Nov. 26, 2010
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UConn vs. Howard
November 26, 2010
UConn Head Coach Geno Auriemma
How good was it to get that type of performance out of Stefanie (Dolson) tonight?
"You mean her two rebounds? I thought she was fantastic. She got one each half. She didn't double them all up in the first half. Other than that, we're trying to get her to understand the physicality of the game and how hard she has to work. I think little by little it will get there. Today was a good step in the right direction. Just keep building on that and get better game by game."
It seemed like once Heather (Buck) came in and played well, Stefanie (Dolson) seemed to see what she needed to do to succeed.
"You know, I think the same thing holds true for both of them. They've got to understand what we have to have from them. It's been something that we've worked on every day in practice that we have to have something from the two of them, or one of them. We know what we are going to get from Samarie (Walker). Heather, Stefanie, it doesn't matter. We have to have a big body presence in the lane and I hope one of them or both of them will eventually come to do that."
Is the team starting to embrace the winning streak a little bit more and do you think they are going to be able to handle the pressure as it gets closer to 88 games?
"I don't know. Really, I really can't answer that. Our whole thing the last couple of years is to put ourselves in the position to win a national championship. That's still the goal going in. Whether or not there is any pressure with any of the wins, I don't feel it. I don't sense that they feel it, and I'm not, nor are any of the other coaches, transferring it to them. We already have the streak. We've already won more games than any other women's basketball team ever in a row, so whatever happens, happens. I would think there's pressure involved for them at some level but I don't know what it is."
Do you think that because many of these players haven't been to an NCAA Tournament, the streak is helping to prepare them?
"I would think that anytime you are in those situations it's going to prepare you for the next one. That's why the streak is so non-involved here. You know, Maya Moore is the only one that's had a hand in winning all of these games. So what does the streak have to do with the other guys? Are you really going to have Bria Hartley, Samarie Walker and Stefanie Dolson buy into that their streak is on the line? This would only be a huge factor if all of those guys were back and they didn't want to lose something."
Do you like the way that Bria (Hartley) looks to go out there and make plays like she did in the first half?
"Yeah. That's what Bria does. She's a playmaker. She makes plays, she makes shots. That's what she does and she's not afraid to try to make a play. I would think that as the games go on, we're going to see her have to make more."
On success inside tonight:
"I had a rough start tonight but once I hit a few shot and grabbed a few rebounds, my confidence rose. I just got better from there. The team started playing better from there. We were more fluid. Everything got better after a few shots and rebounds.
On coming off the bench after a breather:
"On the bench, we stay in the game, we stay focused. It gives you a mindset to see what the players are doing out there and add to that. The whole team watched what Heather Buck did out there and we just cheered her on and it helped everyone out once they went back into the game.
On having a good game and not thinking too much:
"It definitely feels good. I'm always someone who over-thinks things too. So when you have a game like this, it definitely helps your confidence. Hopefully it will carry over to other games this weekend and other games in the future. It feels good."
On the team growing from the 82-game winning streak:
"We still have a long way to go. It's part of who we are, we can't help the attention and all the records and the hype around the program. This team has to stay so focused though. We chart our progress based on how much we improved based on our specific team goals. Of course It's great to know all that and take pride in that but it's even more important that as every game builds, we keep the game in perspective."
On scoring in the paint:
"That's always a priority. It isn't something that has to be said every night. We want to have a strong inside presence. Right now, we are still improving on that inside presence. I don't think it's where it needs to be yet. I have confidence that it will improve. When we demand the ball down low, the guards will give it to us."
On Stefanie Dolson playing well:
"It just makes us that much better. When she plays strong, holds the ball up high and gets and-one's, it gives us that much more momentum. When she's playing confident - when your center is playing confident and strong - it sets the momentum for the other team as well. Maybe the guards on the other team will be tentative to drive the lane. I'm proud of the way she focused and finished today but it needs to carry on."
On the media attention as the streak nears the 88-game NCAA record:
"I hope it continues to bring a lot of attention to the women's game. I think it's okay. We realize It's there, and it's part of winning. We need to keep focused. I know personally, I don't think about it outside of the program. I don't really care about who is saying what. I want to work hard every day. I think it's important for these young guys to pick up those habits. When you come to a program like UConn, you have to get used to that amount of hype. I want the attention to get as high as it can because that's good for the program and for the game."
On Coach Auriemma's hard treatment at practice:
"I don't think he's upset with anything in particular. But if I'm doing something wrong in practice he'll tell me right away what I need to improve. I like it though. I know he's trying to make me better and I want to hear what he has to say. It helps me get better in the end."
On having off nights shooting the ball:
"Any player is going to have off nights. You have to keep playing and find other ways to score. If you can't score the ball well, you need to find other ways to make an impact - get steals, get rebounds, feed your teammates. Just do other things to get yourself into the game."
On what she wants to get out of this weekend:
"Definitely just to improve. We are freshmen and we aren't necessarily used to playing with the older girls yet. We want to build on that and improve on playing together.