Rutgers vs. Duke Postgame Quotes (Round
Rutgers vs. Duke Postgame Quotes (Round 3)March 23, 2007Rutgers QuotesRutgers Coach C. Vivian StringerOverall thoughts on the game& Games like this against a great team, probably the nations best team the most important thing was that we played one day, one game and to be the best particular team at that point. Day in and day out, everyone has recognized that Duke, with Coach G and the real fine assistants that she has, has produced a team that has been on top of the world. On this day, I was just so extremely proud. Our team worked so hard. I truly believed that it was our destiny. And so for 40 minutes we sustained and won against what I consider the best team to be assembled in womens basketball in some time. The only thing I can say is wow. I am so proud of these young ladies and the young ladies in our locker room. If you think about it, it was pretty bad for us to have a 40-point loss we hurt, we hurt a lot. We hurt with all of our losses, but we never forgot. These young people that are so excited in the locker room crying, as was I, know what it means to persevere, to continue to play with each other. There are only 10, but these 10 people believed from start to finish. And it was among these 10 that we talked about, Do not blink. Because not for one second could we blink. Would you picture your team being where they are now after the 40-point loss to Duke earlier in the year? I dont forget. If the team were to reflect me, we would play and practice everyday with that loss in mind. That loss was truly embarrassing. But you can take that because Duke has truly been the nations best team consistently, everyday, all year long. I have nothing but respect for Duke and Coach Goestenkors. She has taught her players to execute with discipline. That loss hurt and we were all embarrassed. You (would) be humiliated and embarrassed and brought to your knees, but this team knew to some understanding that this is what it was going to take to really work hard and believe in your team. Just like they take tests, this became a retake for us. You need to be smart and study and you need to believe. We wanted to continue to grow and grow each and every day. Each and every day, we worked hard for this. Our steps are ordered and it is kind of ironic that we are playing Arizona State. Honestly, the greatest compliment a coach could have is to have her team reflect her. Were all fighters and we never forgot. The lessons were tough, but we learned. If you can sustain and believe and are ready to succeed, you can have this dream. Could you talk about the effectiveness of your press in the second half when you put in on? It was key because the intensions were to not give the other team time to recover. We did play a fifty-five (in the first meeting) when we played Duke but it really didnt work. Our girls had not a clue and we also knew that. We believed in it. I asked them, Are you ready for it? We then just watched people throw the ball away and eyes getting big, and our kids began to get excited about it. There will be times when we can sustain it and go for it, but we wont do it all the time. What were your thoughts as the last seconds began to unfold? First of all, it seems like a blur. We couldnt afford to foul, but needed to close it off. We knew there were three patterns that they were coming to. Lindsey Harding is the best point guard in America and no one can shoot it like Abby Waner and Alison Bales is as solid as they come and can do it all. We were looking to take the switch because we had to do whatever we (could) to keep her from the basket. However, we ended up fouling. Weve done that even in practice. I was so hurt when we fouled. Honestly though, I was thinking that the Lord did not bring us this far to have us lose with one-tenth of a second left. When she (Harding) missed the first one, I thought it was our destiny. (This) team has believed all along that we are a team of destiny. All of the signs were there for us and we took that as all systems are go. In the first half, you guys had control of the game. Do you think a lot of that was because of the containment of Alison Bales early on? Honestly, it was also Essence Carsons containment of Harding. A lot of people would have put her on Waner, but she is our national player of the year defensively. She shut down almost everyone she (has) met. Harding would have gone off on any other of our guards. Rutgers Student-Athlete QuotesPlayer 1: Matee AjavonAt the 17:36 mark of the second half, thats when Myia (McCurdy)came into the game. You guys started executing 55 and you got six points in 30 seconds. Do you think that was the point in the game where you all took control? YesMyia McCurdy did a great job playing in front of their Fifty Five, pressuring their ball handlers to make a decision whether to pass it out or control it against the guards. Myia McCurdy was big for us. You went 1-for-9 in the first half and then went off in the second half. Players always talk about being in the zone, were you in the zone in the second half and what changed at halftime? I believe that I was just confident. The team was confident in me. The shots werent going down but our word was believe and I just couldnt stop shooting although I was 1-for-9. I wasnt thinking about it like that, I was thinking, be aggressive and stick with the game plan. Player 2: Essence CarsonTalk us through the last 25 seconds of the game? At that point we had to keep saying to ourselves just believe because when you lose all faith in yourself thats when you just defeat yourself. We made a conscious effort to continue to believe throughout the entire 40 minutes. The game wasnt even over with 0.1 seconds left on the clock. At that point, we really had to go into defensive mode if we werent there early enough. We had to keep going for the ball and making smart plays and we had to attack the basket at that point. I was happy that Pip (Epiphanny Prince) made that lay-up and if she didnt I was toughin it. There was nothing that was going to keep me from getting that basket because we really wanted it in our hearts. We were just thinking dont foul, but it happens. We still had enough faith that we could still pull it off with 0.1 left and fortunately, for our part, (free throws) were missed. What was going through your head when Lindsey Harding went to the line? I just kept saying believe. With a foul like that and youre up one with basically no time left on the clock, you have to keep saying to yourself believe. If you dont, we know how the game will end. I mean maybe this year is just the year of belief for us, the year of faith, and we have to continue to have that in order to succeed.
Duke QuotesDuke Coach Gail GoestenkorsOverall thoughts on the game& Congratulations to Rutgers. They did a great job. On several occasions they were ready to pull away. They kept on clawing back. They hung around and made big plays down the stretch. I give them credit. But, I couldnt be any more proud of this team. Weve had a tremendous season and I told the team afterwards that one game does not define a season or the type of season that they have had. I dont think anybody in the country anticipated that we would have such a remarkable year. I am very proud of each and every one of them. What was going through your mind when Rutgers got the steal with 5.6 seconds left and you still had three fouls to give? I knew that we were going into a full court man press and switching on all screens. I knew we had to get a five second call or a steal because we still had too many fouls. I knew that we couldnt afford to let them inbound the ball and then foul them. We were still too far away from the bonus. If you could have hand-picked a kid from your roster to take those last two foul shots, would it have been anyone else? No, it would have been Lindsey. Shes been a great player for us all year long, Ive been so proud of her. I feel good about several of our players shooting free-throws but I love the ball in Lindseys hands, shes done a great job all year. Could you comment on the irony of Lindsey having such a great season and then ending it that way? Like I said to the team, one game does not define the season weve had, and I said to Lindsey as well, one game does not define the career she had, and certainly not this season. Shes just had an incredible career for us, specifically a year for us. Shes helped us win so many games and I just feel so much for her to end on this note because its the game shes going to remember and she just feels responsible for it, her and Allie. I told them after the game, you know, after any of our wins, youve never taken responsibility for them. You never said I won this game for my team. And I will not allow you to say I loss this game for my team. It was truly a team effort the entire season, the wins and the losses. Have you ever had two seniors that have grown as much over four years as much as Lindsey and Allison have? No, I havent. Both on the court and off the court, those two have been a joy to work with. I think every coach, your greatest pleasure is watching your players learn and grow and become all thats possible. For me, thats been a true joy, watching their growth and development over the years. Do you think that your players will accept that 32-2 is a great season? How hard is it for them to come to grips with this? Its going to be difficult, this is going to be a game theyll remember. Especially the seniors, this is going to be a game they will remember for the rest of their lives. I will do my very best to help them understand what a tremendous year this was. For the seniors, sometimes its easier for them to move on, just because they will be so busy. They have to think about the draft, the WNBA is breathing down their necks, its right around the corner. They will be so busy over the next few weeks and months that it wont give them too much time to dwell on this game, but Ill know theyll never forget it. What changed in the second half that allowed Rutgers to score with such consistency? They became very comfortable. We were doing the same things, changing up our defenses and they got into a little bit of a rhythm. They hit some tough shots as well, I think they had three three-point plays, over Allison Bales. They hit some tough shots, I think the longer they stayed with us, the more confidence they gained. Duke Student-Athlete QuotesAlison Bales:When Rutgers put the full court press on you in the second half and you (Duke) turned the ball over do you think that was the turning point in the game? Rutgers is a very athletic team and they are well known for their strong full court pressure. They (Rutgers) did a great job tonight keeping us from playing our game so I think when they started the press that definitely was the turning point in the game for them. Abby Waner:What did the Rutgers defense do to take you out of your game? They are an extremely athletic team and they had one of their guards chasing me the whole game. When we were able to get the ball to the inside Alison did such a good job but that wasnt enough to get the pressure off of me and they just werent falling down for me tonight.