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Quotes: Duke 100, Iona 31
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 11/18/2012
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Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie:

Opening Statement:
“Just a great all-around game for everybody, it was wonderful to see Alli [Vernerey] be so dominant on the block. Her shooting percentage, demanding the ball, and having her teammates get her the ball too. Sometimes that doesn’t always happen. I really appreciate Chelsea [Gray] very consistent, steady game. Rebounding, assists, no turnovers, just really running things and commanding. Obviously her offensive skills as well and her assists and all of that. I thought everyone contributed, I thought we got a little bit better and that is what we are trying to do. We worked on some things, particularly in the second half and now we will kind of take a day and then move on to the next.”

On Rebounding
“That makes me very happy, and very excited. Anticipating what is to come, because they are so good at those things. When you look at it, Haley [Peters] with eight, Allison [Vernerey] with seven, Alexis [Jones] with five, Chelsea [Gray] with seven, they are just touching the tip of the iceberg. We have a team that can rebound, and when we do rebound, we are at a different level.”

On Different Defensive Looks
“I think we were better today, just all-around. Defensively, rebounding, just everything. We got better which is good, and it is definitely the dominant rebounding. If you compare the rebounding stats, only Tricia Liston rebounded the other game, so we have everybody in the mix.”

On Performance from the Center Position
“Alli is her own player, she can do many, many things on the floor and that is always terrific in its own right. In terms of Elizabeth [Williams], I am happy with bold, all-caps. Really,really happy. To see her have some fun out there, and she was bouncing which is a good sign when you are talking about injuries and things. I thought she made her presence known in 18 minutes, which is a good thing.”

On Chelsea Gray’s Passing Ability
“She is the best passer, male or female in the country. When she doesn’t turn it over, when she has eight assists like that. When she can set up passes like that, it is important that we understand this and that we write about it properly because it won’t be repeated. It is not something that comes all the time. When you watch her for a while, you know where she is going to put it, and you understand it, but that is something that is uncanny. I don’t know how many times you have seen Magic Johnson flip a pass like that, and that was the only pass to make there. I think they end up being fancy if you want to describe them that way, but they are efficient. They are incredibly efficient. If you think about the defense and where the ball has to go.”

On What Needs to Improve
“I just want to grow. I need to try to not sound like a broken record because they will tune me out, but I know that we can do anything through rebounding and that is going to be big key is going to be to get the ball. I think our guards are phenomenal rebounders.”

On Freshmen Alexis Jones and Sierra Moore
“They are fine. You need to treat freshmen like gold. They make mistakes. They make mistakes that usually veteran players don’t make, but that is ok, they are working hard. I think Alexis [Jones] is learning. She has a wonderful opportunity to learn from Chelsea [Gray], what a gift. To be able to learn from older players, and for Sierra [Moore] to be able to learn from Alli [Vernerey] and Haley [Peters]. These are experienced people who have been around the block a little bit, so I think they are both doing very, very well.”

Duke's Chelsea Gray

On Behind the Back Pass
“I saw the defense collapse on me, I saw two people come my way, and I knew she was right under the basket so I just whipped it her way.”

On Fancy Passing Ability

“I think it just happens naturally for me. It just goes with the flow and the rhythm of the game. If I see that it needs to be done, then I will do it.”

On Elizabeth Williams’ Block
“I had never seen her do anything like that and she got really excited. It was like ‘wow she is back on the court’ and I am excited for her. It was good to see, and she got excited, pumped, energy, and it was funny that it happened more on the defensive end than the offensive end.”

Duke's Allison Vernerey

On Fatigue after Quick Turnaround
“I think we were kind of excited to get to play these games, so at some point we are used to it in the ACC where you have game after game, so a couple more hours, a couple less hours really doesn’t make a difference. I think people were a little tired, and we all get a lot of playing time but we are not complaining about that, we are excited about it. I think we get more energy out of it.”

On Offensive Stretch in First Half
“I think we got into a good rhythm right away. We always try to look inside right away, and whoever gets first to the block is who we are looking for, so it kind of turned out that way. I thought that was great. We had some good inside out looks, and it kind of got us going.”

On Making First Half Shots
“I think it is more a question of rhythm, having my teammates hitting me at the right spot because when you start like that, then people look for you more, so I got some great passes which made the finish easier.”

Iona Head Coach Anthony Bozzella:

Opening Statement
“I thought obviously that they played very good, and we struggled with their length and their athleticism.  But I really think through the second half especially, we really moved the ball a lot.  I mean we shot 11 for 64, so that’s 17%, which is not very good for us.  And I understand that they had a lot to do with it, but we missed a lot of shots.  That’s a problem.  But, they’re a very good team, and obviously they are poised to be in the Final Four, and anything less than that would be an utter disappointment.  Our goal is just to get better every day.  Hopefully, just learn from this.  I was happy though with a lot of things.  We had 15 defensive rebounds against a team that is much bigger than us.  I didn’t start our starting center because she had been injured, and I didn’t start our back up attack forward because she had been injured.  So, the other kids went in there and did a good job.  We’ll take something positive away from this.  We’ve got a tough road ahead of us and clearly our next game.  But, we are getting better and I’m happy with it.  Some things of the game, I’m disappointed in a lot of them, but happy in some things.  They are a very good team.  They are very well coached, and if they stay injury free, then hopefully that means for them that they will reach their goals.” 

On preparing for Duke’s zone defense:
“Their length is so good and they move the ball so well. Obviously when Elizabeth [Williams] gets fully healthy it will make their defense only better because she blocks everything. But they move the ball well. They’re very well-coached in the zone. They move well. I thought there were four or five times where we used all 30 seconds, which for us, is good. On our level, we’re more athletic than most teams that we’ll play and we usually shoot the ball well. But their length made it difficult for us to get our shots off. We have, for our level, one of the premier players in Damika Martinez. She’s averaging almost 25 points a game. She had three, not because of her – because she didn’t have an open shot. I think she had one. They did a great job in their zone. That’s something that we have to work better on. We struggled with that on Friday night as well. But their length is really good and they move well. They’re well disciplined.”

On the performance by Duke’s Allison Vernerey:
“I was glad for Vernerey. She’s worked really hard and I’ve seen through the years her development a lot. She went left in the post, she went right in the post, and I think for them to be an elite team, a Final Four-type team, she’s going to have to play some significant minutes. And she showed today a lot more offensive ability. I think we really fought hard for 15 minutes in the first half and then that last media, that last 3:12, we kind of looked up at the scoreboard – I think we were a little deflated. In the second half, I thought we played with a lot more fight. And that’s kind of what we were looking for there. With Vernerey, for them, that has to be a big positive because she was guarded by a 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 kid a lot. It wasn’t like she was guarded by a 5-7 kid. She showed a lot of different moves.”

Iona guard Aleesha Powell

On the challenge of going against Duke’s size:
“It’s really challenging, especially with their height. We were at a disadvantage but I think mainly we’re going to take from this, from a team standpoint, that we were sticking together pretty well when we hit adversity. That’s one of our problems lately. I think that running our stuff, being able to execute against a great defensive team like this, it boosts our confidence a little bit, especially for the league and knowing that no one’s going to be able to stop us in our league if we run our offense like that. We ran it against Duke, we can run it against Marist, whoever else.”

On matching up with Duke’s guards:
“It’s been like that all my life for me. I’m pretty used to it by now. Of course I get my shot blocked but I have to adjust. For the rest of the girls, I think we adjusted pretty well. I mean, what are you really going to do besides play your hardest and keep doing what you’re good at?”