March 17, 2000
NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship
First and Second Rounds
Notre Dame, Ind.
Notre Dame 87, San Diego 61
Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw
Opening comments: "I thought we improved our defensive intensity in the second half. We had talked about that in the locker room. I thought our offense worked well pretty much the whole game but I thought we needed to work on our defense. I thought Ruth (Riley) had an outstanding game and I thought Danielle did a great job. (Danielle) had to play a lot of point and she did very well. San Diego has a very good team. They never quit. Every time I thought we could put the game away in the first half they came back. (Susie) Erpelding did a great job, along with (Jessica) Gray, but I think Gray's foul trouble was probably the difference in the game."
On the defensive intensity in the second half: "It was exactly what we were looking for. We had a bit of miscommunication in the first half and we needed to work on our switches more. We got a hand in their face in the second half and they might have helped them shoot so poorly."
On the upcoming game Sunday versus George Washington: "They have a great shooter (Elisa Aguilar) and they are an outstanding basketball team. I thought they played so hard tonight and that was the difference in the game for them. They pose a lot of match-up problems for us and are very good on the perimeter. It is going to be an interesting game."
Senior guard Danielle Green
On her break-away left-handed lay-up: "I didn't intend to throw it up like that. I was looking for Erica (Haney) because she was open for a second. Then I looked back and the defender was on her. I was stuck in the air and threw it up, it was all reaction."
Junior center Ruth Riley
On her limited minutes in the second half due to Notre Dame's large lead: "Early in the season I had got in foul trouble so, unfortunately, I was accustomed to watching from the bench. I was really happy because of the way we came out and played strong in the second half. My teammates were really playing well off the bench. I think our bench played its best game of the year."
On setting the tone early in the game with two quick hoops: "My teammates knew that (Jessica) Gray was a little shorter than me and they looked for me early. Luckily, I was able to connect and get us off to a good start."
San Diego head coach Kathy Marpe Opening comments: "I would like to compliment Notre Dame on a good game plan and good execution. They surprised us a little with the 2-2-1 zone press, we hadn't seen that before. I said before the game the two telling statistics would be the rebounding margin, and it was 18-9 in Notre Dame's favor at half-time, and how we defended their transition. They got four or five easy transition baskets. That was the story of the game."
On the crowd effect: "I don't think it was that much of factor. There was that one time when I had to call a time out and I really did not want to call a time out for that. I wanted to quiet them down because they were pretty raucous. It affects the kids. Sometimes it works in a positive way making the kids work harder. But, when things are going your way at home like it was for the Irish, it certainly gave them strength. I am not sure it took away from us but it definitely gave them strength."
On her team's defense of Ruth Riley: "I thought the first three or four possessions we didn't follow our game plan. We were within ten points. If you take away those three or four possessions where didn't do what we had been practicing for the last three days, that gives them a ten point lead and against a team like that, that is hard to battle back from. It takes everything out of you just to battle back. By the second half we were almost out of gas."
San Diego senior guard Susie Erpelding
On her team's short comeback spurts: "A lot of it was getting the ball out quickly, pushing it up in transition, and not letting them set their press up right away. I thought Maria [Perez-Barris] did a great job guarding their four and helping off on [Ruth] Riley so she was not getting any easy shots. We were really collapsing on her. We got some turnovers that way. If you can get a score and a stop, you can cut a lead that way."
On shutting down Notre Dame guard Alicia Ratay: "I was guarding Ratay and that was pretty much the game plan, not to help off her at all. We were trying to stay glued to her with no open looks for her. That was our game plan."
San Diego senior forward Jessica Gray
On satisfaction of being one point down at half: "I think it boosted out confidence. Once we started to get turnovers from really pressuring [Ruth] Riley and doubling down it made our defense pick up a little bit more. It gave us confidence to try and get in the passing lanes and to try and get turnovers. When our defense picks up it keys our offense also."