Women's Basketball

#2 Notre Dame vs. #14/11 North Carolina - Postgame Quotes

Muffet McGraw

Feb. 28, 2014

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Notre Dame Women's Basketball
Notre Dame vs. North Carolina
February 27, 2014
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center • Notre Dame, Ind.

Notre Dame Head Coach Muffet McGraw

Opening Statement ...
"We shot the lights out. Literally, all over campus. I was so impressed with Kayla McBride tonight. She was phenomenal yet again along with Natalie Achonwa. I thought the two of them were really in sync. On a day when Jewell [Loyd] doesn't have her best game, she comes up with a double-double."

On how Notre Dame's Princeton offense emphasizes speed and efficiency ...
"I thought we kept up a really good tempo today. I liked our pace. I thought we got good shots and when the clock runs down, I think we had a decent plan. But that's something we can work on a little bit more."

On Natalie Achonwa's leadership on the floor ...
"I told her once, 'You're in charge of what we're doing.' She's the one that has to call the defenses out of bounds, she sees what [sets] they're in. She reminds everybody that we're man-to-man on this one or zoning on this one. With the press offense, if she stays parallel, or if she goes into the middle, that's clues for everybody else to know what they're doing. In the free throw huddle, she's always telling them here's what's open, or they're switching on the ball screen, let's go high low. So she's kind of the point guard on the floor."

On if scouting report for facing North Carolina differs from past years playing Louisville, Rutgers, or other BIG EAST schools ...
"It really was pretty similar because of their athletic ability. We worried about the match-ups, so we worked on our zone. We thought we could take advantage of some of the things they did defensively. But it was really pretty similar. The great thing about the ACC is how it prepares you for the NCAA tournament. It's ranked team after ranked team, so we're seeing all different kinds of styles and players."

On Notre Dame's fast starts in recent games ...
"We got off to a great start. You know eventually, they're going to make shots and things are going to come back into balance. But I thought tonight we did a better job of holding onto a larger lead."


Kayla McBride • Senior • Guard

On Notre Dame's recent fast starts to games ...
"I think with these last two games, we've just been trying to come out and have fun. I think we weren't pressing as much as the games prior to that, and we're just coming out and getting stops on defense that led to transition baskets. We were hitting shots early. It was just a lot of fun being out there with them today."

On Notre Dame's success with back-door cuts on offense against North Carolina ...
"We knew [North Carolina] was going to switch up defenses a lot. They like to pressure and are so athletic in the passing lanes, so we knew we could do some dribble drives, get some back doors, and get easy buckets."

Natalie Achonwa • Senior • Forward

On finishing the season strong even though ACC regular season title is locked up ...
"[I think] there's two big things to it. Being in the ACC, one of the most competitive conferences in the nation, as well as playing with a team like this who just loves to have fun and loves to play basketball. When you couple those two things together, you can do anything on the court and it's just fun for us. We enjoy every possession and the ups and downs of the game. We just stick together, and that's the fun part about it."

On personal growth on the mental side of basketball from freshman to senior year ...
"A lot of maturity goes into that. As a freshman, you have your highs and your lows. It's literally a roller coaster. And you're just trying to find your place on the team. With the three seniors on our team and good junior class, we've been through it, and we've learned from our mistakes. We've learned from our successes as well. I think that's made us more mature in approaching games. We go into every game with the same approach. It doesn't matter if the best player is a post player, guard, freshman, or fifth year senior: we go in with the same competitive attitude every game."

North Carolina Interim Head Coach Andrew Calder

Opening Statement ...
"First, Notre Dame - talented, disciplined, well-coached. Congratulations to them, they have an outstanding basketball team. Took us out of everything that we wanted to do and we tried to do. Congratulations to Notre Dame. Best of luck to them the rest of the year, unless we play them again."

On what Notre Dame did well ...
"They did a good job of playing personnel. They knew the plays we were running. They were well coached. They understood exactly what we were trying to accomplish in each play - first option, second option. We were having to go to the third and fourth options in some of those plays. They took us out of what we were trying to do. They did a very good job. They're very good."

On Natalie Achonwa and Kayla McBride ...
"They're outstanding players, obviously All-American players; my compliments to them. We're happy Notre Dame's in the league because they're an outstanding team and they will make all of the rest of the ACC have to get up to their level of basketball."

On what wasn't working for UNC in the first half defensively ...
"Well, they're so good at cutting with speed, a lot like UConn - a lot like UConn. They'll cut with speed and just slip and go. They did a great job reading that. You saw the back doors, you saw the slips on the screens. They just do an outstanding job of taking advantage of your mistakes defensively."

On what his team can learn from playing Notre Dame ...
"Learn that we have to play at a different speed and that we have to learn to read better ourselves if the defense is making mistakes. Again, Notre Dame is very disciplined, and they didn't make a lot of defensive mistakes."

On his freshmen getting experience against teams like Notre Dame ...
"Well, that helps, but we're talented. We'll learn from this, we'll watch the video, and we'll get ready for Duke on Sunday."


Stephanie Mavunga • Freshman • Forward

On facing Taya Reimer again after high school ...
"We've had numerous battles, but coming into today I didn't really think of it as me vs. Taya. I was just thinking of it as UNC vs. Notre Dame, and playing a perfect game as a team. We've had a lot of tough battles, and coming back out tonight and guarding her and her guarding me brought back high school memories, but other than that, we've just grown some and matured some both on and off the court."

On what UNC's freshmen gain by playing Notre Dame ...
"A stronger mentality, I'd say. It hurt to come back and you're a freshman and you don't really know what to think. It's the first time you've ever played Notre Dame. It's the first time they've ever been in the ACC. And so it's not only hard for us, but upperclassmen as well because they also haven't played Notre Dame in the ACC. And so I think as freshmen we've just got to take this as a hard-fought loss and a learning lesson and to just get back on the court and work hard and never let it happen again, God willing."

Xylina McDaniel • Sophomore • Forward

On what the team did well to get back in the game ...
"We just picked up our intensity. We did not have as much intensity as we needed at the beginning of the first half, which is why we fell so far behind. We had to pick up the intensity."

On what Notre Dame did to respond to UNC's intensity ...
"They took it to us. They got a lot of foul calls, from which they got a lot of points at the free-throw line. And their back cuts really hurt us. But they just took it to us."

On defending Notre Dame's Princeton offense ...
"Like Coach Calder said, they just come off their screens so fast. That's just hard to guard itself, but sometimes we tend to ball watch, which messes us up."



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