March 26, 2011
HEAD COACH Muffet McGraw: "I thought our defense was outstanding. We did a really great job of guarding the three-point line, which was one of our primary concerns - keeping (Danielle) Robinson off the free throw line was a secondary concern. We wanted to rebound and run, and we certainly did that. To hold them to two offensive rebounds for the game, that was a phenomenal effort by our team."
Q: Talk about your shooting performance tonight.
Brittany Mallory: "The last two games of the first two rounds I hadn't hit a three. So coming in I had to just forget about that and keep shooting - I knew they would eventually fall. I'm just glad they fell today."
Q: What was the game plan coming in to stop Oklahoma inside?
Devereaux Peters: "In film we were constantly talking about how (Joanna) McFarland was averaging 15 rebounds the last two games. Lately, a big thing for us has been rebounding. The first game of the tournament we weren't really boxing out as much, and the second game we tried to pick it up a little bit. Our coaches really pounded it in our heads that you have to box out because she is going to the boards every time. I think we did that today. Even the guards were crashing in today, and that helped out a lot. We were getting a lot of boards and a lot of put-backs."
Q: Talk about getting 12 assists rather than scoring from 3-point range as you have this season.
Skylar Diggins: "After the first three 3-pointers by Brittany I was screaming at her to shoot it. In the huddles I said, 'I don't care about scoring, I want to win this game.' All I wanted to do was score or put my teammate in a position to score. I thought our team did a great job of moving without the ball and everyone wanted the ball. When you are playing with teammates that demand the ball and are ready to shoot it is easy."
Q: What do you expect out of tomorrow's matchup with Tennessee?
Devereaux Peters: "Tennessee is obviously a great team. They are the No. 1 seed, they have great posts that can get deep on you and just turn to get easy layups. We need to work on what we have all year - I think we have been playing really good post defense. If we are consistent in what we have been doing we will be able to play with them."
Q: Talk about Fraderica Miller's performance.
HEAD COACH Muffet McGraw: "She brings great energy to our team. I think everybody gets a little excited watching the matchup. Fraderica was able to get out and put some pressure on the ball handler which really keyed the rest of our defense and enabled us to slow them down. She was a huge key to this win.
"I thought that we really moved the ball well. We have had some games where we have attacked the rim one-on-one more than we did tonight. We looked for each other a lot more tonight. The turnovers - we had four or five straight in the first half and that is a concern. That has been a concern. We have had a couple games like that and certainly we need to take better care of the ball."
Q: Talk about the defensive intensity during your 21-2 run in the first half.
HEAD COACH Muffet McGraw: "We came up with some steals but the rebounding was key. We did a great job on the boards. When you are shooting poorly and aren't getting second chances it came be demoralizing and makes it hard to get back on defense. I thought we really put the nail in the coffin in the first half."
Q: When you have 10 turnovers in the first 10 minutes, what did you tell your team to stop the bleeding?
HEAD COACH Muffet McGraw: "We didn't talk about the turnovers at all because in a game like this there is going to be nerves. Both teams are hyped at the beginning so there is going to be some sloppy play early on. I thought we were going to be OK, but we just talked about what kind of pass we wanted to throw, how we wanted to attack the ball screen and really keep encouraging the players."
Q: Talk about out-rebounding OU 47-24 without a big size advantage.
HEAD COACH Muffet McGraw: "I thought we shot the ball well and did a really good job on the offensive board. We got a lot of loose rebounds. It was a group effort - everybody did a good job of hitting the boards."
HEAD COACH SHERRI COALE: Notre Dame is a very good basketball team. I know they played extremely well this afternoon and unfortunately we didn't give them much of a fight. We got absolutely demoralized on the boards and didn't shoot it well but the basket gets smaller and smaller when you don't get any second chance opportunities. Two offensive rebounds [number of OU's team offensive rebounds], that must be some kind of record. There's no doubt that this afternoon they were the better team because we didn't play our best game. At the end of the year if you lose playing as well as you can play, what more can you do. But when you don't play well, it's hard to swallow. But again, Notre Dame is a fabulous basketball team and give them all the credit in the world, they deserve it because they outplayed us in every facet of the game tonight.
Q. On how going to two straight Finals Four appearance's sets the bar high...
DANIELLE ROBINSON: I'm super proud of this team and our season. We have been up and down this season and to get to the sweet sixteen is great but we're definitely never satisfied, especially after getting to the Final Four.
Q. On Notre Dame's defense in the first half and Oklahoma's shot selection...
DANIELLE ROBINSON: I think we didn't value the basketball as much as we needed to and Notre Dame is a great defensive team and they just ran on us which really helped them offensively.
WHITNEY HAND: Notre Dame was really prepared and really physical and I think we got a little scatter brained and tight and didn't flow well, move well or take care of the ball as well as we needed to. We kind of lost our minds there for a bit and when you dig yourself that big of a hole it's hard to come back from. You have to start shooting quickly because you're trying to come back quick so we never really gave our self a chance.
Q. On the opportunity to play for Oklahoma...
DANIELLE ROBINSON: I'm thankful for the opportunity I have had at Oklahoma. Coming from the West Coast it's definitely an adjustment but an adjustment I have enjoyed due to the relationships I have built with my teammates and my coaches and the Sooner nation. I am so thankful for that. I'm going to miss it.
Q. What do you think happened in the first half when you went on that scoring drought?
DANIELLE ROBINSON: We were super stagnant on offense then we would rush a shot and everyone would run back on defense. We didn't even attempt to offensive crash and at that point we weren't giving our self a chance for more opportunities. We lost the loose ball battles for rebounds.
Q. How did you have so much success scoring when the rest of the team struggled?
NICOLE GRIFFIN: I just got position which made my shot selection so much better. I sealed out and got good position which made my shots easier.
Q. Had you played a team as physical as Notre Dame?
WHITNEY HAND: I think so. You look at the Big 12 teams and they're just as physical. Notre Dame is very tough, mature, experienced but I feel like we've faced that before and have done well at times and I think we just didn't fight like we normally do. We have to get position and fight every time.
On the first half scoring drought...
HEAD COACH SHERRI COALE: Some of our misses were makeable shots that we typically get but some of them were rushed. I think the size of the basket shrinks when you don't get any second opportunities. When you're not making shot you have to get a little chippy to get going but we just never could get any sort of rhythm.
On Oklahoma relying so heavily on their outside shooters...
HEAD COACH SHERRI COALE: There's a lot of pressure on our shooters all year but I think they've handled it remarkably well. We had the production from Nicole inside tonight but didn't have any complimentary shooters. Notre Dame did a great job taking our three away. Whitney cannot just move well enough yet to escape anyone. She just can't get enough distance. Some of our other shooters are so green defensively that we were getting exposed so Whitney needed to be out there. She was our leading rebounder on one leg. She's our fighter. We we're as aggressive as we have been all year long. When we start great we get on a roll and when we start poorly it's hard to come back from and that's what happened today.
On rebounding and how Notre Dame dominated...
HEAD COACH SHERRI COALE: Notre Dame has some amazing athletes and we don't have anyone who looks like that. Their two post players took anything that came off the rim but we just didn't make any of the hustle plays. Those are the plays we have to make, the hustle ones. We just didn't have the fight tonight.
On making it to the Sweet Sixteen and how that helps for next year...
HEAD COACH SHERRI COALE: It's so important. The Sweet Sixteen is a significant bench mark. We get a little spoiled when we go to two straight Final Fours but how many teams in the country would have wanted to play today. We are one of 16 standing and for our freshman to play three games in the NCAA tournament is huge and will help next year.
On Nicole Griffin's play... HEAD COACH SHERRI COALE: I admire her ability to be in the moment. Two times this afternoon we came out of a time out and she ran the play exactly right where some of her teammates didn't. She did exactly the right thing. I think it's uncanny for a freshman to be in the moment when the wheels are coming off the wagon in the Sweet Sixteen. I thought her performance today was gutty and impressive and she's going to get better. She has a bright future.
Talk about Brittany Mallory's three's early in the game...
HEAD COACH SHERRI COALE: We talked as a team about how their shooting percentage is very good because they're so selective. They're disciplined and unfortunately we left her wide open, again, and again, and again. After the second one we changed our defense but it didn't change anything and she kept getting open. When you're a shooter you can get in a grove and we let her do that.
Q. How does Notre Dame measure up to some of the other top teams you have played?
HEAD COACH SHERRI COALE: They remind me of Texas A&M but they might move better without the ball and might run their offense with more efficiency. I think they share the ball extremely well and their interior passing is good. They have five guys on the floor who can score at any time. We have seen teams like them before this season and I have thought all year that they were a great team. I think they don't get enough credit for their defense because their offense is so salty but defensively they're very good.
On their poor shooting percentage...
HEAD COACH SHERRI COALE: A lot of our three's come out of transition for us and we could never get that going today. WE never got the attack mode and we are a team that needs to make six or seven three's a game to win.