Lexington WBB Regional: Stanford-Notre Dame Postgame Quotes
NOTRE DAME QUOTES
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us for the press conference for the Notre Dame women's basketball team. We're joined by Muffet McGraw and Lindsay Allen and Brianna Turner. Opening comments from Coach McGraw.
COACH MCGRAW: I thought Stanford was the better team today. They played extremely well. I thought (Erica) McCall was phenomenal, and we just didn't have an answer for her in the first half. Defensively we just couldn't guard them. I thought we made a nice run in the second half and then they threw in the bank 3 almost from half court, and that was pretty much the game.
But proud of the way we fought. Our seniors had a great season, a great year and we've been on the other side of this, and now it's our turn to go home early and work on next year.
Q. Brianna, obviously you came alive in the second half. What were they doing in the first half to hold you in check and what was the difference in the first half?
BRIANNA TURNER: I think the first half I wasn't as aggressive as I needed to be. So in the second half I just tried to come out and be aggressive.
Q. Brianna, with Erica McCall, what does she bring that you may not have thought you were going to get from her in terms of defending her tonight?
BRIANNA TURNER: She was just making all her shots in the first half and she was really great rebounding.
Q. How much difficulty is it to defend her when she's hit those 15-footers where she just doesn't work from the post and she can stretch you out from outside?
BRIANNA TURNER: I'm just willing to get a hand force. I needed to get closer to her and make sure I had a hand in her face no matter how far out she was.
Q. Lindsay, I know you had a the long streak of close games and also had the knack for coming out on top in these games. What was going through y'all's mind in the fourth quarter? Were you all still thinking you had a good shot even going down? Just what was the difference this time that you weren't able to come out on top in the close game?
LINDSAY ALLEN: Yeah, I don't think we ever panic in those situations. We figure out a way to dig down deep and get stops and convert on our offense. But you can't spot a team with that kind of shooting percentage in the first half and expect to kind of dig your way out of the hole in the second half. It was tougher because they still shot really well in the second half.
I think it was just us kind of figuring out a way to dig deep and they couldn't do that. And they shot timely 3s in the fourth quarter that were just hard to overcome.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for coach.
Q. Muffet, Erica's Erica, but what kind of night did Kaylee Johnson have? Were you expecting that from her at all? What was your game plan with her when she started to get going?
COACH MCGRAW: Yeah, she played really well tonight. I thought she always rebounds pretty well. She shot it probably a little better than she normally would, and I think when you're having a night like this, I think every team has a game like this where everything's just going your way and shots are falling and you're getting a big lead. So it's kind of contagious, and I think it infected her as well.
Q. You mentioned Erica McCall. Was it a stark difference from what you saw from her tonight and the player you saw last year in the Sweet 16?
COACH MCGRAW: Oh, yeah. We knew that coming in, we saw her on film and she's definitely improved her face-up game and her release. She could shoot when she was guarded. She wasn't always wide open. She did a really good job of just mixing up her shots and moving well without the ball.
Q. How would you assess Brianna's performance tonight?
COACH MCGRAW: I thought she had a great second half. She had a double-double. We were going to her more in the second half. Took a little while to get going, but offense wasn't a problem tonight. It was really defense. I thought she probably didn't play as well defensively as she normally does.
Q. Coach, congratulations on a great season and great run even though you've lost. In this game, late in the game you got to within two or four points there and they got away from you again. Describe how it got away at that point.
COACH MCGRAW: Yeah, I think Lindsay mentioned it. They hit a dagger 3. We were focusing in on finding (Karlie) Samuelson and (Lili) Thompson and I think (Brianna) Roberson hit a 3 from the corner late in the game that really kind of got us. Then I think (Marta) Sniezek went down with like a coast-to-coast layup and nobody guarded her, and she went right in for a layup. They got us 5-0, and that was key. The 3 that Samuelson hit with the shot clock going off with two seconds left and banked it in, that was one of those nights for them. They managed to make big plays.
They made the free throws down the stretch. Did everything they needed to do to win. I think normally you have to have the other team help you out. When you're trying to come back, they have to miss some shots and we just couldn't get them to miss.
Q. (What were) some of the things you said to your girls and the young women after the game was over in the locker room?
COACH MCGRAW: It's been a great season. Not to put our heads down. Stanford played a great game. They were the better team today. We've had a great season. We've had a nice run, and hopefully that will motivate us to come back next year. And so proud of the seniors and what they've done for our team.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us for the Stanford women's basketball team press conference. We're joined by head coach Tara VanDerveer, Erica McCall, Karlie Samuelson and Kailee Johnson. We'll begin with an opening statement from the head coach.
COACH VANDERVEER: First of all, think we beat a really, really good team, and I'm really proud of our team how we came out really focused and just people really playing hard together. I think that it just when we came out and played well in the beginning it gave our team confidence, and we just continued to play with that kind of confidence through the rest of the game.
Q. Karlie, the bank 3, in your mind what were you thinking? What was the situation, and take us through that whole four seconds that seemed to lift you guys there at the end when they were making a run?
KARLIE SAMUELSON: he shot clock was going down, and Britt (McPhee) didn't have a shot and she threw it to me, and there was only one second left and I just threw it up there.
Q. How important was that? I mean, because they were on an 11-3 run. They get the ball back and you even -- you're 25 -- I feel like you were 25 feet away from the basket. You move to the right or to the left, and it was just like a heave, wasn't it?
KARLIE SAMUELSON: Yeah, it was a great three points to have and a good time to have it, so yeah.
Q. Erica, you were saying yesterday you all were calling yourselves the party crashers because you wanted to crash the party and pull the upset. How confident were you going into this game, and just what were your emotions after this game? Were you surprised that you were capable of it?
ERICA MCCALL: Yeah, we felt pretty good coming into the game. We had a great game plan. We watched a lot of video, walked through a lot of their plays and knew what to do on every situation. Got a shot at the pace. She had a great scout.
But I think our team felt confident. We didn't have the pressure on us and we just wanted to have fun. That was the biggest thing. Whether we were down or up, we were always having fun, and I think that let us play loose. After the game we were ecstatic. Who wouldn't be? They just beat the No. 1 seed in their section. I think we were capable. I don't think we were too surprised. After the game we were excited, but it wasn't a big shocker. I think we're showing the country that Pac-12 basketball is strong.
Q. Either or all three of you guys: Now you have Washington, a team that you've played twice. I don't know if you saw it in the game beforehand, what do you know about them, how do you think you match up? Because I believe you split the two games.
ERICA MCCALL: We know they're a great team. They have great role players. They know what they have to do. So we just need to go out there and focus just like we did for this Notre Dame game. Buckle down and pay attention to our scout, and I think we should be doing well.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for coach.
Q. I believe the bank 3 was out of a timeout, was it not? That possession was out of a timeout. I'm sure that's not what you tried to explain to your players in that situation.
COACH VANDERVEER: Yeah. Well, I think that up until. Great teams are going to make runs, and Notre Dame was making a run. I think that that might have kind of been a burst-your-bubble 3. Just because they were on a big run. It got down to a three-point game, and by knocking that shot in -- but sometimes people have done that to us, last-second 3s. Karlie is very capable. I thought Bird (Eric McCall) should have shot it, actually. But our team was really focused and worked really hard, and I'm proud of them. We're really going to work hard ask get ready for Sunday and playing Washington.
Q. Coach, congratulations on a great run thus far. You've seen Washington so many times. Is there anything you can possibly imagine that you might see that you haven't seen that you might need to prepare for?
COACH VANDERVEER: Washington? I think we both know each other pretty well, and I think it will come down to -- I think it should be a good game because teams are very familiar with each other. I'm sure everyone will have a little wrinkle. You know, you can probably bring a new wrinkle to the game.
Q. But nothing you can imagine that you need to prepare for?
COACH VANDERVEER: My imagination is not working in that direction right now.
Q. Erica McCall, the Most Improved Player in the nation. What caused that and where did that come from?
COACH VANDERVEER: I think, first of all, Erica, -- Bird has -- she's passionate about the game of basketball, so for her it's not working on her game. She's having fun. She's in the gym. I have to throw her out after practice. She's there, she's working on her shot, she's working on her free throws. She loves the game of basketball. I don't know that I've coached any player that loves it more than she does. And I think her playing on the USA team helped her confidence a lot. And in fact, on that USA team, to have the team win the game, she had two free throws and she missed them both. Tonight you saw her go to the free-throw line and make them both. So I think that her improvement is based on the work and time that she's put into it, but also because she's so passionate.
Q. What was so good about your spacing and offense and passing? Because it seemed especially in the first half you're moving the ball around and that seemed to be the key.
COACH VANDERVEER: I think that all week long our team watched -- first of all, we played against a great team in like -- I think all the tournament teams, we've played against great competition all season long. But Notre Dame is just a phenomenal passing team. And I think our team watched them and said, well, we can do that too. And at first they had 22 assists. Lili (Thompson) had nine assists. Marta (Sniezek) can usually get two assists. Kaylee (Johnson) with two assists. Bird with two assists. They watched theirs and said we could do it too.
Q. How do you think you faced the challenge of Brianna Turner?
COACH VANDERVEER: I thought we did really well. I don't think she scored the first half. She came out motivated. I thought there were some real key points to the game where there were defensive lapses and that's where Karlie got her 3. They made four 3s. You know, they're a team that we made 11. I think that's the biggest difference right there. Only having seven turnovers and getting 22 assists, that's a big thing for us there. For the most part, with the exception of Lili, everyone shot over 50 percent, not counting Kailee's one shot. But it was really, I think people were really focused and moved the ball really well.
Q. The 1 seed lost tonight, two number 7 seeds won tonight. What's that say about where the sport is right now?
COACH VANDERVEER: I think that for years and years and years we kind of wanted this. I don't know that the Kentucky fans want this right now, but I think it points to more parity. It points to more quality players and programs -- universities recognizing, wow, this women's basketball is a great thing and supporting