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Quotes: Duke 83, N.C. State 59
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 01/08/2012
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Duke Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie

Opening statement:
"Just a great team effort, a lot of different people stepping up in the game. And maybe a more aggressive attack in the second half. I thought that Haley [Peters] was very steady for us, very composed and just doing a lot of very good things on the floor - rebounding, scoring. Same for Richa [Jackson]. [She] was always in attack mode. She was trying to look to see how she could break things down. And her attacks down the lane early were really important to try to break down their defense. And Allison [Vernerey] to me was just an enormous lift off the bench - with her scoring, yes, but also with her confidence and her leadership on the floor - the way she was talking to her teammates and directing her teammates is very, very important to us. So good game overall. Things that we have to work on for sure. We'll take it and get ready from here."

On what adjustments the team made to hold off a late run by NC State:
"Again, you've just got to keep playing, keep attacking in the moment. If you think that you're just going to get out there and teams are going to roll over, this is league competition. And so we're just more in the moment ... We're just trying to get better at things that we're doing, and I thought that we did. I thought we utilized the high post very well on offense. I thought we made their shots very difficult in transition and also throughout the second half I thought we made life a little bit more difficult. I would have liked us to be a more dominant rebounding team. We'll have to look at that. But getting to the free throw line, we did that more so. And so as long as you're in an attack mode, you're in a good place, and you're just thinking about the moment. As you say, as a team, a game might break open - nothing changes. Whether it's a six-point game or whether it's a 26-point game, nothing changes. You've got to keep attacking and finish what you do." 

On switching to zone defense in the second half:
"We just like to play multiple defenses, and I think sometimes the feeling might be like a certain matchup caused problems. But sometimes it's also the change of defense. We're going to play a lot of different defenses. And so we hope that a team doesn't get comfortable. And then towards the end there, you know we had foul trouble with Elizabeth [Williams]. So the matchup was quite suitable to not isolating her in particular. But also the team was just doing a great job overall, just really making them work for shots. That's important - that they don't get easy shots and open shots."

On talking with Jackson about being an attacking guard:
"We've had our fair share of conversations. Richa's an incredible player. I've talked a lot about intensity and her being immediate, getting after it, like now, like yesterday. She has a great ability to go by people and to rebound and to do what she does. So I think we get onto her a lot for urgency and immediacy."

On the team's free throw shooting performance:
"I would expect it. This is a very good shooting team. If you look at our shooting percentages, this is a very good shooting team."

On the team's response to Elizabeth Williams' early foul trouble:
"I think this is a very dangerous team. I think there are a lot of people that can do things. They're going to get mad about that, though. They're going to get mad. That's their teammate being put in situations that are precarious at best. So they're not going to be happy about that, but that doesn't mean they're not going to attack and do what they do. And so I'm not the least bit surprised. Six people in double figures, everybody attacking, that's when we'll be at our best. I don't want any player to have to sit half the game, no matter who they are. I mean, that's just not a good thing."

On Tricia Liston's double-double:
"I like 11 rebounds a lot ... I've challenged her over and over again because she's a big guard and she's a strong guard. And today she showed that beautifully. She deserves a lot of credit for that. Eleven rebounds - when you see the people that are getting double-figure rebounds, everybody up here can get double-figure rebounds so why not? Why not if you're capable? And she showed it nicely today." 

Sophomore Forward Haley Peters

On the focus the team had in regard to preventing turnovers:
"I think it was a point of emphasis, obviously, after our last couple of games. We haven't done a great job taking care of the ball. I think it's just a matter of knowing when to go for the home run play and when to be patient and move the ball. We did a better job in the second half of not holding the ball so much, and really, against their zone, moving it quickly. I think that takes away from some of the turnovers." 

Sophomore Center Allison Vernerey

On taking a deeper shot that usual with her left hand in a six-point game:
"I think we were in a good rhythm. I think it's a matter of having the team in a good rhythm, and those kinds of shots go in."

Sophomore Forward Richa Jackson 

On whether her performance today was a response to her conversations with the coaches:
"I feel like my coaches are telling me what to do for a reason. They believe in me. They think I have much potential, so I just listen to them, and I know I can do it."


N.C. State Head Coach Kellie Harper

Opening Statement:
"We knew this was going to be a tough and physical game. We knew that our defensive effort was going to be huge and unfortunately, if you give up 83 points to this team, you're not going to win. They're just too tough on the defensive end. Obviously, we're disappointed that we weren't closer going down the stretch. Hopefully our mental state will be alright through this tough stretch of the schedule and we'll improve through the rest of the season."

On her team's mindset after Allison Vernerey hit a shot to stem State's late run:
"I don't know that we deflated. It took some pressure off of them. It was a big basket for them. You could sense the relief they felt after she made that shot. You can call it an unlikely shot, but that's just what she does against NC State."

On the toll the team's trip to Hawaii exacted on the players: 
"It was very tough. We played six games in 11 days. It's been a very tough stretch, and not just six games in 11 days. We played the three most physical teams in the ACC first. Not necessarily the three best, but the three most physical. So, it's been a very tough stretch for our kids. I think physically, they battled today. They got a little mental fatigue late. We have been tested."

On what she wants to see from her team going forward:
"We just talked about this. We want them to have a good mindset coming out of this. A good mindset means you don't come out of this and just accept what happened. You never accept a loss. That's just a loser's mentality. But at the same time, you can't walk out of here thinking that you're the worst team in basketball. It has to be somewhere in the middle. You have to realize that you can be better, but also that you can be really good. That takes a lot of faith, a lot of belief in the system and each other. We're 0-3 in the ACC and I keep telling these kids they can win a lot of basketball games."

On the difference in her team from their last visit to Duke to this game:
"I think we know how we want to play and I think we are much more comfortable in our system. We were a train wreck two years ago. But our team is going to fight and play hard. I hope that every time our team takes the court, no matter who we're playing, that they believe they can win. I do, when we give them the gameplan to do it."

On whether leaving the starters in and playing to the end was meant to send a message to the team:
"We've done that in every game we played. In every loss, we'll battle to the end. Not foul at the end to put them on the free throw line, but I just can't stand the image of a team stopping and standing straight up with time on the clock. I think that's just the worst image, and I will not do that."

On why the team turned the ball over 19 times in the second half:
"I think part of it was a mental fatigue. Also, I think they switched the defense when we made our run. That caught us off guard. Also, late in the game, we started doing some things just to try and make something happen. We lost our focus, and unfortunately, our kids had to play a lot of minutes. Hopefully that wasn't a part of it, but we'll go back and look at it and correct some things."

On the impact that missing Chrystal Barrett had on her team:
"She led us in scoring at Miami, and she is one of our best defenders. Missing her hurt us today. She gives us a lot of energy, and if she's not our most athletic guard, she's certainly one of them. When you're playing against a team as athletic as this, it's nice to have some athletes that can match that."

On Barrett's status:
"She was diagnosed with a concussion." 

On rebounding, especially in the second half:
"After the first half, after that initial onslaught of offensive boards they got, our kids just had a much better mindset. We can talk about it all we want, but until they have to go out and box out an Elizabeth Williams, they don't understand what we're talking about. She's so quick, and so many times we had good position and didn't get the rebound. Our players have seen us do it wrong in the first half and do it right in the second. Maybe we'll do it right to begin with next time."

On what she will work on in practice this week:
"We will definitely look at tightening up some things defensively. We haven't had a practice dedicated to us since before Christmas so we will take one day and just look at us. We'll work on basics, close-out drills, just all the fundamentals that you have to skip when you're in game preparation mode, which is what we've been in for the past 11 days."

Guard Marissa Kastanek

On the team's state right now:
"We're really positive right now. We have come together. We have decided what we want for the season, instead of just playing without a goal in mind. Our strength coach says if you play for nothing, you'll get it every time. These last three games, we're trying to get a name for ourselves. Like Coach (Harper) said, we're not happy-go-lucky in the locker room right now. We're going to watch film as soon as we can, to recognize what we did well and what we did wrong."

On how fatigued the team is, especially having recently returned from Hawaii:
"I think not very much, now. We're not in class yet. That starts tomorrow, so we've just gone to practice and had plenty of time to rest. I think it's more like Coach Kellie said, it was more mental fatigue, but we can overcome that by being confident in ourselves."

What did the team do well during the final run, and what did they stop doing to allow Duke to close the game out:
"Like Coach Kellie said, we didn't stop doing anything. They changed up their defense, and when they changed up their defense, it was just a different look, and we didn't adjust when they adjusted. It took us a little while to understand how to get into that zone and pick it apart like they did to us on the other end."

Forward Bonae Holston

On what makes Duke's defense so tough:
"They're so long. They always put their arms up and seem like they're in the passing lanes."

On what today's physicality taught her team:
"Now we know how physical you have to be to go and box out."