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Quotes: Duke 73, Monmouth 32
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 12/30/2012
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Duke Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie
Opening Statement:
“It is great to be back. We have just had two practices and then this game, and I think certain things showed up in that area, but I really like our team’s tenacity defensively. Sometimes when the ball doesn’t go in as easily particularly in the first half I see teams get spoiled and they stop playing defense and they get very, very sloppy. One thing I have never seen is holding a team to three points at the half. I am told that ties an NCAA record and sets a new record at Duke. You are not necessarily trying to do that per se, but we were trying to be really focused on things we were trying to accomplish defensively. I am really happy that the team for 40 minutes did a lot of switching of defenses and a lot of executing and trying to work on things as the game went. Offensively I am not worried about too much of anything that wasn’t great simply because of coming off Christmas and things of that nature. It is important to learn lessons. Sometimes offense isn’t beautiful or artistic, and it certainly wasn’t in the first half.”

On Offensive Struggles in First Half:
“When you press too much. We missed a bunch of layups, I mean my god, we missed 16 layups in the first half. A lack of focus. Trying to get after it, but your body has been sort of sedentary for too long. You try to move it along but it’s not like we have had four practices and then this game. We have had two practices, Alli [Vernerey] has only had one because we gave her extra time.”

On Allison Vernerey:
“She is great, she is fine. We needed to give her some extra time at Christmas. We didn’t have the longest Christmas so we gave her an extra day, and so we brought her along slowly.”

On Richa Jackson:
“Richa [Jackson] has worked extremely hard and it has not been easy. I know she will be sore and will have to deal with issues, it is not a pain free experience to come back but she looks great out there. She is pretty hard on herself. I do not know what she expects she is supposed to leap tall buildings or whatnot, but I am thrilled with her progress and very excited. She will play more and more. Terrific rebounder, savvy player, and plays with a lot of confidence and that is an important piece at this level.”

On Current State of the Team:
“We are getting better. We are growing, we are maturing a lot, we are looking at a lot of film, much to their chagrin, but I think we are in a neat place. Obviously our conference is challenging and whatnot, and we will take one game at a time and those types of things but I like the way this team is giving in to getting better. Really wanting to figure out how to play the game at a higher level, so it is kind of a chase for us right now.”

On Substitution Pattern:
“It seemed a little dry offensively and again we take a lot of pride in our offense. The thing, I think, that disappoints us is the assists because we are a 30 assist team, we can pass the ball. We didn’t today, and that is always humbling to look at that and see. But from a substitution standpoint sometimes you need energy, you know just trying to mix it up a little bit, so I tried to do some of that today.”

On Monmouth:
“They are extremely well coached. That is a well-coached team. I realize they had different sizes of players and whatnot, but when you are talking about coming back from Christmas that is just what the doctor ordered. A real scrappy team that never quits, that stays in their defensive philosophy and can be frustrating. I think that was very good for us, to show us how we have to mature in certain areas.”

Duke Guard Tricia Liston
On the team’s defense to start the game:
“I think we were coming off of a couple of games where we didn’t play as well defensively as we had hoped. We set a goal at the beginning of the game and we were really focused on getting it. I think everybody was trying to put their energy into that. It should be there, because our offense comes to us so naturally with all the different players on our team who can score at will pretty much. We were really trying to make a statement with our defense today and create from there.”

On whether missing shots helped the team lock in defensively:
“I think it is always frustrating when you miss on offense, but then it gives you more energy to get it back on defense to go again on offense. It doesn’t add energy, but it doesn’t take away from it. You want to get it back on the other end.”

On making a statement with rebounding following the USC game:
“That was our focus right next to defense. It was good to see the numbers we did, to see the guards rebounding more. Just dominating on the boards because the ACC and our conference is so strong with that. So that was a big focus for us today.”

On Monmouth’s defensive game plan:
“They were definitely packing it into the paint, so our offense wasn’t working as easily or as quickly as we would have hoped. Some things were getting rushed and we were taking some bad shots, but once we got into our offense and got the ball reversed a little bit, we got the shots we were looking for. Their defense definitely altered our offense which can’t happen in future games because that will hurt us.”

On the upcoming game at NC State:
“We are always ready for another ACC game to make a statement and it is one step closer to the end of the year. Our goal is always to be at the top of the conference. The game last year definitely hurt us. That kind of stung a little bit so it will be nice to get another go at it.:

Duke Guard Richa Jackson
On getting back in game action following her injury:
“It feels great. I have been out for a while and it feels so amazing to get back out there and to get hit and you are fine. To get that nervousness out it feels great.”

On her energy on the floor:
“I was very excited. I have been out for a while and I know my coach has confidence in me to put me in. I just wanted to come out and play with energy, because I have been waiting a while to play again.”

Monmouth Head Coach Jenny Palmateer
Opening Statement:
“Wow, what a game. Really, great opportunity for us to be able to come to a place like Duke and play a caliber team of Duke. It really helps prepare us for our conference. We’ve been really challenging ourselves as much as we can, playing as many of the top teams as we can in the preseason to prepare for conference play. A game like this, we really struggled offensively. I think what happens is we get against a team of this caliber, size really affects our shots, it affects our passing. The speed that Duke plays with – their length and their speed and their athleticism and their quickness – it makes us operate at a speed we’re not used to having to operate at and really shows up on the offensive end more than anything else. I was really, really pleased with our defensive effort in the first half. I think they wore us down a little bit in the second half. They had a few more layups and a few more second-chance points in the second half. But overall, it’s a great opportunity for us to be able to come to a place like this and play this caliber of a team. We just tried to take as many positives out of it as we can and get ready for conference play.”

On what she told her team at halftime to motivate her players offensively:
“We got 25 shots off in the first half. It was kind of a catch-22. I felt like we were just really hesitant. With Duke, you can’t be hesitant because when you’ve got the shot, you’ve got to take it when it’s open. And then we were rushing it because they were flying out at us. We got some pretty good shots in the first half. So really, at halftime, [I said] we have to be more aggressive. We have to play with confidence on the offensive end. You’re open, take the shot. Just kind of throw caution to the wind a little bit and get a little more confident, a little less hesitant. I think we were just a little more aggressive on the offensive end in the second half.”

On the absence of leading scorer Alysha Womack due to injury:
“That’s huge. It’s huge. She’s done that for us all season long. She’s good for 15 to 20 points a game for us. And really, Lysha’s talented enough where if we’re on the offensive end and the shot clock’s going down or nothing’s happening, she can create things for us, and she can really bail us out of some offensive situations. And we miss that because we don’t really have another person on the team that can really fill that role, so to speak. And so other people are just having to try to step up and really hit some shots that they’re not used to being counted on.”

“She should be ready for conference. She hyperextended her knee. It was the same knee that she had surgery on last season. And so it really aggravated the exact same spot. There’s no ligament damage, tendon damage, anything like that. She got a cortisone shot a couple days ago and she had to sit out of our last game in Manhattan. Today was a game day decision, and we just decided to take advantage of a couple extra days and have her ready for our first conference game.”

On holding Duke to a season-low 29 points in the first half:
“We played great team defense. They are a lot bigger, a lot stronger. We knew that we had to keep them in front of us as much as possible – try to make them at least take shots over us versus getting wide-open layups. We knew we had to be one-and-done so were really focused on trying to limit their second-chance points. Really, played a little bit of a sagging man. And they have great three-point shooters, so that was really tough. But we tried to really be keyed in and focused when they were penetrating and give them a step or two. As soon as they got their eyes and shooting motion going, then close out as best we could. But I thought we played just really good team defense in the second half.”

On whether she feels her team is capable of replicating last year’s success:
“I do, I really do. People probably think I’m crazy sometimes with our non-conference schedule. We really do play a lot of top-notch teams. But we try to play teams that are going to show us something different. Duke does such a great job with all their defensive schemes – it’s unbelievable. They have a 2-2-1 full-court press, they have a 1-2-1-1, they have a 3-2 zone offense, they play man, they trap – they do everything. And some other teams, same thing. But we want to try to get experience with everything and anything we could possibly see in conference. And I feel like we’ve done that, I really do feel like we’ve done that. And we will take from this game. We’re really proud of the fact that we were able to hold them to 29 points in the first half. And so we’ll build off of that defensively. We just along the way try to pick out the positives, and it shows us our weaknesses.”