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March 9, 2015

Alfiyyah Handford

Joe Tartamella

Jade Walker


Seton Hall – 72
St. John's - 60

COACH TARTAMELLA:  I thought we started the game off pretty well with some good energy and some good execution, and I thought we never really got ourselves comfortable once we started to get a little stagnant offensively.  I thought some foul trouble, some shot selection that wasn't great hurt us in some of their run to take the lead in the first half.  Giving up eight threes in the first half is not a recipe for success.
And then coming out in the second half, we just could not break‑‑ we had a chance to cut it to 10, which I thought would be big, and then we turned it over for points.  I thought we did our best to get ourselves back in.  We just never really got comfortable.  They did a good job of keeping us off balance at times.
You know, we've got to get ready and hopefully we'll be playing in a postseason tournament in a week or so.

Q.  Aliyyah, what is it that Seton Hall does that can make them so tough to stop at times?
ALIYYAH HANDFORD:  To be honest, nothing.  It's just the way we go out.  They're a great team, but we're also a great team, too, so it's just the way that we come out.

Q.  What went wrong for you guys in this one?
ALIYYAH HANDFORD:  Our defense wasn't how it was the beginning of the game.  It was sluggish.

Q.  Jade, did you feel like‑‑ you had a really strong performance.  What more could you have done as a team to pull this out?
JADE WALKER:  I think if we'd have got on the boards more and limited second chance opportunities for the other team, maybe played a little bit better defense on, like, the pick and pop, we could have got some more possessions, and it probably would have been better in our favor.

Q.  Aliyyah, for you, this is tough right now, but next year looks really bright for this program.  How much do you look forward to something like that?
ALIYYAH HANDFORD:  We've just got to get in the gym.  We're going to be a much better team next year, or this year, so look forward to it.

Q.  You out‑rebounded them tonight, but you were up 13‑7, Seton Hall goes on a 23‑8 run.  What is it that they do?  I know Aliyyah really said, nothing, we're a good team.  Is there something they do that makes them so good?
COACH TARTAMELLA:  Give Aliyyah a little bit of cushion there.  She just came off a loss, so I don't want to phrase it like nothing, all right.  However, Seton Hall obviously if you watch the first game and you watch them all year, they pick their points to pressure you and to try to turn it over, try to make you play faster, and there were points tonight that I thought they did that, and that was part of it.  I think they think they're going to speed you up and when you start taking bad shots, they pressure you, they take you out of things you want to do.  It makes it difficult.  When we have to go to our bench at times or we're in foul trouble or we're putting different lineups out, we struggle, that's not a secret, and tonight was no different.
To their credit they kept us off balance with the pressure.  I think that's what they've been good at.  If you look at a lot of their games they've made some significant comebacks in games because of that pressure, and they can make shots.  So it's a big part.  They're an experienced team.  It's a team that I've probably‑‑ and I don't know if I'll see it again‑‑ hopefully we don't see it again‑‑ of players who have six‑year experience, five‑year experience and older guys in different classes.  It's a veteran group that's impressive.  And for that ‑‑ I'm happy for a kid like Dee Dee Simmons who I love, who I know well, that she has an opportunity in her career now, at least in her last year, to get a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament.  For them, I wish them the best, and we move on.

Q.  How good is it to have Seton Hall, St.John's really be a rivalry in this league, that both these programs are playing at such a high level in this league?
COACH TARTAMELLA:  I think it's nice to have.  You know, and the existence of it, I think it's a rivalry because we had players that were teammates, and so with a little bit of that graduation part, some of that goes away.  But it's always good‑‑ it's great to have co‑champs in the league.  That's big.  When you have Seton Hall and DePaul having great years, that's a big thing for the league.  That means we've got good parity.  I think you've got a lot of teams that can play.  The rivalry pieces, I think new rivalries will be born because of the league.  I think you've got the old rivalries from some of the teams that were in the existing league.
But it's always ‑‑ I think people want to watch those kind of games.  For us it's big, and it's great to see the league improving and getting better, and as coaches and for our programs and for our universities, that's the bigger picture for our league.
So I'm excited about the future.  I'm excited about what we have in finishing our year, and then looking forward, and I'm proud of the fact that we have a program that has sustained success‑‑ and not talking about that was the biggest thing about one year, talking about a sustained success over time, and that's something that our kids are proud of, and we'll continue to do that.

Q.  When Aliyyah Handford and Amber Thompson both pick up two fouls early on, how difficult was it to go to your bench, kind of stray away from what you've been doing all season long?  Yesterday you only played six players.
A.It's hard.  We had to give some kids an opportunity today.  I thought the game was still in a good area at that time, so we went with it.  I can go back and look at it, and we had to get Aliyyah back in to give her some more offense.  Again, with about four minutes to go, amber sat.  There might have been two or three possessions that hurt us on some of the personnel that were in and some of the things they did to make it work, but a lot of our mistake were self‑inflicted on the defensive end, where we just didn't do the things we had done, whether we want to talk about legs and a lot of that stuff, it doesn't matter.  There's no excuses on it.  Seton Hall was the better team today.  They played better than us in stretches and they beat us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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