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    FIGHTING IRISH

    FIGHTING IRISH

    March 21, 2009

    Head Coach Muffet McGraw

    On the intensity in practice this week...
    "Practice has been going really well, and I think the intensity has been building all week. When they put the NCAA logos on the floor, I think it went up another notch. I'm really pleased with the way we have come back and worked hard to get ready for this game."

    On the team's schedule helping to prepare for the matchup against Minnesota...
    "I think that every team in the BIG EAST prepares us for the postseason. Minnesota is similar to DePaul and St. John's. They're a very physical team, and we've played that kind of team a lot this year. I think at this point, it's who we have played recently that will prepare us for the NCAAs."

    On playing in the NCAA Tournament at home...
    "It's a little bit easier here. It's much easier for the freshmen, and the upperclassmen are taking it in stride and trying to instruct the freshmen as best they can. I think that it's the comfort level: being in our own locker room, having our fans here, and staying in our own beds. Everything is like a home game, and I think that's a good thing for us."

    On playing four freshmen off the bench...
    "The hallmark of freshmen is inconsistency. We hope that at this point in the season, they have had enough experience to overcome that. They have certainly had the opportunity to get that experience in big games and late in games. They are definitely prepared and feeling a lot better than they were at the beginning of the year. And they've played well; Erica Solomon and Natalie (Novosel) making the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team gave them a shot of confidence, and Kellie Watson has had some good games. I think they are ready to perform."

    On position matchups against Minnesota...
    "I think all of the matchups are concerns. With the way we defend, there are some weaknesses. They have a very good guard combo (Brittany McCoy and Emily Fox) at the top, and they play well together and have a lot of experience, with a junior (McCoy) and a senior (Fox). They have a great inside game as well. When you put that together, it's going to cause problems for the defense no matter what defense you play."

     

     

    On returning many players from last year's Sweet Sixteen team...
    "I think it definitely helps. When you look on the wall in the locker room and see the seven Sweet Sixteens, the national championship, and the two Final Fours, it shows that there is a big tradition to uphold here. They feel like it's their job to continue to uphold that tradition."

    On taking one game at a time...
    "We focus just on one game at a time. We don't talk at all about what is going to happen down the road; it's too far away, especially for the freshmen. They've all been very good about knowing that Minnesota is the team we're playing and the only team we are focused on right now."

    Lindsay Schrader - Sr. - Guard

    On playing Big Ten teams in previous games...
    "The Big Ten is a great conference and Minnesota is a great team. The whole week of practice we've been preparing for it and I think we're ready. They [Big Ten teams] are very physical and they get the ball in transition. I believe those games helped and I think preseason helped us too."

    On Lindsay's injured elbow...
    "It's great. It's going to be bandaged and it's fine. I've had over a week and half to heal so it feels great and ready to go."

    Melissa Lechlitner - Jr. - Guard

    On improving Notre Dame's perimeter defense...
    "We've been working on a lot of defensive drills in practice, fine-tuning our zone defenses and our man to man and our communication. And really everything in the past that has been a weak spot for us is very fixable. We've just been spending this week fine-tuning those weak points."

    On Melissa being former teammates with Minnesota's Kristen Dockery...
    "We started playing on the same AAU team and then went to the same high school. We haven't really kept in contact that much since college but we've talked a little bit after the pairing came out and the seeding. We [traded] a few kind words back and forth."

    Ashley Barlow - Jr. - Guard

    On playing at home in the first round...
    "Being able to stay at home has a different feel. It's a good thing for us and we don't have to be tired from traveling."

    On having a two-week break from the conference tournament and the NCAA's...
    "I didn't like the break, I'm ready to play. We've been practicing hard and just working on doing little things like boxing out and containing the ball for the last two weeks and I think we're ready to go."

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