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Quotes: DePaul 74, Duke 65
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 03/24/2014
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Duke Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie
Opening Statement:
“Just a great basketball game. DePaul is a super team, and they shot really well from the thre-point line especially in the second half. They are very, very good, and I am just really proud of our team’s effort and fight and resolve. I know there were things we wanted to do better in this game and didn’t do as well, but there isn’t a finer group of women that has been through more than this group has been through and done so beautifully, so well, in all circumstances.  We fought hard, we had great productivity, I think we needed to get the score down a little bit for us in order to be successful with it, 74 was a bit too much to give up, and for us to handle, but I know we could have handled. We didn’t, but I’d like to give credit to DePaul and the work that they did but I can’t say how proud I am of this team and how proud I am of the seniors in particular that have had to go through so much in different seasons, knowing that this would be their last season.  So again there is a lot of pride, a lot of hurt, but this is just a really great group of women and it has been an awful lot of fun coaching them.”

On DePaul’s pressure defense:
“They did a great job with their guards. As you saw they have a lot of guards, and a lot of small guards. I thought they worked very hard in the full court. There were times that we were perfectly fine, and other times not so much especially in the beginning, and that was certainly part of the issue. But I look at the turnovers there, you know those are pretty critical since they had 15 and we had six more. Our free throws didn’t help us, and I think that you have to give them credit. I’m not sure that that number 12 is going to hit those shots again. I mean there were three of them from about thirty feet. I think that was hard for our kids because it was hard to extend an attack on her I mean she was so far out on those threes. But there is no doubt they had very good pressure and we worked hard to attack it, but it was very good.”

On whether or not DePaul’s play was surprising:
“Not surprising, that’s how they play. This team won a bunch of games; I think seventeen in a row, they’re good. They are a very good team. I don’t think it was surprising but if you could ask, our team couldn’t even simulate that in practice. I mean how are we going to simulate that without any guards? So you know we did the best we could. I am really proud of the team. They all got asked to do so much in so many different areas, but that’s definitely [DePaul’s] game. They are good at that game and we just weren’t able to match it. It was too bad; a few balls here or there might have been the difference.”

On getting closure after this game:
“A season is a lifetime, no doubt. We talked about that in the locker room and I just hope they take these lessons on in life. Life is just not perfect, you know, a lot happens in life. They’re young kids, and they should think that all is possible in the world but they should also be prepared for difficulties.  The way they handled those difficulties this year was just truly an inspiration to me, and to our staff, and they were just so much fun to be around. In the darkest moments, being at practice with them was the way we got through it. I hope that they can all learn, you know those seniors have opportunities that are coming to them, things that they can work for, and I hope that everybody learns how hard it is—this stuff is hard. It’s not automatic, it’s not something that should be treated that way, it takes a lot of hard work to do special things, and sometimes a little luck too.”

Duke Forward Haley Peters
On DePaul’s 3-point line defense:
“I think they were very aggressive defensively, they were really up on top of our ball handlers and we didn’t handle it very well. I don’t know that it was the 3-point line per se, we just got a little bit rattled with how aggressive and how much pressure they put on us. We didn’t execute very well, so I would say it was more of that.”  

On reflecting on career:
“I can try. We’ve just from the start gotten along very well and been through so much together. We’ve just become such a close group. We won two ACC tournaments, three ACC regular seasons I think, I could be wrong but I can’t think of any three other people I would rather spend my four years with. We are just incredibly close and I don’t know what else to say.”

Duke Forward Elizabeth Williams
On difficulty watching DePaul shoot from the three:
“I mean it’s definitely frustrating but it’s not like I don’t take responsibility as well especially if we are playing zone defense because I have to move just as much as the guards and communicate just as much. I think we needed to do a better job of making in-game adjustments and closing out a lot harder on the shooters. I don’t think it was just me standing there.”

On what remaining players have learned this season:
“I can’t think of a word to describe the seniors. They have just been great, amazing leaders on and off the court. Haley [Peters] is one of the hardest workers I have ever met. It’s just inspiring and I think we will definitely take a lot out of this. It was definitely tough, everything we went through, but I think the seniors did a good job not using it as an excuse. We were ready to go on even further.”

DePaul Head Coach Doug Bruno
Opening Statement:
“The NCAA Tournament is a great tournament because of the players. We’re here because the players I’m blessed to coach did a great job. They did a great job. They’ve done a great job all year but they did a specifically great job tonight. It’s always about them this time of year, and I was just really impressed with what our players did the other day against Oklahoma and then what they did tonight. Duke is a really talented basketball team. We’ve had too much experience having to redefine ourselves over the last six years. We’ve had major players injured, so I know what Coach McCallie is going through. They’ve done a great job of putting themselves back together again and they showed that in the ACC Tournament. They’re a really strong team. We beat a really good team tonight on their home court and it’s just a tribute to the three girls sitting next to me and the 11 players in the locker room.”

On applying full-court pressure:
“Duke had the advantage inside tonight, and I thought we had the advantage in the open space on the floor. You don’t just decide on a whim to press somebody. A pressure package is part of a philosophy that needs to be worked on an entire year. It takes a lot of energy and effort for those players to commit themselves to defend over 94 feet. If you opened up the heads of every basketball player that ever played, they would say, ‘Coach, I would really much rather play a 20-foot defense and play a 2-3 zone and stand back here and then stretch over 94 feet and run around. And yet, we kind of believed as early as last July and August, that we were going to have a good team but we were going to be a smaller team this year. They had the strength inside and we had the strength in our quickness, and that’s what a pressure package is all about. Now to your specific question, yeah we do tailor it to a specific scouting report. I’m blessed to have the best staff in America. I’m blessed to have a great coaching staff. We were very prepared to do what we were going to have to do. In a pressure package, you don’t leave certain people, and Tricia Liston was a player in our pressure package tonight that was not going to be left. We were going to bring two people to her, but we were never going to leave her, and that’s a respect for her talent and how good of a basketball player she is. It was tailored to Duke. It was tailored to what Duke brings as a strength and what we bring as a strength."

On whether DePaul’s performance was the best of the season:
“Without giving it a lot of thought, absolutely. To be a seven seed and beat a two seed, on their home court, at crunch time of the season, in the situation of, this is what we play for, this absolutely has to be the biggest win of the season for this group of women.”

On returning to Cameron for the second-straight season:
“The way tournament is, it’s such a different tournament from the men’s tournament. I get myself mentally ready for not trying to figure out why or what the circumstances are going to be. We knew 13 out of 16 home sites were going to have homecourt advantage and we knew it was going to be someone pretty good. It could have been here. It could have been Lexington. It could have been Texas A&M. We knew we were going to have to play someone pretty good on their home court. Once it came out and it was Duke and it was Durham, you just say to yourself, ‘this is what we have to deal with.’ I think I said this the other day. We limped into the NCAA Tournament a year ago. I’m really proud of our team a year ago that won 21 games a year ago, and yet we were really banged up and we played one of our worst NCAA Tournament games in our history last year again Oklahoma State. It was a tough game and Oklahoma State was really good. We still tied the game with about seven minutes to go, and then we let them get away from us. It’s the first time we’ve been able to have depth in about six years and this is a style of play that helps you win games, but it also helps people come enjoy watching women play basketball. We’ve been banged up for the past five or six years. We’ve been dealing with what Coach McCallie’s dealing with. We limped into this last year. I really felt bad about how we finished the season last year and I think these young women responded to that. We really used our lack of attention to detail in our game here last year as a focal point for this season, never imagining we were going to come back to Durham, N.C., playing Duke as a two seed."

DePaul Guard Brittany Hrynko
On the pressure of the game:
“It was a lot of pressure, not only on the court but just mentally trying to stay focused and stay together with one another. I thought we did a pretty good job with that.”

On whether or not the team often shoots 30-foot jump shots:
“Yes. Coach doesn’t mind us shooting when we’re open, so he doesn’t mind us taking threes. He says that as long as we take them, we just have to defend and rebound.”

On facing Duke’s zone defense:
“Going into the game, we knew that they were going to play a zone, so in practice, we just practiced playing against it, so we just had to get the ball to the high post area to get inside touches, and kick the ball out to the open man or just drive the ball to the hoop.”

DePaul Guard Megan Rogowski
On the pressure of the game:
“It was a big game obviously, but we were thinking going into it that our pressure package would beat them and it did. We’ve been practicing since July and summer school with that package and we put it out there tonight and it helped and we won.”

On the pressure package their team used tonight:
“We have a pressure package and we have a bunch of different pressures. We used a specific one today to be the most effective to beat Duke and everybody did a great job tonight… and we got the job done.”

DePaul Forward Megan Podkowa
On the emphasis on the three-point shot on offense:
“Especially with the zone that they play and Elizabeth Williams down in the middle, we had to attack over the top, so it was definitely in our practices to shoot threes and make threes.”

On defending Elizabeth Williams:
“We had a gameplan where we were digging off the guards, so the guards did a great job digging off their players and getting their hands on the ball inside. Also not letting them pass the ball into her that easily, so when she was open, they couldn’t really see her. Other than that, I was just trying to stay in front of her and focus on keeping her off the glass and making sure she doesn’t get offensive rebounds.”