was an eye-opener for us. It gives us something to work on for our next games. I think it will make us a stronger team.”