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    FIGHTING IRISH

    Jan. 7, 2012

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    Notre Dame Head Coach Muffet McGraw

    On defense...
    "I thought our defense late in the game was fantastic. We really did exactly what we needed to do. I thought Brittany was sensational defensively. We were smart with the ball. I thought we did a really good job down the stretch using the clock and getting to the foul line. But overall the defense was fantastic.

    On Kayla McBride's play...
    "Kayla McBride was unbelievable. She had a double-double. She had a huge three- point play that gave us the cushion that we needed.

    On the 12-2 run late in the second half...
    "She [Skylar Diggins] rally ignited us. I thought we did a good job of attacking. Her ability to come up with the big play, to hit a big three when you absolutely need to have it was key. The ball was in her hand, which is where I want it.

    On Natalie Novosel...
    "She hurt her knee in the Seton Hall game. She is just a warrior. I knew that she was going to play. I knew that she was going to play hard and do everything that she could. She didn't shoot the ball well in the beginning of the game but she stuck with it and continued to shoot the ball."

    On stopping UConn defensively...
    "We really didn't do anything different. We switched a little bit more out of necessity. I though our posts did a nice job hedging late in the game, which we weren't doing earlier in the game."

    On ND's resolve to fight back...
    "They are willing to do whatever it takes and dig down deep when things aren't going well. It is easy to fall apart, to not want the ball, but that is when you need to play together the most.

    Connecticut Head Coach Geno Auriemma

    Opening statement ...
    "It's hard to lose a game that we put ourselves in a position to win. We put ourselves in the position to win and then gave it back to (Notre Dame). Despite how bad we played with the ball, I think that was the worst we have played all year with the ball. (Notre Dame) forced a lot of turnovers. That ended up being the huge difference. That was probably the game right there, the amount of times that we didn't get a shot at the basket."

    On the unusually large number of turnovers committed by Connecticut ...
    "That's not something we do very often. A lot of it was (Notre Dame's) ball pressure. There's no question about that. I think there were times early in the game where some of it was (Notre Dame's) ability to get their hands on the ball, and some of it was that we were a little bit careless at times. The turnovers happened in spurts. It wasn't like they were happening three or so in a row. In a game that you know is going to be close, any time you don't get a shot, I don't know that you can make up that possession somewhere else. The free throw situation was also an issue. You've got to make them at the end (of the game). If we made them, maybe it would have been a little bit different. You can complain about it all you want, but they took advantage of the situations we gave them to win the game."

    On defending Notre Dame's Natalie Novosel ...
    "She's not easy to guard. I thought we did a great job on her in the first half. It wasn't anything that we haven't done in the past, but she's just really good at getting herself into the lane. That's two games in a row now that we've played Notre Dame where they've shot a lot of free throws, and we generally don't foul that much. They're the only team that shoots that many free throws against us. I wish I had an explanation for it but I don't."

    On the loss to Notre Dame ...
    "There's always more work to be done. Even if you win the game there will be more work to be done. But any time you don't win a game you're frustrated. (Notre Dame) is one of the top two or three teams in the country for a reason."

    UConn Player Quotes

    Kelly Faris • Junior • Guard

    On the emotions of losing this game after seemingly having it won...
    "It's extremely frustrating. Not only did we do it once against Baylor, but we followed it up with another one. There's really not much else to say other than it's just pure frustration. I'm upset with how things went. We had it in our hands. It was our game to win. With the way we played, we could have won it. We had the lead with under a minute. Like Coach [Auriemma] was saying, we didn't deserve to win it with the way we went out. So it's just frustrating."

    Bria Hartley • Sophomore • Guard

    On today's loss...
    "You're still frustrated because it happened once at Baylor, when we had the game in our hands and then let it go, and then it happened again today. You have the ball and you're up by two points. You should be able to win these games.

    On facing Notre Dame's defensive pressure...
    "They pressure the ball really well. It is extremely difficult at times, but you have to be able to take care of the ball. Those turnovers cause you to lose opportunities to score. Those are times we could have shots at the basket, and I think that we're a pretty good shooting team. If we take care of the ball, we could be able to score and the game would be very different. I think that they're a pretty good defensive team, but it's also the fact that we need to be able to take care of the ball and be smart about our passes."

     

     

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