Feb. 28, 2012
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UConn Head Coach Geno Auriemma
What was the turning point of the game?
“I think the story of the game was pretty much written [during Notre Dame’s 12-2 run]. We were fighting an uphill battle the rest of the game, it felt like. Every time we tried to make a bit of a run, we would commit a stupid turnover and every time we turned it over, they scored off of it. I think there were a couple plays, back-to-back, that we turned it over and they scored. The fact that we couldn’t keep them off the offensive boards [was also a factor]. They’re just better than we are right now.”
Were there any positives to come away with?
“Stefanie [Dolson] was great. She had a different attitude about her. I thought she looked like she did last year. There was a body language in her that I haven’t seen at any other time this year. She managed to keep that the entire game, which was a great positive for her personally and for us going forward.”
On UConn’s inconsistencies:
“It’s been a couple of week, a month maybe, where somebody steps up and somebody back up. When you get a team like Notre Dame where [Skylar] Diggins plays well, [Natalie] Novasel plays well, [Deveraux] Peters plays well and they get a great night from [Kayla] McBride, all of a sudden you just don’t have enough.”
Sophomore Center Stefanie Dolson
On her performance tonight:
“I think I did a better job of getting to the low post, finishing shots around the rim, and getting my high post shot to go in. Really at the end of the day you look at the things you didn’t do. I didn’t finish at the end of the game with my lay ups. I didn’t rebound enough at the end of the game. If we are going to win a championship I have to do those things. As well as you think you did there is always things you look back on that you could have done better.”
On what happened in second half:
“Honestly I don’t know. They put great pressure on us and we did not fight back. We did not play Connecticut basketball at all. Things weren’t going right and we just took it one on one to the basket. You can’t be like that and when it happens we have to fight back as a team. The five people out there need to huddle up and know what’s going on and know what we’re are running and execute. We didn’t do that and we didn’t play Connecticut basketball.”
On starters being taken out with 3 minutes left:
“I was saying we still had three minutes. I think if we would have came together we would have had a chance. I don’t know. I guess the other five he wanted to give them a chance so we had to sit and cheer and see what they could do.”
On frustration about play this late in the season:
“It’s very frustrating. That’s supposed to be over in December and it’s the end of February now. If we want to be a Final Four team we can’t be doing that in February. It’s upsetting to see coming from everybody, myself included.”
Freshman Guard Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
On Notre Dame guard play:
“Notre Dame has a lot of really great guards. The last two times we’ve played them our guards just really haven’t come to play. We haven’t played up to our potential and I think that’s the main problem when we play Notre Dame.”
Is it a question of experience?
“No, it’s just a question of what mindset we come out with. We didn’t come out with the right one.”
Notre Dame Head Coach Muffet McGraw
“I was really pleased with our defense, especially in the second half. I thought we really got into the driving lanes a little bit more. I thought (Tiffany) Hayes had a fantastic first half. She and (Stefanie) Dolson were killing us in the first half. At halftime we tried to get off and help on the dribble from Hayes a little bit and had some ideas for pressuring the pass to eliminate the ball going in the post so easily. I thought we did that. They had some turnovers in the second half that led to some layups for us and that was a huge momentum shift.”
Can you talk about what this moment means for you?
“Well I think this team is really special. They have really high goals, they are a competitive group, they have a lot of pride and I love that about them. I’m happy for them and I appreciate that they are happy for me, winning the first one. I hope to have a chance to have some more. I love this group. They do make my job so much easier. I’m happy for them.”
How reliable is this team?
“Today was a really good game for us because we only turned it over 12 times. I was just starting to worry about the turnovers. I thought that could be our Achilles heel. We were making some really poor decisions, but tonight we came out and took care of the ball really well. Defensively in the first half we gave up a lot of points, so in the second half I was happy with the defense. We are rebounding better. We have some nights where we don’t shoot the ball as well, and that was what happened tonight, but we still came out with the win.”
Junior guard Skylar Diggins
On the emotion of this night:
“I think it’s great. We came out here and played for coach. She deserves it. This is something that she can add to her repertoire. She is a Hall of Fame coach and this is something that she hadn’t accomplished and we wanted to do it for her. At the same time, it’s a pride thing. We wanted to step out of the shadow of UConn. I don’t know the last time we won a game here. It was a great team effort in a hostile environment where teams can get down quickly. We stayed together. That was the thing. I think the team did a great job of rallying together and staying focused on getting a big win on the road.”
Senior guard Natalie Novosel
On the way Notre Dame was able to force turnovers and also get offensive rebounds:
“That was a point of emphasis at halftime. We wanted to stop them on defense, not out-score them. We came out with a little more attack mode offensively and then stopping them offensively. One of our keys to the game was to out-rebound them, so we tried to attack the offensive glass and out-rebound them on every play.”