Women's Basketball

Notre Dame vs. Michigan State - Postgame Quotes

Nov. 11, 2013

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Notre Dame Head Coach Muffet McGraw

Opening Statement...
"I was really pleased with our defense. I thought we rebounded the ball extremely well, at both ends of the floor. Defensively, we did a lot of good things. I thought our zone was very good for this early in the year. It was just a great win over a really good team. [Michigan State] is very talented, and they're going to be a great team. They will do really well in the Big Ten, so that's a huge win for us this early in the year. I'm really pleased with our freshmen. I thought Lindsay Allen and Taya [Reimer] both played extremely well. Taya had the double-double, and Lindsay's poise was outstanding. But Jewell [Loyd] was the player of the game. She made a lot of big things happen for us. Offensively, she got some rebounds and scored when she wanted to, so I was really happy overall."

On ND's strong finish to the first half...
"I think our zone defense flustered them a little bit. We were getting in passing lanes and getting some deflections, and they were missing shots. They had some really good looks that they just missed. It was their first game, so perhaps they were a little jittery. But I thought our zone was the difference in the first half."

On MSU and other opponents abandoning offensive rebounds to stop ND's transition offense...
"Last year, our transition game was lethal, and teams weren't going to the offensive boards so they could get back and try to guard us. This year, I think we're doing a pretty good job of running the floor. I think they're just trying to gauge how to stop our transition game. [Michigan State] actually did a pretty good job of it. It hurt them a little bit on the offensive boards, but I think you have to pick your poison."

On thoughts on ND's scoring distribution tonight...
"I don't really worry too much about the scoring. I feel like we have people that can score. Michaela Mabrey can come in off the bench and score. Madison (Cable) and Markisha Wright both made huge baskets. That's what we need [our bench players] to come in and do - score six to eight points. Tonight, when Kayla McBride was just off on her shots, we picked it up with Taya and a couple of other players."

Taya Reimer - Freshman - Forward

On factors leading to ND's 52-29 rebounding edge...
"It's something we've definitely been focusing on throughout the season and especially this week. We knew that they were going to be a really physical team. They were bigger than the teams we've played so far, so we focused on [rebounding]. Positioning, being physical and trying to be mean are the only ways you can muscle for those rebounds, and that's what we tried to do."

On impact of second-chance points, especially in first half...
"I think we were really excited for this game and had a lot of adrenaline. [Second-chance opportunities] were something we had been talking about - going after offensive rebounds, not just taking one shot and getting back on defense, and really working and trying to get those second-chance points. We put an emphasis on that and tried to execute."

Jewell Loyd - Sophomore - Guard

On her approach to rebounding and success in getting nine rebounds...
"I was really trying to get in there as a guard and be physical. Luckily I have the ability to jump, so that helps me as well, but it's all about heart and determination to get the ball."

On team's balance in distributing assists and rebounds amongst multiple players...
"I think it's very important. I think our team does a really good job of finding the open person and protecting the ball. Our post players are very good passers. Taya's (Reimer) also a really good passer and sees the ball really well. Lindsay Allen's vision as our point guard is unreal. It helps in practice when your team plays a lot, and you start to learn what they do and like."

Head Coach Suzy Merchant

On Notre Dame's rebounding edge...
"Well we were going to give up the edge on the boards on the offensive end. We took a card out of Wisconsin men's playbook in some ways, where when the shot went up we just sent everybody back because they're so good in transition. We wanted them to at least go up against our set defense. For the most part, I think that was effective. The problem was we couldn't keep them off the boards (when they were on offense) and our energy - as we weren't going to send anybody to the boards on the offensive end - needed to be exerted with a little more will and determination on the other end. So if you take 25 second-chance points out of there - 10, 12 of those - it's a different game. It really is a different game. We just couldn't find a way to keep them off the boards, so you have to give them a lot of credit."

On how Michigan State cut Notre Dame's second-half lead...
"I think we made some shots. We had some really open looks in the first half. It was so frustrating because we knew against their zone there were certain key sweet spots that we felt we could attack and we had the right people shooting them. Annalise Pickrel is a good shooter certainly. We had some other kids who could knock down those threes and they just didn't fall for us today. But we felt like we could get good shots and I thought they had to go to their zone because we did a nice job of either getting it inside or driving and kicking. So their zone is effective, there's no question about it. I think we just started making a few shots and getting a few defensive stops in that period.

On Taya Reimer...
"Everybody in the country recruited her. I think we offered her as a freshman ourselves and as time went on it kind of went a different direction for her. She's a special talent. She's a big-bodied kid that's extremely skilled. And in their system, I would guess that she will have plenty of numbers like that. I think her game will enhance as well and these minutes are good for her with [Natalie] Achonwa out. I know Muffet would rather have Natalie out there and it would make a huge difference for them, but at the same time it's good that she's having some opportunities early on because she fits extremely well in their system and their style of play. She's a very tough matchup. Very tough."

Michigan State Player Quotes

Annalise Pickrel - Senior - Forward

On Notre Dame's rebounding advantage...
"When you look at this game a week ago, that was one of their strongest points - offensive rebounding. So that's what we worked on all week, and tonight we just ... they got consecutive offensive rebounds. One is not fine (per possession), but then we didn't box out from there. So it just turned into chaos."

On how Notre Dame was able to get its rebounding advantage...
"They're a big, athletic team, but we just weren't pushing them back. We weren't moving them out of the paint."

On the challenge of starting the season playing Notre Dame...
"I'm not going to say it was difficult. It was more of a welcome challenge. Yes, the atmosphere is difficult, playing Notre Dame is difficult, but I think the difficult part was just the lack of experience we have from some of our key players. That was the difficult part coming into this game."

Becca Mills - Junior - Forward

On how Michigan State measured up to Notre Dame...
"I think we have a good team. We didn't play our best tonight. They exposed us in a lot of our weaknesses and we need to look at the film and learn from it. I think coming out against a top-ten team in your first game, you really see where you need to improve, where you need to go as opposed to a smaller school. I think we need to take this and learn from it. I don't think this dictates how our team is tonight. I think it just helps us grow even more before Big Ten play starts."

On Michigan State's poor three-point shooting...
"It was just a bad shooting night. We rushed our shots a lot in the first half especially, so that was part of it. I think we're good at shooting threes this year, so that's a little surprising. You add a couple made shots and it's a different game, but you can't get those back. So we just have to work on it."



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