Jan. 21, 2016

Recap | Box Score | Notes | USATSI Photo Gallery

2015-16 University of Notre Dame Women’s Basketball
Notre Dame vs. Georgia Tech
December 30, 2015
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center – Notre Dame, Indiana

Notre Dame Head Coach Muffet McGraw

Opening statements/ general statements…
“That was a phenomenal first half, we’ve shot as well as we ever have. The most impressive thing is, I think we had 19 assists in the first half. Michaela [Mabrey] shot extremely well from deep and really handled the press better in the first half than we did in the third quarter. But I think Mychal Johnson really turned the game around. I thought she came in and gave us great defense; she had eight rebounds, guarded number one, [Alexis] Peterson, who was giving us a lot of trouble early and I think she did a really good job with her. It was a great team effort, I think everybody contributed.”

I had a hard time seeing what they were going into after the press. We scored off the press so quickly it was hard to tell if they were trying to get back into man or a zone. So I think the way we attacked off the press was very effective. We found the 3-point shooters, especially Michaela [Mabrey] and then we found Bri[anna Turner] for some. Lindsay Allen in particular really was so smart with the ball today. She did a great job of running things and getting people the ball in spots she needed to get them in.

“We work a lot on end of the quarter and that’s something we take a lot of pride in, that we’re going to take the last shot and get that timing down so we can get a rebound and still not let them get over half court.”

On the third quarter…
“Freshmen have some work to do in the press. They were a little lackadaisical passing the ball and I think we can fix that very easily. They’re young, there’s a learning curve. I think they’re both getting better, they’re both doing a lot of good things, and that’s just another thing they need to learn.”

On the press…
“We worked very hard at it. We’ve had a lot of practice at it, a lot of teams have pressed us in that similar style and I think we have a pretty good philosophy for how to break it. But you’ve got to have a player like Lindsay Allen who can really run everything. And then you’ve got to have great inbounders ââ’¬” Kathryn Westbeld, I thought Hannah [Huffman] came in, Arike [Ogunbowale] did a good job of getting to the right spot and finding the right player. But their press is phenomenal. They are great athletes, they’re great defenders. They really made us work. I think they lead the nation in steals.”

On not letting Syracuse back into the game…
“Michaela [Mabrey] hit a 3 and then Lindsay [Allen] got a rebound basket and both of those were really critical at big points. That really got us back up over 20 and helped us seal the game.”

On Michaela Mabrey
“It’s a lot of fun, she’s got a lot of jobs out there, taking over for the freshmen when Lindsay Allen was out. She’s got to take care of those guys and keep them in the right spots and then she has to do her job too. She’s got to think for everyone on the floor and she did a great job of that tonight.”

On defense…
“We’ve gotten better defensively, I think we’re learning. We’re starting to help each other a little bit more, we’re really focusing on the board, knowing who we have to guard from the 3-point line, who we don’t, who we can give a cushion to; I think we did a better job. Defense is all about rebounding, so I don’t think we played well defensively because we didn’t finish it with a rebound, but overall, our half-court defense is definitely getting better.”

On improving offensively…
“We’re just better shooters. This is the best 3-point shooting team we’ve had, ever. We’re confident ââ’¬” I think we’re more open to shooting 3s, we look for them more. Especially when Bri[anna Turner] went out, we really had to depend on the 3-point shots and that really gave us confidence early.”

On Briana Turner…
“She did a great job blocking shots, she was the intimidator inside, and she was guarding on the perimeter a little bit more, which is probably why she wasn’t as active rebounding.”

Madison Cable – G – Graduate Student

On guarding Brianna Butler…
“She’s a great player. She’s a really good shooter, we knew she was going to shoot a bunch of 3s, so I just tried to limit her touches, tried not to let her get too many 3s ââ’¬” I think she got a couple.”

On calming down the freshmen…
“Everyone, collectively, especially the upperclassmen, tries to settle everyone down. Lindsay [Allen] and Michaela [Mabrey] do a really good job. So does Hannah [Huffman]. But just to let them know that everything’s going to be all right. Everyone turns it over and messes up, and you just have to keep going.”

Michaela Mabrey – G – Senior

On her 3-pointer run…
“Obviously, I couldn’t do it without my teammates. Like Coach said, Lindsay [Allen] is such a good facilitator and she draws a lot of people, so Maddy [Cable] and I were open a lot of the time. And once we start hitting our shots, it opens up the inside. And when we started getting slips, Bri[anna Turner] and Kathryn [Westbeld] were open and I think offense is so

“I feel like zones open up ways for me to get the ball and I just was on today. I know when my shot is going to go in and a few of them I knew were off, but I was trying to get to 88 for the fans.”

On the team’s offense…

“I feel like we have so many threats offensively. Like Coach said, since I’ve been here, our shots from the 3-point line work very good for us. I feel like even if we’re not making shots, Bri[anna Turner] and Kathryn [Westbeld] and Lindsay [Allen] ââ’¬” I feel like Lindsay’s the most consistent player on the team ââ’¬” I feel like we have so many threats offensively and our hemistry is starting to build up.”

Briana Turner – F – Sophomore

On not having any rebounds in the first half…
“That’s just unacceptable for me not to have any rebounds ââ’¬” they were just literally floating over my head, so I really have to focus on that. After halftime, I just really wanted to get some.”

Syracuse Head Coach Quentin Hillsman

Opening Statementââ’¬¦
“Well obviously that was a masterful performance by Notre Dame. I give them a lot of credit. They came out in the first half and shot 67% from the field. I don’t know if I have ever experienced that before. They were hot coming out of the gate. They were really prepared for our pressure. It is really tough to get into your pressure when you only score 11 points. You have to score to press. We couldn’t really get the ball in the basket to set our press and that’s our game. They run a really good offense in the half court. They have scorers in every position so we knew that if we didn’t score we would be in danger of having a tough game. But 67% from the first half was just amazing. We have to give them a lot of credit for just being who they are. They are the number three team in the country. They are a really good basketball team and they played like it tonight. For us, we understand. I played against this team for 10 years now so it’s not like I am coming here and thinking wow. It’s Notre Dame, it’s what they can do when you are not ready to play in the first half. We go to the second half and it is a 33-33 half and she subbed at the one minute mark so it’s not like we played against the second unit in the second half. We made some shots and scored 19 points in the third quarter while they scored 15 cutting the lead to 28 points. That helped us some. You have to give them credit. I really thought our kids stayed after it. I told our kids, we are not going to stop pressing. We are not going to start jumping around in a zone. I said, ‘if we do not compete we are going to lose 127-50’. I told them we are not going to start backing down from people because we are not playing well. That is not how you move forward with your program and we are moving forward. So, we are never going to back down and not compete and what better way than to really come out and compete against Notre Dame. You know that if you make a mistake and break down they are going to punish you. You have to give them a lot of credit. They are a good basketball team and Muffet [Mcgraw]’s a good coach. It is always good to come into this atmosphere and play and compete and all I can do is get our team ready to play the best I can and fight and try to defend my players as much as I can on the floor so we can try to get some things done.”

On Notre Dame three point shootingââ’¬¦
“It made it tough when they are making shots. They made 11, we made six. So it’s not like they made 22 of them. They got some opportunities in the deep corner. A lot of it too was that we weren’t making shots so we couldn’t get our defense set. So we had to scramble and try to still get some pressure off of missed shots. It is tough to get floor balance when they’re sprinting somebody to that deep corner. They just did a really good job of getting it to the corner. They always do this against us, so it is not like we were surprised. They get to the corner and if we don’t match up, they make shots. But, once we got it figured it out, we kind of settled down a little.”

On his team fighting to the endââ’¬¦
“Our kids will compete. The one encouraging thing about our team is they respond. Some teams will say let’s get these sandwiches and get on the charter and go home. Our kids do not do that because I try to not be an enabler or foster that kind of culture in our locker room. I told them we are going to continue doing what we do and if we don’t get it going we are going to lose by seventy tonight. We are going to keep pushing and keep attacking and keep pressing. Like I said, in the second half, it is a tied basketball game. We missed a lot of shots but we got 28 offensive rebounds. Our kids had to be competing to get 28 offensive rebounds in this game.”

On poor shootingââ’¬¦
“Unfortunately, I do not know if this was a season low to be honest with you. But, they are a good basketball team and they do a very good job of playing the back line and they get on those elbows. They do not let you attack and then as we started to get up and down the floor in transition we started getting easy baskets and we cut the lead down and they had to go zone. They are a very good basketball team and they do a very good job of loading the floor and not letting you attack the paint.”

Brianna Butler – Sophomore – Guard

On Notre Dame’s defensive pressureââ’¬¦
“Notre Dame is a really good team. On defense they do a good job of packing the paint. As a shooter it is sometimes hard when they are packing the paint. We have Alexis [Peterson] driving and kicking out but they recover really fast. You have to give Notre Dame credit, they are a really good team.”

On Madison Cable’s defenseââ’¬¦
“She just did a great job. I was not able to knock down my shots.”

On their run in the third quarterââ’¬¦
“Definitely. When Notre Dame called that timeout we felt really energetic. We felt like we could get going. But, the next couple of possessions we just weren’t able to convert.”