Feb. 7, 2012
Box Score |
Connecticut Head Coach Geno Auriemma
(If being in a close game makes you a better team)
"That was a difficult game to sit and watch, I don't know what it felt like to play in it. It was difficult to watch, but at the same time, sometimes you get caught in those kinds of games and you have to figure out a way to win it. We made just enough good plays at the end. Caroline (Doty) bailed us out, her and Bria (Hartley) made a couple big shots and you just need to do that sometimes. It's not always going to be pretty; it's not always going to be where everything goes your way. Some shots are easy to get and drop, sometimes you have to figure out how to win a game that's not easy to win. When we were up 20 it didn't feel like 20 believe me, it didn't feel like that at all. You just knew it wasn't going to end up at 20 anyway."
(On message to team after Louisville pulled within six)
"I don't think it had anything to do with basketball. I was just venting, what we were trying to do is isolate either Caroline (Doty) or Bria (Hartley). The way they were doubling in the post and on the wings it was so difficult to get anything done in the lane that we knew if we got pretty good ball reversal that we would get a shot from over there from one of those two guys. Bria has a tendency to make those shots when it's crunch time, she didn't play much in the first half, she didn't play well. I was pretty confident that she would put them in."
(On learning lessons from having a big lead become close)
"There are always learning points in any game. You pull it out, you go watch film, and you try to get better at it. A game like this, you come out knowing that in March this won't be good enough. Not to say that you'll play like that but there is going to be an opportunity in March to play in a game like this and it's good to be able to have a reference point. The thing you have to make sure you don't do is that you don't get caught playing in a way that the other team wants you to. I thought for long stretches tonight we got caught in that kind of a game. When I lived in Philly and you came in to play the Flyers in hockey, you were going play the way they wanted you to play. Sometimes there was nothing you could do about it and it's kind of disappointing and it shouldn't be disappointing because if you've got real experienced guards taking care of the ball then the can calm everything down. But Bria and Caroline those guys were hurried because they haven't played enough basketball to really know what to do sometimes in these situations. Games like this are when you wish you had somebody like Mya (Moore) where one guy could catch the ball anywhere on the floor and score. It was hard to play five on five today, you couldn't play five on five today, you had to make the game one on one or two on two. We couldn't move on the court, nobody could move and that's when women's basketball looks really bad."
(On player control and fouls)
"We came out in the second half and there was a quick round of fouls. I think they were in the one and one situation at the 13 minute mark, as I said, usually if you look at the stat sheet, we don't foul that much but in a game like this there was a whistle almost every possession down the floor. You got to be really disciplined and I thought there were a couple opportunities where we had a chance not to get involved in the scrum. I thought we lost our composure a little bit which is easy to do, the same thing that happened at the foul line with Stefanie (Dolson) and the other kid were going at it. You get hit and you want to hit back, it's only natural I think. Jeff's kids are down a couple players and their offense is struggling because they don't have a couple of the scorer's they've had so the only chance they have to beat some teams, especially coming off of two losses, is they've got to make the game the way it was played today. They just want to run out and play a nice pretty looking game of basketball I don't think that's to their benefit right now. So I think he's doing exactly what he needs to do to give his team the best chance to win."
(On overcoming fouls, turnovers, and poor shooting)
"I would like for them to learn in situations where they can have some success but you can still point out some things. I don't know how much Kaleena is learning right now shooting poorly but I'd like for her to learn by making some shots and making some plays right now. She's struggling, Kelly's struggling putting the ball in the basket, and Bria hardly played at all. What I think was good about the game was given all that Caroline Doty had the best game she's had since she was a sophomore, the one year she played the whole year. I didn't think she was going be able to play that much today, she wasn't feeling very good at warm ups earlier, physically. So I'm thrilled that she was able to get that much out of it when it would have been just as easy for her to say I can't go tonight. The best thing that came out of tonight was the way Caroline responded. Not being 100%, the fouls, and all the other stuff, the one steal she made at the end of the game underneath the basket. That's the kind of play kids make when their tough kids. It's a great atmosphere here and it's something- you come down here and you look at this building, you see the crowd, I wasn't here last night but I'm sure last night was even crazier. It makes you wonder how we win any games at UCONN in our downtown palace."
Louisville Head Coach Jeff Walz
"We lost and now we are 6-5 in the league. I'm really proud of the effort, I thought we came out and competed for 40 minutes. We couldn't buy a bucket in the first half, we missed point blank layups to start the game, and you can't do that if you want to win in the BIG EAST. We dug ourselves a hole, I think it was like 10-4 and we missed three uncontested layups, and if you put those in then all of a sudden it's 10 -10. Then you have little bit of momentum and some confidence in your offense. We unfortunately just didn't do a very good job of converting in the first half. We did a nice of job of going to the glass, I thought we rebounded well. We couldn't buy a bucket in the first half."
(On the defense in the second half)
"Defensively in the first half, I thought we did a good job when we didn't have breakdowns. I sat there in the locker room and told the team `If you don't want to play very much, then when Kelly Faris catches the ball then run at her and then I will take you out.' As sure as can be, they threw the ball to Kelly on the first ball rotation and Asia Taylor went flying at her and she drove right by her, so I took her out. We have got to follow the game plan. They are such a good team, that you have got to pick your poison on what you are going to do. I sat there and told our team before the game started, `You want me to put a game plan together that will not allow us to lose by 40 or do you want me to put a game plan together that gives us a chance to win.' Going into the game, I told Geno at shoot around this afternoon that Kelly is going to get every open shot that she wants. I took my chances, I mean they played at Notre Dame last year and she has 22 points and goes 5-for-5 from the three point line. She can do it, but I know what Tiffany Hayes can do on a consistent basis, and I know what Lewis can do. Our gamble was to make Kelly shoot it, and I also wanted to make Caroline (Doty) shoot it. She did a great job tonight, she stepped up when it was a six point game and hits a big time three at the top. We had to make one shoot it who we thought would give us the best chance to win. In the first half we had some break downs. (Brianna) Banks came in, we ran at her one time and she drove and kicked the ball out to someone for a three. You just have to make their non-scorers, score. That's the same thing they did to us. They were challenging Sara Hammond to make a free throw jump shot and she did. Sheronne Vails had to shoot two three's tonight, she is one of our best three-point shooters in practice and I was waiting for her to knock one of them down. They were wide open and good shots. I was pleased with how we performed and our effort, but for us to beat a team like UConn you can't have four or five breakdowns because they take advantage of those mistakes."
(On Sara Hammond building on her performance)
"We need her to keep building and improving. She is the type of player that just takes a little bit longer than it does some freshmen to adjust to the college game. You can't survive on what you did in high school; you can't just out jump every one. She wants to work and to continue to get better. I think she will get better because she wants to."
(On the team losing last three games)
"I thought today showed a lot. I was concerned because, I thought if UConn came out and jumped on us quick and with the way we have been playing that we would just fold. For us we came out and continued to fight and I'm excited about that. We have to get back to work tomorrow and practice, Thursday and Friday, and have another huge game on Saturday. Syracuse is a very talented team, they rebound the ball well, and I think they are second in the league behind UConn. We have to have the same type of effort for us to outrebound them."
(On the tonight's crowd)
"The crowd was great. It's one thing I'm also appreciative of, to get 16,000 to come and see us play speaks volumes of what this city thinks of women's basketball, what the state thinks of women' basketball. We have got to continue to improve on that. If we continue to compete like we do, then I think people will come back."
Sophomore guard Shoni Schimmel
(On difference in second half)
"We went out there and we just kept working our defense and our defense paid off for our offense and we just kept playing defense."
(On Coach's half time message)
"That we just needed to pick it up on defense to be honest with you. We were doing exactly what we needed to do. We just needed to stay together and continue to go after them. We threw the first punch and we kept going at them.
"Our fans are always great. For them to come out for a big game like this is just awesome for us and it's great to have your fans behind you because you always know they are going to be behind you.
(On fighting back in the second half)
"Just for us to go out there and compete like we did today with UConn being ranked third in the nation is good for us. We also know how good we can be, so for us to just continue to grow and evaluate after this game is going to be big for us."
(On three game losing stretch)
"It's been tough, but we are going to learn from it, continuing to grow as a team and trusting each other. It's in the past now so we've just got to learn from it."
Freshman forward Sara Hammond
(On what can be taken from this game)
"We just have to get in there and work hard every day. We gave effort out there, and you could tell in the second half because they haven't been put in a situation like they were put in today and you could tell they were kind of freezing up. We just have to bring it every day. I know I've been challenged everyday in practice to sprint the floor on offense and defense and we've just got to continue to do it and learn from this and move on."
(On getting into the flow of the game)
"Coach has been giving me opportunities, so I've got to take advantage of those opportunities. It's not about the offensive side. He challenges us on the defensive side, and especially for the posts to get rebounds. So when I went in there that's what I was looking for. The offense came after awhile because I was hustling and trying to go after the boards and my teammates were getting me open."
(On physicality of game)
"Definitely physical. I got hit upside the head and have a little bit of a headache, but it's college basketball and it's going to be physical every game no matter who you're playing just because girls are faster and stronger. You've got to be ready for it and our coaches prepare us and tell us that it's going to be a physical game so you better be ready to come and play. They are a very physical team
Freshman guard Bria Smith
(On what can be taken from this game)
"I think we can just keep working on our defense and pretty much just take this game as a learning experience and just get up for every game and work hard."