Jan. 20, 2003
Muffet McGraw Postgame Quotes
On the game . . .
“I felt like all of their players collectively stepped up, and, in particular, Barb Turner really did an outstanding job. They played with poise and did great things with their star player [Diana Taurasi] on the bench. In contrast to what happened to us, when Jacqueline [Batteast] went out with the second foul, we did not have anyone step up, and I thought that was the difference in the game.”
“It was a very close game, and after Jackie [Batteast] went out, we had a lot of trouble scoring. They gave us a lot of problems with zone [defense]. We didn’t do a good job of getting out on the three-point shooters. I thought their seven-for-12 shooting from the three-point line in the first half was the difference in the game.”
On Notre Dame’s play…
“I think that we were really playing hard, with a lot of emotion, and when Jackie [Batteast] and Le’Tania [Severe] both went out, I thought that really hurt us. Le’Tania is our best defender. We’ve got to have her on the floor because she gives us that emotion that we just don’t have otherwise. I thought Le’Tania and Megan [Duffy] really played hard and really competed.”
On Notre Dame’s recent play…
“We’ve missed the last three opportunities that we’ve had [to get wins over good teams], and I think it’s fortunate that the BIG EAST is so strong because we will continue to have more opportunities.”
On the upcoming schedule…
“There’s still a lot of basketball left. I think we really need to focus in and to win really badly right now to help our confidence. There are so many opportunities coming up with Villanova and Boston College, both ranked teams. I think the opportunities for us to get back to where we want to be are still there, and I certainly feel like we’re not ready to give up on our goals for the season. I think we are still going to be a very good team in March.”
On Connecticut’s Barbara Turner…
“She hadn’t been shooting that well from the perimeter. I knew she was a very good player inside — very aggressive — who plays hard and goes hard to the basket. I thought she’d be a tough match-up for us, which is why we wanted to play the zone. She shot a little better from the perimeter than we thought she would.”
Notre Dame Player Quotes
Sophomore forward Jacqueline Batteast
On the game . . .
“I think it is good that the effort has gone up in the last couple of games, but the result hasn’t been what we wanted. I think if everyone continues to play hard and tries to get on the same page as Megan [Duffy] and Le’Tania [Severe], then things should turn around.”
Junior guard Le’Tania Severe
On Connecticut’s play . . .
“I felt like their players stepped up, and we didn’t adjust well enough. We got down early.”
On the game . . .
“We have to take what the defense gives us, and I felt that in the second half we did that a little more.”
Geno Auriemma Postgame Quotes
On playing without Diana Taurasi . . . .
“We have a tendency sometimes to concentrate even harder when Diana is not in the game so maybe that’s what happened today. She got those quick fouls, and I had no choice but to take her out. I think everyone reacted to that. I think Ann Strother acts differently when more is expected of her. Maria [Conlon] did the same thing, and I think that everybody did in some ways. We talked about that after the game that that was when the game was decided with [Taurasi] on the bench and we were still able to run our stuff and get the shots we wanted, and we had the confidence to knock them down. Barbara [Turner] doesn’t lack for confidence, and when she knocked a couple of them in, I think it opened the gates for everybody.”
On Alicia Ratay’s lack of production this year. . .
“Muffet and I were talking about this after the game. I’ve seen this happen to a lot of kids when they become seniors for whatever reason; it’s different with everybody. Right now it seems to me that she’s not playing with a lot of confidence. She doesn’t think when she shoots the ball that it is going in. It is harder for her to get open looks this year than last year, and she doesn’t have a lot of people to help her out right now, which combined with her lack of confidence is a double-whammy.”
On Courtney LaVere…
“Courtney LaVere is going to be really good. She’s a tough kid. I really like the way she plays.”
On the difference in the game…
“I think the threes that Maria [Conlon] made were the difference in the game. She hit three in a row and that was it and then with Barbara [Turner] and Willnett [Crockett], I think we dominated the boards. When you play on the road, the crowd gets into it if the other team makes threes, gets second shots, and gets out in transition and get fouls and the crowd goes crazy. We didn’t do any of that, and that was the difference.”
Connecticut Player Quotes
Freshman forward Barbara Turner
On the game . . . .
“We knew that we had to concentrate a lot more when Diana (Taurasi) went out. When Diana is in the game, she’s our generator. We knew our offense had to execute and keep Notre Dame off of the boards defensively. I think we did that today.”
On playing without Diana Taurasi. .
“I think a few times this season we’ve seen that we can play without Diana, but that was more apparent today. We’re getting more comfortable and learning how to play without her.”
Junior guard Maria Conlon
On the pre-halftime scoring . . . .
“Barbara (Turner) sparked our run to start it off, and with Diana (Taurasi) out of the game, we had to fend for ourselves offensively. It was a crucial point in the game, and we needed to get a little run before halftime.
On stopping Alicia Ratay…
“One of the goals we had coming in here today was limiting Ratay and Jackie Batteast. While I was covering Ratay, the goal was to prevent her from shooting or touching it.”
Junior forward Diana Taurasi
On playing again at Notre Dame. . . .
“It feels great. This is a tough place to play at, but our team showed a lot of character and played well when it counted. Everyone stepped up and made big shots and big plays on defense.”
On leaving the game during foul trouble. . .
“I wasn’t worried at all when I left the game. Lately in practice and in games, people have been stepping up and taking leadership roles when I’m not in games. We’re starting to get a lot of confidence in each other to play when I’m not in the game.”