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    FIGHTING IRISH

    Jan. 21, 2012

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    Notre Dame Head Coach Muffet McGraw

    On today's game...
    "That was an unusually stress free Villanova game. We worked the last two days at practicing to guard their offense. (Laura) Sweeney getting into foul trouble early hurt their game plan. (Sweeney) is definitely an all-conference type player. I was really pleased with Devereaux Peters' game tonight. She got out of the gate quickly and did everything we hoped she would do and then some. She was able to split the mismatch inside. We looked for her and had some great (entry) passes. I was also pleased with the turnover numbers tonight and pleased with the defense overall."

    On Devereaux Peters' quick start...
    "She has phenomenal athletic ability and she was really able to use that to her advantage today. Her ability to catch the ball and jump over people helps. When you look at our team and see the starters, you start to worry about the perimeter and forget about the post. Teams often forget about the post inside, and Skylar [Diggins] has really been able to exploit that."

    On preparing for Monday's game against Tennessee...
    "This game was hard to play before Tennessee. I'm not going to use anything we did today against Tennessee, and we are going to have to prepare for a different offense. This was really a bad game to play two days before Tennessee. I was pleased with our pace today. We were really pushing the ball, and we are going to want to do that on Monday, but we're going to see a different defense then. This is going to be a great opportunity to let us see where we are. It's going to see what we need to work on to prepare for March and a run for the national championship."

    On playing back-to-back games to prepare for March...
    "This game was a great opportunity to prepare for (the NCAA Championship) by playing a team, having one day to prepare for the next, and then playing another difficult opponent. I think it is perfect for us. We are going to use this experience and talk about it in preparation for March."

    Notre Dame Player Quotes

    Skylar Diggins o Jr. o Guard

    On limiting turnovers...
    "We were really trying to take care of the ball while keeping our pace and attacking the ball. Any time we're aggressive (offensively) it opens up opportunities. We've got guards that can see the floor, and Devereaux (Peters) did a good job of making herself available. We're just playing good with each other right now."

    On not playing as much since the Connecticut game...
    "The minutes we lack in a game, we make up for in practice. Practice has been intense. We've been going hard, and I we'll be ready for the game Monday against Tennessee. We know the crowd will help us out, and we want to bring the same energy and intensity right from the start as we did today."

    On facing Tennessee...
    "We understand that they're going to be after us, and the loss from last year will be in the front of their minds. We just have to prepare like we do for any other team. We know they are a good team that is capable of beating us. We want to protect our home court. We need to bring the confidence that we have in every game. We need to go into attack mode and be aggressive from the start. It's going to be a different atmosphere since it won't be a tournament game."

    Devereaux Peters o Sr. o Forward

    On personally outscoring Villanova at the half (17-16)...
    "After (the 17-point first half outburst) they paid attention to me a little more and that opened everyone else up (for open shots). Natalie (Novosel) and Skylar (Diggins) started hitting. They seemed to focus on me a little more."

    On scoring the first layup after tipping the ball to start the game...
    "The tip play was huge. We've been trying to do that every game this year, and we finally got it. We were all excited for that. It really set the tone early and gave everyone energy for the rest of the game."

    Villanova Associate Head Coach Joe Mullaney

    Opening Statement...
    "After watching tape of Notre Dame, they have the best passing team - men's or women's - in all of college basketball. They really pass the ball well and space you out. Their experience allows them to read off each other. It's a good learning experience for our younger players to see how well they run their offense and how they space well. Those are some of the things we're trying to teach our players. We run a lot of motion, we're team oriented, and we want to pass the ball as well as they do. Obviously, they have very good players in Skylar Diggins and Devereaux Peters. Their starting five is very good, and now they're much deeper than they've been in the past. They have the capability of winning the whole thing this year. I've been very impressed watching them play and seeing how smart they play. They can do a lot of things defensively to disrupt you. I thought our kids hung in there, albeit junior Laura Sweeney played only fifteen minutes, that was a big blow for us. I took a risk putting her back in during the first half, but I felt like we needed to get some scoring. She picked up three fouls quick in the first half, which hurt us offensively since she is such a key member (of our team). Emily Leer came in and did a nice job. A couple of our players didn't shoot the ball well and we didn't make a couple correct decisions passing the ball, but credit goes to Notre Dame (defensively) on that part."

    On the play of Notre Dame senior forward Devereaux Peters...
    "She's so athletic. (Peters) plays the point on their presses and she's so long and runs so well. There is not many centers in the country like her. She's also a very underrated passer. She does a great job from the high post making the right passes, but she's really an x-factor for Notre Dame because she can play away from the basket as well as down low. They're all so mobile (can play many different positions) which makes them difficult to guard. (Notre Dame) limits what you can do on the offensive end."

     

     

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