March 19, 2000
NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship
First and Second Rounds
Notre Dame, Ind.
Notre Dame 95, George Washington 60
Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw
On the Joyce Center crowd: "I really enjoyed that. I am so thankful to our fans and the great support that we've had. To come out in that kind of atmosphere and to come out and play well. Digger [Phelps] used to talk about the fans being the sixth man. I thought tonight they definitely were. We really fed off the crowd. They were just incredible. I am excited our fans were able to see us and that we are going to the sweet 16 for the third time in the last four years."
On her team's play: "I am so proud of the team right now. I thought our post game was outstanding today. I thought Julie Henderson, Kelly Siemon and Ruth Riley just played so well inside. Danielle Green, in the first half, was just unstoppable. If she did not get sick at half time I think she probably would have finished the game on that strong of a note too. I am just so proud of this whole team. I am happy for Niele Ivey coming back to play in the NCAA tournament and taking us back to the sweet 16."
On the put-back by Julie Henderson right before half-time: "I think that was huge. We talked about it at halftime, it gave us so much momentum. It was a great play and Julie was right where she needed to be. That might be the highest Julie has jumped all year. It really got us going in the second half."
On the ability to build a lead with Ruth Riley and Alicia Ratay ineffective in the first half: "I felt everyone really contributed. Kelly (Siemon) came off the bench and did a really great job. Julie (Henderson) was great. Danielle (Green) was really the offense in the first half. We were trying to get her to drive, but then (GW) switched to zone which took that away. That was when the other players had to step up. Niele (Ivey) hit a couple threes. I think we really played as a team and everyone did what they could at that time. I was afraid we would shut down the second half and only look for Ruth."
On the defensive effort:
"We didn't expect to play that much zone. We thought their shooting was going to be too good but they were off. We went to zone just to see if we could change things up."
On the energy, passion, and enthusiasm of the team: "Niele (Ivey) and Julie (Henderson) are really in charge of the energy on our team. They are always up and ready to play. We have a quiet and serious team for the rest of the players. Tonight, they really had that energy and it seemed they were feeling better. The crowd was really feeding them and over all we were a lot more exuberant than we usually are."
On Niele Ivey controlling the tempo of the game: "Niele is the key to our team. She showed that tonight. She did a great job of controlling the tempo. She knows when to slow down and pick up the pace. She knows when to shoot and when not to. She played a really intelligent floor game tonight."
On Alicia Ratay getting into the offense again: "I thought she did really well. She was patient in the first half. In the last game I don't think she was looking for her shot, tonight they were just guarding her. She handled herself well. She tried to do other things, getting rebound and assists. In the second half, the game finally came around to her and she was open when they tried to key on Ruth (Riley)."
On the seniors last home game of the year: "I will never forget the moment Niele Ivey went down in the Rutgers game last year. I remember thinking how unfair it was. She had such a great year and could not play in the most exciting part of the season. I was so happy for her to go out and play well in the NCAA tournament and go back to the sweet 16. It was such an emotional moment for me. We have a pretty special relationship. You just want to hug her all the time. She is just so special. What she has gone through to get to where she has been now is just a great story."
On Ruth Riley picking up her third and fourth foul: "I think she needs to be smarter. We need her on the floor. At that time of the game, we were playing the clock. It did not matter if her defensive assignment scored, we needed her on the floor. That is what we are trying to impress upon her. She lost her head for a moment."
Notre Dame senior guard Danielle Green
On the excitement of her play in the first half: "I think I got excited. Ever time I have a good half, I get excited. I got really emotional and it kind of drained me in the second half."
On her confidence in the first half: "I came out really aggressive. I think that has been missing from me all season. I am pleased that my teammates were looking for me. I finally had that energy, passion, and enthusiasm. I just need to continue that and the team needs to continue that throughout the rest of the tournament."
Notre Dame senior forward Julie Henderson
On the team's defense: "Our team has the mentality of it's us five guarding you. So, Ruth is not alone on defense. We know they are going to try and get her in foul trouble early in the game. But it is us five guarding you. We had Ruth's back all game. It was great. All the post played great and our whole bench played well, so we are very happy."
On preventing a comeback tonight: "We have a goal every game, we don't want to let them back. Our mentality is just kill them. We don't want them coming back at all. This is our court and our last game for seniors. It is do or die the whole tournament, so we are going kill them attitude every game no matter who you are."
On the senior's last home game: "We had it in our mind, but you can't get too emotional or you don't play well. We had to make sure we kept our heads on straight. We knew it was our last game in the back of our minds. When I got out there in the last three minutes I realized this was the last time on the Irish floor. It was a little emotional. I was happy our team played well. It was good and my Irish career was definitely happy."
Notre Dame junior center Ruth Riley
On the team's defense: "I think that they had a little trouble with our zone once we got out on the shooters. We were talking, communicating, and finding the open people. They got a couple of open looks in the second half. Twelve [Marlo Egleston] hit three in a row, but other than that we were communicating and picking it up.
George Washington head coach Joe McKeown
On the time Notre Dame center Ruth Riley spent on the bench with foul trouble: "We started off well and when you play them (Notre Dame) your main focus is to get (Ruth) Riley in foul trouble. If you can (get Riley in foul trouble), you don't want to let their other players beat you and I thought Green destroyed us in the first half. Green had 16 points and she got them at times when it really opened the game up.
"I thought we got good shots during that period (when Riley was on the bench) and they just did not fall. I thought we made a few crucial mistakes at the end of the first half. I thought it could have been a 12 or 13 point game at halftime, which would give us room to regroup and maybe make a run, but it turned out to be an 18-point halftime lead for Notre Dame and that killed us."
On the depth of Notre Dame: "They have a lot of weapons and some kids that probably do not get enough credit. Players like (Niele) Ivey, (Danielle) Green and (Julie) Henderson played very well for them tonight. Their roll-players are high school all- Americans, so don't' feel sorry for them. It may be played up to be the 'Ruth Riley show,' but they are all good players. As you watch film on them you become very impressed with players like (Kelly) Siemon, and Ericka Haney is a great talent that I'm sure they will build around in the future. They are very talented and I do not under estimate some of their other players."
George Washington senior guard Marlo Egleston
On trouble shooting the ball: "I think they played well defensively, we got a lot of good shots. As a team we make them all the time--sometimes they fall and sometimes they don't, that's part of the game. Tonight was not one of the good days for us."
On the last game as a senior: "I think Elisa is right, and what coach said earlier, we surprised a lot of people this year and throughout the season, no one outside of team believed in us the way we did. It was a great way to go out, and I am very proud of what we all accomplished this year. It hurts a lot now, but down the road we will all look back on it."
George Washington senior guard Elisa Aguilar
On her last game as a senior: "We felt bad for our loss today. In three or four weeks, we are going to remember great things, for us this was very successful. For us four seniors, we are very proud to be part of this program and part of this team. Right now, our feelings, you cannot imagine."
"For today it is tough because we lost by too many points, but when you go to the locker room and see your teammates crying because of the loss for the seniors."
On Petra as a senior next year: "Petra is going to be a great senior. She is going to take them to three or four rounds, that's for sure."
George Washington forward Petra Dubovcova
On how much the seniors meant this season: "I am very proud of them. I have never been part of the team like we had this year. This was something special. It wasn't just the chemistry on the court, but it was also off the court. I always said it during the season--I will miss them, you cannot imagine how much.
Optimism about next season: "We will get to the third round, I promise."
Change in thought after Riley got her second foul: "I have never played against a player like her, not never but this season. I never played someone her size. I would say everyone has a bad day, and mine was scheduled on March 19th. I know I will not get another chance to play against her this year, but if I get a chance next year, it will be different. I am sure."