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Quotes: Duke 111, Pitt 67
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 01/26/2014
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Duke Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie
Opening Statement:
“This was a good, strong team game for us. A lot of people stepped up and played well, and our defense got more intense in the second half, which was important. I really liked the fact that we had three turnovers in the second half. We played a lot of tall people, but they handle the ball really well and pass the ball well to each other. Huge congratulations to Tricia [Liston], but it’s just so early in the season. It’s hard to really talk about any records or things. That’s something you do at a banquet. We’re just really, really proud. I think the thing about that is, the few shots she’s actually taking if you look at her attempts, I think that speaks to what a record is supposed to be – it is something that special. That’s fantastic. Haley [Peters] was strong with her double-double, like always she’s battling out there. I think Elizabeth [Williams] was strong. Lex [Jones] made one pass that should make SportsCenter. Or one ‘whatever you call that?’ Was it three behind-the-back? She got into some kind of zone, and it was fabulous. I know the fans appreciated that. And then off the bench – Oderah and Amber [Henson]. That’s the best Amber has played all year, and also the most comfortable she’s looked. She’s a fabulous shooter. I would say her and [Tricia] are the best shooters in the nation on the ball, and how they shoot the basketball. It was great to see her do that as well.”

On having the team ‘clicking,’ and a wider score gap than recent games:
“I think we are getting into what we’re doing, which is good. We knew the five-minute overtime was good, we knew the other 40 minutes wasn’t so good. We are a lot closer to playing 40 minutes today, and I think this team is doing a very good job staying focused on what we’re doing, despite the score. I think the thing that you really do celebrate is not so much the score, but the contributions. The fact that everybody was so ready to get out there and do something positive - that feels good. There have been games where we’ve felt not that deep, but today we felt like the deepest team in America. Everybody was doing what they can do, and that is important.”

On using the bench early in game:
“It was very important. Adjusting to the way the game was called was a challenge. I think it was very important that people were ready to get in and do well as we had to rotate with people with two fouls. As it’s starting to get later in the season, I’m starting to get away from just pulling people with two fouls. [Tricia] played with two fouls in the first half, and I’m going to start to go more that way because it’s time now. We may have to do that sometime in a game. We may have to play people in foul trouble and still be productive. We worked on that today.”

On no players playing more than 30 minutes:
“I think it shows again that everyone is ready. It can’t always happen that way – if you looked at our numbers at Florida State, 40 minutes, 43 minutes – you’re going to have games like that, and that’s okay, but you hope they are not all like that because you need everybody.”

On how long Chloe Wells will be out:
“It’s been day-to-day. It’s gotten a little bit better. I’m hopeful she will be back for Miami. I don’t know that, but I’m hopeful. We are off tomorrow – another day for rehab – maybe she’ll feel better.”

On importance of bench players to start gaining confidence due to injuries of other players:
“It’s great to see. Amber has fought so hard to be back on the floor. We all feel strongly about that. If Amber makes any shot, we go crazy, because we know what she’s been through. I think our freshmen are getting a little bit more aggressive – Oderah [Chidom] and Kendall [McCravey-Cooper] – so it’s a really good thing, and it’s important. I think you can build from it. Amber just needs to get that feel back. It’s been so long since she’s played, and I think today she got that feel back a little bit.”

On Amber’s defensive efforts returning from injury:
“As we get better boxing out, creating a wider space – as you create a wider space there, the bigs are going to get it. We’ve got some size, so that’s all good for us in terms of getting better.”

Duke Forward Amber Henson
On road to success:
“I think [improvement] is a gradual process of building confidence. A lot of the shots I took earlier in the year, I was a little hesitant.  So just working on it in practice, and having my coach and my teammates saying ‘Amber shoot the ball’ really builds your confidence up, so I think that has a lot to do with it.”

On her recovery after the injury:
“Well this is definitely the best I’ve ever felt playing. Obviously there are still some things I can work on in terms of mechanics and movement. But as far as my knee, it feels great. Conditioning will come but I’ve been working on it, and I think eventually that’ll come too.”

On stepping up after Chelsea Gray’s injury:
Definitely with Chelsea going out there is a need for people to step up and fill those spots. So I think me having a game like this was important for my confidence, but also for my coaches to see that I can do it. And obviously with the consistency, being able to do it over and over, but I think that practicing every day and being ready when your number is called no matter what. So today I had to play outside more than I normally do, but just being ready to do whatever coach asks you to do, just to be ready.”

On rebounding:
“I think that’s the biggest thing about my knee feeling better, is getting  in there and being able to handle the physicality, and running in there to rebound. So with my knee feeling better has helped that a lot and hopefully I can continue that, going to the boards and helping out inside.”

Duke Guard Tricia Liston
On awareness of her record:
“I had people tweeting at me and stuff like that, but I didn’t really worry about that. Once you get on the court it all goes away, you’re not really thinking about it.  When I’m shooting it’s not like, “Oh this is the one that is going to break the record” so it’s kind of irrelevant when you’re playing, but off the court it’s a great accomplishment and something I am very proud of, but it’s not on my mind too much when I am playing at all.”

On playmaking after Chelsea’s injury:
“I think I need to continue doing what I am doing, trying to be a vocal leader and lead by example by doing some of the things you mentioned, but just trying to always have everyone together by vocally leading and then showing it with my actions and being able to back up what I do with what I say I think is a big part of it, for some of the younger players to look up to someone who is actually trying to do what they say. I am willing to do whatever it takes for this team to win and get as far as we can go in the season.”

On communication:
“We could still move forward in terms of communication, and sometimes it’s in spurts, and it’s not something you do on purpose, but it needs to be a consistent thing that we do do on purpose for 40 minutes. Sometimes we’re not thinking about it and we lose sight of what we are trying to do,  We need to be more vocal all the time because it doesn’t hurt. You can’t be talking too much ever, especially on the defensive end which is somewhere we need to improve on.”

On development of team depth:
“It’s huge, especially with the way that things go with the referees. Sometimes like today you pick up two quick fouls, and we feel comfortable going to our bench and subbing someone right in because we have that depth, and I think that makes us so strong especially in games when Coach was talking about [players] playing games with like 40 minutes. We could use all our players, and kind of save our legs, especially in tournament time when we are playing back to back. I mean we have so many different weapons from the end of the bench to the front of the bench that we don’t really lose anything, so I think that’s something really special about our team.”

Pitt Head Coach Suzie McConnell
Opening statement:
“Duke was very, very talented. It’s pick your poison. If you try to take away an inside presence they kill you from the outside.  They’re so well balanced, they have so many weapons.  It was just a tough match-up for us across the board.  We were undersized, overmatched.  We tried a number of different things: a match-up, a two-three, man-to-man.  When you have that much talent they just find ways to exploit you and take apart your defense.  Defensively I thought they did a great job with the match up in the first half. It took our players a while to play against it, to get a feel for it.  I thought in the second half Brianna Keisel had to step up and get some shots. She struggled in the beginning of the game, trying to take it too deep, getting her shot up. I think that messed with her mentally.  Just tried to keep her focused in the second half and was able to get her going a little bit.  Just to get a feel for their defense and the adjustments our players made at halftime.  Even though we didn’t hit shots we got looks. We’re without a player who’s away dealing with a death in the family and we’ve only had two post players. We really didn’t have an inside presence on the court.  [Cora] McManus is our only post presence, which hurts you against a team like Duke because they’re just so deep. You saw just one after the other.  At one time they had four players over 6’5” on the court it seemed.  They‘re as good as advertised.  So obviously when we played Notre Dame it was a similar situation and we talk about how this is the type of team we want to become, of closing the gap of being able to compete in the future with these types of teams.”

On playing other top teams:
“Well that’s what we talk about in the locker room.  We’ve already played now Notre Dame and Duke.  Now having the opportunity to be able to compete with teams in a similar situation we are not getting discouraged of staying focused, of not losing our confidence, of how we can compete in this conference.  We talked about the significant win we had against Virginia who knocked out Maryland.  Anything can happen when you step out on the floor. I think it’s just not getting our players discouraged going into the next couple of games, especially when we have Boston College at home. Go back and prepare for them, get healthy. This one right here [Brianna Keisel], trying to get her healthier with the knee that she bruised at the Notre Dame game. Just getting our mind right is what we need to do.”

On future games:
“Well I think that’s putting it on Brianna Keisel’s hands, being the play-maker, being the decision-maker.  She’s very good with the basketball. So obviously we’ve prepared for it knowing they’ve played 1-2-2, they play 2-2-1, they’ve gone 1-2-1-1 on the ball.  I was disappointed we didn’t handle that a little better.  But even coming into this game we, in practice, cannot simulate what Duke is like.  We’re not as tall, we’re not as athletic, we’re not as quick at the post as they are. So it’s very tough to simulate what other teams even though we try.  It was practicing against a match-up, it’s practicing against the presses that they throw at us.  One thing they’ve gained in the ACC is how many teams play zone defense. Every team we’ve faced plays a lot zone defense.  I was expecting more man-to-man.  But as we progress we start to get more comfortable playing against zone defense. Even though we’re not hitting the shots, we’re getting the looks and we need to get better at knocking down shots. If we can knock down shots we’ll be able to compete.  When you look at our shooting percentages, 6-and-25 from three. Not that we’re a great three-point shooting team, but we’ve hit double figure threes, especially when you’re taking that many.  We just need to get better across the board in a lot of areas.”

On taking three-point shots:
“We emphasize ball movement.  The team plays a lot of zone, when you can move the ball a lot of times the areas that are exposed, the high post area or the three-point shot from the corner. We did not get the ball in the high post as often. The only way you can break down a defense it’s in a zone or in a match-up is ball reversal and penetrating passes and so looking at that in the second half, just trying to attack it. If we take open shots, our players have the green light to take a shot.  They’re all capable of hitting it, I’ve seen it.”

Pitt Junior Brianna Keisel
On forgetting the score and moving on:
“It’s not very tough. Duke and Notre Dame are very good teams.  They’re vet teams.  They have a lot of good shooters, a lot of inside posts.  We just need to take the good things we did this game and bring it to our game on Thursday.”

On what they did well:
“I think that we pushed the ball and we got some open shots.  We moved the ball. We had 18 offensive boards.  I think we did a really good job rebounding the ball today.”

On how she felt about the looks:
“I thought they were really good looks, just knocking them down. We struggled a little bit against Notre Dame and we struggled again this game. But just building off that we get those looks and those are going to start falling for us.”