Here are the postgame quotes from the UConn Huskies after their 83-75 overtime loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the semifinals of the 2012 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO on Sunday night.
Transcript courtesy of ASAP Sports
THE MODERATOR: Joining us is head coach Geno Auriemma and student‑athletes Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson. Coach, an opening statement.
COACH AURIEMMA: Really not much that I can say. We put ourselves in the position to win the game. That last two minutes, minute and a half of regulation was pretty amazing.
And as most games do, it turned on the one great play by a great player. And then when we got into overtime, we just didn't have enough. They just made some huge shots. We took a chance on making it difficult. But Brittany Mallory made two huge shots, and that's who we wanted to shoot the ball. And, God bless her, she stepped up and made shots.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student‑athletes.
Q. Stefanie, you played the last (indiscernible) of overtime with four fouls. Can you talk about your mindset of how you had to play that stretch?
STEFANIE DOLSON: I just know I had to stay as aggressive as I could without fouling and just be smart, because I knew the team needed me in there to get rebounds and make shots.
And they did a pretty good job just staying aggressive but not fouling.
Q. Bria, you guys are 0‑3 this year when you've given up 70 plus and Notre Dame has done that twice. What do they do so well on offense?
BRIA HARTLEY: They stay moving on offense. I think, even though we're familiar with them, they stay active and they set a lot of screens. It's just us having to talk to each other. They hit some tough shots.
They were able to score. And they played a really good game tonight.
Q. I was hoping you could just take us through the emotions of those final two minutes. Coach Auriemma was kind of telling us about it already, but from your guys' perspective as Kelly got those two steals and hit all those free throws, what was it like from your guys' perspective?
BRIA HARTLEY: I thought it was great. I thought we definitely had a lot of momentum going for us. God bless Kelly, she was able to get that steal after I turned the ball over. And I think it was just a lot of excitement, and we felt really good going into that first overtime or whatever, but it didn't turn out the way we wanted it to in the end.
Q. Stefanie, could you talk about your offensive mindset, especially the first half, you did a large part in carrying the team?
STEFANIE DOLSON: Well, I think Notre Dame did such a good job of being overly aggressive with our guards that they had a lot of tough shots that they had to make and knock down. So I just had to do a good job screening for them.
That left me open to roll to the basket and got me easy layups. And towards the end I knew I had to be as aggressive as I could to get our team points, because we gotta give Notre Dame their defense a lot of credit; they did a great job taking away a lot of things. And we didn't move around enough.
Q. Bria, you guys have had great defense all year, team defense. You guys held Skylar with only two points till late in the first half. And your teammates were backing you up well, it seemed like. If she tried to drive, they were there to stop her. Can you talk about how important it was in that first half to not only how you were playing against her but the team in general?
BRIA HARTLEY: I think a lot of it is our help when someone gets beat or whatever, someone steps up and someone's able to stop them, and a lot of it is just us talking and communicating on defense. Everyone did a really good job of that in the first half.
To see what Geno Auriemma has to say, please click on the read more button below if you're on the home page.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. Coach, I think 19 turnovers in regulation time tonight, Notre Dame's defense or just sloppy ball handling today?
COACH AURIEMMA: It's always a combination of both. Anytime you have that many turnovers, the defense has a lot to do with it and you have a lot to do with it yourself.
We just were not very good offensively. And I can't tell you why, because maybe the emotions of the game or maybe for some of our younger guys the game was just too big for them, I don't know, but there was a lot of standing around, and that's not like us. That's not how we play.
Q. It seemed like the upperclassmen who all wanted to play well struggled but the younger kids, like Stefanie, Bria, and Kiah, all played great. Could you talk about what the younger kids brought to the table tonight?
COACH AURIEMMA: It's awfully difficult. And a lot of the teams that have been here before find that out that you're not going to come here and your freshmen and sophomores are going to necessarily win national championships for you. It's very difficult.
And Kelly and Caroline and Tiffany struggled a lot. And it wasn't until the last minute, minute and a half, that Kelly started making the plays that Kelly normally makes.
At the end of regulation, I think it was 67, right? Something like that? So, again, you're not going to hold Notre Dame to much less than that, generally speaking. So our defense was fine for the regulation for the first 40minutes.
We just passed up too many opportunities. You can't do that against Notre Dame. You can't come away empty handed. They're just too good. You can't give them that many chances.
Q. Your teams are so familiar with each other after playing so much this year, last year. How do you think that affected this game and maybe ultimately affected the outcome?
COACH AURIEMMA: Well, what can I say? It was tough for them to get open shots. It was tough for us to get open shots. There were stretches where our defense dominated them. There were stretches where our defense let us down, or our offense was clicking and then theirs was. It's basically the way all the games have gone that we played them.
We said going into this game somebody's going to make a couple of plays and that's going to be the difference in the game. And if we had won in regulation, the play that Kelly Faris made would have won the game. Instead the play Natalie Novosel made maybe won the game for them.
Q. Coach, you were down 4 in overtime. You called a timeout; come out of that, you get a 30‑second violation, looked a little tentative. What were you trying to do there? Did you think your team looked tentative at that point?
COACH AURIEMMA: Well, that's another issue that popped up. That was a struggle for most of the season. When we called that timeout, we knew we were going to get a good shot, because we knew Kaleena or Bria was going to get a good shot. The only problem is once we inbounded the ball and started dribbling, dribbling and dribbling, then it just kind of deteriorated from there.
And why? I don't know. We did things tonight that we haven't done in a long, long time. And I don't have an explanation for it.
Q. Geno, the rivalry will go on. But is there one thing right now, one play, one moment, something that's really like kicking your butt right now that's really eating at you about any one thing tonight that you're taking home with you right now?
COACH AURIEMMA: Yeah, I would say probably the last play of regulation because the game sometimes hangs on one play. Kelly steals the ball, misses the layup, and then gets two free throws. If Kelly missed the layup and makes the one free throw, we're up three instead of two. And that changes everything.
I made a huge mistake of taking Kiah Stokes out of the game at that point. We went with five guards so that we could switch all their screens. And in the end a defensive rebound would have won it for us. That's the part I'm going home with.
Q. Can you take us through your mindset in the second half with Stefanie and the foul troubles, when to take her out, when to put her back in, what you were thinking there?
COACH AURIEMMA: Yeah, I thought Stefanie played great. And there was a lot of talk on the bench among the coaching staff about when to bring her in, how long to keep her out. But I felt as long as the game was within reach and it wasn't more than four or five points either way that we could buy some more time for her.
And I figured somewhere around the six‑minute mark, seven‑minute mark we'd be good to go. I thought Kiah Stokes was really good tonight. I thought she did a lot of really nice things. And as long as she kept doing that we would be okay. I'm really proud of our freshmen and sophomores. I thought they had really, really good days today. And they learned a lot. This will be good for them.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
If you're interested, you can also check out the postgame quotes from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
College Basketball (W) News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!
|Best of Yardbarker||NFL News||MLB News|
Today's Best Stuff
Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.
What is Yardbarker?
Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.