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Practice Day Quotes - UConn (March 20, 2016)

March 20, 2016

Second Round · UConn vs. Duquesne

Gampel Pavilion · Storrs, Conn.

Sunday, March 19

Practice Day Quotes - No. 1 Seed UConn

Geno Auriemma, UConn Head Coach

On game strategy – “We have benefited from blocking less shots but getting more turnovers, which has led to more points. The downside of that is that you leave a lot of spots opened, and then people start shooting more “threes”, and sometimes it goes in. Whenever you press, you leave a lot of people opened, but we have progressed each game. For all the things that people say women’s basketball players cannot do, they can shoot threes. That’s the chance that you take.”

On UConn never having bad day” – “We are beyond a winning streak or winning a conference championship. It really has become focused on these three weeks in March. As far as having a bad day, we have lots of bad days; it’s just that our bad days aren’t necessarily as bad as other bad days. A bad game for us may be that we don’t make shots. We don’t generally ever play terribly, but we may shoot terribly. A lot of people equate shooting terribly with playing terribly, but we don’t.” 



On the nervousness – “I get nervous before every game. The thing is, though, once the games begin, all that stuff goes away; reality sets in. If you are the better team, and you play better, and you execute better, then the outcome is will be what you want it to be. If we go out and bring out “A-game” then there’s nothing that the other team can do to change the outcome of that game.”

Moriah Jefferson, Guard

On playing an early game and then a late game – “That’s the craziness of the tournament, you never know what time you are going to play. You wake up early in the morning and then you have to wait all day to play. We just have to stay focused throughout the day and try and keep our normal routine.”

On Gampel Pavilion – “Oh its really special and I have so many memories I can go through a list right now and go through all the things that happened in practice or a game. It’s exciting to play one more game here, but we have to go out and do it the right way.”

On playing last game at Gampel – “It’s going to be exciting, it’s going to be fun to play our last game, but at the same time it is going be really sad, but can’t think about that until the game is over.

Napheesa Collier, Guard/Forward

On shooting more 3’s – “Yeah I mean I am always trying to show him in practice that he can trust me more in games, so that’s what I have been trying to preach to him in practice.”

Katie Lou Samuelson, Guard/Forward

On playing later than usual – “I think it is kind of like a normal game day, we are used to playing at 7 and things are just a couple of hours later tomorrow night so it’s not a huge difference, but I feel like a morning game is more different than a night game even later.”

Kia Nurse, Guard

On staying focused – “I have been more focused defensively, trying to focus on how I can be helpful on that end of the floor so that it can translate into something on the offensive side. I am thinking more about what we can do as a team to make sure that we are successful.”

On team defense, specifically on defending three pointers – “Throughout the season we have gotten better-and-better each and every game, defensively. We go into practice with the understanding that we have great practice players and we have to try our best to slow them down so that we can translate that into our games. Our defense has gotten better-and-better throughout the season, and now we are peaking at the right time.”

On finding motivation – “I think that we just look at the legacy and all that the program has done. You can see that the people who came before us were the same way: they were locked in and ready to go every game. For us, it is a matter of having great leadership, having people that make sure every single game before we start that we have to do the game plan, and once we get out there, it is game time and nothing else matters. I think we do a really great job of that.”

Breanna Stewart, Forward

On her development as a student athlete and player – “Coming to UConn matures you in a lot of ways on and off the court because of what we do here, how we prepare ourselves, what we expect of ourselves, obviously in basketball but also in school.”

On encountering new teams in the tournament – “In the NCAA tournament, more so on the men’s side, you see a lot of upsets. When we’re playing a team that we haven’t played before, we want to make sure that we knock them out right for the start so that they have no thoughts that they can be in this game.”

On Monday’s game strategy – “I think our strategy is the same as it is with any other team: we want to disrupt them with our defense and have that lead into offense. We want to come out like we came out on Saturday and see how long we can keep that going.”