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    FIGHTING IRISH

    FIGHTING IRISH

    Dec. 8, 2012

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    Head Coach Muffet McGraw

    Opening Comments...
    "I was very impressed with Utah State. They played extremely well in the first half. We could not guard them. Their offense was phenomenal. They shot the ball well. They shared the ball well. Defensively, they got a lot of steals. They forced us into a lot of turnovers. I think we responded a little better in the second half. We played better defense."

    On making defensive adjustments...
    "We had just a complete breakdown defensively in the first half. We had absolutely no desire to guard. We just wanted to outscore them. I don't think we really made a specific adjustment. They scored a bunch in the first half and then we just made a conscious effort to defend. We need the people guarding the ball to do a better job."

    On her team's offensive performance...
    "We didn't really run any offense today. We were primarily just breaking the press. Natalie Achonwa did a phenomenal job inside for us. She was able to score at will around the basket. Skylar [Diggins] had a great passing day. We worked the high low very well today. We still struggled to shoot the ball from the perimeter."

    On how she will approach the upcoming break...
    "We are pretty much done until next Friday. Practice is optional. They have a week to concentrate on their academics. I think that after this week we will work a little bit harder on our defense."

    Notre Dame Player Quotes

    Ariel Braker, Junior, Forward

    On her performance...
    "I didn't come out in the first half the way that I wanted to, especially defensively. Offensively, I have really focused on getting Skylar [Diggins] and Natalie [Achonwa] their assists. I know those are big baskets. In the second half I think I came out with more of a sense of urgency."

    On having this kind of game going into a break...
    "I wouldn't say it was a good game to have going into break, but I will definitely learn from it. After we get through finals, it will be nice to get back into the gym a lot. We will be able to work on our defense and things like that."

    Natalie Achonwa, Junior, Forward

    On the first half...
    "In practice we worked on breaking their press and getting the ball to the high low. I think we executed on the offensive end. We did what we worked on in practice. We were trying to take advantage of the weak side of the zone."

    On the transition game...
    "I think we have a point guard that wants to push the tempo, and we play in a program that looks to push the tempo. I think us posts need to make sure we keep up. That makes it a lot easier to break the press."

    On other aspects of her game that helped her...
    "I wasn't doing much shooting. I was getting layups, so I hope I can make those. We did a great job of breaking the press, so we didn't have to run much offense. I think we just ran what coach wanted us to run on the offensive end."

    Skylar Diggins, Senior, Guard

    On feeling frustrated when her shots don't fall...
    "I get over it pretty quickly. If I miss a layup, I am able to get over it. I had a good talk with our coaches after our last game. I came into this game with a different mindset. I thought I was having fun out there today. I wasn't playing with the weight of the world on my shoulders."

    On having bigs running the fast break...
    "I still think that we are missing some opportunities. I think we missed some opportunities for some steals that we usually get. I think it is great that we have bigs that know they have to run the floor. They are very consistent."

    On the importance of this game for the team's confidence...
    "I think we had confidence after that Baylor game. This is definitely a game that we wanted to win in front of our home crowd. We wanted to get back to doing what we do. Obviously, we still have some things to work on. Offensively, I thought we were fine. But we have to guard the ball better. It is early, but now is the time where we need to challenge each other and make each other better."

    Utah State Head Coach Jerry Finkbeiner

    Opening Statement...
    "We've played eight out of nine games on the road this year, and we're looking forward to get back to Logan, Utah with our next four at home. We're a little beat-up, a little bruised-obviously there was a size difference and a physical difference today and as the game wore on that became more evident. I don't know how many adjustments Notre Dame made in the second half but they came out and continued to take it to us and continued to play physical and we got worn down. There was a big difference in a lot of areas in the game. I thought [Natalie] Achonwa was in the right place at the right time-their guards got her the ball, and she had easy shots. We had three freshmen playing in the second half that couldn't respond to that. Notre Dame is everything we had expected, a very good team, and very competitive. They have a very good coach and very hospitable atmosphere here at Notre Dame."

    On their quick start...
    "That's who we are. This is my first year here at Logan. I came from a program where we led them in scoring and steals so that's what we tried to bring here. I was pleased at halftime. I thought the last three minutes we gave up a couple of easy shots. I thought we took a couple of bad shots out and went from a single digit to double digit trail and Notre Dame was off to the races, but I think when we can be at that level we are going to be successful with that. We had forty-nine possessions in the half and we want to have 75 to 85 possessions in a game so it was a little too fast for us but that's who we are. We're little, we're not very physical; I think we're good shooters in practice so hopefully that will start coming together for us. We knew that Notre Dame was going to score a lot of points because we were going to try to score a lot too. Seventy [points] aren't that many for us, but it was all about Notre Dame."

    On scoring early...
    "We went to the paint well. I thought we got "physicaled-out" of those drives the second half and we didn't get rewarded for going to the hoop as much as we did in the first. That was a good man-to-man adjustment by Coach McGraw in the second half because our one-guard and four-guard up top couldn't get to the paint. Our kids aren't used to that kind of physical one-on-one defensive play from where we're coming from."

     

     

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