Feb. 9, 2014
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Post Game Quotes
February 9, 2014
No. 1 UConn vs. No. 4 Louisville
Head Coach Geno Auriema:
On the health status of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis:
"From what I have been able to see it is not as bad as what happened last time. We will know more, the doctor is looking at her right now. It is in a similar spot just a different elbow. We have a week off before we play again, therefore we will know more in a day or two. Right now, there is not that same sense of urgency with the injury that I saw the first time. She has to learn how to fall or something. We've got to put bubbles around our guys...we can't afford to get anybody else hurt...it is unbelievable.
On how the players respond to adverse situations such as the game against Louisville:
"I said the other day that going into the game we knew exactly what we were going to get from them. We knew who their personnel was and what they like to do, what their style of play is, how they approach everything...it was exactly what we thought it was going to be. It was a very physical game. I thought our defense was as good as it has been at any time this year because they are not an easy team to defend. They do a lot of different things. Their big guys are guys you have to guard. A lot of teams have guys you don't have to guard, but they don't. We rebounded the ball well for the most part, especially in the first half. You need games like this to get you in that mindset of what will happen later in February and early March."
On the play of Moriah Jefferson:
"For her to play forty minutes as well as she did and make a bunch of shots that she made, especially at time that we really needed them, I think the play that she made when she saved the one ball and Bria got a lay-up was indicative of the things she can do. I was really proud of her because I know how hard she has worked leading up to today and these are the types of games that you test yourself. You work hard so that you can be successful in games like today."
Where does the most improvement occur during a player's career at UConn?
"I remember saying that they great players we had started playing great when they sophomores. They started acting really good as sophomores. Once they have had a year of practice, a summer between when they know how to prepare, train, and improve, they come in as sophomores and gain all of the confidence that makes them the players that you want them to be as juniors and seniors. Moriah Jefferson came out of high school as a really great player and did what most freshmen do...play well and struggle, play well and struggle, get knocked back and then lose your confidence a bit for the first time. That is pretty much standard procedure for a lot of kids when they come to Connecticut, it is not easy to play here. The demands are tougher here, but so are the rewards."
On Breanna Stewart being more equipped this season to play more minutes against tough competition:
"Mentally, it is not even the same person that was playing last year at this time. The biggest difference I've seen in Stewart is her ability to shake off a bad play and come out with a big play, when last year a bad play in her mind would frustrate her so much it would lead to two more bad ones. Right now her mindset is not as much one as a kid only in her second year in college, it is a little bit above that. That is why she can make big shots in big moments that other players can't make. There are still some things that she can improve at obviously as she is nowhere near where she wants to be."
Senior Guard Bria Hartley
On Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis' injury:
"I think she was a little more worried because she hurt it before. It doesn't seem that bad right now so hopefully she'll be back. We have a couple of days off too."
On playing with a thin bench:
"Everyone has to step up. I think part of being a competitor is going out there and being prepared to play 40 minutes every game. You might be tired but you have to be prepared for that. When it's tournament time you have to step up and be ready for anything."
Sophomore Guard Moriah Jefferson
On the importance of this type of game:
"It's important. It prepares us for the tournament so we tried to come in and see where we were as a team."
On being dared to shoot by the Louisville defense:
"If they left me open I was prepared to pull up. If I'm not making shots I would leave me open too. I take it as a challenge and try to go out there and step up to the challenge.
On biggest difference this season:
"I'm being more aggressive. I'm just just looking for my shots but I'm looking for my teammates shots as well. I try to come out and play hard."
"They're the greatest team in the country right now. Anybody can score. So they are a hard team to guard when they do what they do best, which is score."
On the improvement of Moriah Jefferson
"She's a hard worker and she's fast as heck. She's one of the fastest people I've ever seen. She's a great player and she's definitely grown as a player from her freshman year to her sophomore year. She only has room to grow from here."
On the possibility of playing UConn three times before the NCAA Tournament
"I think we are going to learn a lot from each time we play them. Like tonight - we did a lot of good things, but there are some things we need to learn from. For us, we can learn from each game which is only going to help us."
On defending Brianna Stewart
"As far as scouting reports, basically we wanted to frustrate her. We didn't want to give her all the things that she likes to do. We really wanted to limit them in transition because that's where she gets a lot of points. We wanted to stay close to her, get her out of her game, frustrate her a little bit. We had her for a little stretch there where she was kind of forcing up shots, which is what we wanted. We kind of got away from that and let her get a couple of easy buckets and that got her going."
Head Coach Jeff Walz
On the match up with Brianna Stewart
"She's a special player. I told our players there is no question that she is the best player in the country in my opinion. What she does is when you have breakdowns, she makes you pay for them. We had two back-to-back situations when we cut it down to a five point game in the first half that we allowed her to catch it at the free throw line, turn and shoot. We had told our kids to keep a hand in her face and make her drive it or shoot a contested pull up, because that's not her strength. We had our hands down then we got caught on a pin down because one of our kids fell down and she hits back-to-back 3's. It's just big time shots.
On the difference between playing UConn this year and last year, and how close to perfect a team needs to be to beat them
"It really comes down to the fact that they do such a good job of not fouling. I'm watching and thinking 'Wow. If they're allowed to do a few things on the floor as well as they are right now, then it's tough.' You have to play a perfect game. It's an absolute battle. You've got to have 40 minutes of mentally tough basketball. Not just physically, but you've got to be into every day. I thought, except for a four minute stretch in there in the second half and then those two possessions in the first half, I thought we did a really good job. I thought we did a great job of following a scout on particular players. I've give kudos to Moriah Jefferson, who hit two big time 3's, which is what she has to do for them. If she can do that, then it makes it so much harder for teams to defend them. If you're going to double the post, you have to go off of her."
On if this is how he thought this game might go
"At the half, our goal was for it to be a five or six point game either way. We had it right there where we wanted until we gave up those back-to-back 3's. What you have to do when you are playing them is get it to about 10 minutes to go in the second half where shots still matter. If it's a five or six point game, now all of the sudden that basket becomes a little bit smaller, and that pressure starts to build. That's something that they have not had to face yet. That's our goal."