Duke Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie
"I'm proud of our team's effort and I think the second half was more of a focused effort for us. I think the game was another physical battle in the ACC and I like the fact that we kept #31 in check a little bit in the second half that was important to us because she's such a good player. I love that we were aggressive and got to the line a lot, that's important to us. And I thought that Chelsea [Gray]'s leadership was just terrific, along with Tricia [Liston] and going off of each other, playing very well together. We've taken a lot of hits this year with different things happening. Richa [Jackson]'s out now and it's starting to really get you fired up a little bit. That's three potential starters when you think about it, Amber [Henson], Chloe [Wells], and Richa."
On Virginia Tech fighting back early on
"We weren't surprised. Teams like that have nothing to lose at this time of year."
On Duke maintaining the lead
"I just thought Chelsea showed great poise and decision making. I thought that Tricia really stepped up and hit some key shots. Just think the game isn't an automatic thing, you've got to play the game. We weren't sharp in some areas, and in some areas we were better. I really thought we grew as a team. I think you can't underestimate losing a player to an injury and the effect that has. You have to really defy human instinct, because unfortunately what that does is make empathy come out, and you don't want empathy when you're competing, and I thought it was extraordinary what our team did to overcome that. So they defied human nature really."
On Duke's defensive effort
"I'm very pleased. I think we should've scored a lot more points, and I think we rushed some shots. I'm not sure our balance was always there. 35% is very low for us, and some of the credit you have to give to Virginia Tech, but I also think that we were off balance and throwing some stuff up. But to hold another team to 31% and make sure they don't score is an important thing to do. You'll always have those games where things aren't going as smooth and you've got to stop people. And I'm very happy to see the team execute and get some good stops."
On moving Allison Vernerey to play up top
"We just kind of started moving her around, maybe midway through, because she has so much energy and she does do a great job. She's learning it more and more, and she doesn't have a lot of the experience of 2 or 3 years doing it, but she's ranging, she gets five rebounds in 13 minutes, and she does a lot for us. She has an important role for us in that way to play that top and the top of the presses. I think she's doing a great job and it helps us be a lot longer and more effective rebounding wise. I also thought Haley [Peters] was terrific rebounding, and Elizabeth [Williams] getting in there battling was great."
On Kathleen Scheer's energy
"That's who the team picked in the locker room. If everybody had Scheer's energy, we'd be really good."
On spreading offense to the outside and getting good looks
"I think Elizabeth draws a lot of attention. We were reversing the ball and seeing weak sides, not trying to dribble as much at key points. I thought Elizabeth got hit a lot, and she gets hit a lot. I know she shot some free throws but she takes an awful beating in there. You're not supposed to be allowed to beat on the side of somebody and she gets an awful lot of that. She handles that very, very well. And I thought Chelsea and Tricia in particular in the second half ran stuff, and found stuff, and worked around it, and worked within it."
On having a young team
"I think age is in the eye of the beholder. They're getting very seasoned to me in experience and I would call them a very seasoned bunch. The adversity we're facing is overwhelming. I've never seen anything like that in 20 years. You start a season and then you've got three players down, I don't know where that's happened anywhere. So I'm bothered by that, because I like the idea of everybody being able to do their thing. Now it's a real bunker mentality. But they're very seasoned, and it's very competitive, and these games are hard. This time of year you've got people playing more freely because nothing is riding on their games, and people are playing better. I feel to some degree we're playing better in some areas, and in other area we're trying to elevate those. It's hard to get them all in a game. We got some things done in this game which was good, and now we've got to keep moving."
On the effect Richa's injury will have to the rotation
"It's interesting. We have a couple of different options there. You're looking at a huge opportunity for Ka'lia Johnson and a huge opportunity for Kathleen Scheer to get in the rotation and go big. It's just an opportunity for others to really step up. I think in that way when you're looking at the positive side that's always very exciting. Kathleen's very important to us. I think the key is also to the team and ushering in those people quickly. Giving each other confidence if they miss a couple of shots. They've got to usher them in quickly and make them look really good. Meaning helping them along for playing time that's going to expand. There's a lot of playing time that's now got to get picked up."
On Ka'lia developing as a player and playing without fear
"I think Ka'lia's coming along. She's been working hard and has a lot to learn. The intensity and speed of the game and things like that. Allison becomes a factor. Everyone becomes a factor in terms of how they can help. It just tells everyone to narrow their focus and bring what they can bring. You've got to bring what you've got. If you're powerful beyond measure and you've got a lot to bring, you need to bring it. You can't sit there and say 'Well, I'll get you next time.' So that's an important piece for everybody, but that's what great teams do. Great teams squeeze it out of everybody. So we're excited about that. And I'm excited for them, trying to be positive about something that we don't control."
On changing things when the depth takes a hit
"At this point, no I don't think so. But we're getting close to that point. We've got to really stay healthy and be ready and alert. Elizabeth played 38, Chelsea played 32. I want those players that are capable of great things to want to play. I want people to be able to play 40 minutes. There are a lot of teams out there where people play 38 and 40 minutes. The best players and All-Americans play 38 and 40 minutes. So we've been spreading that a little bit, Chelsea's been down to 32 minutes, so it's kind of an opportunity for everybody. Whether you're a player that's playing a lot of minutes or not, I think it's really important to go hard and go for a long period of time."Sophomore Guard Chelsea Gray
On how much of a distraction it was to see Richa Jackson injured:
"It hurts when you see a player down. You're like, 'Get up. I know you're gonna get up. Get up,' and when she didn't we were just like, 'The rest of this game, we're playing for her.'"
On what she was looking for playing away from the physical play:
"Once we got the ball in, I knew they were gonna collapse and then we'd get the ball out. We were just running sets that would make the ball go in and then come back out, and that's when Tricia [Liston] hit those two big threes and gave us momentum."
On what the team needs to do in the next game against Maryland that they didn't do the first time:
"I would say play some defense. Credit to Maryland, they did an excellent job on the offensive side, but we also didn't play any defense as well; just putting your mind set that we need to get stops."
On how the away crowd at Kentucky will prepare the team for the game at Maryland
"Our schedule does a good job of preparing us for these types of games. We'll prepare for it."
On how the team has improved its defense since the last time against Maryland:
"We've put in our heads that we have to get stops. We're not going to go anywhere if we don't get stops and we don't play any defense. Some nights, the offense isn't going to be there; shots that fell in that game won't fall, and we have to resort back to defense."
Sophomore Guard Tricia Liston
On what Kathleen Scheer brought to the game:
"Leener's [Scheer] a hustle player. She always does the dirty work like that. I think we can all learn from that, but even though [she had] four rebounds, she still had a bunch of tips on boards that went to 'E' [Elizabeth Williams] and 'E' got put-backs, or that we ended up getting the ball from because of her hustle and energy, so I think she really does a great job with getting to the boards, tips, loose balls and all of that."
On what's getting her through the adversity caused by injuries to teammates:
"My teammates. We're all together. Just doing it for them. Once Chloe [Wells] was out, we all felt bad and missed her being around, and we just bring that onto the court, and now it's Richa [Jackson]. I think we're going to do the same thing because we gotta play because they can't, and we just have to take that in mind. Coach [McCallie] said something in the locker room like, 'Nothing is guaranteed. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us and that's the way that we need to start playing now, until the end of the season."
Virginia Tech Head Coach Dennis Wolff
"I thought that from our standpoint, our kids played hard. I told them in the locker room that if we can play this hard, and try to eliminate the periods where we make mental mistakes, then we can hang in a little bit longer with a team as good as that. I know they were not at the top of their game, but from our standpoint I thought our kids played hard."
On having confidence from winning a road game against Maryland
"I think it gives you some confidence but I think it's a situation where every one of these games has its own life. I think you have to move on to the next game and try to prepare the best you can. I thought that double teaming [Elizabeth] Williams in the post, particularly early on in the game, unsettled her a little bit and gave us a little bit of strength on some of the defensive possessions for us, but they are a poised team and they make good plays."
On playing against Duke's 2-3 zone defense
"They have good size and when they put the big girl at the top of it, it caused some problems. Their length bothered us, but I thought Aerial [Wilson] did a nice job. In the case of almost all of our players, our perimeter players particularly, they very rarely get a rest, so as the game goes on, they get worn down. Joanne [McCallie] did a good thing and that bothered us."
On how Duke's press and zone defense changed the tempo of the game
"I thought we handled their pressure pretty well early in the game. I thought that we were able to play forward and that helped us. In the second half they didn't press us quite as much, and when they went into the matchup zone or matched up a little further out that caused the struggle. We ended up playing way more side-to-side as opposed to north-south."
On seeming to outscore Duke in second chance points
"I'm not sure I would agree with that. I think they got a lot of 50/50 balls that ended up in fouls, and they ended up being on the foul line a lot."
On the team's effort
"This season is going to end for our team, and I'm going to tell the kids, regardless of what happens in the rest of the games, these kids have played with the same effort that you saw tonight. We just played Monday night, and we lost a tough game at home. The kids played hard again, I have absolutely no complaints. I would like a little bit better execution, but every coach would. The effort has been consistent all year. There are times we don't play good basketball but it's not because the kids aren't trying."
Virginia Tech Guard Aerial Wilson
On scoring the first 11 points for Virginia Tech
"I felt like I was getting a lot of open looks and in the beginning I just shot it with confidence. And I mean as the game got going you get a little fatigue, so you lose your legs and start shooting with your arms, but I think I was getting some good looks."
On 1 on 1
"Just attack, if I see an opening, I just go. If someone's open I pass it."
On the tempo of the game
"Like Coach said, we weren't attacking and go north and south."