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    FIGHTING IRISH

    FIGHTING IRISH

    Nov. 12, 2011

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    Head Coach Muffet McGraw

    Opening Comments
    "Well first win usually comes with some first-game jitters, which was unexpected with a veteran team. I thought we did some good things. We forced a lot of turnovers, which was one of our goals. I was disappointed in the rebounding, that was the thing I came out of the game with most. I think we can do better. I thought Kayla McBride had a good game, I was happy with her. I thought Markisha Wright gave us good minutes off the bench. But, we still have some work to do. I thought it was a good first-game for us to get the jitters out and then come back ready to go."

    On forcing turnovers but being concerned about offensive efficiency...
    "I was really concerned. That's what we talked about at halftime. We're forcing the turnovers, but we aren't capitalizing on their mistakes. I thought we could have done a much better job. I thought we were trying too hard to find the open man, and at times we could have shot ourselves. Then, other times we settled for too many threes and could have driven the ball. We just seemed out of sync."

    On rebounding issue...
    "I don't think we boxed out. I thought that was the biggest problem. We didn't get a body on anybody. I thought a lot of them rebounded long, especially three point shots, and we didn't get them. We didn't box out inside or outside. That was something that we need to really work on. I thought we were doing a good job at practice, but that is going to be a weakness we address tomorrow."

    On Kayla McBride...
    "I thought she was the steadiest of all the starters. I thought she came out and made big shots. We're looking to run a few more things for her. She also rebounded. She just played a really good game at both ends of the floor. She was the person that should have been nervous, but came out and was very steady."

    On Skylar's ability to take command...
    "She was driving the ball well. I thought at one point she was looking to pass a little too much. I thought she could have gotten by them on her own, which she did and had some great drives to the basket. That's what we need her to do, because she's going to draw traffic and then find people. That really helped."

    On Fraderica Miller...
    "She wreaks havoc on defense. She's so fast and never quits on it. She follows the ball and is able to get a couple of steals from behind. She's aggressive and helps our pressure tremendously. She can give Skylar a break at the point, guarding the ball-handler. She's definitely doing a great job on defense."

    Notre Dame Player Quotes

    Skylar Diggins • Junior • Guard

    On offense not being in sync...
    "I think we were a little overzealous at times and were rushing. We were so wound up, excited, and knew this was our first game after losing our last game. I think we were trying to win a championship in the first few minutes, but then we had to settle down. We got in foul trouble and missed some easy shots. We're working on getting everyone on the same page. Luckily, we had some people come in and help us get a run before the half. It's going to take some time for us to get to know each other and to incorporate other people in. We're going to figure it out."

    On not losing a beat from last year's defense...
    "We really like putting pressure on the ball. I think we have the personnel that a lot of spots are interchangeable in our press. I think we're just trying to get familiar with all the positions so we can keep the pressure on. With any dead ball, I think Coach [McGraw] wants us up. That's how we get started and get into our runs. We speed up the games to get more possessions."

    Kayla McBride • Sophomore • Guard

    On the way she was playing tonight...
    "It was my first official game back. I was really excited, but tried to keep myself calm before the game. Everyone was hyped up. I think it was a good thing for us to see that we can't win the game in the first four minutes, but it's going to help us get better in the future. Every game we're going to get better. This game taught us a lot."

    On being comfortable and smooth on the court...
    "I think it comes from playing with my teammates. I think they give me confidence, and my coaches even; just going out there and playing my game. It's really helped me with not playing in 10 months."

    On being able to contribute on the boards...
    "I think it's really important, especially with [Natalie] Achonwa being out and a freshman post player coming in and Ariel Baker. I'm one of the biggest guards and really have to get in there. I try to get in there as many times as I possibly can to help out [Devereaux Peter and Markisha Wright]."

    Akron Head Coach Jodi Kest

    Opening Comments...
    "You can try to simulate Notre Dame's pressure and their height and their length in practice, but you can't even come close to doing that. I give them a lot of credit-I mean 46 turnover-they put a lot of pressure on us. They were long; they were physical with our team. That's just way too many turnovers to win a basketball game. I thought our kids fought hard. We never gave up, even though they were quicker, more athletic and more aggressive than we were. I give my kids credit, but there is a reason Notre Dame is ranked #2 in the preseason. When those young ladies who are injured come back, it's amazing how that team is going to be. What impressed me the most was how hard it was for us to get into our offense. I was pleased with our effort and that we didn't give up until the last second. I was probably most disappointed that we let that last second shot to get them to 81. That's not what our team is about. We're not about giving up."

    On outrebounding Notre Dame...
    "I think our kids worked hard. I think we battled. We told them before the game, there are a lot of things we can't control but there are a few things we can. One was the effort on the rebounding and I think we did that. We knew we were undersized, but rebounding is all about positioning and heart. I give our kids a lot of credit that they battled. We got 17 offensive rebounds against a team that is more athletic than us."

    On forcing Notre Dame into turnovers...
    "We were happy with that. We tried to put in a new press this year to give us more up-tempo, and we didn't do a very good job of that today. But I think we're still learning. We talked about that at the end of the game-we did get 27 turnovers, but maybe half of those were unforced, maybe half of them were forced. But we tried to play a little up-tempo, a little helter-skelter to get you to take those quick shots. At some points, it did work for us."

    On graduating five starters and this season being a learning opportunity...
    "There was a time in the game when we could have folded, and our kids didn't do that. We didn't handle the end of the half correctly, but I think our kids learned that we could be a very good team if we just do a better job of taking care of the ball. That was the most disappointing-at times we were just throwing the ball out in front of them. We tried to simulate what it was going to be like in practice but it wasn't even close. You've got to give them credit. They want to win a National Championship and they're going to play every game like it's a National Championship."

     

     

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