Jan. 22, 2014
Head Coach Geno Auriemma
On Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis’ mindset during the game:
“In the second half, yea. I don’t think so in the first half. I thought in the second half she was more like what we’ve come to expect from her. I think you can tell a lot also by the way she got involved rebounding the ball in the game. In the second half she was involved in the game. When you get involved in the game, your shots tend to go in too. She is not there yet, but when your shots starts to go…your getting closer.”
On Kaleena sitting in the first half:
“When she came out in the first half, my message was…if you are not careful and you are a really good shooter, that becomes who you are and you start to identify yourself with that…that’s dangerous because when they are not going in you’ve got no identity. I was trying to remind her again that there is a lot more to the game then shooting the ball. The more you get involved, the more things you do, the closer you will get to getting back to who you are.”
Can you talk about Moriah Jefferson’s ability to get her hands on the balls, get in the passing lanes, and get the steals that she does?
“I’ve seen the last month or so, Moriah get really involved defensively…be more aggressive, take more chances, try to do more things. Usually when you are that athletic and you do that, good things happen more times then not. She is getting her hands on a lot of passes, she is getting her hands on a lot of loose balls, she was a little bit ahead of herself today, offensively i think trying to get a little bit too aggressive with the ball, doing too many things. She has become, defensively, where it all starts for us. She is putting a lot of pressure on the ball, she is making it tough for people to go where they want to go and do what they want to do.”
On the team’s twenty steals:
“That is what we do everyday in practice…the full-court press or the ability to get back to the 2-3-12-man. One of the big things coaches emphasized this year was getting into the opponent’s face and getting steals.”
On Moriah Jefferson causing pass breakups for the team:
“We know that the fact that Mo really gets into people, frazzles people. She is a little pest. That’s what she is, if she was defending me that is what I would think. We are really trying to be aware of the cross court passes and the passes that aren’t the best passes so we try to get a turnover.”
Is the UCONN basketball team a better offensive or defensive team at this point?
“Honestly, I think it can go both ways. This team has a lot of people that can score and score in a lot of different ways. I think something that we have been working on and getting better is defensively making sure that we are always in a stance or in a passing lane or denying someone or blocking shots. As we continue to get better, there will be a bigger gap that maybe we are a better defensive then offensive team. At the same time, when we get a steal defensively, we are going on offense to score so it is kind of a win-win.”
Memphis Head Coach Melissa McFerrin
Coming off a three-game winning streak, how did you approach this game with your team?
"UConn is the best team in the country. You don't go into your locker room, at this stage and bang your hand on the chalkboard and say 'We're going to beat UConn.' That might sound stupid at this stage, but we have to talk about growing into this level of competition. We talked about competing for every rebound and we got out-rebounded by one, so I think largely our players did that. The other thing I asked them to do was take care of the ball and limit our turnovers to 14. As we know, we didn't, and that's the difference. We talk about growing into this level of competition and when you are talking about a team like UConn, unless you are a program that has been at an elite level, then you have to talk about growing into this and not being naive about what this level is."
Where did you see improvement from the matchup with UConn in Memphis, and were you trying to use this game to gauge the team’s progress?
"I was trying to use this game to compete as well as we could against UConn and also prepare our team for what is coming up in the future. That's really what we were working on. We did, however, set those markers for rebounding. That was critical for us, and turnovers as well as keeping them off free throw line. Largely in two of those areas we competed pretty well, but UConn, if you give the ball to them, they are going to score twos and threes almost every time."
Ariel Hearn scored 20 in the first game, she was held scoreless in the first half of this one. What were they doing differently?
"I think they focused on her. I think they said, 'Ariel Hearn is a pretty good player, let's take her out of the game and see how everybody else responds.' I thought Asianna Fuqua-Bey responded really well in the first half and became an aggressive penetrator. I thought Breigha Wilder-Cochran in the second half came about and stopped leaning so heavily on Ariel as a ball handler."
How do you get the team to play with the same level of intensity for the entire game, once the score is out of reach?
"I just think you have to set different goals. You can't set your goals as the scoreboard at this point in time. I told them I wanted to see fire in their eyes until the horn went off and I reminded them of that every four minutes."