Feb. 20, 2012
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Louisville Head Coach Jeff Walz
(On hanging the final minutes)
"We just could not come up with a big stop. We got it within seven, with fewer than nine minutes left, and then we had a little break down on defense and give up a three. Their lead then grows to 12 and we once again get it back down to nine. Then we don't double an on ball screen and foul Diggins, which she goes and makes two free throws. We continue to fight and we get the score back to nine, but we could not come up with a stop when we had too. It's a 10-point game with 3:30 left, we just got a little frustrated and we did not finish the game in the last three minutes as hard as we played the first 37 minutes. I thought defensively for 36 or 37 minutes we played well. I just have to continue to work with this team offensively to help get us some easier baskets."
(On Notre Dame limiting Louisville shooters)
"They just played hard and I thought we had some really good looks. We had free throw line jump shots that were open and we are just not finishing those right now. We have got to continue to get in the gym and work on those shots. We forced a few today. We need to work on getting the ball to a teammate on time. We missed some opportunities getting some people the ball for easy baskets, but instead we are a second or two late on the pass and then when our players catch the ball, they are already being defended."
(On the teams three point shooting ability)
"I think on a normal day we are a 35 to 36 percent three-point shooting team. Shoni, Becky, and Antonita are by far our best three-point shooters. I don't think there are going to be many nights where we go 2-for-16 from the three-point line. I thought we had some good looks. The difference is that Notre Dame stepped up and made some and we didn't. They hit their first two and then they end up going 3-for-12, I can't complain about that. They made some clutch shots whenever we started to make a run."
(On the progression of the team)
"I am pleased with the effort that we are playing with. I challenged our players to keep bringing the same mental effort that we are bringing physically. When you are playing teams in the Top 10, Top 15 you can't have mental breakdowns. We had some of those on a few occasions that allowed them to get some easy baskets. We had 19 turnovers. Bria had seven, Shoni had five, and Antonita with five, those three players accumulated 17 of those. At the same time, those three are the ones who are handling the ball for us 90 percent of the time, I have got to get other players to step up and take away some of the pressure."
(On the play of Shoni)
"She plays off a lot of emotion. She got frustrated out there today. She couldn't get some shots to go, that usually drop for her. I talked to her going off the court at halftime and told her, offensively you struggled, but we are down three. I'm not sure she made a field goal in the first half. Normally in a game where she is struggling, we are down 10 or 12 points. She wanted to do so well, and wanted to play hard. She just couldn't get a basket to go for her today."
(On Diggins defending Shoni)
"Diggins did a nice job defending her, but there were a lot of shots Shoni took that she usually makes. A few of the drives, I thought she just drove a little too into the defense. She is doing a better job of getting by her defender, now she just has to realize when to pull up and when to take the ball all the way."
(On the play of the post)
"That's one thing I keep talking to my team about. We have got to continue to go inside-out. Our guards are definitely a big part of our scoring, but you can't just rely on passing the ball around the perimeter and not going inside to give your post a touch. When we gave the ball to the post I thought we had some success. We have to get our post about 15 to 20 touches combined, and not all of that being from offensive rebounds. I thought Asia Taylor did a good job of going to the offensive glass tonight."
(On the play of Sara Hammond)
"I'm trying to get Sara to have a little bit more fight in her. She has to get more aggressive for us. She gets a lot of mismatches with guards trying to defend her in the post. I got to get her to bury that guard and for her to just turn and shoot a layup. It's a lot of repetition and a lot of practice. It's a big change going from a high school setting where you are the biggest and strongest player compared to now where you have to do all of your work before you get the ball. I'm really excited for her because I've seen a lot of growth and progress and we need to continue that for our team to succeed."
(On the regular season coming to an end)
"All I know is that we play on Saturday. It's amazing to me, how fast a year goes by. We started off the year with aspirations of going to a Final Four, which is still our goal. When you lose Tia Gibbs and Monique Reid, you are losing a big punch of the scoring. We are just trying to find some people to step up and to take over that role. I'm not expecting someone to step up and put in 15 points a night to replace Monique, but we need three or four of them to give us six or seven a night. We really just miss Tia's leadership; she handles the ball well, she can shoot the three, and defends well. I'm challenging Bria to be able to do that, and that's a lot to ask for freshmen."
(On motivation for the DePaul game)
"There should be, we got embarrassed last time. We will practice on Wednesday and get ready for the game. If you don't come out excited to play DePaul after what they did to us up there, then we have the wrong players. I know they are going to be excited. It's going to be senior night for Becky Burke. She has had a great career and I'm looking forward to sending her out on a good note."
Notre Dame Head Coach Muffet McGraw
"I am really pleased with the second half. I feel like we are our old selves again. We scored the ball well, passed the ball well, and shot the ball well. Pretty much everything needed, we did in the second half. I was really pleased with that. Overall the first half was sloppy, a lot of turnovers and we didn't rebound well. I thought Skylar (Diggins) was outstanding and amazing. She had three turnovers early, settled in and had no turnovers in the second half. Kayla (McBride) hit some huge shots for us. It was just a really good team performance again. Brittany (Mallory) got our start in the first half, and I liked our defense on Shoni (Schimmel). I think 3-16 and 1-8 is about as good as you can do on her."
(On game plan to slow Schimmel down)
"We were just one-on-one with her but if there were any screens then we would double her. We had the post step out and help the guard with that. We thought that was pretty effective."
(On if the plan was force Schimmel to her left)
"No, we were just trying to get up on the ball. She is so good I feel like she can go either way. Our main goal was just to stay in front of her."
(On who were the key defenders for Schimmel)
"I think Skylar (Diggins) guarded her for most of the 40 minutes. Fraderica (Miller) guarded her for a few minutes. Natalie (Achonwa) and Devereaux (Peters) each guarded a possession down the stretch, but I think Skylar (Diggins) had her for most of the 40 minutes."
(On controlling Louisville's Becky Burke)
"We did a nice job on Becky (Burke), which was Brittany's (Mallory) assignment today. I think we shared that one, and we did a pretty good job. I was really pleased with the help."
(On impressions of the KFC YUM! Center)
"It's a great facility and a great crowd atmosphere. It had a NCAA Tournament type of feel to it. It is a great place to play, I really enjoyed it."
(On if the KFC YUM! Center would be a great place to host Big East Tournament)
"Yeah this would a great place to host the Big East Tournament."
(On halftime adjustments)
"We got much better shots and we didn't rush as much. In the first half, we were busy trying to run things and see what was open. In the second half we just went out and played. We kept the ball is Skylar's (Diggins) hands a little bit more for her to drive and kick. She found people. Kayla (McBride) stepped up and made some shots. I thought we moved better and we didn't stand around as much."
(On Kayla McBride's game)
"She was a really big part of what we were trying to do today and her shot selection was excellent. She got open extremely well and I am just happy she is hitting jumpers. 1- for-2 from the three point line, I think we would like her to shoot a little more. She is the best free throw shooter in the conference. I would love if she shot 15 foot jumpers all day, and that's what she did. "
(On importance of today's win)
"It was a huge win. Looking at the schedule at the beginning of the year, we had to go to Georgetown, and Rutgers, St. John's, Connecticut, then Louisville. We thought coming down the stretch we got through Rutgers, St. John's, and I thought this was going to be the game. This is going to be the one. They play well in front of the home crowd. They are 10-1 at home, and they take Connecticut to the wire. It was such a big game, everybody was into it, and the big crowd. It was a huge game for us, so to come out with win is huge. With two games left we obviously have the chance to win the conference out right."
(On the BIG EAST this year)
"We have a lot of ranked teams. Also we have West Virginia, who is not ranked, and St. Johns' who should be ranked. Take the rankings plus those two and that puts us at eight teams that should be in the tournament."