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Quotes: Duke 65, North Carolina 58
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 03/03/2013
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Duke Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie
Opening Statement:
“I’m just really proud of our team and the fight, particularly in the second half. It was sort of a very physical game on both sides. I think in the first half we weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be. We weren’t as attacking as we needed to be and we weren’t to me dictating like you’d like to do in a physical game. But second half I felt the energy was high. I thought [Alexis Jones] did an incredible job managing when she could go and when she couldn’t go and getting to the line and creating there. I thought Elizabeth [Williams] demanded the ball, was a force on defense with five blocks and again just had a great deal of confidence attacking. Again, it wasn’t a pretty game. Anytime you have that many turnovers you kind of want to wipe that out on the stat sheet. But it’s just not about pretty this time of year. We concluded a very fine season. The regular season is now done and this team is spectacular for what they’ve done in the regular season considering some of the issues we’ve dealt with and now we start a brand new season. So on Wednesday when we get back it’s a brand new season. It’s exciting in its own right and with a lot of great lessons from this one.”

On Alexis Jones’s play:
“It was great [to see Alexis play this way today.] Alexis is a very, very talented player. She’s one of the very best and certainly one of the best freshmen in the country, but also one of the best guards in the league. I think that part of this is her knowing that and understanding what she can do in terms of changing the tempo of a game. We loved her getting to the line. Thirty-four minutes, that’s a lot of minutes to play, but not too many minutes and that’s just great experience of Alexis and I’m very proud of that. We’re still a work in progress. It’s a long season and it’s hard to keep up with them. When Chelsea [Gray] goes out it’s a brand new season, but yet we finish out a strong regular season and now we head into the next one with the tournament. I just think Alexis is getting better every single game and she’s getting a feel by being out on the floor and directing things.

On Ka’lia Johnson’s play off the bench:
“Ka’lia came off the bench [and gave us] great rebounds, spark, energy and confidence. That’s important. That’s very important for us heading into the next season to develop a little bit of depth in the guard spots, particularly in the rebounding spots. They had 28 offensive rebounds. That can’t be even though that’s what they do. They shoot, miss and try to get it a lot of times we have to do a better job. I like how Ka’lia brings strong body, a strong mind into the rebounding category and then of course all the things she can do offensively as well.”

On Chloe Wells drawing a fifth foul on Waltiea Rolle:
“That was a huge play and it was a toughness play. The smallest player on the floor going after the biggest player on the floor and coming out with that.... Rolle is a very, very good player and getting her into foul trouble that changes the nature of the game a little bit for what she can do. I thought that was a great, great play.”

On Duke answering North Carolina’s early second half run:
“It’s a long game, a lot of plays, a lot of things happen. You have to keep your composure, keep your poise and I thought the team did that very much. Again, the difference in the second half was, even though they took a six-point lead, I thought we were playing more physical. We were more focused and physical at that time so it was a long game, a long way to go at that point. I don’t think we were too worried about that, we just needed to keep doing what we do.”

On team defense in the second half:
“I think just playing smart, hustling. Whatever defense we played it was the players playing the defense, communicating on the shooters and forcing a lot of off balance shots. Then getting the ball and making sure we rebounded the ball. I think it was just a little bit of everybody playing in sync defensively and contesting well. I don’t think there were a lot of open shots in the second half. There might have been one or two, but there weren’t very many and so that’s a big key is to really be able to disrupt teams. I know we didn’t shoot great, but we were 38 percent and they were at 30 percent. So if it’s going to be that kind of game, you want to be on the 38 percent side.”

On Allison Vernerey:
“Allison is incredible. Coming all the way to Duke from overseas. I kind of laugh when student-athletes tell me they’re home sick and then I think of Alli and the distance she came to follow a dream that she had as a basketball player in France. I think what makes it additionally special for us is that we were there with her this summer. We were at her home. We had an incredible meal. We got to sing French songs together and really got to see where she’s from. Her father is just a fascinating man. He coaches and understands basketball and her sister Chloe is here with her. She’s a super student, a top student at Duke. She’s done really well academically. Athletically, the rebounding, the defense, the tenacity. She didn’t start tonight because of senior day. That was okay, but we were coming off of the Miami loss and you have to understand it wasn’t a happy loss and we did not make stops against Miami like we did tonight. So the switch to put Alli in there was to get some defense, rebounding, leadership and things of that nature. I made it very clear to her. She’s such a great person she said ‘I don’t want to start if it’s because of senior day.’ I said, ‘Alliu don’t underestimate yourself, it’s because of what you can do on the floor.’ And sure enough she made some incredible plays early. I took her out because I didn’t want her to pick up a quick second. She’s a pretty special person. We all admire her a great deal.”

Duke Freshman Alexis Jones
On her ability to get to the basket:
“I was really reading that in the game, and really listening to Coach P and her calls and what she wanted to be called at the time.”

On the team’s offense since losing Chelsea Gray:
“I’m pretty comfortable in the offense that we’ve been playing. We have played at least three games without Chelsea so I’m pretty comfortable and fluid and just trying to direct and make sure that we get the stops that we need on defense and execute on offense, so really just kind of try to use more of my voice and try to use what we all know what we can do.”

On the focus of the defense:
“I think we were very aggressive on trying to keep them in front and when they threw up shots we were just turning around and trying to box out as best as we can and get it and go. So we were really patient on defense and really went after them.”

On what she’s learned at Duke:
“I think I learned that you have to play hard every single game and you can’t take any team for granted. It’s going to take all of us to win a game.”

On learning from Chelsea Gray:
“Chelsea is like a big sister to me, so during timeout, she says, ‘Okay Alexis, I see this, this and this,’ and I just listen to her and I just feed off the energy.”

Duke Sophomore Elizabeth Williams
On the focus of the game:
“I think an important thing that we focused on this game was Ali [Vernerey] and all that she has done for us being a senior. I mean, she has won four consecutive regular season ACC championships so, just playing for her and then of course playing for each other and what we are capable of doing and getting us to move forward.”

On the message from Coach P entering the ACC Tournament:
“Just to fight at this point. We have been through a lot and I think that as long as we play hard and fight together we are capable of a lot.”

On North Carolina’s front line:
“They are good players, athletic and they can block shots so I just tried to get my body into them and get them into foul trouble.”

North Carolina Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell
Opening Statement:
“I look at the stat sheet and I see all these categories where we beat them or are ahead of them, so if we could make some foul shots, that would help. We wanted to hold three-point shots down and they got two. We wanted them to turn the ball over and they had 29 turnovers. And we outrebounded them. So we accomplished several of our goals, which were to hold their three-point shots down, make them turn the ball over and to outrebound them. All these things I challenged the players on, we accomplished, except if we could make some foul shots that would help there and the fact that we took 21 more shots than they did. I see a lot of good things here and we’ll build off of this and get ready for the ACC Tournament.”

On whether she is concerned about her team’s recent shooting performances:
“We shot pretty good in some of these other games that we’ve had. We’ll get in the gym and just keep working on it. Again, I’ll mention that if we had made some foul shots, we would have won the game. I love this team and these kids are great. They’ve worked extremely hard and we’ve got great balance on this team … Some of it may be the right people taking the shots, and normally [Tierra Ruffin] Pratt doesn’t miss some of the shots she missed today and Waltiea [Rolle] had some little cheapies around the basket she missed. We’ve had games where they put those down. We’ll keep working. I see another stat also – we wanted to have more steals than they did too and we did. There are five categories we wanted. We did them all but winning the game.”

On how her team is prepared for the ACC Tournament:
“I just told them in the locker room, ‘We’re right where we want to be.’ We’ve got the whole week planned out – we’ve actually got every minute planned out until we play Friday night. We’re just going to do what’s worked for the other championships. These kids are excited, they’re playing well and they’re looking forward to having an opportunity to go up there and play.”

North Carolina Senior Guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt
On the overall effort of her team in the loss:
“It was great. I’m really proud of my team. We fought hard until the end and like Coach said, we won all the categories we wanted to win in except for points. I think we did a pretty good job.”

On how the scoring runs impacted the game:
“We missed a lot of shots. We got good looks and open shots. We just couldn’t hit them.”

North Carolina Senior Guard Krista Gross
On the loss of Waltiea Rolle to foul trouble:
“Obviously Waltiea is a big factor for our post play. Her presence there makes everything a lot easier because worse comes to worse, you just throw it up and Waltiea can get it. Having her not there at the end, everybody just knew we had to step up and we knew she couldn’t come back so we didn’t let it affect us too much.”

On her problems with finishing shots in the game:
“I think it was just this game is a lot of excitement. I don’t think it’s nerves. I think it’s just you’re so excited that you’re just a little bit too strong. It was a physical game too – it was physical both ways. We just have to be able to finish.”

On helping her younger teammates adjust to the atmosphere in Cameron Indoor Stadium:
“When we were warming up, I forgot that they hadn’t played here yet. I think it was good for them, to come over here and play so hard, and for them to get this experience, especially going into tournament time. I think it was good for them and they can definitely learn from this.”