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ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT


March 4, 2016


Joanne P. McCallie

Azura Stevens

Oderah Chidom


Greensboro, North Carolina

Notre Dame - 83, Duke - 54.

JOANNE P. MCCALLIE: Well, that was not a great game for us. Congrats to Notre Dame. I thought they played very well. The second and third quarters were obviously very difficult for us. I know I feel we could have played better, and I feel like it didn't represent all that we've got.

I was really proud of Azura to play back to back games on a very bad foot. I thought that was incredible. I thought it shows her character, shows her stature as a top player and as an All-American, and as somebody who can make huge differences with a game.

Oderah's rebounds were very, very important to us. She's always hustling, and they were very important.

Our perimeter play was obviously suspect and could have been a lot better there, I think. But there was some really good hustle on the floor. Really proud of Faith Suggs coming off the bench. I thought she gave us an incredible lift. Kyra, I don't really call her off the bench. She's sort of a starter. But I thought Kyra was also really fighting hard out there.

It's a tough one. I'm very proud of this team, but we know we could have played better. It's not the feeling that we want to have. Obviously the points in the paint were a big story there, and the biggest story was us not defending. I know they're an excellent three-point shooting team, but that really wasn't it, either. It was the points in the paint and just the way that we let them score pretty easily.

So we'll take our lessons from this and we'll move forward with those lessons.

Q. Joanne, you've got 10 days to wait on an NCAA bid. What do you feel your situation is, and do you feel like you've done enough to deserve an at-large bid?
JOANNE P. MCCALLIE: It's hard for me to -- you know how I'm going to answer that, right? It's hard for me to -- I'm with this team every day. I've seen this team do amazing things. It's really sad about that outcome that we've been in every game this year except for two, today and one earlier this year. Every other game we've had a chance, an opportunity to win.

We played one of the hardest schedules in the country. We played away at a lot of great programs. I think this team has done amazing things. We have one of the best players in the country on our team. You know how I feel about it. I feel like they've overcome a great deal, a great deal more than any other team in the country, and despite today, we are the greatest story. This team is the greatest story.

No one out there has any idea what we've been through and what we'd like to continue to go through to be in that tournament.

Q. You played a good game last night, played the No. 2 team in the nation today. How much do you miss Becca when she's not out there and how do you feel you've responded to that situation, particularly for Oderah, having two key players out? How do you think the team has responded overall and what might you tell the NCAA committee as to why you ought to be in the tournament?
AZURÁ STEVENS: Well, obviously we miss Becca. She's one of our top scorers, so it's clear for anyone to see that we missed her today and just her presence outside. But we fought and tried as hard as we could.

ODERAH CHIDOM: I think a lot of people from the bench stepped up and did stuff they haven't done all season. Faith Suggs, Kyra Lambert played really good games today, and I hope the committee can see that we tried our best and that we were missing one of our key scorers.

JOANNE P. MCCALLIE: For the record, we do expect Becca back. I mean, for the record. It just was an odd thing that had to arise as it did.

Q. Joanne, what's your regimen going to be these next 10 days while you wait?
JOANNE P. MCCALLIE: It's a great opportunity for us first to rest over the weekend and then to come back and work and get some good practices in and get people healthy and just get moving forward. We are very fortunate that way. I count that as a blessing indeed, that the tournament just doesn't back up. If the tournament were going to be played, I don't know, next week sometime, that would obviously not favor us. I feel like -- I just feel like we're a great story. I feel like we've done some incredible things, and I feel like we'd be a great, fun team to watch in the tournament because I think we'd be a little bit of an outlier. I know we wouldn't be a top seed, but I think that's what the tournament is all about, especially on the women's side, the story lines and how teams fight. I'm still amazed this team won 20 games when you think about it, and could have won -- right there on a couple, and I'm responsible for two of them, I mean, directly responsible.

I give them 22.

Q. Coach, yesterday you had said you needed to slow down the tempo today, and you did that in the first quarter, kind of a slow-paced quarter and then they started to speed up and go up and down in the second quarter, so what did they do to speed the game up?
JOANNE P. MCCALLIE: It wasn't the second quarter. It was turnovers. We had turnover, turnover, turnover, and they ran on those, and that was very unfortunate. I know there weren't a lot of turnovers in the game, they had seven, we had 14, but in that game they converted 13 points in the first half off turnovers. If you deduct that from their total, it's a 26-24 game. That's a big problem. You cannot be spotting teams, certainly teams with that kind of experience and that kind of senior leadership. They're going to miss that Cable -- Madison Cable to me to me is one of the best seniors I've ever seen come out of there.

Q. Azura, what was the difference for Notre Dame, particularly that second quarter?
AZURÁ STEVENS: I think what Coach said. We gave them the ball practically, and you can't do that especially against a team that convert on turnovers every single time. Every single you turn it over, they're scoring. It's not like a chance of them scoring, they're going to score. So I think we just had to take better care of the ball, and we didn't do that.

Q. You talked about how Becca's injury is a freak injury, Haley's injury, as well. We've seen the team battle with seven people practicing at times. How far has the team come and how much have you had to persevere through this season?
JOANNE P. MCCALLIE: The team has been phenomenal. The team has improved greatly. I think they've grown as women in huge ways. Don't forget the plantar fascia. Where does that come from? These bizarre injuries all occurring in-game, and Becca's thing was just amazing because here she has one of her best games of the year at Carolina, is perfectly fine the next day, doesn't practice because we were off and feels great, and then wakes up with this situation.

So it's been one of those for us, and I think that this team has really learned about events outside of our control and trying to control what we can control. I think we're a very dangerous team. I think we have a lot of confidence. I don't think we're very happy right now, but I think we're a very dangerous team because we've played in every game, whether it was South Carolina or any of these games, Notre Dame at home, we've been right there and played top 10 basketball. I realize we haven't always gone over the top, but we've played a whole lot of top 10 basketball with some of the teams we've played.

Q. Coach, are you concerned at all about your shooting after yesterday and today's percentages?
JOANNE P. MCCALLIE: You know, I think that it's been very unfortunate, yes, very low. Without having any practice, without Becca, I mean, you understand what they can do, the defense and how it can play from there. No, I'm not concerned, we just need some practice time that we did not have. And I thought Faith did a great job. She gave us a big lift.

Q. Azura, you missed seven games and come back and play 71 of 80 minutes. How is the foot?
AZURÁ STEVENS: I'm sure you can imagine how it is. It's sore. But I'll be okay.

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