March 31, 2013
POSTGAME QUOTES – Notre Dame
Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame Head Coach
“I was really pleased with our defense today. I thought Skylar [Diggins] did a great job on [Angel] Goodrich. She still had a great floor game with 13 assists, but I thought we were able to contain her a little bit more. [Carolyn] Davis was a tough matchup for us. She played really well. But I was pleased with our second half. We shot the ball extremely well, and got our running game going. Natalie Achonwa came back with a vengeance, and 17 points in the second half is pretty good for her, but Skylar owned the day. I thought she was great from start to finish, both ends of the floor.”
On whether or not the ND bench kept count of Diggins’ point total:
“No, I had forgotten all about it, and then I was looking to sub her out about the eight-minute timeout, and it kind of hit me. So I asked our sports info, Chris Masters, ‘How many points does she have?’ and he said, ‘She’s two away from the record.’ So, I said, ‘You’re coming out in 30 seconds so you might as well get one more.’ She was able to score, and it worked out well.”
On adjustments Notre Dame made defensively during the early run:
“We did. We switched matchups. We changed over-guarding the ball screen, put Ariel Braker on Davis, tried to get a little more length on her, tried to talk in the huddles more about we’ve got to sag in a little bit more around her, and I thought Ariel did a really nice job on her.”
On Diggins’ nine assists in addition to 27 points:
“And, even more amazing, just one turnover. She’s just so good at involving her teammates. When we push the ball, we’re going to get a lot of scoring opportunities. So we’re gonna have a lot of chances for her to score as well as get some assists. The way they were guarding the ball screen, she was able to find our posts wide-open, coming off the roll, so she was happy to hit them. Then she hit the couple threes that really got her going too.”
On telling when Diggins is due to have a big day scoring:
She made her first few shots. I don’t know how many she made in a row, but when she starts hitting the three, you’re in trouble. She was pretty much in the zone, I thought, in the first half she was just making everything she shot. Normally doesn’t shoot the three coming off that 3-on-2 break, but she took that one and knew it was in. So, yeah, I think, early on, it seemed like it was going to be her day.
Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame Guard
Q: Can you talk about the 12-0 run where you scored nine points? What happened and what were you able to do in that run?
A: I thought in the first half when we did play good defense, we were able to get out in transition. I feel that we were the faster team and our advantage was on the fast break. When we able to get stops, we were able to run our offense. We could tell they were unsure on how they were going to guard it, so we just tried to attack off the ball screen and it began to work for us. Once we got out on transition, we were able to run and get stops. In my mind, those were some of our best possessions offensively.
Q: You talked yesterday about knowing when to look for your own shot. When you first got to Notre Dame was there a process of learning to trust those instincts while at the same time trying to run the point guard position?
A: When I first came to Notre Dame, I was not a point guard. Throughout my freshmen year, I had to learn how to play the point guard position. However, Coach McGraw allowed me to be myself, so when I was open, I was able to shoot it and if not, I had to know when to give the ball up. As I evolved into a true point guard, I started to understand my teammates better, as well as, our offensive scheme. I was able to mediate, as well as, learn where my teammates would be. I could look for my shot and know when to be aggressive to the basket. That was the process I learned throughout my years here at Notre Dame.
Q: Are you more comfortable in a bigger game/bigger environment since you have played in so many of them?
A: I would say I am experienced in that sense. I try to be the voice of calm and the leader to my teammates since I have played in the most games. I believe my previous experience in the tournament and big games has helped me as well as my teammates throughout this tournament. We play in the BIG EAST Conference against teams where it feels like every game is a tournament caliber game. We have been through some close games which helps all of us. I just try to be a leader and do what I need to do for our team to win, whether it is scoring, passing, or defense.
Q: During the 12-0 run in the first half, they had nine trips down the floor where you all were able to force turnovers. What did you guys do defensively and, if so, did you change up any of your defensive schemes?
A: We locked down on defense and we wanted to string together a series of stops. We play our best offense when we are able to get some stops during transitions. Q: What did you take away from the Tennessee-Martin game when you had to guard a 5’4 point guard? How did you use that to play defensive against Kansas’ point guard Angel Goodrich?
A: They are definitely two different guards. Tennessee-Martin looked to shoot first. Angel Goodson is more of a versatile point guard where she can attack the basket, as well as, look to pass. She’s a very good passer. During the game, I tried to push Angel to her left as it got later in the half. I noticed that she wasn’t shooting any perimeter shots, so I tried to push her to her left to get the ball out of her hands. My teammates did a good job with stopping the ball early and being able to get the ball out of her hands.
Q: Can you talk about the impact Jewell Loyd’s alley-oop plays have on Norte Dame and the opponent?
A: I think make or miss, they are definitely momentum changers. It gets the crowd into the game. She is a player who can really jump. We try to isolate her because she is so good moving without the ball. Her timing is perfect because she just knows when it is coming. Those are momentum plays for us every time.
Q: I know you have bigger fish to fry during this post season but can you address setting the scoring record. Were you aware that you were two points away before you made the last shot?
A: Coach McGraw told me to score two more points. I didn’t really know what it meant but I just said to myself okay. So when I took the shot I just kind of said “okay Coach.” Becoming the leading scorer is something I can’t even put into words. I can’t even describe how much the university means to me. Growing up in South Bend, I have so much pride in playing for Notre Dame. I am just enjoying this last experience in the NCAA Tournament and just trying to soak it all in. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for Coach McGraw. She has given me the opportunity, as well as, Coach Beth Cunningham and Coach Niele Ivey. To have so many great players who were the face of the program before I got there, it is great for me and my teammates to be able to learn from them every day. I’m so happy to be here and I really do not want this to end yet.
Jewell Lloyd, Notre Dame Guard
Q: During the 12-0 run in the first half, they had nine trips down the floor where you all were able to force turnovers. What did you guys do defensively and if so, did you change up any of your defensive schemes?
A: I think we just all came together and played our game of basketball. We really wanted to shut Kansas down. For us, our defense motivates our offense
POSTGAME QUOTES – Kansas
Bonnie Henrickson, Kansas Head Coach:
“We didn’t have much pressure or any pressure on the ball to a team like that. We let them play comfortable and confident and they were coming in confident off the year they’ve had. Unless you pressure the ball and be disruptive, to allow a team to be comfortable and confident, we certainly did that. When we executed and screened and got opportunities in the half-court, we scored. Certainly not enough of those. The on-ball screen defense was poor in the first half and then all opportunities at the rim, in front of the rim, and at the free throw line in the run. But, give Notre Dame credit. It was disappointing our defensive effort wasn’t better.”
On bouncing back after losing three seniors:
“We talked about it in the locker room, but those are three young ladies who, when they’re 21, 22 and 23, and you’re that young, and you’ve made a decision to join something, whether for these guys, it’s a program and a team, or, in your adult life, you take a job and you make a decision to leave and, in their case, they graduated, you can look back and say, `Hey, I left it better than when I got it when I was there. When I made the decision to leave or when I graduated, the program was in better shape than when I got there,’ that’s pretty special. Those three have done a lot for our program, have been great players in the program on the court and off the court, and proud of them. It’s difficult to manage all the emotions of today and certainly won’t lose sight of what they’ve done for our program. You’ve gotta `What’s next’ it and develop the players that are in the locker room that’ll come back and wear that uniform. You’ve got five freshmen coming in, and we gotta grow those guys. There’s an opportunity for, obviously, everybody in that locker room and those five kids to come in and play and these guys handed the baton to them. We gotta make sure we grab it and run with it and you want to be able to do the same thing as a player. When I leave a program, it’s in better shape than when I got there. Those three, for the rest of their lives, will be able to say that about their time at Kansas and that’s pretty cool.”
On what Irish did vs. Kansas to get Skylar Diggins open:
“They posted her twice on Angel [Goodrich] to bring help on the back side, and she got posted, got fouled the first time, and scored the second one. Off our turnovers, she hit two three’s and if you’re looking at the rim on the right wing, she ended up with three three’s, but two of them were off our turnovers. They scored 10 points off of our nine turnovers in the first half, but then the on-ball screen bothered us. We tried to trap her early, we tried to jump out early, and that didn’t slow her down. Then the trap, she made a play to the rim so if she wasn’t scoring off the initial action, she made a pass for a guy to get a shot, and certainly we weren’t aggressive enough with her defensively, early enough.”
Thoughts on Skylar Diggins’ play today:
“As Angel (Goodrich) said, she’s as good as advertised. She took over, took control of the game. We felt like, going in, she was the fourth leading scorer in the NCAA Tournament and we were hoping that nobody had told her that. We were certainly concerned that she might wanna just go off on us because the rest of those guys had put up pretty big numbers in the first two games, and she did that. Offensively, was very aggressive, played confidently.”
On using a 30-point loss to light a fire for next season:
“We’ll do that. We’ll do that getting out of here. Today, right now, in this moment, whatever time it is, isn’t the right time for that, but we’ll do that. We’ll build from it. It’s disappointing. We’re all too competitive to just talk about what’s next for the program, kind of play `present move forward’ and that’s hard to do right now. We’ll find that mojo and find that way to build on this. It’s just hard to do right now in the moment, but we will do that moving forward and we’ve got some good kids in that locker room that are coming back and good kids in our freshman class coming in that will help us.”
On difficulties getting going during early Irish run
“No, I thought Monica (Engelman) was aggressive, but probably played a little bit too sped up and Angel (Goodrich) wasn’t aggressive enough, and then Markisha Hawkins ended up with the ball in her hands a lot. Then we didn’t execute, didn’t get into things and didn’t come off on-ball screens. We kinda stood around and looked a little bit. We didn’t have much rhythm. We didn’t go second and third-side. We didn’t break the defense down at all, but you’re right, there was exactly that stretch, exactly what you’re talking about. We just kinda looked around and I think that’s what Angel was referring to. She needed to get the ball back and take control and that’s what we talked about at halftime. You gotta be more aggressive. You gotta be able to make good decisions. If it’s for you, it’s for you. If not, it’s for somebody else, because nobody makes better decisions than that kid, but we had to get her to kinda change that mindset a little bit and asked her to attack more. She did in the second half.”
On how much she took into account the Notre Dame/UT-Martin game film in scouting Diggins
“Those guys can get underneath you. I’m not going to ask Angel to play like anybody else. Her game’s a little different than those two kids, but the size part of it. We’ve dealt with that. Where there’s a bigger guard than Angel, that’s been that kid’s whole life. Driving, being aggressive, and attack. Those guys score more than Angel does. They don’t have Carolyn Davis inside so it’s a little bit different for me to say, `Ok, I want you to play like those two.’ Well, those two aren’t going to play like her because they don’t have Carolyn Davis sitting on the block, so I can take some. I’m not going to ask her to mirror their game or her to change herself overnight. We ask her that, this time of year, she’s gotta be who she is, and attack and be aggressive. Unfortunately, for us, she didn’t early and often enough, but eventually, she did.”
Angel Goodrich, Kansas Guard
On the 12-0 run that Notre Dame went on in first half to take the lead
“We did not put enough pressure on them. When they are comfortable and confident, they play well. You have to make them uncomfortable and we did not do that today. We did not disrupt their flow at all and they did a good job of taking advantage of that.”
Did you watch Notre Dame’s first tournament game against Tennesse-Martin and did you take anything away from the success that the Tennessee-Martin guards had against Notre Dame in that game?
“Yes, we watched the film, but I was more concerned with playing my game and being aggressive. I did not do that in the first half.”
On her struggles in the first half
“I did not have the correct mindset. I was not aggressive and I was not attacking the rim. I was trying to create more since my shot was not falling. I am disappointed in myself for not coming out strong in the first half. I feel like we took a punch late in the first half, but did not punch back.”
On Skylar Diggins
“Skylar (Diggins) is as good as advertised. She is the whole package. She gets everyone involved; she knows how to create for herself and her teammates.”
On her season-high 13 assists
“I just tried to create more and distribute more since my shot was not falling.”
Carolyn Davis, Kansas Forward:
On her success in today’s game
“I tried to cut and get in position early like I always do. Angel (Goodrich) did a good job of finding me on a lot of plays and I think I did a good job of executing those plays.”