March 16, 2001

NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship
First and Second Rounds
Joyce Center
Notre Dame, Ind.

Pre-Tournament Quotes
March 16, 2001

Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw

On the team’s NCAA Tournament appearance…
“We’re excited to be hosting this subregional. It looks like it’s a great field. There’s a lot of excitement when you see the NCAA banners all around the arena, it’s like we’re in a different place. Certainly, we are in a different place right now. This is what we’ve been working for all year long. We’ve been focused and waiting for this day to come. So, we are anxious for it to begin and happy to have Alcorn State here. It’s a great story for them to come up to play at Notre Dame with a player from Benton Harbor. It’s a chance for her to come home. Hopefully, they’ll get a lot of fans down from Benton Harbor for the game.”

On her team’s attitude coming into the Tournament…
“Right now, everybody is 0-0 in terms of their record. There’s a six-game tournament about to begin, and it’s single elimination. So, it doesn’t matter what your record is coming in, and it doesn’t really matter what you’ve done in the past. Right now, we’re just focusing on one game. We’re going to play our game. That’s what our focus has been. We’re not talking a lot about the things we need to change to match up with this team. We’re talking about the things we’ve done all year long. We’ve been focused all year long. We’ve had a lot of intensity. We’ve played hard every game. If we can come out and do those things, then we’re going to be okay. We don’t need to change our entire game plan going into the NCAA Tournament. We just want to do everything that we’ve been doing since November.”

On Alcorn State’s Taresha Coleman…
“I remember her well from camp because she was someone we were going to keep an eye on and see how her high school season finished up. I’m anxious to see her in a game situation because it’s been a long time since she was at our camp.”

On the health of Monique Hernandez…
“She hurt her knee, just a sprain of the MCL. Mo will dress tomorrow, and she will be able to play. She practiced a little bit Monday and a little bit Tuesday. As the week went on, she felt a little bit better. She will be in a pretty heavy brace, but she will be ready to go.”

Notre Dame senior center Ruth Riley

On her thoughts entering the post-season tournament:
“We’re all excited about the Tournament. Watching the guys tournament last night, you get excited about the aura that surrounds March, the fact that anything can happen, and the excitement that surrounds the tournament play.”

On staying focused as the number-one seed…
“I think our main objective is to play our game and to play how we know we’re capable of playing. The first game will hopefully get you prepared for the second and so on. As long as we’re playing consistently and doing what we’re able to do, I think that’s what we’re focused on.”

On Notre Dame’s height advantage against Alcorn State…
“It’s not something I’m thinking a lot about. Other teams have shorter post players. It’s something that we face sometimes. It doesn’t really reflect on what type of player it is just because she’s shorter than I am. I think it will be interesting. They obviously have good players, just looking at some of the film we’ve seen. I think it will be a good matchup.”

On the team’s outlook on Saint Patrick’s Day:
“We’re not hoping on luck tomorrow. I think it’s good to be an Irish institution and having so much support. It’s more reason to celebrate.”

Notre Dame senior guard Niele Ivey

On her thoughts entering the post-season tournament:
“I think we’re all excited. This is what we’ve been working for. Ever since preseason conditioning, we’ve been looking at the NCAA Tournament, to host at home and have our family be able to come. With all the support we have here at Notre Dame, it’s great to be home. I think we’re hungry for a game. We haven’t played since last Tuesday, so we’re ready for a game. We’re focused, and we can’t wait for tomorrow.”

On staying focused as the number-one seed…
“I think that our coaches have gotten us prepared for every game we’ve played this year. We’re taking it, of course, one game at a time. After the practice that we had today, I think everybody is focused and knows what they need to do to play well tomorrow and play as a team. I think we’re definitely prepared for tomorrow’s matchup. Hopefully, we’ll keep rolling from tomorrow on.”

On what she knows of Alcorn State…
“We know that they have an outstanding post player. Coach was just telling us that she has more assists than the point guard. We haven’t seen that type of play this year. So like she said, we’re excited to come out and see them tomorrow. Hopefully, we’ll just take advantage of our strengths and play well tomorrow.”

Notre Dame senior forward Kelley Siemon

On her thoughts entering the post-season tournament…
“What more can I say? We’re all excited. It’s a great opportunity to play at home.”

On staying focused as the number-one seed…
“Right now, we’re playing well and with a lot of confidence. We need to make sure that it follows through for the entire tournament. Us coming in a couple years ago and knocking off the number- one seed Texas Tech is something we don’t want to see happen here. That will probably be in the back of our minds and motivate us to work a little harder.”

On what she knows of Alcorn State…
“Alcorn State is a pretty athletic team, but they don’t have a lot of size inside, which is obviously a big advantage for us. All of our post players are over six feet, and they don’t have a post player who’s even six feet. That means that they’re quick. We just have different games, I think. We’ll have to take advantage of the high-low and Ruth inside. I think we’re a pretty quick team as well. It should be a good game. Different than we’ve played, though.”