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    FIGHTING IRISH

    Nov. 16, 2010

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    Notre Dame Women's Basketball
    Notre Dame vs. Morehead State
    November 15, 2010
    Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center - Notre Dame, Ind.

    Notre Dame Head Coach Muffett McGraw

    Opening Statements...
    "I liked our defense tonight, I thought for 40 minutes we really played hard. We had our posts guarding guards on the perimeter and I thought we did a really nice job. I was a little disappointed in the rebounding from the posts in the first half, but I thought they did a better job in the second half. We seemed a little out of sync with the turnovers early in the game, but despite being a little bit off we were still able to do what we wanted to do offensively. Overall it was just a great night for a lot of people. It's good to see different people stepping up, with Kayla McBride and Natalie Novosel and Kaila Turner. Fraderica (Miller) came in and got some steals, and I thought everybody came in and contributed tonight. Becca (Bruszewski) really came out and set the tone. I thought she was the one initially that came out and got us going."

    On what to take from two games that were so easy...
    "Well I think you have to look at the intensity that we have on defense, and that's something that we pride ourselves on. We are playing hard for 40 minutes. There's no let up when the bench comes in. I think the starters are setting a good tone. We're pushing the ball. We're scoring in transition. We look like we're having fun and different people are running the floor. We're surprised at times with the steals and who's handling the ball, but overall I think there are a lot of good things to take from that. I think execution in the half court is the one thing that we can still work on."

    On the defensive intensity this early in the season...
    "I think we're just better, defensively. I think we're quicker, and I think we have a mindset, and defense is all about the mindset. I don't think we've had it as much in the past, but now this group really likes to defend, and you can tell. They're taking chances, they're risk takers, and they're going to double team. I think they're just seeing things and going for it. So they have some great instincts. I'm really impressed with the way they want to defend. It's a fun thing to watch."

    On teaching the defensiveness vs. the team's willingness for it...
    "Most of it is them (willing to do it). I think this is just a really special group in that way. I haven't seen that intensity and competitiveness in a team this early in the season almost ever. That's usually something reserved for the NCAA tournament, but this group likes to get after it every day."

    Notre Dame Players

    Skylar Diggins - Sophomore - Guard
    On her performance both offensively and defensively...
    "Offensively, from the start of the game the posts were just doing a good job of running the floor. I think our transition game off the steals was good; our guards were getting wide and finding position. With this team we just have so many weapons offensively, and my job is to penetrate and draw attention to create openings. When I do that, our team gets in the right position to score. Everyone's just looking for the ball, and that comes from our defensive intensity. Our press, getting up on the ball, making them uncomfortable, making them throw lolligag passes so that we can pick them off and run in transition. Defense is our offense, and tonight we just did a great job of everyone finding each other and getting the ball to everybody."

    Brittany Mallory - Senior - Guard
    On embracing the defensive mindset...
    "Starting with practice, it was just our main goal this year to focus on our defense. I think I just feed off of my teammates. When Skylar's up on the ball and makes the person she's guarding throw a loopy pass, she just expects me to be there. It's just her focusing on making them feel rattled, and we feed off of that. So I get it from the rest of my team, and that's something that we take pride in."

    Kayla McBride - Freshman - Guard
    On the seamless transition between the starters and the bench...
    "Like Coach (Muffet McGraw) said, it starts in practice. We give intensity every second on the court, offense or defense it doesn't matter. We pick each other up and we're really coming together as a team. I think that it really shows on the court. No matter who's going into the game, the starter's give us that spark and the bench - myself, Natalie (Achonwa), Kaila Turner - all of us can just go in and do our job just like coach wants us to."

    Morehead State Head Coach Tom Hodges

    Opening Statements...
    "Obviously this Notre Dame team is a very tremendous team. We knew that coming in. They are very aggressive defensively, unlike Coach (Muffet) McGraw's teams in the past. This is probably the most aggressive defensive team that we have watched through film. They totally threw off our rhythm and our timing and what we wanted to do offensively. As far as them offensively, their transition game was tremendous and kept us chasing them all night."

    On the differences between Notre Dame and Kentucky...
    "There is obviously a reason that they are both in the top 25. Kentucky is more of an all out, in your face kind of team whereas Notre Dame is always in the right position. I don't remember them being out of position during the game. They are extremely well coached. Like I said their positioning was great and whenever there was a crack they did a great job of closing it up very quickly. Defensively, both teams transition very well. That matchup will be very interesting."

    On what Morehead State tried to do to solve Notre Dame's defense...
    "We wanted to initiate our offense by getting our wings to cross and get a lot of movement. We had a little success with that but at the same time it needed to be perfect timing. Then we wanted to get some screens to free people open and skip the ball over the top. But when there is that much pressure on the basketball it just throws your timing off. We wanted to spread the floor and attack, but again their positioning was great and they did a great job of closing up any open shots."


     

     

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