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April 7, 2015

Jewell Loyd

Muffet McGraw

Taya Reimer

Brianna Turner


Uconn – 63
Notre Dame - 53

THE MODERATOR:  On the dais from Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw, student‑athletes Jewell Loyd and Taya Reimer.
COACH MCGRAW:  Disappointing way to end the season, but I thought it was a great achievement to get here.  Disappointing in I think that we weren't able to really play our game.  I feel as though offensively we ever got into any rhythm.  I thought Jefferson was outstanding, I thought they put a lot of pressure on the ball, and that really hurt us.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Could you talk about their defensive pressure?  It seemed like they were doing a lot of different things to harass you, made it kind of difficult for you scoring‑wise in this game?
JEWELL LOYD:  It was a normal face guard where everyone was pressuring us, Lindsay was getting pressured all the way up the floor.  Got us out of our rhythm ‑‑ well, when we had a rhythm.
And we didn't execute as well as we planned.

Q.  Brianna, you had ten points in the first half against South Carolina and then you scored your first two points in the second half.  Did they change anything defensively that you didn't see against South Carolina?
BRIANNA TURNER:  I think I wasn't aggressive enough, I was really timid in the first half.

Q.  Taya and Brianna, could you talk about how difficult‑‑ you guys are used to how difficult it is sometimes you think, it's tough when they have those shot blockers inside, especially Stewart, and also if you could talk a little bit about the way Stewart rebounded tonight?
TAYA REIMER:  I mean, they have great bigs on their team.  We knew that they had shot blockers on their team, and, I mean, they're very good inside.  So we were just trying to run stuff that I guess could avoid that shot blocking somewhat, and we were just trying to attack them.
But like you said before, we really couldn't find the rhythm offensively.
BRIANNA TURNER:  What Taya said, they were long and athletic.  We couldn't get a rhythm going.

Q.  Jewell, seemed like there was a point there, I don't know if it was about seven‑minute mark, I'm not sure when exactly when it was, you were close and they were able to get that last surge.  Do you think that was sort of the difference in the game there, they made that last run on you?
JEWELL LOYD:  I think we kind of lost people in transition, lack of communication at times, and allowed them to get open shots at times when we really needed to break away.  We kind of relaxed a little bit, and that's when they ran the shots.

Q.  Taya, I have to say you guys seem more ticked off than anything.  But also like kind of I know you all are coming back.  Can you tell me about your emotions right now about this game and maybe going forward to next year?
TAYA REIMER:  I mean, obviously it hurts.  You know, we had a lot of growth this season.  And we really came together.  And it's really tough.  We really wanted this.  But we're just going to use it as motivation for next year.
Obviously offseason starts now.  So we're using it as motivation, because we want to get back to this moment and we want to be the ones out there holding the trophy.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Coach.

Q.  You mentioned Moriah's defense.  How has her presence on both ends of the court changed in the two years you've faced her?
COACH MCGRAW:  I thought she was a great defender tonight.  I thought she made things hard for Jewell.  She made‑‑ we weren't able to really get anything going, because most of our offense runs through Jewell.  And she really did a great job denying her the ball.
I thought she made a couple of 3s that hurt us and other than that, I think it was mostly her defense that really bothered us.

Q.  Muffet, Brianna Turner had a tough time getting touches.  Seemed like she didn't have much offense going.  What changed in the second half?  Because it did seem like the light came on then.
COACH MCGRAW:  We didn't look for her enough, I thought.  I thought we needed to get her the ball more, talked about it at halftime, trying to get her in the pick‑and‑roll, going high/low, and we were able to do that a little more successfully in the second half.  But I thought our point guards had a little trouble finding her.
She didn't seem to be able to find her even when she was open.  I thought that the pressure on the ball really disrupted us.

Q.  Wonder if you could talk about Stewart, she didn't have sort of the offensive game she normally has but she was really tough on the board.  How did she impact the game maybe in ways that the stats didn't show?
COACH MCGRAW:  I thought Brianna Turner did a great matchup on her.  That was the matchup we were hoping for.  She was able to stay out of foul trouble, and I thought made it difficult for Bri to get any shots.  And I thought just did a great job both guarding on the outside and the inside.
So I was really pleased with the way we defended her.  She had 12 defensive rebounds, but I thought we could have attacked the offensive glass a little bit more, but we weren't able to do that.  A lot of times we just had one rebounder in there.  But she's an outstanding rebounder.

Q.  Has this team come the farthest than the past five?
COACH MCGRAW:  No question about it.  When we looked at the way we played in the past season and what we've been through, we didn't expect to get this far.  It took us losing at Miami to really start to turn things around, and I think from that point on we really saw the potential.

Q.  Going for the (indiscernible) I see you guys have a lot of players coming back.  As far as getting your team mentally prepared, do you think it will be a better situation versus last year from now, because a lot of your team is coming back?  Do you think you guys could get back to this point and maybe pull it off next year?
COACH MCGRAW:  We have everybody back but there's no guarantees that we could get back here.  I mean, it's going to take a lot of work and we've got three All‑American guards coming in.
We've got a great opportunity to look at some of the weaknesses that were exposed to tonight.  I think those guards can really help us.  So I've got really optimistic, high hopes for next year.

Q.  UConn's been dominating teams all season and a lot of double‑digit blowouts.  Maybe other than Stanford no one has been close to beating them as you were tonight.  Why was it so close, and do you feel like your team was just giving them their run for their money, a dogfight out there with UConn not letting them slip away to the final seconds?
COACH MCGRAW:  I thought because we defended pretty well.  We felt at halftime we were guarding them in the half court offense pretty well and our problem was in transition and second‑chance points.  So if we could stop turning the ball over, we'd have an opportunity to close that gap that we had at halftime.
So I was relatively pleased.  We held them to 63 points.  That's probably a season low for them, I would guess.  And our problem is the offense; we couldn't score.

Q.  You said the problem was the offense, you couldn't score, the turnovers also hurt.  They've got a lot of pretty good players over there, too, is it not?
COACH MCGRAW:  I'm sorry, I didn't get the question.

Q.  The question is they're a bunch to handle, UConn is, are they not?
COACH MCGRAW:  Yes, they are.

Q.  Is this a good example of what UConn is?  Because it seemed you did a good job on a lot of people tonight.  Stewy didn't kill you.  Tuck didn't kill you like she did the first time, and yet big basket here, Mosqueda‑Lewis or it's Jefferson.  Is this a lot about who UConn is?  Is that what we saw?
COACH MCGRAW:  I'm not sure I understand the question.

Q.  They seemed to get a big play here, there, or everywhere, without anyone standing out individually.  Did we kind of see maybe they didn't play their best game?  You guys made life difficult for them yet they found a way?  In a funny sense, is this what UConn is all about, just here, there, and everywhere?
COACH MCGRAW:  I thought the 3 that Lewis hit was in transition was critical.  We had just cut it to 6.  We didn't switch the ball screen.  They got a free‑throw jumper for 2, came down and turned it over.  Transition from Mosqueda‑Lewis for 3, and now it's a five‑point swing, 6 went to 11, and that was the game.
And so I would say that's pretty typical of Connecticut, that scoring in transition, especially for Lewis.

Q.  What do you attribute some of those turnovers to, because some of them seemed uncharacteristic for you guys?
COACH MCGRAW:  I thought so, too.  I don't know.  I guess the moment.  You're in the championship game.  I think we were a little tight during the game.  I really thought we had nothing to lose.  We would come out real loose and we were the opposite.  It was disappointing to see.
I don't know why‑‑ I mean, they wanted to win and put too much pressure on themselves.

Q.  Do you think ‑‑ as far as the game is concerned, do you think it was good UConn defense or you guys just struggled a little on offense?  Do you think it was more so you or them?
COACH MCGRAW:  I thought it was mostly their defense.  We had a couple of layups we missed, but overall I thought it was mostly their defense.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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