Women's Basketball

Notre Dame vs. Louisville - Quotes

Feb. 12, 2013

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Notre Dame vs. Louisville
February 11, 2013
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center o Notre Dame

Head Coach Muffet McGraw

Opening statement...
"Skylar [Diggins] and I were talking yesterday - imagine a game where everybody played well on the same night and how good we could be. I think that's just what we saw in the second half. I thought we played extremely well and it reminded me of last year's game against Tennessee. We really got the transition game going and rebounded really well. Defensively, we tightened up quite a bit and shot the ball well. We really did absolutely everything we wanted to do. A team in the top 10 or 11, that's a great win for us, to come in and play that well against a really good team."

On sharing the ball...
"We probably could have gotten a couple more, but I thought we did really good job making the extra pass tonight."

On the post presence tonight...
"I thought all three post players came in and they shot the ball so well. In between them they had just a phenomenal percentage. Ariel [Braker] is really making big plays for us right now. Ace is someone we really need to have in the game right now - she changes the game for us. They had five guards and they couldn't stop her. We tried to go inside and looked for her more and she was really efficient with her shots tonight."

On Skylar Diggins' versatility...
"I think it's easy for her because she has such great vision and can see people who are open. I think she started the game wanting to get us going and she was able to do that. In the second half, she was looking for other people. She's still looking for her shot but she didn't force anything. She's very content as a passer and getting the break going. That's when she's at her best when she's got the ball in her hands and we've got an advantage break."

On the juniors making an impact...
"That junior class has made a huge contribution and I think Skylar (Diggins) came into this season as the veteran player with Kayla McBride, but Ace (Natalie Achonwa) is in her first year in the starting lineup and Ariel (Braker) came out of nowhere to take a starting job. I think the whole class has really been phenomenal this year; they do so many things. They play together really well, they can score, they can rebound and they can defend. They have no weaknesses really right now and it's great for Skylar. It takes a lot of pressure off her coming in as the leader and being able to get a lot of help from some other people that have experience."

On withstanding Louisville's second half run...
"I think we went inside offensively and got better shots. Defensively we really tightened up and that was the key. We were getting beat off the dribble in the first half and tried to make some adjustments on that for halftime. They hit a couple of three's in the second half, but they're a really good shooting team. We did a better job defensively and held them to 29 points in the second half. I was really pleased with that."

On Natalie Achonwa...
"She's being a beast inside right now. She's really going to be the feature on the scouting report for the next coming games because she's playing so well. She scores in so many different ways and moves so well without the ball. She can rebound and dribble it up and she's a good passer. She does so many things well. It was another phenomenal game for her and she has been one of our most consistent players all year." Notre Dame Player Quotes

Skylar Diggins o Senior o Guard

On playing multiple roles...
"I think we were playing off of each other to be honest. At the beginning I wanted to make sure I got a good start for us. My teammates move well without the ball and in the second half our conservation was how can we get it to the open player. I thought in the first half we passed when we shouldn't have and forced some things. That was our conversation at halftime. We were looking to run in transition - that's when we play our best - and just try to find each other. That's what we do here."

On playing well at this point in the season...
"It's good for us. Like Coach (McGraw) said, this is a good team that we played. It's a good win for us at home and gives us some confidence going into a tough stretch in the BIG EAST. Any team can beat you on any night, so this was good for us going into road games."

Natalie Achonwa o Junior o Forward

On being physical in the post...
"I think it comes specifically from practice. We don't call fouls in practice. We are just trying to be physical and just hustling after loose balls. That's been what's kept us going. Coach McGraw challenged me a couple weeks ago and said I need to be more physical and need to score on the block, so I think I was trying to get around players early in the season and now I'm trying to go through them a little bit more. That's why it seems like I'm being more physical because I'm trying to score on the block."

Jewel Loyd o Freshman o Guard

On completing an alley-oop...
"Skylar (Diggins) called 'oop' and she knew where to throw the ball since she's a point guard and she found me. Luckily I finished. It was a big sister looking out for a little sister."

On her rebounding tonight...
"Rebounding is big. I always get told, 'rebound, rebound.' There's times where I just stand there and watch and today I just went in there and grabbed it with the big dogs. I'm little but luckily I can jump up there. I just want to do anything to help the team."

Louisville Head Coach Jeff Walz

On Notre Dame's inside game...
"She's just a special player, there's no question about it. She goes 9-for-13 from the field, has seven assists and only three turnovers. She played a very, very good game."

On making a run in the second half...
"I thought we came out, we attacked and we went at them inside. We get to the line seven times, and I thought we attacked and went hard to the basket. Somehow they got to the line 26 times. Stuff happens, I guess. But I thought our kids went really hard at the basket. And it is what it is."

Louisville Sophomore Guard Bria Smith

On making a run in the second half before Notre Dame's 10-0 run...
"We were just unfocused on defense. They went on their runs and we didn't know exactly what we were doing. We have a plan to go by, but we just didn't execute well on defense."

On her offensive game...
"I just tried to take what they were giving me. They were giving me the lane, so I just took it."

On coming back after Notre Dame's big start...
"I think we just started really focusing in on what we were supposed to do. We started getting stops on defense, and that's kind of why we cut the lead a little bit. But then in the second half we just didn't do what we were supposed to do."

On coming back after the physical play with Notre Dame's Kayla McBride...
"Pretty much every player wants to play, so I just wanted to get back in the game, so that's what I did."



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