Notre Dame vs. Uconn
Final Four Semifinal
What Notre Dame was saying going into their game against Connecticut in the Final Four Semifinal.
Head Coach Muffet McGraw:
On Connecticut repeating as national champs.
"Connecticut had the best team in basketball last year and had everybody back. So I think, at the beginning, their chances
of winning again were pretty good. I dont think you can ever anticipate injuries and things that happen during the year that
you have absolutely no control over. Certainly thats had some effect on them. For Connecticut to get back to the Final Four
without Svet (Abrosimova) and Shea (Ralph) has been a tremendous accomplishment for them."
On growth of the Big East.
"I think since we joined the Big East Conference six years ago, the shift in our program has really taken off nationally. I
would say that joining the Big East was the best thing that has ever happened to womens basketball at Notre Dame. To be
in a conference with Connecticut who had just won a national championship and was predicted to win another one, I thought
it brought instant credibility to everybody in the conference. This year our conference was outstanding at the top, probably
the best league in the country if you consider we have two teams in the Final Four, and were the only conference that has
two teams in the Final Four. I think the Big East is a great league. Were probably not top to bottom as strong as some, but
at the top we are the very best."
On point guard battle.
"The position is definitely important in the game. Sue Bird is a great player, and Niele (Ivey) is a great player. I think theyre
both going to have great games."
On ticket situation.
"Last year in Philadelphia was the first time I ever saw scalping of tickets as such high prices".I dont think there are enough
tickets for the schools that are in it (allotted 800 tickets per school). We couldnt come close to filling the demand for
tickets, and we didnt even have a general sale. We could have used probably a couple thousand tickets more than we were
allotted. I do think we need to go to bigger arenas. I think our game has finall grown to that point, and it would be great to
see everone that wants to come get a ticket."
On rivalry with Connecticut.
"This is the first year weve actually had a rivalry, because I dont know that you can have a rivalry until you beat somebody.
This year was a tremendous rivalry."
Center Ruth Riley:
On high school girls basketball in Indiana.
"I think it says a lot for the type of players that come out of Indiana if you look at the players on Purdues team and our
team. There is a lot of tradition that comes out of Indiana, and I think that is represented here."
On the rematch with Connecticut.
"I think its going to be a good game"Its exciting for us and we match up well against each other."
On Diana Taurasi.
"It shows how far womens basketball has come for a freshman to come in and step up like that."
Guard Niele Ivey.
On her arrival.
"Yesterday when I came in from the airport, my principals from Cor Jesu and a lot of girls from the high school greeted me.
They had banners, uniforms and candy and balloons it was great to see so many people out there supporting me from the
moment I walked off the airplane."
On the pressures of playing in an NCAA game in her hometown.
"I think Im going to be more excited than nervous. Im a little nervous for any game but Ive been focused the whole year so
Ill be the same way on Friday. There will be more familiar faces in the stand. And thatll be good for me. And Ill use that as
a positive and not try to try too hard."
Forward Kelley Siemon.
On playing in St. Louis for Niele.
"It was a goal we kept in our minds for a long time. It was something we wanted to do for her and something she wanted to
do. Were excited that this would be the spot for it."
On the magnitude of a rematch.
"Its definitely the rubber match. Weve both got a win and obviously its hard to go out on that loss on a last second shot. I
think this is just going to be an incredible game...We both have something to prove. We know each other well and were both
prepared for each others tendencies."
On post play.
"I dont think post play will determine the game but it will be a huge part. I think rebounding will be a very big key to whoever
wins this game. Every ball will be up for grabs, and that is something well be focusing on."