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Notes: Oregon 74, Duke 65
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 03/20/2017
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Joanne P. McCallie, Duke Head Coach:

Opening Statement:
“Just, obviously a tough, very physical and excellent game. I thought we fought very hard as a team. I think it’s important to compliment Oregon for how they played. They had more players step up and play across the board. They had better balance with 20 assists and they played more of a full 40 [minutes]. I didn’t particularly appreciate our first half. I thought we rushed and didn’t do the things we needed, but I really appreciated our second half and our fight by our team. We’re very grateful to Oderah [Chidom] and Kendall [Cooper] as seniors for their fight and they way they really stepped up in the second half when we needed it. Obviously from Lexie [Brown]’s point of view, I thought Lexie played extremely hard, had a very strong game, attacked and did many, many things out there that needed to be done and sometimes needed to be done by two people, not just one. Again, to Oregon, I congragulate them. They’re a terrific team. They’re kind of playing against all odds when you think about their ages, but their productivity certainly doesn’t reflect that. So we’ll learn from this. We had an opportunity, we didn’t take full advantage of it. It hurts. We’ll just try to learn from here.”

On Oregon attacking Duke’s defense:
“I think you see three different people with six, five and six assists. Those guards deserve a lot of credit. They worked the ball well, the three of them together and created. There were stops, obviously, that we didn’t make, whether they could penetrate and kick or passes around the perimeter. So I do think it was a clean game in a lot of ways. Not too many turnovers overall, but they were playmaking well and had more playmaking than we had. Lexie had six assists. That was fantastic, but it was a big drop from there. You have to give them credit for that; they’re a very good team. They’re not an exceptionally deep team, but they do a lot with their first six or seven. We just didn’t rotate as quickly or do some of the things that we need to do.”

On Duke’s second half improvement:
“It’s kind of interesting you point that out. The shooting 30 percent and 31 percent in the first two quarters was abysmal, as you realized. We shot 54 percent in the third. I made no technical adjustment, zero. I just asked them, ‘Could we slow down? Are we done with all that?’ We just rushed. It was just too, too much in the first half. I don’t know how to say it, just too much rushing, too much shooting not with good balance. There were just some key things and that can get contagious. The only thing I talked about at halftime was poise and slowing down. Could we stop with all that and just be who we are and do what we do. I think that was some kind of overcompensation that I didn’t, didn’t want to see and didn’t want to understand. Fourth quarter, 43 percent [shooting], wasn’t great. We were, unfortunately, a second half team all year. We continued to be a second half team in this game, but that’s not enough. These are some good teams. These are all really good teams, so you need to be a full 40-minute team. We won some of the categories, you know, points in the paint and other things, but it’s got to be a full 40. I would tell you we played about 20, maybe 20 minutes of this game.”

On Duke’s season:
“Gosh, that’s a lot right now. We’re trying to digest this, but I will say I’m very proud of this team. This team has been really fun to coach, really fun to coach. I mean, I thought we did a lot of great things this year. I’ll have to think about it, look at it. Defensively, it was great to be a dominant defensive team in the ACC because the ACC is so strong. We had some great times where we rose as a team, had to fight back. I just love that, you know. The lessons learned here for these kids [are]: adversity, events outside of your control, things that happen in life that seem very unfair or wrong or whatever you say, but yet, they found a way to come together uniquely. I think, you know from a standpoint of the team coming together, it’s hard to believe that Lexie’s only played for us one year when you think about what she does. You can’t take those kind of things for granted, the way she assimilated so quickly. You know, Becca [Greenwell]’s game and how she improved off the bounce, her rebounding. I mean, I could go right through the list. Kyra [Lambert], you know Kyra was a take-on artist, but then more of a shooter. She stepped up as one of our best defenders. You know, Crystal [Primm] off the bench today, I can’t say enough about what she did. She’s been injured, got a sore leg. It’s a problem, but yet she’s found a way to really help her team. The seniors finding their way along. Erin [Mathias]’s improvement from last year to this year. Ducky [Leaonna Odom], you know, it wasn’t a great game for her I guess tonight, but Ducky’s just always a threat. And so all of them Faith [Suggs] as well. I mean, you know, Lynee [Belton] was really coming on strong and then she had that situation with her knee. They just all kept coming, you know, and kept rising, kept going and finding ways. And I guess that’s the thing I’ll take from this season and enjoy. I guess that occurs at a banquet, you know. Right now we’re hurting. We feel we could have won this game. We can’t really talk about that. It’s not really appropriate now, but it’s tough to take. And our crowd, you know, the people that have come and supported us, and we’ve done so well at Cameron. It’s been a special place to play. It’s just a lot of things and there is a whole lot of lessons, whoa, that will apply to next season relative to these experiences. A whole lot.”

Lexie Brown
, Duke #4 Guard:

On the ball handling responsibilities:
“I don’t really think it changed at all. I usually handle the ball a lot. The only thing that changed is we had many fewer options on the outside. Kyra [Lambert] is a huge part of that and is a threat on the outside. I personally wasn’t bothered by having to handle the ball that much. We just had to make things happen on offense. We weren’t making shots. We were getting any shot we wanted, and some of them weren’t going down.”

On going uphill defending Oregon’s perimeter-style offense:
“I wouldn’t say uphill. Oregon is a great team and one of the top three-point shooting teams in the country. We knew that going in. Kyra [Lambert] was one of our best perimeter defenders, so you have to factor that into our defense. I thought that we held them in check at times and then at times we had breakdowns defensively.”

Oderah Chidom, Duke #22 Forward:

On going uphill defending Oregon’s perimeter style offense:
“Oregon is a great team. They made a lot of great shots. I thought our defense was there when we needed to be, they just had a lot of tough shots.”

Kelly Graves, Oregon Head Coach:

Opening Statement:
“First of all, I just want to congratulate Coach [Joanne P.] McCallie on a great year. That Duke team is phenomenal. I know they were a little short-handed tonight, but they played a tough game. [There’s] no doubt about it, she does such a good job. Again, I’m just proud of this group. They’ve shown a lot of resilience this weekend. They played super hard, but what I’ve been most impressed with quite frankly is the poise they’ve been playing with down the stretch. Just making big plays at both ends of the floor and we’re just really excited to be moving on.”

On offensive efficiency:
“Well we wanted to spread them out. That matchup zone is something we haven’t seen at all this year and so like Ruthy [Hebard] said, we wanted to play through the high post. We did that a lot and just spaced those shooters out; then they had to pick their poison. It’s either one-on-one on Ruthy inside or they stay a little bit closer to the shooters. I thought our kids did a great job of kicking it out to the shooters and then making that extra pass. We didn’t have our best shooting night, and we were still able to put up 74 points. That was impressive. But, that’s kind of how we play. We don’t have a lot of playmakers in terms of somebody who can break the defense down. We have to be efficient in terms of moving the ball, so we are always going to have a higher assist percentage.”

On young talent and team’s potential:
“It’s funny, we never really put a goal on how far we can go just because we didn’t really know what we had. We’ve kind of attacked the entire season as just a work in progress, let’s get better today than we were yesterday and continue to improve. I think with a young team you have to do that. That’s all that they can really focus on and that’s what we’ve done. We continue to get better. I think right from day one we were telling people, and you can ask some of the local writers, that we figured we were going to be a tough out by the end of the year because of the growth potential that we had. It was greater than a lot of teams’ just because we had so many new kids. I don’t want to put a limit on them now; I don’t know. You mentioned house money earlier, and maybe that’s a good way to put it, we are playing with house money.”

On the impact of Pac-12 play on preparation for the tournament:
“We talked about that coming into the tournament, that the Pac-12 play and the season prepared us for this moment. Duke is a great team, there’s no question about it. But so is Oregon State, who we had to play twice. Stanford, who we had to play twice, and they were a two seed. Washington we played a couple times and they were a three seed. UCLA was a four seed. Night in and night out, I think that’s what made these guys better. They couldn’t take a night off, they had to perform each and every night. I do credit the Pac-12 play with making us better and preparing us for this moment tonight.”

On execution of game plan:
“We had a couple of keys going in and we wanted to make Lexie [Brown] work. Lexie is a great player. She is truly a great player so we wanted to just make her work for everything she got, whereas [Rebecca] Greenwell can’t create her own shot as well, so we just made sure that wherever she was at, we had somebody on her. We chased over every screen. We helped when we needed to. I thought our kids did a good job communicating, so it was just a focus thing. If we made them make twos, we knew we were in for a good night.”

Ruthy Hebard, Oregon #24 Forward:

On the offensive game plan coming in, especially how it pertained to her:
“I think the game plan was just to play through the high post. We would always have open shooters and inside, so I just tried to be strong with the ball and do what I do. When I was open, do my work early and just go to work.”

On the mindset of the team coming into this game:
“We didn’t want it to be our last game. We knew Duke was good. They made it this far and we just wanted to come in and hopefully get another game. That’s what we did.”

On how they limited the impact of Rebecca Greenwell and Leaonna Odom:
“We just knew they were both phenomenal players. Like Coach [Kelly Graves] always says, when there are good players, it is not just one person guarding them, it is the whole Ducks guarding them. I think that’s what we did.”

On the efforts in getting loose balls and how that contributed to the win:
“We just had to compete. We knew the 50-50 balls would be big. The toughest team and the one that wants it the most is going to get the ball and that’s what we did tonight.”

On what they take away from this game moving forward:
“I think what we are all going to take is that we have got to play our hardest. No one is guaranteed a spot. Seeds don’t really mean anything. We are all going to come out and play our hardest and hopefully we will keep winning."

Lexi Bando, Oregon #10 Guard:

On what the gameplan called for that had her keep shooting:
“My team was behind me the whole way. And the coaches were just saying ‘keep shooting Bando. You make them everyday in practice. That’s what you do. And just believe in it.’ Having them behind me on that, that is just what kept my confidence up. And Sabrina [Ionescu] getting mad at me fired me up.”

On the mindset of the team coming into this game:
“Honestly, we just came out and played our hearts out. We said ‘we have nothing to lose and let’s just go give it our all.’ And that’s just what did tonight.”

On how they limited the impact of Rebecca Greenwell and Leaonna Odom:
“I mostly guarded [Rebecca] Greenwell and, just being a shooter, you just have to chase. And we played such good team defense. I think that was one of our best defensive games. It was just a full team effort and we really locked in tonight.”

On the efforts in getting loose balls and how that contributed to the win:
“That’s what changes the game. Whoever wins those 50-50 balls, that’s who is going to change the game. We were lucky to come up with them and we just made things happen out of it.”

On Maite Cazorla’s effort in the game and how she played:
“Maite [Cazorla] did an incredible job tonight. She’s our best defensive player, but then on the other hand, she was making big offensive plays for us. Hitting the three ball, driving and dishing the ball to [Ruthy Hebard]. She played an amazing game tonight.”

On what they take away from this game moving forward:
“We’re just super excited to be going to the Sweet Sixteen. It’s just an awesome experience and we are going to give it our all.”