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    March 1, 2010

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    Notre Dame Women's Basketball
    Notre Dame vs. Connecticut
    March 1, 2010 - Purcell Pavilion, Notre Dame, Ind.

    Notre Dame Head Coach Muffet McGraw

    On Tina Charles' record-breaking performance...
    "I think Tina Charles is an amazing player and congratulations to her for getting the record. She certainly has earned it this year and has had a fantastic season."

    On the team's performance...
    "I thought Devereaux (Peters) and Becca (Bruszewski) did what they could do in the game and in hindsight, had Becca not been in foul trouble we would have played her a little bit more. I probably should have played them a little more. I kept expecting other people to step up and it didn't happen."

    On the team's post presence...
    "Dev played well against them last time we played them. She was able to score on them and she got some nice baskets off assists and a couple rebounds. Becca created a lot of her own. She kept us in the game the first half. Both of them did well. I feel good about them. I though Erica Williamson played pretty well too. She didn't play that long, but she wasn't afraid. She got us on the board early and used her presence. She did a good job in there. I thought overall those three really did a pretty good job."

    On how Connecticut's defense affected Notre Dame's offensive gameplan...
    "They forced us to dribble a lot more than we wanted to. We are more of a passing team than a dribbling team, but they really didn't leave us many options. They are a really good defensive team. Our plan was to run in transition and run our stuff and try to get down and get a good look. If we didn't have a good look then we would try to run some offense. In the second half I felt like we got down twenty, and for some unknown reason we decided to hold the ball. We wanted to push it, drive to the basket, set some picks. "

    On what the team can take away from the game...
    "I think we learned on how your attitude is so important and how you approach things. We didn't learn a lesson the first time, which I thought we would learn. Now we need to decide how to approach the rest of the season. Can we come out and play our game? I thought we played hard at the end, but we need to take our shots. We aren't going down swinging."

    Notre Dame Player Quotes

    Becca Bruszewski - Jr. - F

    On the post presence in tonight's game...
    "I think we really focused on running our offense and getting set in our offense. The last time we played them everything seemed hectic. This time (Melissa Lechlitner) handled the pressure really well. She brought the ball up the court herself and we got more touches in our offense."

    On how she can build on tonight's performance...
    "This was an average game. It was UConn, but if you don't see a W at the end of the game, it doesn't matter. It isn't so much personal, but as a team we have a lot to fix."

    On playing with more of an edge...
    "I was just trying to compete. I have been lacking that the last few games, so I really came in and had a little chip on my shoulder. I was fired up and I was ready to go today."

    Devereaux Peters - Jr. - F

    On the challenge of playing against Tina Charles...
    "Tina Charles is obviously a great player. She is really strong and really good in the post. We couldn't do it alone. We had a lot of help from the guards. In the first half we did really well doubling down when she dribbled and trying to get the dribble away from her. It wasn't just the posts (guarding her), the guards helped a lot. She is a great player."

    On how her strong performance helps heading into the tournament...
    "It was still a loss. We have a lot to learn from it. We will go to the film, see what we did wrong and try to fix it. We are going to try to get these wins in the BIG EAST Conference tournament."

    On her comfort level on the court since returning from injury...
    "It isn't the best I felt. I guess I had a decent game. You can always get better."

    Connecticut Player Quotes

    Tina Charles - Sr. - C

    On becoming Connecticut's all-time leader in scoring and rebounding during the game...
    "I think that it is a great accomplishment with everything that I had to go through to learn how to play hard and learn what coach wanted from me and what I wanted from myself on a consistent basis. Coach just believed in me and never gave up on me just sticking by me and took me to levels that I never thought I would ever experience. Rebounding is more important to me, because Coach always says that most of my rebounds come from my misses, so that is most important. "

    On a perfect regular season...
    "It was a motivation for us. I think we were the only people who thought we could do it, because everyone else was always questioning the fact that we don't have a true point guard but Tiffany (Hayes) and Caroline (Doty), are always trying to improve. It's not about having a true point guard, it's about trying to get better. Coach (Geno Auriemma) always says the team gets better when the individual gets better, so it's about coming in and working hard.

    On differences with Notre Dame's post play...
    "#32 (Becca Bruszewski) did great, attacking the basket and taking charge. She was trying to own the lane for them, and last game that was not really a factor for them- just (Lindsay) Schrader, (Ashley) Barlow, (Skylar) Diggins tried to make everything happen, but they really had a great post presence this time."

    Kalina Greene - Sr. - G

    On finishing a perfect regular season 30-0...
    "It means a lot because we achieved another one of our goals, winning every game that we have played up to this point. It makes me feel good, but it all changes next week because it is all done and this doesn't matter. We need to focus on being 1-0, and then winning the next game."

    On Notre Dame playing a different game this time than earlier in the year at Storrs...
    "We couldn't expect Notre Dame to just come in and fall over and die in front of a home sellout crowd. Most teams play better at home, but we did a great job sticking it out and overcoming everything. We really did a great job on the backboard tonight and that got us into transition."

    On having some upcoming time off...
    "It's going to be good because it's been a long, long, season- a tough season. People don't think that it has been hard on our bodies, but it is because we practice more than we play, and our practices are hard. We will just try to regroup and get healthy and get mentally prepared for this part of the season. This is the most important part. "

    On the balance in the starting line-up...
    "We just can't be a one-dimensional team. We cannot rely on just Tina to score half of our points every night, we have to have a balanced attack. I think Tina did a great job against the double and triple teams tonight and we hit some open shots. Its always good to help Tina out by hitting our shots, because that is what opened her up."

    Head Coach Geno Auriemma

    On his different game plan tonight...
    "I knew the game would be completely different than the first time we played them. I also knew that given the state of my team right now that we couldn't press them like last time because we just don't have it in us right now because we are tired and banged up. I knew we would have to win it with our half court defense and I have a lot of confidence in our half court defense. We tried to play zone early on and it took them a little bit by surprise because they didn't expect that, and they missed a bunch of shots early. They figured it out and got inside and penetrated a lot and caused a lot of problems for us. Once we made a concerted effort to keep the ball in front of us and not go for a lot of steals and gamble letting them get inside us I thought it changed everything, stopping their rebounding and penetration. That is our philosophy on defense: keep them in front of you and make them make a tough jump shot with a hand up and then put pressure on with your offense."

    On Tina Charles becoming Connecticut's all-time leading rebounder and scorer...
    "I think when you are coaching our team, you are in a situation where so many good players have played for me and they have done so many great things that these kinds of things I don't pay attention to and don't bother with them. The rest of the kids on the team didn't know it. I did mention something to the team after the game, and they were shocked. That is not the kind of stuff we talk about or is prominent. I just knew that at some point Tina was going to break records. It never entered my mind going through the season, I never thought about it. There wasn't one day until it was eminent that I even knew it was happening."

    On finishing a perfect 30-0 regular season...
    "It takes some pretty special players and I think this team for whatever reason didn't feel the pressure that team (Connecticut's 2002-2003 back-to-back undefeated seasons) felt. That second regular season was really hard with too many inexperienced players, making every game a grind. It was Dianna (Taurasi) against everyone in the country. It was a real grind. This one has not felt that way, because there hasn't been that constant tension and people asking about it, and struggling to score points. It has been that we just go play the games and see what happens. I knew this season would be harder than last. I didn't know how Tiffany and Caroline would develop, and there are just so many unknowns going into a season. Those unknowns have taken care of themselves this year, but going in I thought it would be really difficult. Up to this point, we have been able to answer every challenge. We have been consistent- it is not easy to do what we have done, sometimes we make it look easy, but when I think about it at this point, it is not easy. I am just impressed with what we have done."

    On everyone getting involved in the game...
    "Tonight our guards played really well, and I knew going in that this was going to be a huge factor. Notre Dame is not stupid, they were going to make it really hard for Tina tonight. Tina earned every one of her eighteen points. At one point I said during a timeout that Tina is doing her job, but the rest of you are going to have to make some shots. Caroline (Doty) had a first half that was incredible. That was exactly what we needed. Tiffany picked up in the second half. They are just getting better all the time. I said two weeks ago to them that they hadn't improved that much during the course of the season, because they are play great, then play poorly, play great then play poorly. I am looking for consistency. They were great. Lorin (Dixon) did things that Loin does that drive you nuts, but she also made huge contributions. That is what good teams do, they don't rely on one player."

    On giving the team some time off before the tournament...
    "Tuesday and Wednesday will be off, and they need time to regroup. I also have some recruiting to do. Thursday will be light and then Friday and Saturday we will start playing for Sunday, Monday Tuesday. I don't even know who we play because it hasn't been determined yet so we don't have anyone to get ready for. We just need some rest- mental rest as much as anything else, and just get away from the game for awhile."

    On the atmosphere and tough game tonight...
    "I'm not going to lie, this is how it used to be, when you had to go into a place where everyone is jacked up and it is a big game. It is a lot of fun. As long as there are games like this, college basketball is fun on our end. Contrary to popular opinion, those 50-point half time leads were not a lot of fun for our kids to play in. This game was a lot of fun for them."

     

     

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