Dec. 6, 2011
Box Score |
Connecticut Head Coach Geno Auriemma
Were you pleased with the defensive pressure from your team?
“We felt like our defensive pressure could give us a chance to get out in the open floor a little more. Texas A&M is a really good half court defensive team. They’re really physical and look to take you out of it. I thought if we extended the floor a little bit it could create more opportunities for us. I felt it set the tone from the beginning.”
Are you happy with the way your team took care of the ball?
“Today we kept our composure and stayed within [our game] and let the offense flow. We weren’t in a hurry to make a play. We weren’t anxious to create something out of nothing. We just let it happen for us and the kids did a great job of finding the guy that was open. We had a lot of layups and a lot of open jump shots.”
Do you find that hard work compensates for inexperience?
“The last team that I had that played mistake free basketball was in 2002. They played hard and made no mistakes. Most teams do make mistakes and those mistakes usually come from inexperience or lack of maturity. You can make up for mistakes by how hard you compete for things.”
Sophomore Guard Kelly Faris
Can you talk about the intensity that your team plays with?
"Yes. It is something that Coach (Auriemma) harps on day in and day out, our intensity level. It’s not always about the talent each player has. You win games because of effort and intensity level. That is something that he gets on us about every single day in practice to really work on and take a lot of pride in it.”
On maintaining high intensity level despite leading by 20 to 30 points:
“The second we take a play off, he’s in our ear and we know that, especially the older guys. We’ve been around long enough to know that if you take a play off he’s not going to be happy with you. There were games coming in my freshman year that we would win by 30 and it still didn’t feel good. So, for me personally, even though you may think that you have the game won, you can still come away and not feel like it was a very good win. So you still want to stay in the game and stay competitive and still play your heart out until the very last second. Then you can walk away feeling good about it.”
Did you have any idea that you might be able to beat the defending national champions by 30?
“I don’t think that I would have believed by 30. They’re still a very good team. I think we came out strong from the very beginning. That’s something we try to do every game. We try to come out and be the first one to take that punch, to set the intensity level and keep that the whole game. Like I said, we knew they were going to be a great team and we knew they were going to come in and pressure us. I think Coach did a very good job of preparing us for this game.”
Redshirt Junior Guard Caroline Doty
On defensive intensity:
“Pressing and high intensity keeps the fuel going. It’s good for us to keep the intensity up, we are a high intensity team that needs to keep it up and keep practicing and working on it to help up later on the road to fix the little kinks we have. A&M is a great team and we need to pick apart the film to see where we need to get better.”
On team’s play:
“We had two really good practices before. Normally the practice players put pressure on us. The way we came out tonight and were able to handle the pressure was great.”
On a couple days off:
“Getting hit and defending the other team kind of wears you down. It’s good to clear my head and get back in it.”
Senior Guard Tiffany Hayes
On A&M threatening to get in the game:
“The fact that we kept our composure was definitely important for us to do that because if they want to go on a run, they could cut it to a five, or four-point game. We know they’re a good team so if we let them get that close, they could come back.”
On taking the game over:
“It is the fact that all of us did a really good job to keep our heads straight and not go too fast or too slow. We kept a good place, and everybody knew what was going on.”
Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair
“The game itself was important, but not as much as the cause. Hopefully my team will be able to sit there and get better as the year goes on. You can tell right now that we’re not ready for this type of competition. We’ll get better because of it. We saw a lot of things that we made a lot of mistakes on with our zone and our back door and everything, and we also learned one thing – a team that pressures doesn’t like to be pressured back. That’s what caused the turnovers in the first half. We didn’t know how to attack. I’m working a couple of new point guards in. I might be working just one point guard in if (Alexia) Standish is hurt that bad. It was a learning process. I thought Connecticut played with so much poise…We’ll get better. Don’t give up on us. We were not a whole lot better at this time last year and I thought we turned into a pretty good ball club. We’ll do a better job of teaching. We just lost our composure out there completely in the second half and that is all correctable.”
Losing your composure – how much does that have to do with the pressure that UConn put on you tonight?
“It had a lot to do with it. They handle the ball so much better than any team that we’ve played. They basket cut very well, they’ll back door to take our over play away. They are smart enough to not throw it to the wings if we are over playing. Right now we are not good enough to still over play and still get cut with a back door. There are so many things that we need to fix. There will be a laundry list when I get home but we’ve got a little bit of time to do it before we play at TCU and then we have USC. We play the type of schedule that a national champion should play, and we’re able to go out there and see how far away we are from winning another one. There’s been 91 other teams that have gotten beat in this house. Geno had done an incredible job. Give him credit. I really think the difference in the ball game was (Stefanie) Dolson. She is so improved. She’s so long.”
On UConn’s balance offensively:
“I love the balance. I love the offense that they run. They run a little bit of Princeton, a little bit of triangle, they run a little motion and a little bit of Geno. It’s fun to work when you have kids that can handle the ball and make good decisions. We’re not there yet, but there are going to be quite a lot of people that come in and get beat like that.”
Texas A&M Guard Tyra White
On what the team is going to take out of this:
“I think it’s a learning experience for us. Playing a great team like UConn there’s a lot of stuff we’ll see in the film that we can learn from. Just keeping our composure on offense and working hard on defense.”