March 28, 2015
2015 NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Regional Semifinals Â· Stanford vs. Notre Dame
Chesapeake Energy Arena Â· Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Friday, March 27
POSTGAME QUOTES – Notre Dame
Muffett McGraw: Well, I’m just thrilled that we’re advancing to the Elite 8. It’s exciting having both the men’s and women’s teams in the Elite 8. Today we did just a good job, so many different contributions. Lindsay Allen, Hannah Huffman, great minutes off the bench and of course Jewell Loyd, what can you say about the Player of the Year. She did everything that should could do to help us win. Really, really pleased. Stanford is a great team. Lili Thompson’s injury in the first half I think hurt them a little bit when she came out, hurt their depth at guard and I thought maybe a little more fatigue in the second half without having the rotation when she came back. But just so, so happy right now. I’ve got to get to bed, so if we could…
Q. Jewell, talk a little bit about Stanford’s defense in the first half and how it allowed you to get Lindsay involved and then in the second half you kind of took over?
Jewll Loyd: I think just the ball screen was really effective for us. We came out, got great screens from the post. Lindsay is a great guard. She realizes her shot is right there and she lit it up. It’s another day in the office for Lindsay.
Q. Jewell, with about five minutes into the second half they cut the lead to about four, and then you guys called a time-out. What was the huddle like at that point and what was kind of the turnaround?
Jewll Loyd: Well, we knew we had to refocus ourselves. We knew that we’ve been in situations like that before, so we had great leadership from Lindsay and just everyone else was communicating, it’s not over, keep fighting, keep your heads up and get it done. It was very effective.
Q. Hannah, you were really fired up out there on the court, obviously had a big second half. What does it mean to you to be able to do it on this stage in a role just kind of playing what was there and then having the opportunity to score, as well?
Hannah Huffman: Well, Sweet 16 is very exciting and I am just really happy that I was able to help out my team. When you are feeding off that energy — when Lindsay is playing like she is playing, when Jewell is playing like how she’s playing, it’s such a fun environment. As a basketball player these are moments that you live for, so I was just happy I was able to go out there and help out my team.
Q. Lindsay, do you recall being in a zone like that at the college level in any way?
Lindsay Allen: I want to say the UCLA game was also like that, but our posts did a really great job of setting screens and we were just reading the defense really well and getting open shots for our offense.
Q. Lindsay, Jewell, Hannah, talk also about the rematch right now. I know it’s right after the game, but you’ve got a rematch from last year going against Baylor.
Jewll Loyd: I think we’re just really excited to play another game. We’re focused, ready. Baylor is a great team. They’re very consistent, good point guards, good post players, and I think we have good post players and good point guards, too, so we’re really excited and we’re ready to play.
Lindsay Allen: You know, we’re really excited to make it to the Elite Eight and play a great team in Baylor. Like Jewell said, they have great guard play, a great post player in Nina Davis. They’re a really athletic team and we’re looking forward to that match-up.
Hannah Huffman: We’ll be dialed in at practice tomorrow. Coach will come up with a great game plan and I cannot wait.
Q. Coach, can you talk about Lindsay’s maturity in recognizing that she needed to step up and produce some offense?
Muffett McGraw: You know, we came into the game working on the ball screen, and we felt that Lindsay was going to get a lot of free-throw jumpers. I didn’t expect she was going to get so many threes. That really surprised me. She is somebody that’s a very selective shooter, and I thought today she just felt it, and she had the green light, and she kept shooting. And then you saw in the second half she tried to get everybody else involved, and I think that’s the true point guard coming out in her.
Q. Talk about your defense. You guys really shut Stanford down. They really struggled a lot with their shots.
Muffett McGraw: Yeah, I thought except for Samuelson. I thought she played really well. We couldn’t seem to find her standing on the three-point line. I thought when we started switching, and that’s when Hannah came in, and I think that’s one of the best things she did for us. We went with a switching 1 through 4, and I thought that was probably the difference. We were able to guard them a lot better off the ball screen. I think the posts were able to loosen up inside and take anybody that came to the rim. I thought that was probably the difference.
Q. Can you talk about the impact and energy Hannah Huffman brought you guys?
Muffett McGraw: You know, Hannah has done a great job all year of bringing us energy. She comes in, she plays as many minutes as we allow her, and she is thankful and happy to have them. She always gives us 100 percent in practice, and she came in today, she was a great spark, and I thought with their lineup with the four guards that we wanted to keep her on the floor.
Really, really pleased with her numbers. Statistically, she makes some great passes, she doesn’t turn the ball over, she rebounds, she defends, she does everything we need her to do.
Q. Can you talk about Jewell? She’s just getting so much attention. People are getting really physical with her. Talk about how she handles it and how your team reacts to needing to take some pressure off of her?
Muffett McGraw: Yeah, I think that teams are going to be physical with her. She’s strong, but I thought today she made some really great plays around the basket. I thought the three-point play that she had was critical. She got fouled a couple times in that stretch where they were–Ithinktheycutittofourandwewentona little bit of a run. I thought it was almost all her. She did a really good job in the second half, but she is going to draw the most attention, which is why you see Lindsay Allen making so many shots.
Michaela Mabrey, Notre Dame #23 Guard:
On the key factor in winning the game
“I think the key factor honestly was our defense. Our guards are really good off the ball screen, and we worked all week on just preparing for that. We changed it up a few times just to throw different things at them, and I think that honestly was the key to our victory tonight.”
On the preparation for Baylor
“I think we’re just really excited. I think we have been playing really well and we have a lot of confidence, and we’re just going to carry that over to our next game. Baylor is a really good team and we just have to continue to execute on offense and play really good defensively.”
Markisha Wright, Notre Dame #34 Forward:
On her team’s execution
“Honestly, this whole week of practice we were stressing every little detail. I don’t think I’ve ever seen us stress about details like that, but I think that once the game came, us stressing and practicing really helped us in this game. Once we got to the game it started to flow.”
On the play of Lindsay Allen
“Lindsay is definitely a person who looks for others to score first. In order to help our players out, she started to score so the other team’s players felt like ‘okay, we have to look out for Lindsay now.’ She helped loosen up our other players because they had to help more.”
Tara Vanderveer: I think we just lost to a really outstanding team. Congratulate Notre Dame and Muffet. I thought our team played really well. They had some outstanding players, and they really played a great game. I also am really proud of our team, to work to get here, we came out I think with a really great effort, and we just had a lot of people getting some real good looks that didn’t go down for us. I’m really proud of our seniors and the two young women that are up here. I think they battled the whole night.
Q. Bonnie, you had five threes, you pretty much kept Stanford in the game for a while there. I was just wondering what was it like for you? Did you feel that at some point things kind of — you just ran out of gas as a team or what? What was the difference in the game?
Bonnie Samuelson: I think that in the first half Allen was shooting extremely well, and in the second half I think we did a much better job on her. But I just think that some turnovers hurt us, and I don’t know, like Coach said, we were missing some shots that we normally make but I thought we battled really hard the whole game. Disappointing way to go out. We kind of got within five a couple times, but it just kind of kept slipping away from us when it got to that point.
Q. Erica, talk about battling down low and how difficult, because you did a great job on the boards.
ERICA McCALL: They had really strong post players, so one of the keys was just keeping them up top and not letting them get easy buckets. I think our posts did pretty good as far as not giving them a lot of easy lay-ups, but it was a really physical game, and we battled out there and just didn’t come out how we wanted to.
Q. Tara, did you have to change your strategy on Allen as far as coming off screens, coming in front of the screener or behind? How were you — I know you had a bunch of different people playing her, but did you change your tactics on her?
Tara Vanderveer: Well, I think in the beginning of the game, we had Amber on her, and we were looking to help off of her a little bit, and so, yeah, we helped less. She got going, and she got too many open looks. We were really concerned about obviously Turner inside and Reimer inside, and they did really well. But we definitely gave Allen too much space. We talked to — I talked to Bri about tightening up on her. Amber is our real defensive stopper, and we only have one Amber, so we kind of made the choice sometimes of who to put her on. Sometimes she was on Loyd. But we did make some, I think, better adjustments in the second half. But she got too many open looks in the first half.
Q. What happened to Lili in the first half?
Tara Vanderveer: I didn’t see what happened, but I think she bruised — came down on her knee. But she was cleared and was good to go, but she didn’t seem to be moving as well as she needed to be.
Q. Coach, as good as Allen was in the first half, it looked like Loyd was that good in the second half. Was it kind of just choose your poison?
Tara Vanderveer: Well, that was — I think they’re really a talented team. Jewell Loyd is probably the Player of the Year. We were just dodging some bullets in the first half, and she picked it up in the second half. They have weapons at every position. They have — there’s no one you couldn’t sag off of. You had to guard every single one of them every minute, and if you just made a mistake, they made you pay. I mean, I think we worked pretty hard, but we did not play the type of defense that we needed to play.
Q. Talk about what separates Jewell Loyd, and why is she so good?
Tara Vanderveer: Well, I don’t think she’s probably — if you talk to Muffet, I wouldn’t say this was probably her A game. It might not have even been her B game. They isolate her. She can knock down the three. She went to the basket really strong, I think she was 100 percent from the free-throw line, 7 for 7. 7 for 21 I don’t think was probably a great game for her, but she ends up with six rebounds, second-most rebounds on their team. She’s a fantastic athlete, and they take care of the ball. They had nine turnovers. They’re a very tough team to guard because at every position they’re very, very talented. They’re very skilled.
Q. You’ve always been known for having a very disciplined offense. Would it be fair to say tonight maybe some of the individual players were trying almost too hard individually as opposed to getting the ball to the hot hand and really the ball movement and that sort of thing that Stanford has been known for in other years?
Tara Vanderveer: Well, this year has been a really different year for us. Without the post game that we’ve ordinarily had, whether it’s Jayne Appel, Brooke Smith, you can go back to Val Whiting, you saw sometimes when we had lay-ups, and we have to be able to — we’re going to have to develop that part. We have not been — we have not moved the ball as well as we need to, and that’s something that, again, you’re running some new stuff and you have some young players. But a lot of it, the credit belongs to Notre Dame. Their defense was active. They forced us into turnovers. They really shot a very good percentage, and that’s a credit to them.
But we know that our team, we got some really good looks, and people have made shots. Lili did not shoot well tonight. Other people, Bonnie, I thought got some good looks that knocked down, but Bri, 1 for 7, Lili, 1 for 8, Brit, 1 for 4, 0 for 3, you’re not going to beat a team like this unless you knock down shots. It was tough, but credit to them, their defense was excellent, and we have our work to do.
Amber Orrange, Stanford #33 Guard:
On the takeaways of the season
“Even though we had a really up and down season, we were a really good team and our team stuck together no matter what. We are all sisters and we love each other and I know this team is going to do great things next year.”
On the difference in the game
“We turned the ball over too much and they’re a great offensive team so they make you pay for the mistakes you make.”
On her favorite memory from the season
“There’s too many too describe. The top three would be beating UCONN, winning the Pac-12 Tournament and fulfilling my last wish which was to get here to the Sweet 16.”
Taylor Greenfield, Stanford #4 Forward:
On the takeaways of the season “I think more than anything we did prove that we can battle through a lot. I think a lot of teams who have the regular season we did would be pretty discouraged going into the tournament. Despite whatever happened throughout the season, we had our highs with UCONN and our lows with some of the conference games we don’t usually lose… I think time and time again, especially like the Pac-12 Tournament, it’s like we proved that we can play with anyone and beat anyone. I think that’s something we had in mind all year, and I think we did a really good job just staying with it the whole time.”
On the difference in the game
“Their energy felt a lot different than ours. They seemed really confident. They didn’t seem flustered ever. They seemed collected, like they’d been there before kind of thing. I know we don’t really react to that, but I think that just continued to help them, and then they got a lot of motivation. Then they just were having fun and we were on the other end I guess.”