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    March 4, 2013

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    Notre Dame Women's Basketball
    Notre Dame vs. UConn
    March 4th, 2013
    Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center • Notre Dame, Ind.

    Head Coach Muffet McGraw

    Opening statement...

    "Absolutely thrilled with the resilience of this group - to refuse to lose. We were done in regulation. In the first and second overtime we just kept clawing away and got them to miss some free throws, which helped us, but what a battle. That was just a war. Just what we expected, but to gut it out for 55 minutes, both teams with 55 or 54 minutes, it was unbelievable. Just unbelievable. I can't even think of any words, but I'm just so proud of these two [Diggins and McBride]. Kayla McBride had the huge three at the end of one of the overtimes; I can't even remember which one. It was an amazing win."

    On this being Skylar Diggins last game...

    "It was a nice last home game. Very memorable I think for all of us."

    On the defense in the second half against Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis...

    "She is a great player. She is a tremendous offensive player. She has so many things she can do. She was 3-for-4 (from the 3-point line) in the first half and I felt like we never found her. She was wide open on all four of her threes in the first half. I thought we made her work a little bit harder in the second half. At the end of the game we switched the screens a little bit more. We tried to fight them and got a bunch of fouls trying to fight through the screen. I thought we did a much better job guarding her in the second half."

    On the importance of the number one seed in the Big East Tournament...

    "You know, before the game I said, `the pressures on them. We've got a share of it and really at this point it's not going to affect either team's seed in the NCAA Tournament.' It really was a game to have fun and for pride really as much as anything. I thought in the first half we were pressing. We looked like we had the pressure on us. I thought at halftime we relaxed a little bit more and I thought we came out a little bit better."

    On how the defense caused UConn's 35 turnovers...

    "I thought us attacking the ball and attacking the dribbler. I thought we did a really good job. Or help side defense was pretty good, but generally I thought when we ran at the ball and threw some double teams at them that was most effective."

    Notre Dame Player Quotes

    Skylar Diggins • Senior • Guard

    On this being her last game...

    "It's special. Especially, like coach said, it's very memorable. I think that we gave the fans something special, and my mom was over there going crazy. It's bittersweet for me, this being my last game, but what a way to go out. You can see we're not too good at sharing."

    On the physical toll of playing for 55 minutes...

    "I think everybody's tired at that point. It's all about trying to string together one or two stops and then coming down and executing on offense. When you get into overtime like that, early we try to use some clock, but with teams like us we like to run. It's all about trying to string together some stops and really giving it all you've got for the last couple of minutes."

    On what was going through her mind in the last minute of the game...

    "I'm excited. I obviously see it coming together. I think when it got down to 29 seconds and they were fouling, we were getting stops and they had to put up shots. I could feel it. It was just something special. I felt like I was protecting my house or something - like I was a guard dog. I felt like I knew everyone in the crowd. Just seeing familiar faces of the fans in the crowd and the connection with them was my way of saying thank you."

    Kayla McBride • Junior • Forward

    On her three point shot in the first overtime...

    "I missed my first three so I was a little nervous, but I saw that they were double teaming Skylar [Diggins]. I had taken the ball out and it was basically a one on one situation. I saw an opening and took it. I thought they might have fouled because they were up by three. But they didn't and I just took the shot."

    On her emotions during the first overtime...

    "I didn't want to lose. It's a hard fought battle and UConn's a great team. It comes down to plays like that and it was my time to step up."

    UConn Head Coach Geno Auriemma

    On the effort of his team...

    "I don't think the effort was questionable. As I said to our team, we talked about it, it usually comes down to when two really good teams are playing, there are little things that you need to do at the right time. We certainly [put ourselves in a position to win] in regulation, the first overtime and the second overtime, but we couldn't finish it off. ... It's like every opportunity we had to put it away slipped away from us."

    On the game getting away from the team emotionally...

    "Yeah, I think so. How many chances can you have? You're on the road against a really good team, you might get one chance, and you might get two chances when it really matters, but you're not going to get unlimited chances. And their guards, when they had to make some really big shots, they made them. And we had a chance to win the game at the free throw line and we couldn't do it."

    On not fouling Notre Dame before Kayla McBride's three-pointer to force double overtime...

    "I didn't do it, and maybe I should have. I don't know. But I never thought the kid would just walk up there to the three-point line and we would stand there and watch her shoot it either. It's been that kind of year. I've seen a lot of things I've never seen before."

    On his freshmen's performance...

    "Morgan [Tuck] got a little more comfortable as the game went on. And I think Breanna [Stewart] defensively was better, but we just don't seem to be getting any offensive flow from her. I guess we've just got to help her a lot more, I don't know."

    On his confidence going into overtime with two players fouled out...

    "There was one opportunity where I thought we had them, and they were coming down just taking quick shots trying to get back in, and I thought, `We've got this.' And what we needed was the right people to touch the ball every time down the floor. And the pressure that Notre Dame put on our guards was just - and our big guys, too. And without Stefanie [Dolson] down the middle to handle the ball for us, we're not as good as we need to be. I think not having Bria [Hartley] out there was one thing, but we just needed to take care of the ball better. And we didn't do it. We didn't do it. And unless we get better at that, then this is going to be it for us. This is going to be the story of our season. We're going to come up a little bit short. And did I think we'd go to three overtimes after Stefanie and Bria [fouled out]? No, you've got to give these guys a lot of credit for how hard we fought and some big shots that we made, and Kelly [Faris], God bless her, but sometimes it's just as simple as if you make four or five free throws, the game's over. And we didn't make them."

    UConn Player Quotes

    Kelly Faris • Senior • Guard

    On going into overtime without two key players...

    "I guess you could look at it as a positive thing that we had the players that we did on the floor, but at the end we still lost. So, no matter whom we had on the floor, we should have been able to pull it out. We had multiple opportunities, and that started with me missing free throws. We needed to step up and hit those and we would have had the game won. So no matter who's on the court, who's on the bench, who's out there, who's not, with this program it shouldn't matter. And we had a lot of opportunities."

    On having 35 turnovers...

    "That was the first thing coach said when he came into the locker room. `How are we going to win with 35 turnovers?' It's pretty much near impossible to do that. And he told us, the guards are going to be pressured and we're going to be challenged and it starts with the top down. The seniors, we didn't handle the pressure well, and we can't expect any of the younger girls to do that if we can't even do it. So, yeah, 35 turnovers, that's incredibly unacceptable. We're not going to go anywhere with that."

    On Skylar Diggins' play in the clutch...

    "She's a smart player. She knows where to get the ball, when to get the ball. She knows how to draw fouls. She knows her opponent very well. And she did exactly what she does every time: she drives in, gives the shot fake, we get up in the air and she gets the foul. And she can hit free throws."

    Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis • Sophomore • Forward

    On the resolve of the team going into the postseason...

    "It's going to have to be a different one. I don't know how many times you can lose to the same team and keep getting the same result and think that something different is going to happen, so whatever it is, something's got to change within our team."

    On whether that change can be done...

    "Yeah, it can be, but it's got to start with individuals and working on yourself, finding whether or not you want to change and bring it to the team so we can collectively be better."

    On rebounding (after a loss) against Notre Dame in the BIG EAST tournament... "The same thing happened last year. We were in the same situation, and luckily we came out and we played like a completely different team and we won."

     

     

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