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Practice Day Quotes - UConn (March 18, 2016)

March 18, 2016

2016 NCAA Division I women’s basketball championship

First Round · UConn vs. Robert Morris

Gampel Pavilion · Storrs, Conn.

Friday, March 18



Geno Auriemma, UConn Head Coach

On the attitude he wants his players to have:

“We practice at 11 a.m. every day that we’re not in school. So eleven o’clock is a really good time for us. Saturdays and Sundays we practice at 11. I don’t want things to change that much between the regular season and the postseason, but one thing that does change automatically for us is that there is a different attitude in the postseason than there is in the regular season. I wouldn’t necessarily call it more business like but, there’s less giddy stuff that gets you through the season. To get through the season you have to have a lot of that high school mentality sometimes. Even though their young college women you still have to have that. But come March, there’s less giddy and more just nodding their head.”



On Katie Lou Samuelson playing her best right now:

“She’s certainly playing better than she was at the beginning of the season, that's for sure. She’s playing like I hoped she would play at one point during the season. I don’t think she’s playing at the level she’s capable of reaching. But maybe, that’s expecting too much of a freshman. I think anytime you have someone who can shoot the ball like Lou can, automatically she becomes a factor. Shooters are a really high premium in the NCAA Tournament.”

Moriah Jefferson, UConn Guard

On what’s been emphasized this week:

“We just focus on the same things we always do in practice, just trying to stay sharp. We didn’t have a lot of time off.”

Morgan Tuck, UConn Forward

On what they’d do if they didn’t have a game:

“Probably sleeping, but we’re excited to get an early start.”

Breanna Stewart, UConn Forward

On if they knew they were going to be good from the start:

“I think we knew we were going to be good, but I don’t know when that was. Going off of what coach said, when he knew we were going to be special last year. We had to take over and kind of step up as the leaders last year as juniors and get used to it before our senior year.”

On if the current seniors felt they had to step up after Stephanie Dolson left:

“Definitely. Anytime seniors leave, there’s a void that needs to be filled and some voids are harder than others. With Steph, she did a lot on the court, basketball-wise, but then also just the way she communicated and the enerfy she had, we had to learn to get more of that.”

On if they feared being complacent this season after how well they played last year:

“We made a concerted effort to make sure we overcame complacency. Coming into this year, we weren’t done with what we wanted to do. We’re not finished and we’re still motivated by what we want to do and how we want to finish this year.”

Kia Nurse, UConn Guard

On if the underclassmen focus on playing their roles in order to help the seniors:

“Absolutely. We obviously want to do everything we can to help out the senior class, because of everything they have done for us.We know that we have to play our roles and we have to come out and execute what we do well, because they are going to need our help because people key-in on them so much. As a group, we are just really excited to come play our roles, get out there and execute and help them out in any way we can.”

On what she has learned the most from the seniors:

“There are just a ton of things that they teach you. They all teach you different kinds of things. I think just being with them and being around them and seeing what it takes to be a player at the level that they play at. Just understanding that it’s more about the leadership rather than the team. There’s little things I can take away from each and every one of them that help me be a better player in the long run.”

On if they feel a responsibility to end this the right way and cut the nets down one more time:

“Absolutely. I think when you come in here and you have seniors every single year obviously, you want them to end their career the way you would want to end your career. For us, it’s just a matter of doing what we have to do to help them out and playing our roles in that sense, but at the same time, you want to give back to them for what they’ve given to you. They’ve taken us under their wings since we got here and taught us what it means to be a Connecticut basketball player.”