Postgame Quotes: No. 2 UConn 68, No. 3 Stanford 58
November 21, 2011
No. 2 UConn 68, No. 3 Stanford 58
Connecticut Head Coach Geno Auriemma
Were you satisfied with the way you played team defense tonight?
â€œI think at this time of the year, what you saw in the first five minutes of the game, offensively it is hard to have any kind of rhythm. Iâ€™m not surprised that we played pretty well defensively. I am surprised that we were able to be as effective as we were because the size advantage was against us. But we played so hard for 40 minutes and thatâ€™s one of the better defensive efforts I have seen us have in a long time. I was pleasantly surprised by that.â€
Is the full court press something we will see from this team often?
â€œI donâ€™t know that you can play against a team like Stanford and just sit back [in the frontcourt] and just play. Theyâ€™re just too good. Even [Stanfordâ€™s] guards are all bigger than our guards. We wanted to give ourselves as many opportunities as possible in the open floor and try to create opportunities for our guards to make plays. I thought if it became a half court game, we would have trouble doing that.â€
Was this a satisfying win for the team?
â€œYes. We talked about that afterwards in the locker room, how it was a win for us. I donâ€™t mean on the scoreboard because had we not won the game on the scoreboard, I think it was a win in a lot of way because we won at a lot of things that I wanted us to win at. A lot of the things that [the coaching staff] has been stressing, we accomplished tonight. And to be able to win the is a huge accomplishment for this group.â€
What can you say about the play of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis tonight?
â€œIâ€™ve always said this, and it was true at the beginning of time and it will be true when they stop playing basketball. Great basketball programs donâ€™t necessarily win big games against really good teams. Those games are won by players that have a lot of talent. Players that can make plays. Kaleena [Mosqueda-Lewis] has a lot of talent and she certainly knows how to make plays and there is no hesitation. She doesnâ€™t catch and wonder, â€˜what should I doâ€™.â€
Sophomore Guard Bria Hartley
You and Kaleena (Mosqueda-Lewis) were the only ones making field goals for most of the game. Did you think that you were going to take over the game at that point?
â€œI think we needed to keep running our offense. If people keep getting open shots, youâ€™re bound to hit them eventually. I think that my teammates did a good job, even though they werenâ€™t making shots, of doing other things to get involved. Tiffany (Hayes) was rebounding well. Caroline (Doty) came and hit some big shots. We have a lot of players who can knock down big shots at anytime during the game. So, we just kept running our offense.â€
Can you talk about Kaleena as a freshman in her first real big game and her performance tonight?
â€œI mean, great players always perform under these type of situations and sheâ€™s a great player. She comes out here and makes an impact every time she steps on the floor. Thatâ€™s what we need to do every day.â€
How much do you attribute Kaleena and your performance from the chemistry you have and experience you have had playing together?
â€œMe and Kaleena have known each other for a while and I just think we were able to play together, meet each other at camps and become good friends. That chemistry on and off the court, you can see it. We just play together well and we know how to read each other. So, its really good every time we step on the court.â€
On UConnâ€™s aggressive play:
â€œCoach definitely put an emphasis on being aggressive, making sure weâ€™re pressuring the entire time on defense, getting out in transition. We definitely wanted to run them the whole time, but at the same time we had to make sure we werenâ€™t moving too quick. We had to make sure we kept our composure and think through everything and run our offense. I had to make sure we kept everyone on the same page and so did Caroline at the point guard spot. We just made sure we did that the whole game.â€
On first big game:
â€œIt was exciting and a lot of fun out there. Our team was struggling a little bit in the beginning. When coach put me in I was thinking, â€œoh my godâ€, do something good, do something productive. So it was really exciting and to see my teammates come together and work as a team the whole time was a great feeling.â€
On making the first shot and getting into a rhythm:
â€œOnce that first shot goes in, you take a deep breath and know itâ€™s about to start and Iâ€™m ready to go now.â€
On pressure to provide a spark:
â€œWhen you see your team struggling you feel that you have to make an impact in any way I can.â€
On teams play:
â€œI think we all figured out what our roles are today. Kaleena definitely came out and gave us a spark and hit shots and do a good job kicking it and thatâ€™s what she did.â€
On doing everything:
â€œI think thatâ€™s my role to go out there and do whatever I can. Rebounding today is what I could do and I did that.â€
On games intensity:
â€œIt was crazy but we made sure we kept each other level headed and make sure everybody did what they need to do and we did a good job of that.â€
Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer
â€œI want to congratulate Connecticut. I thought they were extremely aggressive. Their team came out and was very physical. They did a great job of disrupting things offensively with their defense. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had a great game and knocked down shots. I think this is a great experience for our team. We wanted to play better, but I have a lot of confidence in our team that this will be an opportunity for us to get better. Nnemkadi (Ogwumike) had some fouls, but she came back in as a great leader for our team and did a really nice job in the second half for us.â€
What were your thoughts on the fact that only Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Bria Hartley could make shots in the first half?
â€œI was glad that no one else was making shots. Hartley got some nice slice and bake, going right to the basket. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis got some really big baskets. It was really like a November heavyweight fight. I thought it was extremely physical, one of the games that you usually see in March. I think it was good for our team to see that and get ready for it. It wasnâ€™t pretty. In the second half it opened up a little bit, but some of our turnovers really hurt us and they took care of the ball really wellâ€¦To come out and battle back a couple of times, I was really proud of our team for that.â€
On if she thinks her team will be the better of the two teams in March
â€œTonight was Connecticutâ€™s night. I wouldnâ€™t take anything away from what they did. I think Geno (Auriemma) does a great job and theyâ€™re just going to improve. I just want to focus on our team. We need to improve. We were there, and then we werenâ€™t. We couldnâ€™t maintain our scoring, we could never get them down. We never gave up. I thought people battled and was really pleased with different young people coming in. Jasmine Camp was awesome for us. She came in and did a great job.â€
Senior forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike
Did you have a discussion about staying in with four fouls?
â€œThe discussion we had was in the first half, because I got that early foul and they called the block. Coach told me I might play with two at the end of the first half, but that ended up not happening. I picked up those fouls in the second half. We didnâ€™t really discuss it. It was just a matter of I was going to stay in. I had to adjust to the circumstances and play with those fouls.â€
How disruptive was the full court press that UConn had?
â€œIt definitely caused us to take a really long time to get the ball up. We had more turnovers than we wanted. I would say it was disruptive, especially because it started in the first half and continued and then at times they stopped it. We did a good job of handling it at times, but at other times people didnâ€™t realize that they could dribble through it because certain people werenâ€™t being guarded in certain places.â€