Women's Basketball

NCAA Tournament - Notre Dame Second Round Quotes

March 22, 2010

NCAA 1st/2nd Rounds at ND Central
Irish NCAA Tournament Central
Press Conference Photo Gallery

2010 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship
First and Second Rounds
Purcell Pavilion - Notre Dame, Ind.

Notre Dame Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Muffet McGraw

Opening statement ...
"Vermont is a very good team. They have won 11 of the last 12 games. Coming off a great conference victory, and then their first NCAA tournament game. They are really on a high right now. With two good guards, (Courtney) Pilypaitis and (May) Kotsopoulos. Their other players are good as well, especially their inside players. I think it's going to be a challenge for us to match up to them. They play an interesting style that we haven't seen too much of with their big guards. We really have our work cut out for us tomorrow."

On Vermont's rebounding...
"I think getting to the NCAA tournament it ultimately comes down to defense and rebounding and I think probably every coach in the tournament is telling their team it is the most important thing you can do. If you can limit the other team's chances we are going to have a much better shot at winning. That is something we've talked about all year long. We have to do a better job on the boards at both ends. The Princeton offense is an offense where a lot of players are on the perimeter for quite a bit of time and so you really have to make an effort to get to the backboard and that is something we stress when watching film. We have to do better job of getting the offensive glass. That is something we have been getting the guards to do more, which has really helped us. Devereaux (Peters) has been a boost in the rebounding department. She has really helped us and always around the backboard. Of course, Lindsay (Schrader) has done a great job, and (Ashley) Barlow has gotten rebounds. We have to get it on a more consistent basis."

On if there are too many teams in the NCAA tournament...
"I think we are at the perfect number right now. I think when looking at every year there are probably one or two teams that are on the bubble that you think can get it down to the last game. I would not like to see it expand, I know they're talking about it on the men's side. I think that would be a very bad idea for the women's bracket. I think 64 teams is a really good number. We have had one upset of a 16 over a 1 in recent years, but that probably won't happen again for awhile."

On the tightness before Sunday's game...
"I think it's hard playing the second game of a double-header. That is difficult when you are just sitting around and waiting for the game to begin. I think the adrenaline's flowing and you're watching the game thinking about your own game and just want to get out there. I think by the first timeout we were kind of tired, a little bit drained because of the adrenaline rush of the whole tournament and getting out there finally. We played tired in the first half, we weren't running the floor as much as we could, and we couldn't get the easy baskets, and the press wasn't quite as good. Just overall, we looked a little sluggish because we were so hyped to play the game, that when it finally got there we had a minute in us and after that we kind of just ran out of gas. I think our second wind calmed us down at the end of the half and then after halftime we looked a lot like ourselves."

On the matchup with Vermont's guards...
"Well size is the biggest concern. (Courtney) Pilypaitis is 6'1'' and has a pretty big frame, put her next to Skylar (Diggins) and she looks a lot bigger. That's a concern of how we are going to guard them. Pilypaitis is quick and a very good shooter, so we have to figure out the match ups and who do we want on her for most of the time and how many different things can we do. Can we mix up our defenses a little bit more, can we do some things they haven't seen before."

On impressions of Vermont...
"I'm very impressed with them and their poise. I think yesterday's game was really an indication of four seniors in their starting lineup and they came out and played like a senior-led team. They have some tournament experience being in the tournament last year and having to play UConn in the first round. I think coming out here and winning in the first round is not just good for Vermont but the America East Conference. I have a lot of respect for them and their conference. I have seen Hartford play a couple of times, and happened to catch their Vermont game earlier in the year and able to watch them yesterday. They are a really poised, veteran team, and an experienced team that doesn't beat themselves. They don't make a lot of mistakes, that was probably the thing we looked at first, how few turnovers they had in the game which is something we want to attribute to their senior guards."

Erica Williamson - Sr. - F

On not coming out loose yesterday...
"I think a lot of what the first half was yesterday was getting the jitters out. We hadn't played a game since the Big East tournament, and so we've been off just practicing against each other, and so the mentality of getting back into the game focus, the game mentality and going out there. I think we stumbled obviously with our turnovers in the first half, but we definitely rebounded in the second half and played the way Notre Dame plays. I think the second half was more an example of how we play and how we will play in the future."

On a change in roles...
"I think its not necessarily starting, it's just whenever I'm out there and can do anything for the team to help them win is what I'm trying to accomplish. So everyday I got out there, if I'm starting, so be it. If I'm not that's fine too, because coming off the bench has been so great for us. We have such great bench players that wear the other teams out. So, whatever role I'm playing for the team, I'm just trying to play to the best of my ability, Get the rebounds, box out, block shots if I can, take charges, be there on help defense, basically whatever our team needs to win is what I'm trying to do. It's not the matter of starting or about being a bench player, it's about helping our team advance."

Devereaux Peters - Jr. - F

On good post play...
"Obviously that helps a lot because we are a well-balanced team. We can do a lot of inside-out stuff and with guards there they can get inside. We can create some stuff and that opens up the guards a lot more, and gets them open. Overall, it just shows a balanced team."

On Vermont only allowing one chance and the importance of rebounding...
"During half time we were told by our coaches that practically every offensive rebound we got we scored off of. Rebounding has been key part of the game for us, and it's obviously really important most of the time if you don't rebound, you usually are the one not winning. That is going to be huge for us, with crashing the boards and getting our guards in, I think we've talked about that a lot. I think we have progressed with that. As far as in the beginning of the year, I don't think our guards were going in as much, but now I think Skylar's (Diggins) is our top rebounder. I think we have gotten a lot better at that and hopefully we can continue with that tomorrow."

Skylar Diggins - Fr. - G

On the challenge of Vermont's guards...
"I think it is just going to be the matter of focusing on defense. We know that (May) Kotsopoulos averages at least 17 points a game and we need do a better job on her than we did yesterday. It's going to be a challenge. I think just knowing for sure where those two are and really making sure the other three are help-side. We just have to try to get up and be aggressive on defense and put pressure on them."

On why the Notre Dame press is so effective ...
"I just think the pressure. We are up 91 feet and we are really active on the press. We try to use a lot of traps and make them use a lot of time. When Devereaux (Peters) is at the top it adds a lot to the press, and a lot of active guards on the wings of the press. We just really make sure we know our areas and try to get good traps and stick with it until they get it over half court and make them rush."

On if she was nervous yesterday playing in the NCAA tournament for the first time...
"I don't think so. I just think, obviously, it was my first game and I was a little nervous before but I think once the ball got up and realized the game plan yesterday, our bigs were playing well yesterday and wanted to push it inside since we had the height advantage. I tried to reverse it and do other things in the game to get started. Our bench definitely helped us with Devereaux (Peters), Becca (Bruszewski), and Natalie (Novosel) in the second half. We are an all-around team. I think a lot of us were ready to get started after that long break. For me personally, I was ready to get out there and I was really anxious."



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