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UConn/Cincinnati Quotes

Feb. 17, 2016

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UConn Head Coach Geno Auriemma

On the starting lineup:

“It’s something that we have been talking about trying for the last couple of weeks. We need to give some of these guys more of an ownership. If you’re not careful when you have three dominant players like we do, the other kids may not feel the same pressure to play as hard. We needed to change the environment to see how those players would really do. It was what I thought it would be. I didn’t think we would have problems scoring, but I thought we would have some problems guarding them. I know we would struggle a little bit on the defensive end, but it’s good for them to see that.”

On redshirt-sophomore Natalie Butler:

“For Natalie, it’s a situation where you have to assert yourself; you have to impose yourself on the game. What she did for most of the second half today was exactly what we would need. If she could do that every night, then she helps us.”

On the speed and hustle shown today:

“The modern day player jogs, and everybody tells them that they’re running. When they come to college, they jog and want to be told ‘good hustle’. Someone like Moriah or Stewie plays 100% every game. That’s the challenge of taking in players from high school nowadays.”

Cincinnati Head Coach Jamelle Elliott

On how UConn did not have its normal starting lineup and what that did for Cincinnati:

"It gives us a lot of confidence. Chris Dailey told me before the game that he wasn't going to be starting his normal five, so I got us energized and excited to be playing a couple of their reserves. I thought the first quarter, we were only down about six or seven, but then the big guns came in and obviously they wanted to prove to him that they deserved to start. I thought they came in and were really aggressive and we didn't have an answer for them. I'm really proud of how we fought. The score doesn't indicate it, but we're playing the No. 1 team in the country. We didn't give up at any point. I thought we fought, but credit to UConn. They find a way to make shots."

On what was done to get Bianca Quisenberry going early and what UConn did to stop her:

"Bianca is a warrior. She's played pretty well against these guys, as well as you can play. She plays fearless. She hustles after loose balls. She knocked down her first four shots and I think that gave her confidence. I was happy to see her set the tone and then everybody around her gained some confidence, which allowed us to have that impressive first quarter."

On the play of UConn’s bench and if conference play will be more competitive next year:

"I think obviously they are senior oriented with Moriah (Jefferson) and Briana Stewart and depending on what happens with Morgan Tuck. But Kia Nurse, Gabby Williams, those guys, they are very capable of scoring, they are very capable of playing defense. I'm sure he's going to have one of the top two or three recruiting classes in the country next year and historically his freshmen have come in and been able to be productive right away. I think he's just trying to give those guys some experience. I don't know what point he was trying to prove today but hopefully it will work."

Redshirt-sophomore Natalie Butler

On when she found out she was starting:

“I didn’t know until I got in the locker room and saw my name on the board. That’s when I found out, right before the game.”

On the first half:

“I think it showed a lot of what we needed to work on as a group and what I need to work on personally.”

Senior Breanna Stewart

On the bench players starting:

“It wasn’t really that surprising. It’s been something that we’ve been focusing on, trying to give our bench players a bigger role and understanding that we want them to do more for the team.”

On not starting:

“It’s been a while, that’s for sure, but I think that Morgan, Moriah and myself knew this had to happen for the team. They needed to see themselves in a different role and then continue that feeling throughout the rest of the season.”