March 23, 2015

Recap | Box Score | Notes | USATSI Photo Gallery

Second-Round · #1 Notre Dame vs. #9 DePaul
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center – Notre Dame, Indiana
Sunday, March 22


Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame Head Coach:
Opening Statement:
“Just thrilled that we’re going to be going back to the Sweet 16 again, and I think on a night that the stars of both teams were uncharacteristically off it was great to see how the rest of the team picked us up. I thought Michaela Mabrey had a great stretch where she hit a couple threes, got a couple defensive rebounds, which surprised all of us, and did a really good job on both ends of the floor. I thought she had a great performance. Taya Reimer, what a game. I thought an All-American performance from Taya tonight. Those two really just carried us in that stretch.”

On outrebounding and having Brianna Turner back…
“Rebounding should be a strength of ours because we have really, really good athletic players who can rebound and are strong with the ball. That’s something that I think all year long we’ve talked about, and we want to be a better rebounding team. I was really pleased with the way we rebounded. Their offense when we were perimeter-oriented, they had four-out a lot, it’s tough to rebound out of a four-out offense. I thought we were able to contain the offensive boards.”

On Notre Dame’s defensive strategy…
“I thought the zone disrupted the rhythm for a couple possessions. They had back-to-back threes, but I thought we had trouble containing the ball. The beginning of the game they had all lay-ups. They were getting some post-ups. We were so busy guarding the 3-point line we forgot to guard the rim. We gave them some really nice cuts to the basket, but once we settled in we contained the ball. The first half was a nightmare. We could not contain the ball. They kept driving into the lane, kicking it out and taking the three. Fortunately, they didn’t make as many in the first half. Our on-ball defense wasn’t what it needed to be. I think we played much better in the second half.”

On the key to settling down…
“I think the biggest problem was that we couldn’t simulate it at practice. We worked all week on the press break, on how we were going to get it in, and get it in quickly, how we were going to run the baseline, and what the plan was. We didn’t do any of those things, we looked a little panicky, and I think we were surprised with the pressure. We knew it was coming but I think we were surprised with the intensity of the pressure. I thought we would be able to handle it better and so I was a little bit surprised, too, that we didn’t just do what we worked on. Eventually, after that first timeout, I think everyone just took a deep breath and we kind of said, ‘OK, we’re going to be OK.’ Taya took a couple coast-to-coast and we got some things going off of that, and that gives a little more confidence. I’m not sure if during the beginning of the game their adrenaline was so high or what but they were really pressuring so I don’t know if that weakened a little bit, too.”

On the inside game…
“We were very dominant inside. I think getting (Megan) Podkowa in foul trouble was key also, but we wanted to go back inside. We felt that we had an advantage, we wanted to go high-low all game. Pretty much every timeout we talked about high-low and throwing it high, we really worked on that for a couple days for every team that we’re playing.”

Taya Reimer, Notre Dame Forward:
On how Notre Dame adjusted after a slow start…
“We just had to settle in, slow it down, and make sure we were in the right spots. We just had to execute our plays. They were forcing us to do some things, and we just had to settle down.”

On the home crowd’s impact…
“We have the best fans in the country, so it’s important to have them into the game and to get them into the game. We were really fortunate to have our first two games here, and have them supporting us. We just feed off that energy, and when they get loud we just get really into it.”

On Michaela Mabrey’s game…
“It’s great, she’s such a great shooter. When she’s hitting shots we all just get energy off of that, and we play off that, and we just all get into it. We’re all trying to look for her all the time, because that just spreads the defense out because they have to guard her. It’s always exciting when she’s on.”

On how she was able to find success inside…
“We knew that we were a lot bigger than (DePaul), so we were just trying to take advantage of that with all of our post players. We just wanted to outrebound them, crash the offensive boards, and post up and get some easy buckets.”

Michaela Mabrey, Notre Dame Guard:
On making early adjustments to DePaul’s early pressure…
“I thought we executed really well on offense. In the beginning we were a little frustrated with their pressure, and I thought we settled down a little bit and really started to get some back doors and started to get our offense rolling more.”

On how she was able to find success…
“I think they left me open a little bit. We have such great post players and such great guards and they’re so focused on them that I’m just spotting up wherever they’re going, finding my place in open space. My teammates found me really, really well. I owe it all to them, honestly.”

On the long pass she threw to Taya Reimer
“I think we were just having some fun. We weren’t so stressed out and everything. We’re just in such a great position and we shared a moment of laughter. It was a great play, and I’m glad she finished it for me.”

On the crowd’s energy…
“I think having our first two rounds here gives us a lot more confidence, especially with our fans and being in a familiar space with everyone that we know. We’re just grateful and blessed to be in the position that we are.”

Doug Bruno, DePaul Head Coach:
Opening Statement:

“Notre Dame is a really good team and we knew for us to beat a really good team that we were going to have to play very well on all sides of the basketball. I just thought we got a little bit impatient. You have to defend, you have to rebound, and you have to be able to score the ball. I thought we got impatient. When you’re a high scoring team like we are it’s really hard to ask your players to slow down. You can’t ask them to do what they don’t do. We have to play like we play. When we get impetuous offensively we basically get ourselves into a scoring rut and that’s what happens. That’s really where the game went. It went there in the first half and I thought we recovered ourselves and put ourselves into position before halftime. We scored the first basket and then gave up a lot of easy ones and the game got away from us, and we weren’t able to get back. I would like to also make sure I say what I said to the girls in the locker room. I have been blessed to a coach a great team this year, a great group of young women. The opening statement is about the game, but the opening statement is also about the team I’ve been blessed to coach. In this tournament everybody is going to crash and burn except for one team. This is a tournament of euphoria because you make it and then crash and burn and that’s the way it ends. Every team is going to crash and burn except one. So I think it’s also very important that you step back when you crash and burn and make sure that the players after the game understand that this has been a really, really great group of young women to coach. I have been blessed to coach them. I just got done telling them that we are going to miss our three seniors. Brittany Hrynko has given us something at DePaul that very few people have ever accomplished at DePaul. I think she is going to have a chance to really be a good player in the future on the professional level. Every player in that locker room, Megan Rogowski lost her season since January 2, Centrese McGee, our three seniors,

I just really want to acknowledge them, thank them. It’s been a great group of women to coach. I also told them they were not easy to coach. They haven’t been an easy group to coach, but they have been a great group to coach. I just want to make sure that I say that publicly as well as privately.”

On his team’s efforts to guard Michaela Mabrey
“We missed some serious assignments there at the beginning of the second half, and that cost us dearly. We let her get going, and we eventually got it settled down, but that was after she had already hit three or four.”

Megan Podkowa, DePaul Guard/Forward:
On the biggest difference between this game and the matchup in December…
“I would say the combination of not making shots and also that we weren’t really moving on offense. Our coaches had us in the offense and we just weren’t running it to how we should have been.”

Brittany Hrynko, DePaul Guard:
On reflecting on her four years at DePaul…
“Coach usually says he gives us 10 minutes to reflect on the game and what we could have done better. I don’t think I got my 10 minutes yet because I had to come up here, but I mean it’s just been a great four years for me here. Coach Bruno, he’s a great guy. My teammates are great players and great people to be around. It’s just been fun being here, being around them.”

On the biggest difference in the two matchups between the teams this season…
“I would say just us not knocking shots down. (In) the first game, I would say the majority of our shots were falling. This game, it wasn’t many of them dropping. The ones that did counted for us, the ones that didn’t just kept motivating us to keep wanting to shoot; if we drove try to kick it out and to just keep shooting.”