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April 5, 2015

Madison Cable

Jewell Loyd

Muffet McGraw

Tiffany Mitchell

Taya Reimer


Notre Dame – 66
South Carolina - 65

THE MODERATOR:  Joining us is Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw and student‑athletes Madison Cable, Jewell Loyd and Taya Reimer.

Q.  Madison, take us through that basket.
MADISON CABLE:  Jewell shot it, which usually it goes in almost all the time.  I was just crashing anyway to try to get a rebound.  And it bounced right where I was, and I turned around and had an open shot so I took it.  Luckily it went in.

Q.  Tay, can you talk about the front court play you had tonight?  A lot of people thought South Carolina is a big team, they might have an advantage there, and you guys especially early in the game really took it to them?
TAYA REIMER:  We knew that they were a really good team inside; that they get a lot through their interior play.  Our game plan was to try to contain that and try to shut them down and on the offensive side just attack them.
So I think that we did a pretty good job of that especially in the first half.  And then, I mean, at the end of the game it just came down to trying to contain them and get a rebound.

Q.  Madison, your transition offense was solid tonight.  What helped you play so well in the front court and pushing the ball?
MADISON CABLE:  It's something that we try to do every game and we work on in practice and stuff.  So our guards did a good job looking up and finding the streaking post or whoever it was down the court.

Q.  You guys went a long time without a basket at the end of the game there.  Can you talk about what it was like out there?  Did you feel you were starting to tighten up a little bit?
TIFFANY MITCHELL:  I think so.  But it happens.  We knew it's all about defense and getting stops and battling.  We looked at each other, and we were like:  Let's go.  We need a stop.  We knew that shots aren't always going to fall, we're not going to get calls, whatever it was.  But defense, that's something that we can to control.

Q.  Jewell and Taya, can you talk about the very last play, their play, and what you saw and the defense you played on that particular play?
JEWELL LOYD:  We knew they would have the ball in Tiffany's hands and they would have a screen up top and whichever way they got off, we would double her.  She went back and forth a couple times, and then she came over to my side and Hannah and I trapped her.
Hannah, a great block and kept the ball in play, which allowed more time to come off the clock and everybody was able to contest.  And great team defense all around.
TAYA REIMER:  The guards did a great job containing Mitchell up top not letting her get a good shot off, and me and Kathryn were trying to stay back and trying to get it if she tried to pass into the post, or if she shot it just get a rebound.

Q.  For any of the players, can you give us a sense of just how difficult it is for what Hannah Huffman did to come in 14 minutes cold and defend on maybe the biggest play of the season?  Just those of us‑‑ obviously you guys may not have been in that situation, but you certainly can relate to what you have to do mentally to sort of perform there?
JEWELL LOYD:  When you have a player like Hannah Huffman who is so passionate and motivated, she was ready.  She was like:  Okay, I got it.  And we had belief in her.  We knew she was going to help us.  Whatever she needed to do, whether get a steal or deflection, that's what she was going to do.  Hannah, that's what she does for us.

Q.  Madison, this was like your only two points.  Ever hit a bigger basket in your life?
MADISON CABLE:  Somebody already asked me that.  Thinking about it, I don't think so.  So I guess it's a good time to get my two points for the game.

Q.  You've been on the doorstep before here for the chance to win the title.  Does a night like that make you think we're going to close the deal this time?
MADISON CABLE:  You have to stay motivated.  We're going to win, we're going to have fun, but we're motivated.
And we're enjoying this and we enjoy this night and live it up for sure and get refocused tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Questions for Coach.

Q.  Will you talk about your front court play with Turner and Reimer tonight?
COACH MCGRAW:  I thought Bri and Taya really played well, especially in the first half.  They were eight for 11 we talked about at halftime, we needed to get them the ball more.  I thought we had more opportunities to do that and weren't quite as successful.
We came out with a plan to go inside.  Then Jewell got hot, and we kind of changed the plan a little bit and went to Jewell a little bit more.
They battled.  They battled.  We didn't get as many rebounds as we wanted to, but I thought they played hard.

Q.  Muffet, can you take us through the last possession defensively, what your thinking was and philosophy was for that?
COACH MCGRAW:  Well, we had the timeout, so we were able to talk about what was going to happen.  We thought that Mitchell would get the ball and there would probably be a ball screen involved.
We talked about how important it was going to be.  Because we were still in the triangle and 2 at that point.  We talked about how important it was going to be for the person to come out and hedge on the ball screen.  And I thought that was probably as good a hedge as we've had.  But when I looked down the bench, Michaela Mabrey, not as well known for her defense.
So we wanted to get a better defender in, and Hannah Huffman is somebody that played earlier in the game, guarded Mitchell, did a great job on her, and so we wanted to give her that opportunity.

Q.  Walk us through the final play going without a timeout and your final offensive possession.
COACH MCGRAW:  What we work on we're going to rebound and go.  And if we have something we'll obviously take it.  If we don't have something we'll take the timeout there.  I thought Jewell had kind of a clear path.  We set the high ball screen for her and it was a great shot.  And Maddie came out of nowhere to get the rebound.

Q.  You know they're going to get their points inside, they're going to try to get their points inside, but they only had a couple 3‑pointers and a couple of mid‑range jumpers, can you just say how much your defensive game plan factored into that?
COACH MCGRAW:  I'm not sure if you can say they have a weakness, but we thought that pick your poison, we were going to let them take jumpers.  Sessions hit the 3 in the first half but we weren't going to deviate from the game plan.
We were giving up pretty much everybody except for Mitchell and Roy, when she came in the game.  So we tried to pack it in on the post, which they still did a really great job of scoring against us.
But we went triangle and 2, and on box and 1 we went 1‑2‑2.  Played a couple of possessions of man to man, played a little 2‑3, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at them trying to figure out a way to stop them.

Q.  You haven't had much from your bench this season, or even tonight.  But to have the game winning shot and a key play on defense come from subs in the last minute, just want to ask about the confidence you had in those two in those moments?
COACH MCGRAW:  Our bench has been terrific all year long.  I thought Madison Cable was the best 6 man in the league.  She didn't win the award.  But she was so key in so many games for us.  Plays a lot minutes for us.
Kathryn Westbeld comes in and gives us great minutes in the post.  And Hannah Huffman, starting with the ACC season, has really come along and done a lot of great things for us defensively.
Her job is not to score but to bring energy, rebounds, set screens and take charges and play defense.  So I have a lot of confidence in all of those players.  And Hannah I think, the biggest play of the game, to put her in, I think I told her I trust you and I have confidence in you.

Q.  On day one of practice it's always the goal, but did you see this group with the changeover get into a national final?
COACH MCGRAW:  I did not.  I remember thinking that and telling the team we lost 40percent of our offense, 40percent of our rebounds and 40percent of our assists.  We really were a very different team, very young team.  We did not have‑‑ we didn't know who the leader was going to be.
We really struggled early on with communication, with a lot of little things.  And I thought the staff tried to keep it simple.  We tried not to overwhelm them with things but freshmen are going to be overwhelmed anyways.
So I would say for us to be at this point now is really I think we overachieved to get here.

Q.  She obviously fouled out with a couple of minutes to go.  But when Brianna Turner was on the court at times she was the best player on the court.  How much of a glimpse did people who watched her tonight get in terms of what she can become over the next couple of years?
COACH MCGRAW:  Yeah, she has amazing talent.  She just wants to learn.  She's a hard worker at practice.  She can run the floor.  That's one of her greatest.  She can block shots and rebound, and she can finish around the basket.
I thought for her first Final Four, played extremely well defensively and offensively.  And I know if you asked her she'd probably say she didn't play very well, but I'm so happy with her potential and where she's going to be.

Q.  You talked about their depth and how much that might cause trouble for you.  When Wilson came off the bench and Cables came off the bench and they started coming back, were you worried that you might not have enough in the tank in the second half when they came off the bench again in the second half?
COACH MCGRAW:  Their bench is really good.  Probably they could start any of the eight people that they play a lot.  And that was our big worry.  We wanted to start out the game with kind of packing it in and seeing how that looked first.
And then when they came in with Wilson, we tried to stay on her left hand.  We weren't overly successful with it.  I thought we probably would have changed the game plan looking back on it, maybe deny a little bit more.  But she's a tremendous talent.

Q.  The cameras are on you at the end of the game, I don't know, you did a little bit of a dance.  Your face appeared like maybe you were even surprised at how the last 14seconds or maybe even the last minute played out.  Can you just take us through what you were thinking during that last possession?
COACH MCGRAW:  I was surprised how the last minute 13 played out.  When Lindsay fouled out, I thought we might be in a little bit of trouble.
We told Jewell, you'll have to run the point and you'll have to take over the ball, we're going to have to do it on defense.  We're going to have to rebound.  When they took the lead, I wasn't sure how things were going to end up for us because you never know if we're going to be able to have that resilience that we needed at that point without our point guard.
So I was just amazed.  I think Maddie makes a great play and then we get a great defensive stop.  So yeah, I was pretty happy after that one.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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