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March 5, 2016

Muffet McGraw

Madison Cable

Lindsay Allen

Greensboro, North Carolina

Notre Dame - 78, Miami - 67

MUFFET MCGRAW: I thought Miami played a great first half. They shot the ball extremely well. We tried to zone them, they shot us out of it. We tried a couple different things, they shot us out of all of them. In the third quarter, I think we went man-to-man and I think that was probably our best defense of the day. They're a great team; their guards are terrific. They were really fired up at the beginning of the game, played extremely well after having played three days in a row. I think maybe fatigue may have been a factor in the fourth quarter.

But I thought offensively we did a lot of good things. I thought Lindsay had that 6-0 run to really give us a cushion on the lead. But everybody contributed. Madison always makes a big shot at some point, big free throws. We were able to go inside to Brianna Turner and I thought had some success there.

Q. Coach, they made eight three-pointers the first half, one second half. What was your strategy? What did you talk about at halftime? Obviously you talked about it.
MUFFET MCGRAW: We did. We did. And that's why we went man-to-man. I thought that was the only way we could stop them at that point. We were trying to switch on some screens and really just get a hand up and force the drive, and I thought we did a better job in the second half, although I do think the fatigue was a factor.

Q. Coach, other than going to man, when you were down three, you finished on like a 34-20 run. What about offensively?
MUFFET MCGRAW: We tried to look inside to Bree. We tried to get some more pick-and-roll. We were trying to get high-low going. I thought we had options some there. But I thought Kathryn Westbeld made some huge shots for us during that stretch. Hannah Huffman comes in. She`s the facilitator at high post trying to get the ball to Bree. We were able to go inside a little bit, and then Lindsay on her run. I think everybody contributes in her own way. I thought we came up with some offensive rebounds, got some second chances, and that at least let us use the clock a little bit more. I thought we could have done a little better job with the late game using the clock and taking care of the ball, but overall I thought good stuff in the second half.

Q. Talk a little bit about potential tomorrow for the opponents, quick turnaround, what would both bring against you?
MUFFET MCGRAW: You know, it's a tough, tough turnaround with a 12:30 game. I think both teams are going to be a little fatigued. We were able to use our bench a lot yesterday and I think that helped us. We were able to sub a little bit today, and I think that'll help us. We do have some fresh bodies just raring to go. But I think for both teams, it's going to be a war. It's going to be a war. This is a chance for both these teams, I think, to be in The Finals for the first time, and so hopefully our experience will play a factor.

Q. Coach Meier just talked about how every time they got close or they took the lead there finally, you had a different player step up. Is that really the strength of this team?
MUFFET MCGRAW: Yeah, it really is. We're just such a team. We don't have one player that`s going to carry the load the whole year. You look at our scoring, our leader scorer averages about 14 points a game. Five people in double figures. We had seven different people lead the team in scoring. I think six people have gotten 20 or more in a game this season. Really we`re the type of team that`s just going to feed the hot hand and who's ever got it, that's where we're going to go.

Q. This is for both players. Notre Dame has over the years lost a lot of No. 1 draft picks and people like that and your team is still at the same level. What is it about Coach and your system that keeps you going 30-1?
LINDSAY ALLEN: Yeah, I think it's a testament to our coaches and how they prepare us during the summer. We really don't rebuild, we kind of just reload and we work really hard in the summer to kind of prepare for the next season. We really don't care who scores the most points, who gets the most rebounds. Anyone can step up for this team at any point, and our system is such that anyone can pass it, anyone can make the basket. It's just mostly just reads and reads off of cuts and stuff like that, so anyone can score on any given possession.

MADISON CABLE: Yeah, Lindsay pretty much covered it. Coaches do a great job getting us ready. All the players have the same mentality, come in, work as hard as you can, do the little things, and then it's going to lead to winning big games and getting ourselves into situations like these, so it's been good.

Q. What stands out most about Syracuse?
MUFFET MCGRAW: Well, their pressure. They really like to turn people over. I think they lead the nation in forced turnovers. They're going to come after you. There are going to be a lot of traps. I think the third day of a tournament maybe they might be a little bit fatigued, so that will be interesting to see how the press works, but I think they're a team that's capable of -- Brianna Butler is somebody, I'm shocked she's not on the first-team All-Conference. Best three-point shooter in the nation. I think she set the record this year. She can really shoot it. Shes`s somebody -- you don`t want to zone when you have somebody like her on the loose. They're really athletic. They play well together. They're just a great team having a great season and look like they're really enjoying it.

Q. When you have an easier game or easier outcome, yesterday you mentioned you could rest players. When you have a game like today where you have a team push you and you have to push back in March, what does that do to help you I guess mindset wise in a tournament?
MUFFET MCGRAW: Yeah, it's important for us. We need that test. We need to be challenged like that. I think it forces us to really be at our best, to see who's going to step up, who's going to get a big defensive stop, who can we count on to get a big rebound. I think it's an opportunity for everybody to shine a little bit more. You don't learn a lot about your team when you win by 20. This is the kind of game where you learn a lot more about your team, and I think it really will help us.

Q. Madison, when you got down by three points, what's going through your head at that point? Was there any panic that set in at all?
MADISON CABLE: No, I think this team does a really good job. We've been in situations before where the other team makes a run and we kind of just gather ourselves and we know we have to make a stop. Make a couple stops, execute a few plays. Coach probably runs an easy hitter or a play and like a lay-up into Bree or something easy that we know we can execute, and then we just try to go on a run from there.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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