Dec. 23, 2009
Head Coach Geno Auriemma
Is it a calculated risk to leave Maya in with two fouls in the first two minutes or are you confident that she is smart enough not to commit any stupid fouls?
“I figured she got rid of the dumb stuff with her first two fouls and that she couldn’t make that many mistakes in the first half. We were leading 19-12 so I subbed her out with 22:19 left. This was just one of those days that everyone on the floor had to be a good offensive player. It was hard for us to stop them in the first half and we wanted it to be hard for them to stop us in the second half. I took a gamble and it paid off.
76 of the 80 points your team scored was scored by four players, are you ok with that?
“I’m not worried about that. Only six players played most of the game tonight. Caroline did not make any shots tonight and this was her first game in this type of environment; as well as Kelly. It is like anything else, you got to make shots and if you don’t make shots, then there is a chance that you might lose and that’s what happened in the first half. We did not make our shots and we could not shoot them out of their comfort zone and they just packed it in the lane and we came down too quick to shoot a jump shot. More people got involved as soon as we decided to play more patiently.”
How did you enjoy playing a game in this atmosphere with a team that counter punched and what was it like for you coaching a game like this?
“It was great. That is what I reminded the players of. When they were coming off the floor during one run, the place was really loud and I told the younger players that this was something that you have not experienced yet and their eyes were popping out. It is good to be back in that scenario where you’re trying to manage the game, rather than watch it unfold in front of you. I was really happy.”
Junior Forward Maya Moore
When you picked up your second foul, just two minutes into the game, how does that change your mindset?
“You never want to get in that situation; that wasn’t very smart on my part. I brought it onto myself. Nnemkadi (Ogwumike) made a good cut back to the hole and I lost her for a minute and I picked up a silly foul. The second time I should have pulled up and Kayla (Pedersen) made a smart play and took a charge. Those are little things that I am going to learn from and know that I can’t be that careless in the beginning. I just had to stay aggressive because I can’t be out there and not be aggressive; that will hurt my team. That’s what I try to do and it worked and they got a sub in for me at the end of the first half.”
Did you come out with a different attitude in the second half?
“We just went back to our original game plan of playing really tough in the passing lane, denying defense and just got after it on the defensive end. That always sparks our offensive game. I was really proud of the way we all came together and really locked down defensively.”
Can you talk about the bounce pass to Kalana Greene?
“I was running the floor, you know I love running. I was just running down the middle of the court. Kelly Farris is a great passer and she gave me a pass, leading me ahead. I saw that I had two defenders running with me. As I went up in the air to catch it, I saw Kalana doing the same thing, running the floor. So, I just tried to slice it in between. It was kind of a high pass, but Kalana can catch and finish in all kinds of ways. You guys have seen that. I knew that once I got it through the defenders that Kalana was going to finish. It was one of those momentum plays. The crowd went crazy and we loved that.”
Sophomore Guard Tiffany Hayes
Your mentality changed in the second half; did coach tell you something at the half?
“Basically, he just told me that I needed to come out, be more aggressive and take control of the game. I needed to make sure we get the ball in. If we get the ball in, it will be easier for her (Tina) to find us on the three point line.”
Senior Center Tina Charles
Offensive rebounding was better in the second half; is that something Coach talked about at half time?
“That’s just always the message for us as a team. Whoever gets the most boards, whoever shoots the most free throws and whoever stops the threes, will win. That is always the emphasis before every game.”
Head Coach Tara VanDerveer
“I thought we came out in the first half and made some shots, got the ball inside and handled their transition. They came out in the second half and they were much more aggressive. They were really active defensively and really changed the tempo of the game, getting out in their running game. I think this is a great game for us to play. We were really excited to be in it, and this will really help us for the rest of our season.”
On the rebounding deficit:
“I think that when we watch the video tape of this, will see that people did not put a body on people in terms of boxing out the way we need to. They are quick jumpers, and they are very athletic. We will look at it but I think that was a big part of why we were not as successful as we need to be. Credit them, they did get on the glass and they were very aggressive and they rebounded very well. I think we can do a better job.“
What do you see them doing differently this year than when you played them last year?
“It wasn’t all about Renee Montgomery. Last year, obviously, their offense was her. They got the ball into Tina and she did a really nice job. They really played a fast pace. For them they probably didn’t shoot as well as they would like, but they were very physical. They really ramped it up in the second half and got much more aggressive, got tipped balls, and forced some turnovers, got on the glass. We are kind of a step slow, and we were not as aggressive as we needed to be inside especially.”
Were you surprised that you couldn’t stop their momentum despite the 30 second time outs you took?
“They did have a lot of momentum going, they had a great crowd. The crowd got into it. They got the crowd into it by their running, like that one big bounce pass. They are terrific team. There is no taking away, they have two All- Americans on their team, and I think they played like All-Americans they really got after it. I am proud of our team, we have had a really tough stretch. I thought we can learn a lot from this game, and I know that we will benefit from it. For us, call it a little ‘w,’ coming in here and playing here for the first time I thought people worked really hard, but we have to learn from it and do better.”
Is UConn’s speed a step up from Duke and Tennesee?
“Yes, Connecticut didn’t shoot it really well from three, but they went to the basket. They didn’t care if you got in the way or not, they are just going in their. We need people to step up and take charges in that situation. They are definitely head and shoulders above us, and they just play at a different pace then anybody. They are moving the ball and their players are moving and screening. They played very well together. “
Sophomore Forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike
Talk about the first 15 minutes of the second half and getting out scored.
“They came out and were more aggressive definitely. What it felt like for me is that we were kind of slow to react to what was going on, and they just went after it. It is hard to compensate for such aggressive play and I think that is what really got us in the second half. “
Senior Center Jayne Appel
What do you think needed to change from the game last year in St. Louis to tonight for Stanford to make up what ground was lost?
“I think it was two different teams taking the court in terms of experience. I think for one thing, playing the game helped us a lot. The pace of things had to change for us, and obviously we still have ground to make up.
Do you think this game can serve as a rallying point for your team?
“I think is a good bench mark for us in showing where we stand against the number one team in the nation. I think yes, we will use it as a motivation, but we have a lot of games to play before we begin to even say we are going back to the Final Four.”