home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 17, 2017

Carolyn Kieger

Erika Davenport

Natisha Heideman

Allazia Blockton

Coral Gables, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We're start with opening comments from Coach Kieger. Then we'll open it up to the student-athletes.

COACH KIEGER: First of all, I think we're very excited to be here. We're very excited to be in our first NCAA Tournament with this group. Obviously it's a lot warmer than it was in Milwaukee. So we're excited about that.

I think our team is very thrilled to represent the Big East in this NCAA Tournament. And I'm just really happy for our players that they get to experience this.

We've had a motto for about the last two months now to make the NCAA Tournament for our lone senior, Michaela Yentz, and the fact we were able to do it and celebrate this round because she's never been there. I think it's going to be really special, and I think our girls are really excited about it.

THE MODERATOR: We have Allazia Blockton, Erika Davenport and Natisha Heideman. Questions.

Q. Erika, the momentum that you all are carrying into this, just was there a trigger over these last eight games that helped you guys find this next gear? Or was this just the culmination of just steady progress kind of throughout the course of the season?
ERIKA DAVENPORT: I feel it was steady progress. I feel like we always had it, just, like, the season, I feel like we got better, and it was just steady progress of all the momentum going through the season.

Q. From what you've seen on film with Quinnipiac, what kind of challenges do you think they present for you tomorrow?
ALLAZIA BLOCKTON: Quinnipiac is a very good team. They're very disciplined and skilled. I think the challenge we might face is that they're a good rebounding team and we're pretty small, so keeping them off the glass will be a key part of winning the game. And I think we'll do a really good job of that tomorrow.

Q. You're obviously a team that when you can get out and run when you can put up a lot of points, you tend to do it in hurry in bunches. Quinnipiac is a team that I think it seems like they're best with a pace much slower than what you guys like to get out. How critical will it be the first few minutes to set a tone and get that pace at that level where you guys are most comfortable?
NATISHA HEIDEMAN: We're going to set the tone in the first five minutes of the game. Our whole game plan is to just play fast. That's what we've been doing all season, and that's what we'll continue to do throughout the tournament.

Q. Sometimes it's strange because women's tournaments you haven't played in a while. Sometimes the men they go from Sunday, they get right into it on Thursday in some cases how has this time helped you and how are you worried are you about maybe some rust building up from the Big East Tournament until Saturday?
ERIKA DAVENPORT: I feel that we have great trainers that help us to be energized and just making our body feel well. I feel like this time period has really helped us (indiscernible) and to get rest and do what we need to do.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Kieger.

Q. This is a bit of a homecoming for you. Is this the first time you've been back here since you've been at Marquette, and what's it like coming back here?
COACH KIEGER: Our team actually played an FIU tournament last year, so they've been back here. I've been back here. We practiced here, last year before that tournament. So that was kind of good for them to get down here and for me to kind of be back in the practice gym.

So it's very unique. It's very weird. I'm enjoying it, obviously, being back here and seeing all familiar faces. But like I told the team yesterday, for us, this is a business trip. It's not spring break. We're not coming down to Miami to have some fun. This is our first NCAA Tournament as a group and we're going to enjoy it, and we're going to have a lot of fun, but we also want to get to work.

Q. You look at the roster and it's just so young. And is this maybe even a little bit ahead of schedule for what you envisioned what was maybe like the most likely path for this program?
COACH KIEGER: When this group of sophomores came in, we knew they had a lot of talent, and it was just a matter of time and when we were going to get to where we wanted to go. Obviously last year was a lot of learning experience. They played significant minutes.

So I don't really consider this group sophomores in terms of the amount of minutes that they've logged. And our goal all season long was to get to the NCAA Tournament. So for us I don't think it was a shock. I think for others it might have been, but this was our goal from the moment we lost against Seton Hall in the Big East Tournament last year until now.

Q. You touched on the homecoming aspect, but what was the emotion like when you just saw who was in this pod with you guys and you realized who would be on the floor in the game after yours?
COACH KIEGER: I was actually writing when our name popped up and all of a sudden the team started screaming. So I looked up and I saw the 5 seed and I saw Coral Gables, and my first thought was, one, we're a 5 seed, and, two, we're playing in Coral Gables and that Miami was hosting. So congratulations to them; they deserve it.

And then obviously then, we're coming back here to where I coached. So it's a lot of emotions. Can't really put it into words, but more so I'm just really excited for our team to have, one, won the Big East and then, two, to experience what it is to be in a NCAA Tournament.

I've really talked all season long that I really want them to experience this. I remember as a player, I remember what it's like as a coach, to be here and for them to experience this and really get rewarded for their hard work, I'm just really proud of them.

Q. What stands out defensively when you look at them?
COACH KIEGER: They're very disciplined, as we talked about prior. They like to pack the paint. They play personnel very well. So I think we've got to be aware of them, face guarding our leading scorers and just changing things up.

They run a buzz defense. They're very well coached. For us we've got to, as Natisha said, play our pace, make sure we're playing Marquette basketball and don't let their defensive tendencies dictate what we're doing.

Q. The follow-up was how has what you would define as Marquette basketball kind of evolved over your three years?
COACH KIEGER: Well, I think when I got the job at Marquette, I knew the style that I wanted to play, and I knew we wanted to be up tempo. I knew it was going to take a while for them to get to the pace we want to play and understand the system that we're trying to create.

I think our offense has evolved in the last three years, and as a group we're figuring it out. And I think when you see us play now versus last year, even we know each other better. We know what I'm looking for better. They're making reads and they're reacting versus just being robots. And I think that's when we're very hard to guard is -- we're unpredictable. And we're very hard to scout.

When you watch us play, I would not want to be an assistant coach for another team because: What are they running? Sometimes I don't even know what we're running but they do a fantastic job of reading and playing off each other, and I think that's one thing that where we really evolved last year is eliminating our dribbles and our passing has improved drastically. That's the biggest thing I'm proud of in the year from last year to this year, is the way we're sharing the ball; it's phenomenal.

Q. Carolyn, Quinnipiac, this is their third NCAA Tournament appearance in the last five years. They feel that they've been to the stage; they're ready for the upset. How do you make sure that your team doesn't fall victim to the 5-12 upset?
COACH KIEGER: For us, once the NCAA Tournament starts, I don't look at seeds. You have one job. And that's to beat the opponent next to you.

And everybody is good if you make it to the NCAA Tournament. Everybody is capable of beating the person that they're playing every single night.

So for us, we've been just focussing on one game at a time. We did it for the Big East Tournament. We weren't looking ahead. We were just going to play Marquette basketball. And really we're evolving as a defensive team.

And I think that's one thing, that you look at the beginning of the year to now, we're starting to learn how to pack the paint. We're starting to learn how to play to other players' tendencies.

So for us, we've watched film on Quinnipiac for the last four days, and I think our players are really focused. And they're going to make sure that they're locked in defensively as well as offensively.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297