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March 7, 2015

Kenisha Bell

Chelsea Butler

Carolyn Kieger


Providence – 79
Marquette - 66

COACH KIEGER:  First of all, that's a great way to open the conference tournament.  That was one heck of a game both ways.  I thought Providence played fantastic, obviously, Tori Rule, tip our hats to her because she was unstoppable there for a while.  I thought for us we played a very, very balanced game.  We talked in the locker room as a team, everybody made big plays at key moments, and one thing we've been talking about all year is just perseverance and not breaking.  I'm just so proud of the team tonight.  We stayed with it, we stayed strong, we stayed tough, and we got the plays when we needed to.  It was a total team effort tonight.

Q.  Chelsea, take me through that final sequence where you come up with the big time defensive play and then you're able to deliver those free throws.
CHELSEA BUTLER:  All year one of the biggest things that all the coaching staff have said to me is stepping up and having my hands straight up.  Sometimes I have issues with fouling, so as she was getting the ball down my throat, all that was in my head was stay straight up and move your feet.  And then knocking the free throws down, we did situations like that in practice, so it was just rhythm.

Q.  Kenisha, what a way to start off your Big East Tournament career in your first game in this tournament.  You go off.  What was the key to having success for you today?
KENISHA BELL:  I mean, we all worked hard at practice the past couple of days, trying to see what we could do to win the game.  Playing together as a team is how we won the game.

Q.  Chelsea, what does this say about your team, that you've won five of nine, you're peaking at the right time?
CHELSEA BUTLER:  That's something we've talked about all year, that the best teams peak in March, and I think that's exactly what we're doing.  I think it's very exciting to finally have‑‑ to finally show all the hard work we've put in all year and how much we've wanted this all year.

Q.  Kenisha, can you take me through your mindset when you're taking those free throws with just a few seconds left to possibly put the game away?
KENISHA BELL:  At first I was thinking in my head like, dang, I might have shot it too soon because we always talk about if we're in a situation like that, we want to get the last shot in.  At first I was kind of shaky, like, dang, I should have shot the ball, but it was already too late, and I knew then that knocking down the free throws was all that mattered and leave that play in the past.

Q.  One of the things about the tournament is the quick turnaround, so you guys will play Seton Hall tomorrow night.  How do you adjust to playing a game in less than 24 hours?
CHELSEA BUTLER:  We've had practices back to back, hard practices knowing that that's going to prepare us for this moment, so working hard as a team these last few weeks has really gotten us prepared for it.
KENISHA BELL:  We wasn't only working on the Providence game, we worked on Seton Hall and Providence together just to prepare for this because we knew we wouldn't have an opportunity to be able to get in the gym the day before a game.

Q.  Coach, congratulations again.  For you as a first‑year head coach, what does it mean to be moving on to get a Big East Tournament win?
COACH KIEGER:  It's more so for the players.  I'm just really proud of them, really excited for them.  The seniors just wanted to keep playing.  For the freshmen, it's a great experience.  They've got four years here, and to start it off with a tournament win is very valuable.  For me that was a fun game.  That was really enjoyable and a great way to open up the Big East Tournament.

Q.  You're down 11‑4 early to Providence.  What did you tell your team?
COACH KIEGER:  Stay confident, stay positive.  We know this is a game of runs and they're going to make theirs and we're going to make ours and we've got to take that punch.  We've been saying it all year we have to be resilient, and I think we showed it tonight.

Q.  You had to figure out a way to get some play out of your post.  What did it mean to have Chelsea turn it on?
COACH KIEGER:  That was huge.  She's been playing such better basketball this past month, and it's really helping our team.  It's really helping the other people stay confident or other posts be confident.  Even Lauren Tibbs came in and had a huge and‑one success.  You know when she sees Chelsea having success, it pumps her up as well.  Huge credit to Chelsea staying with it and playing her best basketball of her whole career.

Q.  How do you grow success at a time of year like this one?
A.Just keep building on the little things.  We've said it all year that it's about discipline, and it doesn't happen overnight, and we knew that, and we knew this was going to be a long year of growing and a lot of change, a lot of newcomers, and it was just a battle every day, get into the gym, work hard, be the best versions of ourselves, and we knew down the road if we kept sticking to the little things that we'll eventually have success.

Q.  You've gotten it done once before with Seton Hall.  What is it going to come down to tomorrow?
COACH KIEGER:  We've got to focus on the game plan, definitely.  The second game we played them we were very excited.  It was senior night, great atmosphere, great game, but we were really focused and we were really intense, and we've got to play defense.  Seton Hall is a high‑octane offense, a lot of people that can score, so we've got to make sure that everybody steps up, all ten of us come to play some defense and get back in transition and stop their go‑to players.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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