DePaul Postgame Quotes
No. 2 DePaul vs. No. 3 Notre Dame
Game 14 – Semifinal Round, March 7, 2011
XL Center – Hartford, Conn.
Head Coach Doug Bruno
“Notre Dame is a very good basketball team. We got beat by one of the best teams in the country. I love my team, I love the way my team plays out there. We didn't make enough stops down the stretch with the same stops we made in the first half of last week. We had a tough time inside tonight. We usually get more done inside, and didn't get a lot done inside tonight. It's tough to win when you don't have balance. Keisha (Hampton) showed why she's a first team All‑American. She did a great job of helping us scratch points any which way we could. But we are at our best when we have inside-outside balance cooking, and we were never able to get anything going inside. Sam (Quigley) was her normal, tough self. Again, I just love this basketball team. Hopefully the crash and burn experience from one-and-out basketball that's taken place tonight will get us prepared for the crash and burn, one-and-out tournament that starts a week from Saturday.”
There are more games to play, obviously. For (Keisha) Hampton to have this kind of a game and a post‑season setting, is there value in that moving forward for her?
“Absolutely there's value. These tournaments, you want to win every game you play and you want to win these tournaments. It is experienced one-and-out basketball, and that is what the NCAA Tournament is. It's what makes the NCAA Tournament the great tournament, the great sporting event in America. Fans love it. Media loves it. And it's great for the fans and media because you get to prognosticate who is in and who is out. And you get to prognosticate who is going to be where and all these games are lined up. Except for one team on the men's side or one team on the women's side, everybody else has a crash and burn experience.
So it's one-and-out, and that's why it's such a great tournament. So this is absolutely practice for that. This is the kind of game that you're going to play every game from this point forward. It's going to be this kind of a close basketball game, a tough basketball game. A basketball game that's going to come down to a couple of possessions just like it did eight days ago, and we were on top. It came down to a couple of possessions today when we weren't on top.
That's why it is of value because there still is basketball to be played. It's always of value. This is a great group of players and they've committed themselves very strongly over the last five years to do well in the postseason. So it's really why it is such a valuable experience.
Notre Dame is a great rivalry, and something that goes back to Coach Ray Meyer having played at Notre Dame. I don't know if people realized that, but he was a captain at Notre Dame and an assistant coach when George Mica was at Notre Dame. That's how he got to DePaul. So this thing goes deeper than these five games. Dave Corzine sitting back there had some great rivalries against Digger.
So this has just carried over to the women's side. When you are in the Midwest, the three Catholic schools between Milwaukee, with Marquette, DePaul in Chicago, and Notre Dame in South Bend, it's a Catholic three‑team mini league, if you will. So it's a great rivalry, and these players understand the intensity of the rivalry. It always means more than just another college basketball game.”
When you played at Connecticut, you made a comment in the postgame that still stuck with me was that you had felt that you hadn't gotten it right in getting your team to peak towards the postseason. Do you feel this team is peaking at the right time to head into the NCAA Tournament? Did you get it right this time?
“I feel like we're in the process of getting it right, for sure that we're getting better. We still are getting better. That's important that you never quit on getting better. But truly, once you know you've peaked ‑‑ you don't know until the season's over. When you look back at the season and say maybe that game on January 30th is our best game. Maybe that game on February 28th was our best game. So you really don't know if you've peaked or not until everything is over. Notre Dame did a great job of taking us out of our inside game tonight. Thus Keisha had to step up, and she stepped up beautifully tonight.
At the same time when you look down, we had nine assists. Usually we have 20 assists, 21, 22 assists. We want to put the ball in Keisha's hands all year. We'll always be happy to put the ball in Keisha's hands and we wanted to put it in her hands at the end of the basketball game as well. It's not what we do totally as a team. We do more as a unit, and more out of our inside game. That's why I'm answering this the long way about the peak. I still think we can peak. There is a reason Coach Auriemma voted for Felicia Chester for Player of the Year in this league.
She still gave her blood, guts and soul to this game tonight. It's just that we weren't productive enough getting her going inside, and Notre Dame deserves a lot of credit for that.”
Can you talk about the impact that (Natalie) Achonwa had today? Can Notre Dame change up its strategy on the inside game?
“We ran something in the first play of the game, and they backside helped her. You know, that's what they pretty much stayed with. We were just trying to spread the floor and still had opportunities to get the ball in there. We did get the ball in there. You've got to knock it down. You give them roots and you give them wings.
When the game starts, they have to have wings and fly. You get them the ball and they have to make plays. When it's over with and they win, these guys made all the plays. When it's over and we didn't win, I'm bound to be the idiot that didn't get it organized right. Because that is the way it works in the sport.
At any rate, I just really think that's a huge part of the game. To be asked about it strategically, we weren't getting inside in the first half either. We didn't have anything going in the first half, second half at halftime we discussed it. We've got to get something going inside there. We just can't count on dribble penetration and throwing them in from downtown, even though we do that well. You still have to have some balance going on here. And we never were able to pick up the basket.
We still win this game if we make some clutch stops. In the first half, we got to a point in the first half that we started this game nine down and went in six up. We 15‑point swung this thing in the first half. We got into a rhythm defensively where we were one-and-outing them and making plays defensively would help people and scramble them, picking up loose balls.
That didn't happen nearly as consistently in the second half. Once we get through talking about getting the ball inside and having a balance, you've got to still make stops in this game. We had some stops. A lot of stops made in the second half, we didn't end up with the basketball. And they ended up with the basketball after we rotated, made the stop and got the ball. Then they're knocking it down, and that is where you're scrambling and where the free throws come from. With all of that going on, we still make a stop here in the end of the game, our two stops at the end of the game, and our one-and-outs and we still can win this basketball game not having our inside game going. We can see when everything isn't going to be rosy. That's what the tournament's all about. Making it ugly. You'd like it to be pretty in the tournament time, but it's often ugly.”
Senior Guard Sam Quigley
Sam, you spent the last eight minutes of the first half on the bench, and your team took over and made some shots to get things going. Was it tough to watch that happening because you couldn't be out there? Or was it a blessing in disguise because they were playing so well at that point?
“I think it was a little bit of both. Not being on the floor, you feel like you're not helping very much. But I tried to help them out, and Deirdre had defense. We were running because we were changing it up a lot. So I tried to help as much as I could.”
What happened on the last play when they got the turnover and they got the 10 seconds left? What were you trying to do, and what happened on that play?
“We were trying to get the ball up high, get to the top and make a play. (Brittany) Mallory defended me really well, got to my body. She caused a turnover. Keisha (Hampton), she caused a turnover. We're both equal as players.”
Sam, can you talk about the rivalry with Notre Dame. It seems to have become one of the top rivalries in women's basketball, at least in the Midwest.
“Yeah, I think just the distance between our two schools is big. We're one of the two teams in the BIG EAST that are in the Midwest. So that rivalry has always been there. It's really competitive and always fun to play them because they're always really good.”
Junior Forward Keisha Hampton
Keisha, 31 points, you made 11 of them and did it in a variety of ways. Were you feeling anything special tonight? You knew you had to step up. What was your mindset going in?
“I only had 31 points. But, I mean, it's still a team game. My teammates found me when I was open, you know, Felicia, Sam, Katherine, Anna. They helped me. I just didn't get them by myself. They all did things to contribute to what I did tonight. I just did it in various ways trying to get to the lane and shoot the three, post up. Whatever I could do to help my team win.”
“I think we showed up where it really counted. We showed a lot of heart. Before the game, even coming into the game, we knew that we needed revenge. We needed to get them back for last week. It slipped away from us last week and we weren’t going to let that happen this week. I just tried to be physical, tried to shut down (Felicia) Chester. We worked on trapping her, double-teaming her, Devereaux and I coming over for the trap. We took her out of the game. She didn’t score at all. Like Coach said, Hampton did work. But that was a defensive goal for us, and we achieved that along with the win.”