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    Women's Basketball Media Day Player Quotes

    Oct. 11, 2012

    Notre Dame Women's Basketball
    2012-13 Media Day
    October 11, 2012
    Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center • Notre Dame, Ind.

    Skylar Diggins • Sr. • Guard

    On the team dynamic...
    "Well they're young, and I think that everyone is learning. We're introducing so much new material to these freshmen, it's surprising that their brains aren't going 100 miles per hour, and the thing about it is I can empathize with them. Over the years I've come to really understand the offense, Coach McGraw and what she wants, the system, my teammates and what they like, and right now it's just a process of me being a point guard. In times when we're in possession it's about knowing what they like, getting to know them. For our freshman and everyone, getting to learn how to play with each other with the group that we have now-minus Devereaux (Peters), Natalie (Novosel), Brittany (Mallory), and Fraderica (Miller) -comes with everyone having to step up their role and increase their production. Now we're looking for people to step up and be leaders besides myself. People having to step out of their comfort zone and into a bigger role."

    On being a team leader...
    "I'm kind of bossy anyways so it works for me. I think it's my job to direct and instruct and to help coach out. I think that the freshman have done a great job coming in and being able to vie in to what she wants. They just want to contribute and it's great when you have players like that who are competitive and willing to do whatever the team needs them to do."

    On being a senior...
    "It went past fast huh? I remember being a freshman and being down in the Pit talking to you guys about 'It's my first time putting my jersey on'. Now I'm a senior citizen in college years, but it's been a great experience so far and I'm excited to undergo this senior year."

     

     

    On her decision to come to Notre Dame...
    "I think I made the best decision. I tweeted it the other day if you follow me on twitter. The best decision I ever made in my life was choosing to come to Notre Dame. Everything that came with it-just the opportunities that playing basketball provides-being here in this atmosphere both academically and athletically affects so many facets of my life. Helping me grow into a woman and this is the woman I'll be the rest of my life and I let Notre Dame develop me into that woman. Being around Coach McGraw and the Notre Dame community is something I couldn't picture myself having gone without."

    On expectations for the season...
    "It's the same expectations every year. It hasn't changed. But if you want me to say it; I expect us to perform at a high level, I expect us to compete with the best of the best, and at the end, I expect us to be in the position that we were last year with hopefully a different outcome."

    On the end of last season...
    "I think that it puts a little chip on our shoulder us ending like that. We lost to a great Baylor team that beat us. We went back and watched the game and we made a lot of mistakes but that team flat out beat us. With that comes lessons that you learn and can build off from, that you take and try to never make the same mistake twice. Those are the things that we're talking about early. We're getting them out there early and work on those things."

    On getting ready for the season...
    "I just want to be on the court with the team and with the coaches to get to pick their brains apart. It's different when you can't have the coaches in there when you work out or we only get two hours and that's not enough for us to get together and do everything that we need to. I think all of us are really anxious to get on the court. So I was ready. I would love to practice every single day but I think it's great being out here together and getting started and everybody is so excited to learn just and to get that process going cause we need to with a young team like ours"

    On scoring...
    "I think I'll have to look for my shot more. I think I'm always trying to score but that doesn't necessarily mean shots but if you're talking about shooting the ball, I think I probably should take more shots, but I'm always looking to score."

    Natalie Achonwa • Jr. • Forward

    On the team's defensive identity this season...
    "I think that Ariel Braker is a great shot blocker. She resembles Devereaux [Peters] in that way. That's not my forte. I might get one or two, but we're going to be physical and a gritty Notre Dame team, and everybody likes to whip in those comments every once in a while. We're going to focus on being tough and being physical and making sure that we own our position. We're not going to let anyone push us around. That starts from the top up. When you've got Skylar [Diggins] guarding the point guard bringing it up the court, she's not going to let them carry their way or dribble their way the way that they want to."

    On building off last year's performance in the post against Maryland...
    "I hope to carry that on through this year. I think that was a great game for us and it showed exactly the presence that we want this year, that physicality that we had in that game. I think that's something I can improve on throughout this year is bringing that offensive rebounding and defensive rebounding. Definitely, everyone is going to have to up their numbers, especially me and down to the guards. Everyone will have to make sure they're getting in and getting rebounds."

    On learning from departed senior Devereaux Peters...
    "Before she graduated and even now in the WNBA, I've picked up on her ability to anticipate and beat people places. She can be on one side of the court and make it to the other side and still pick up a rebound. Sometimes it's not about banging, it's about being crafty and being versatile and getting around defenders. I think that's something we're going to have to be more agile on the offensive rebound inside."

    On playing for team Canada in the Olympics...
    "That was a great experience, definitely. I was just in awe the entire time and I was just trying to absorb as much as I could from everyone around me and the different sports, teams, and countries. I just had a lot of fun being over there. To play in the Olympics and on a global stage like that, playing against the best in the world, I definitely picked up a few new moves I might try out this year. It was a lot of fun."

    Kaila Turner • Sr. • Guard

    On shooting the three-point shot...
    "I just hope to display how good of a shooter I am. This year I'm really confident in my ability and I think I'm the most comfortable I've been since I got here. I really excited to be able to show what I can do. I think I've learned a lot over the years playing with a lot of good players, and I'm just really confident this year."

    On playing in the national championship...
    "It was a great experience and something I can't take for granted. Not many teams can say they've accomplished the things that we've accomplished so far. With Skylar (Diggins) being here, it's honestly just a blessing and great experience."

    On her role coming off the bench and being patient...
    "I think Coach McGraw and the team, and Notre Dame has taught me so much about the game and I know that I wouldn't be learning as much and getting the caliber of coaches I have here."

    On building on the team's recent success...
    "We've definitely improved every year and gotten more confident in our abilities. I think we've shocked a lot of people over the past couple years, but we've had a lot of fun and really worked for it. We definitely learned a lot about each other in those times and we're ready to try to do it again."

    Kayla McBride • Jr. • Guard

    On being one of the veterans...
    "It's really weird being a junior. We lost four seniors and everything but it's a new season, new year, new players coming in, even new coaches. It's a great experience. It's a lot of fun, a lot of new energy. Practice has been intense."

    On working hard this summer...
    "Being a junior and upperclassmen I felt there were a lot of things I needed to work on. I was in the gym almost everyday during the summer working on anything I possibly could. I want to do anything I can for this team. It's been a lot of work and I'm really excited to get back on the court."

    On what got better in the off-season...
    "I definitely improved my strength. The strength training with our strength coach Craig Cheek really pushed us this summer - running on the track, working in the weight room. I think that helped me a lot."

    On expectations for this season...
    "They have not changed [from last year]. We have to step our game up and be ready for a new challenge."

    On last year's accomplishments and getting back there...
    "Definitely. I think what we've done these past two years has really stuck out and we can't fall back. We have to keep pushing and have the same goals no matter what happened. It's a new season, new team and everything like that but we're going to work just as hard."

    On last year's final game as motivation...
    "Oh, definitely. We have it up in a little corner in the team room and we look at it every day. It's unfinished business and that's how we look at it."

    On lost players...
    "Everyone has to do a little bit more. We lost a lot of smart, very, very good players. Everyone has to do a bit more. There're juniors now, we have a lot of really good freshmen and with Sky (Diggins) and KT (Kaila Turner) coming back and Ace (Natalie Achonwa), it's going to be an everyday process. Everyday we have to challenge ourselves to be better. Challenge ourselves to want to get back to that National Championship game."

    On getting back to the National Championship game...
    I would say so, as long as we have the desire to. If we're willing to work hard for it, I think we can get it. We're very, very capable."

    On your role this year...
    "Definitely more of a vocal leader. Being a junior and just everything that we lost...
    you have to step up and do a lot more. Coach is always talking about doing more. It's not just leading by example or doing little things. It's everything, on and off the court, and just doing anything possible I can for this team."

    On being an influence for the team...
    "I think Sky (Diggins) is very, very competitive and very aggressive. She hypes everyone up but at the same time I don't think I really have to say anything. It's more I'll knock somebody down and not help them up. That's my intensity right there. I think we balance each other out very well. We're both very competitive and we might knock heads but it's all competitive nature. Everybody knows that."

    On this season's tough schedule...
    "It's awesome. Being able to travel the country and play in all of these different places, playing against amazing teams, the best competition...
    It's going to be a lot of fun. We have Baylor and Tennessee, all of these big names. It'll be a lot of fun."

    Markisha Wright • So. • Forward

    On what you learned last year...
    "I learned to watch Dev (Peters) and Ace (Natalie Achonwa). They knew how to control themselves and how to take everything in. They helped me prepare myself for this year for when Dev isn't here and I'm more in the picture."

    On last year's UConn game...
    "When I got in there, the first time she scored on me Coach was like 'What are you doing, Keish?' so I thought, 'Alright, get it together.' When I went back in, I was determined, because that was my role, not to let her score. I learned to take in my role and while I'm in there do the best I can at what I'm supposed to be doing."

    On what you know now that you didn't last year...
    "That's a good question. I haven't really thought about it. Relaxed, comfortable."

    On coming into an upperclassmen environment last year...
    "I wouldn't say it was intimidating. I felt like it was going to be a great learning experience for me. I thought, anytime I could take in information, absorb it, ask questions...
    I definitely thought it was a learning experience and wasn't that intimidated."

    On preparing for upcoming challenges...
    "How I prepare myself for that challenge is take in what everyone says to me. Don't take it as they want to take me down but take it as constructive criticism. It's only going to make me better. I try to do that for each practice. You have to keep working on it and not let your frustration take you over. That's when you start to go downhill. You have to take it as constructive criticism and keep going and try your best."

    On how your past shaped you...
    "It was really tough but I knew my mom wanted this for me. I did it all for my mom because I knew she didn't have the energy to be able to be on me all the time. I had to be on myself all the time. That was the main encouragement. My brother and uncle also helped me because they've been through the recruiting process."

    Jewell Loyd • Fr. • Guard

    On what position she is...
    "Honestly, it is whatever Coach [McGraw] tells me to do. Whatever is going to get me to where I need to be and help us win games. I think I'm definitely a two-guard. I think as a whole we are very versatile, so it depends on who is in and situational stuff as well. For the time being, I am a two-guard. But, who knows, it might change next year, but right now I think they will have my play the two."

    On the need of rebounding and getting better at it...
    "To be a rebounder you really have to want it more than the other person. I don't think it is a height requirement. I believe that if you want the ball you will go find a way to get it. Rebounding is all heart, and you have to work on it, but if you have the heart you will find a way to rebound. That is what I'm trying to do and what I will do. Whatever helps, if that is ten rebounds a game, then that is something I will have to make my goal and find a way to rebound. I'm going to do whatever Coach [McGraw] asks me to do."

    On making an impact early in your career...
    "I love the fact that the team and our coaches have confidence in me to come out here and do something. Obviously, that was my intention to come here and go to a D-1 school, is to make an impact. I think with the people around me that will happen. They will definitely prepare me for any situation, which means that if I have to come in and score six points, then I have to, and if I have to score more than that, than so be it. They're confidence in me helps me a lot. I'm not as nervous, because people are constantly saying they need me and walking me through the process, it makes it a lot easier. It helps me a lot that they believe in me, and belief is everything. If you have someone that believes in you, it makes it a lot easier to be sure of yourself and not have a lack of confidence."

    On Coach McGraw expecting a lot out of you...
    "It is great knowing that she believes in me to come out here and produce. I think it makes it a lot easier to have teammates and coaches believe in me. Belief is everything, so it helps me with my confidence and just knowing that I can do well here. I'm excited to be here."

    On being nervous with all the expectations...
    "It is a good thing. It gives me more motivation to do well. I don't have that pressure. I think they do a great job of preparing me for any type of situation. I'm excited to be a Fighting Irish."

    On being compared to Skylar Diggins and Kayla McBride...
    "Definitely. Even coming here, I look up to them. They have been through the process. They are very intelligent athletes and students. Coming in, I always look up to them. On the court, there are times when I feel that I do need to shoot more. It comes. I'm a freshman, and still learning the ropes and learning when to shoot and what position I have to be. I'm going to try to be more of a threat out there, but there are definitely times when I look up to them and give it up to them because they've been there and experienced more. I'm excited that I'm in the same sentence with them, because they have done so much for this program. I'm just honored to just be here."

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