Postgame Quotes

Maryland Athletics
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Postgame Quotes
November 15, 2013
College Park, Md. (Comcast Center)

No. 1/1 Connecticut 72, No. 8/7 Maryland 55

Maryland Head Coach Brenda Frese

On tonight’s game:
“We are disappointed. This was a missed opportunity for us, but they are the defending national champions for a reason. I thought we played really well for the first 25 minutes of the game and then UCONN did what they do. They make runs at you. They don’t make mistakes. When you see six turnovers for a 40 minute game, they don’t beat themselves. In the second half there were too many runs, missed box out opportunities, and we had no answer for Stewart. This is the third game of the season and is a game that I have said all along will not make or break our season. This game was to give us a good measuring stick of where we are as on November 15th, so we can thank UCONN in terms of helping us to learn what we need to get better at.”

On how the team handled the spotlight at the beginning of the game:
“Alyssa [Thomas] was terrific. This is a game she had been looking forward to and she put the team on her back in the first half. I have said this all along: they went from nine All-Americans to seven. If they lose a couple more, Geno [Auriemma] might have start coaching like the rest of us. They are obviously extremely talented and they continue to show, despite their injuries, that they have talent and depth at every position.”

On UCONN beating Maryland in the paint:
“Stewart and Dolson inside took advantage of any matchup they could. If we were small or we got switched they posted us up and they were phenomenal. I thought our bigs did a really nice job in the first half, but I thought they were a little non-existent in the half. They got a little conservative and lost some confidence, but all things we can get better with.”

On the rebounding disparity in favor of UCONN:
“There were stretches that I thought were uncharacteristic of us rebounding wise. Stewart makes it tough with her 7’2’’ wingspan. She can go and out jump you and then tip it back. With her back tips, I haven’t seen anyone do it better. At times we had four guards out there, and so we just need to work harder when we have more perimeter players out there.”

On where her team stands prior to the start of ACC play:
“I mean, obviously you can see we are not at full strength yet. I thought [Laurin Mincy] still isn’t where she is going to get to, and Brene [Moseley] the same thing. A couple of our freshman played like freshman, so I’m encouraged. To ask freshman to come into this element the third game of their career is a lot. It’s all great areas we can build on. I mean that’s what it is, the third game of the season so that’s how this will always be evaluated. “

On continuing to play UConn in future seasons:
“Yeah. I told Geno how much we appreciate this series before the game and we definitely want to continue it. I think for us it’s just finding dates. I know that’s what we’ve been working through but it’s difficult because of their small window and how finals fall for both teams. It’s something we want to continue as we move ahead.”

On trying to physically pressure them:
“We you know, the big thing is we were really trying to have an attack mentality and be able to get them in foul trouble. I thought we were able to do that in spurts in the first half, and I thought our post play was a lot more aggressive trying to go in them and get them in foul trouble and we got less aggressive in the second half.”

Senior Forward Alyssa Thomas

On Difference and confidence level from last year to this year:
“I think last year, both games I was extra-amped for the game. This year I just had to come and find a happy medium and just play my game.”

On gaining confidence early in the game:
“When my first jump shot falls, it looks like an ocean to me. So it definitely was a huge confidence builder when my first one went down.”

On feeling of being pressured:
“I expect them to pressure me. Of course you do not want to turn the ball over. I just have to go back and watch the film, so I can get better.

On if the transition game plan was unexpected:
“Not at all. Transition is our game. That’s where we look to get out on a run, so we have to expect teams to throw anything at you to try to eliminate your transition.”

Senior Guard Katie Rutan

On what happened after hitting three-pointer to tie the game in second half:
“We were starting on that run. What we can say is that they are a great team. They went on their runs and we went on ours. They happened to go on theirs right after, which gave them a little bit bigger of a lead than we would hope. We were trying to come back on our run, but they are a great time. They knew how to execute.”

Freshman Guard Lexie Brown

On the experience of playing in this game as a freshman:
“At the beginning, when I saw Gino I definitely was a little nervous. When I first got onto the game, I definitely was more nervous than I thought I was going to be. I played more conservative than I thought I was going to. But as the game went on and they went on their runs and we went on ours, I got kind of used to the game and it became a lot easier. I like playing in big games and stages, so it was a lot of fun.”

On if this is a good game going forward:
“Definitely. I think any team would be happy to play the No. 1 team so early in the season. We got to see what we have to work on. I thought personally I did a lot better job taking care of the ball than I have in passed games, so this is a great game for me moving forward in the season.”

Connecticut Head Coach Geno Auriemma

On what he tried to do to stop Alyssa Thomas:
“In the first half our goal was to let her get her 30 in the first half and then see if we could shut her out in the second half, and she almost did. She came out really aggressive in the first half and made shots that we thought, ‘If she is going to make a bunch of those, that’s fine.’ She made a three, which she doesn’t normally do. I thought if we could keep her out of the lane and not get to the free throw line a lot, we would be accomplishing our goals. She is so big, so strong, and so athletic and we tried a couple different people on her, but I don’t know if one person can guard Alyssa Thomas.”

On stopping Maryland’s transition offense:
“Normally, we send a lot of people to the offensive glass. We are not very successful at offensive rebounding because our guys think every shot is going in. Today, the focus was making sure that two people were going to be back all the time. We usually only have one back, but today we made a little bit of an adjustment because of their transition game. Alyssa Thomas hurts you because she gets a rebound and starts the break herself. We did a pretty good job tonight of defending that.”

On Moriah Jefferson and Brianna Banks:
“For us to hold a team like Maryland 17 points in the half - I think that says a lot about how hard we competed on the defensive end. I said in the locker room, Moriah [Jefferson] was phenomenal tonight. I think she didn’t feel particularly happy with the way she played in the Stanford game and she put a lot of work into it the last couple days and came out and I think she set the tone for us in the second half defensively. And Brianna Banks came in and played with a lot of confidence… Tonight, those two showed the kind of players that they are.”

Sophomore Forward Breanna Stewart

On what she learned about the team after tonight’s game:
“We learned that even when we face a little adversity, obviously we have two injured players, we’re going to come out and play Connecticut basketball even if it’s a sloppy win.”

On what Moriah Jefferson brings:
“Well obviously Moriah is a very quick player. As a team we really rely on her to push the ball in transition and really get up on the guards defensively. When she does that it makes it a lot easier on us to get out on transition, run our offense, and get the other team’s offense out of sorts.”

On the process of finding new chemistry on the floor:
“I think we know, and have enough confidence in ourselves as a team to know that we are a really good team even when we’re missing two key players. It’s our mindset, we have know that we have ninr and we’re going to play with the nine that we have and we’re going to go out and win the game or at least give our best effort throughout the game.”

Junior Center Kiah Stokes

On finding out she was starting and performance tonight:
“After we got back after the Stanford game we watched film on Maryland and they had the lineup and I found out I was starting. As far as tonight, the first half I was a little nervous, a little timid, not really doing what I was supposed to be doing, but I tried to pick it up the second half.”