Semifinal #1 - No. 2 Duke 74, No. 3 St. John's 47, 3/24/12
Duke University (27-5)
- Joanne P. McCallie, Duke, Head Coach
"I'm proud of our team; it was a great team effort. Everybody really fed off of each other. A little bit of a slow start, but then a nice refocus with everybody contributing, playing aggressive defense, and even better defense in the second half which is also a very important thing. I thought Shay was fantastic as a senior for us. She started her game defensively doing such a great job, their point guard is very talented and then just letting her offensive game come through in a variety of ways. Chelsea was pretty amazing, eight steals is a terrific stat and shows Chelsea's aggressiveness and what she was doing on the floor. I thought Elizabeth, again, was working hard to get the ball, being very, very aggressive and feeding off of her teammates as well. Good game for us, a lot of very good things out of it and lots of things we can build on for next."
Tell us about your decision to switch to the zone?
"Steven's is an excellent player and she was tough to stop, I can't say we really did stop her. For us, it was just a changeup. We got off to a slow start and I thought that we needed to mix it up a little bit. I didn't know how long we would go with the change, or change back, you don't really know until you're out there. I thought our team did a pretty good job and I was concerned too that Haley Peters had two fouls, how long to sit her and also to provide some sort of support for her to come back in. Those things cross your mind a little bit and I think it's really important to be a multiple defensive team. This team has really shown that, especially as of late."
You started slow, but found a way to pick it up later in the first half...
"They (St. John's) did a great job, they had a great start. I don't know, at this point and time it's not that you get worried, it's part of the game. They were doing things that we knew they would do, but we weren't stopping them. So the good news was we knew what they would do, especially with their isolation of #3 in the high post, she's a pretty special player, we weren't stopping that very well. But we knew what they were doing and that's always good to know that and then try to adjust and I thought our team adjusted very well. But their #3, she's a senior and you can sure tell.
- Chelsea Gray, Duke, Student-Athlete
What fueled the momentum Stevens being out or switching to a zone?
"Stevens is a vital part of their offense and the whole team in general, but I thought it was a good move by us to go into zone ...we were trying to take away the high post."
- Elizabeth Williams, Duke, Student-Athlete
At this point there's not necessarily an easy game. We put ourselves in a position where we were scoring more from our stops...I don't think it really matters who we play next, I mean we'll see and we'll play as hard as we can...
- Shay Selby, Duke, Student-Athlete
"This is my last go around so I want to go out with a bang and let my energy trickle down to other players. I think we're just having fun at this point. It's nice to get everyone playing together and just be out there getting steals and playing good defense."
Is this team coming together at the right time?
Yes, definitely. You know I think even from our first tournament game we were a completely different team all season. We finally put things together and it's certainly at the right time.
No. 3 St. John's 47 (24-10)
- Coach Kim Barnes Arico, St. John's, Head Coach
"I thought we had a tough game tonight, obviously and Duke is an excellent basketball program and they played exceptionally well tonight and they forced us into a lot of turnovers which caused some easy baskets for them and took us out of our game. It's been the best season for our program in its history. It tough, if you don't win the championship, you end on a losing note and I was hoping we would perform a little better. We came out of the gates great, but they really switched their defense and that really gave us some problems. I wish them luck in moving forward."
Zone or fouls on Da'Shena, which is more difficult for your team?
"Well, Da'Shena is our strength in the zone and when we don't have her in there it is really difficult to score. She flashes in the middle and you saw how impressive she was in the beginning of the game. She really is our go-to girl in the middle of the zone. Even if she isn't scoring she is opening up the floor. She had 5 assists for us tonight so I really think that was the turning point she they took her out. They also went to the zone, which gave us difficulty with them being more up top, but I do feel that if we would have had Da'Shena in, it would have helped things."
Was there anything while watching Duke that surprised you?
"Their ability to score from multiple positions and we knew that coming off of their last game, but they are playing exceptionally well right now. You really stretched with our team really stretched their point guard, but their other players are really stepping up and scoring and I think when you have multiple people that can score to harder to defend. Our key was to help off Shelby with 18 points and 17 assists. She had a heck of a night, and I just think they can really score the basketball and that makes a difference."
- Da'Shena Stevens, St. John's, Student-Athlete
What was it about Duke that gave your team such a hard time?
They have some defenders that are pretty tall so I think that was kind of frustrating for us and caused a lot of turnovers so we couldn't really get the ball inside as much. Once we started to get inside and move in, it was great for us but then we couldn't get any stops.
What this tournament has meant to you?
"It has really meant a lot to me. Just from where I have come from and in the beginning of the season not being able to play and then coming here to the Sweet Sixteen and having success with these ladies during my last year. It has been a great opportunity for me and it has been really special and I am glad I was able to come back in and finish off the season and perform with these ladies. I am really proud of that."
Nadirah McKenith, St. John's, Student-Athlete
What did Duke do defensively that caused trouble for your team?
Like Da'Shena said, they had great defenders that were on top of their zone. It was kind of difficult for me to pass the ball inside to the post players or to the top of the zone because they were taller and I couldn't see over their defenders.