Feb. 19, 2014
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Post-Game Quotes vs. UCF
Feb. 19, 2014
HEAD COACH Geno Auriemma:
On Saniya Chong’s performance tonight:
“Those are the things that we saw when we watched her play in high school…all those games. I’m pretty sure she hadn’t gotten a bucket in the previous sixty-five minutes…I don’t think that is why we recruited her on those sixty-five minutes. She obviously has a lot of skills that can help our team. It is a matter of understanding what it is you can do and going out and doing it. Today looked like it was kind of easy for her.”
On Bria Hartley’s place in UConn’s history:
“You look at Bria and it is hard to pick out…real real highs for her because she is so consistent. There are no forty-point games, there is no games that she makes ten three-pointers. You look at her entire career and she is like Derek Jeter. She came in as a young kid. You can count on her every game. She shows up, she plays as hard as she can. She is my wife’s favorite player…I know that, and that means something. That is saying a lot when your coaches can count on you every day in practice, every night we play, no matter who we play, no matter where we play. Everything that she gets, she deserves. She has had an All-American season and I don’t think anybody on our coaching staff or team were surprised.”
On the team’s ball movement:
“I thought there were times when there were way too many quick shots, kind of like it was hap-hazard. I asked the team one time if I had accidentally stepped into Nike Nationals Game were they show up at Augusta, run up and down, and whoever has the ball shoots it so that the college coaches look in awe. We talked a lot about how we want to be the kind of team with balance…we score in the post, score going to the basket, get taken to the free throw line, make some perimeter shots, get out in transition. I thought we were just transition and jump shots. We did a much better job in the second half of getting more balance in our offense."
On joining Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore as Connecticut’s only members of the 1,500 Points/ 500 Rebounds/ 500 Assists club:
“I know Diana and Maya were the two players that I looked up to most…being in a category with them is awesome…I’m glad.”
If there was anything you could do better in your career…what would it be?
“I would try to be more consistent. There were points in my career where I would go through shooting slumps or wasn’t playing as well. I remember last year, of course I wanted to have a better year than I did that season. You take everything as it comes and try to get better and move forward from it. I just try to get better every day and that is what I do.”
Did you see you accomplishments as being possible when you first got to the University of Connecticut?
“I think so. You come to Connecticut and you want to set the standards really high. Coach always says to dream really big that way you can meet them or go past them. I came here and I wanted to be a really great player. Like I said, I always looked up to those players, Diana and Maya, therefore I said that I want to be there and become a player that is just as good as they are. I am extremely excited that I am in category with them.”
UCF Head Coach Joi Williams
How tough has it been for the team to adjust to losing Jordan Jackson, who has stepped up?
"When you lose a player like that, it's an adjustment. It's a whole different team without her. The disappointing thing is that we knew that we were going to have to do it by committee to make up for her, and we've not had someone consistently take that up. We have people that are capable. Sara Djassi, Zykira Lewis, Brittni Montgomery, those people are all capable. It's just a matter of us getting it done. It's a problem. That's the disappointing thing."
What goals do you set coming into a game like this?
"Playing a team like this, it's a fantastic environment for women's basketball and it's great to bring our young team into this environment. Obviously you're not going to hold them scoreless, but what we wanted to do was to try to limit some transition opportunities, which we didn't do a very good job of. They do such a great job of capitalizing on other people's mistakes. A big focus for us was really being aggressive when we go up against a team like this, but I thought we got kind of passive against the zone so that was disappointing. UConn, they are a machine. Hats off to them. They can just hurt you in so many ways. They have so many weapons."
How do you get the team to keep playing hard when they look at the scoreboard and they have played hard and are down by 20?
"It's tough. We talk about winning those four minute segments and trying to compete on every possession. That's the big thing we talked about coming in here - just competing hard on every possession. That's the thing that these guys (UConn) do so well. They compete no matter what the score is, no matter who's on the floor. Coming into this game, our big focus was to compete every possession, defensively and offensively. That's where it all has to start."
What needs to happen for you to consider the rest of the season a success?
"I think it starts with competing every game out. We've shown some bright spots where we've competed hard. The SMU game that we played and won, I thought we competed defensively all night. Shots might not fall, but we played great team defense. That needs to happen. We need to improve in that area, especially on the defensive end, to compete every night."
You coached some of these UConn players in USA basketball, what is a team going to have to do to stop Breanna Stewart, Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson on the same night?
"Pray (laughs). Like I said, they have so many offensive weapons and they are so unselfish. You've got Breanna (Stewart), who is arguably the best player in the country who can any spot on the floor. I think that team defense is huge, jumping to the ball, keeping those guys off the offensive glass. I think that's a big thing. They're tough to beat because they have so many different people on any given night who can step up."