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March 11, 2019

Carolyn Kieger

Natisha Hiedeman

Allazia Blockton

Chicago, Illinois

Marquette - 75, Georgetown 62

CAROLYN KIEGER: Yeah, first of all, I just want to congratulate Georgetown. They made us earn this win today. Dorothy Adomako was phenomenal, she was a force inside and outside so give a lot to credit to them. In terms of what we brought to the table tonight I thought we showed an enormous amount of toughness tonight. It was a different kind of game, up and down, a lot of runs, we had to weather them. I thought our team did a great job of staying composed, staying one possession at a time, obviously Allazia Blockton had a huge performance for us tonight with the double-double. And obviously Natisha, as well, with the 23 and 7. When we're sharing the ball and we're moving it the way that we were in that first half, that's the team we need to be. And I thought our energy when we challenged them at time-outs, they really responded. Again, I thought it was a great mature effort by our whole entire squad.

Q. How does it feel to be back at this stage now hoping for a much different result than last year?
NATISHA HIEDEMAN: We're super excited. We've been working for this the whole season, even preseason before the season even started. So just to have another opportunity and go at it, we're going to give them our best effort, whoever we play.

ALLAZIA BLOCKTON: We're just ecstatic, ever since we left this place last year we had a chip on our shoulder to just get better and better every day, and this has been one of our goals coming into this year, so I think like Natisha said, we're going to give our best effort for whoever we play.

Q. There seems to be something special about this team this year. What differences do you see in this team compared to previous seasons?
ALLAZIA BLOCKTON: I just think our determination, our hunger, how we attack each day, how we attack each practice in preparation. We just attack everything we do. So obviously Erika went down and it's been a lot of injuries that we've had and we've just rallied around those players and it just pumps us up even more. So I just think how hard we attack every day.

NATISHA HIEDEMAN: I would say our maturity. We continue to grow every day, and I think that when we're mature, we know who the hot hand is, we try to get them the ball. Just in different aspects on the court, and as far as, you know if we get punched, we're mature enough to not fold and punch back.

Q. How different is it for you guys now that it's the senior year? You guys have been playing together for four years, the majority as a team, and now it's sort of the ending.
ALLAZIA BLOCKTON: I think we just -- ever since we came in, we've been a family, and we don't want to let our sisters down. So when we step on that court, we're looking to the left and the right and we just don't want to let that player down. So when we step on the court, our chemistry is amazing, and we just go out there and fight hard. We consider ourselves a pack of lions, and we go out there and we go to hunt, and we play for each other and play for the jersey.

NATISHA HIEDEMAN: Exactly what she said. (Laughter).

Q. Your team had 12 threes. Was that just confidence? What was your mindset?
NATISHA HIEDEMAN: I would just say we were moving the ball really well, which was making a lot of our threes not contested, wide-open threes, and I think when we share the ball, we're at our best.

ALLAZIA BLOCKTON: Me too. I think we just visualized it yesterday. We know Georgetown plays us in zone, so we just visualized ourselves knocking down threes. I had dreams about it and I came out hot, and T went on her run, and everyone was knocking down shots, and I think that's what really propelled us for the game.

Q. Allazia, you have talked about this during the season, that the motivation for this team is to get redemption on championship night in this building. Coach talked about earlier this week that it's so key for you guys to celebrate each other. What is that like when you're celebrating each other? Describe that.
ALLAZIA BLOCKTON: I think for us, it just makes the game easier. We're just a selfless team, so when something does something great, we always celebrate it. You see like me and T were flexing down the court when I got the big RB, we try to celebrate every play, and that just shows how much we love each other and how much we care and play for each other. So I think for us we know energy is a big factor to how we play, so we just try to celebrate those little things and those big things.

Q. Natisha, how hungry are you to be back in the championship game?
NATISHA HIEDEMAN: I'm starving (laughter). I just think it's a great opportunity for us, and I think that this is going to propel us for our next games and everything. You know, we do need redemption, and I think that our mindset going into the championship game is going to be excellent. We've had a great week so far, super positive, and I think that's the boost that we need.

Q. Coach, you said that the key to this weekend would be where your group would be mentally. What has been unleashed in them mentally in this run thus far?
CAROLYN KIEGER: I just think we're more focused. You can see in time-outs we're talking to each other, on the court our communication is at an all-time best right now. We're playing -- except for Dorothy today -- personnel pretty well. So I just think there's a different level of intensity when it comes to game plan right now. And it shows, like they talk about, their maturity level right now. So we -- my staff I should say, does a phenomenal job preparing us, and I think the players are kind of latching on to that, and that can be their comfort zone, and when Georgetown makes a run, we can go back and we can weather it and we can go on our time-out and settle ourselves and regroup, and we did that today, and they gave us a punch, they gave us their best effort, and we weathered it.

Q. Talking about weathering it, Georgetown defensively, what did you lock in on in order to weather those runs?
CAROLYN KIEGER: Well, I think switching to our zone was huge. It was a big key for us. Give a lot to credit to my players, because it's been something we've been working on, but we haven't really showed it in games. So today when we went to it, I thought for the first five possessions, I think, they went empty, and we were getting our hands on loose balls and rebounding. I was really proud of them to just do that on the fly because it's not something we've done a lot this season.

Q. That game a year ago, is that still fresh in your mind, and if so, how do you use that as a motivational tool?
CAROLYN KIEGER: I think any time you fail, you use it as a lesson. DePaul played a phenomenal game last year, and we did not. So obviously as competitors, it's in the back of your mind. But I think we've done a really good job this year of focusing on 200 feet at a time. You hear us say that constantly, but we really are buying into that. No matter who wins this game, we're going to have to be sharp, we're going to be to have focused, and the only thing we're thinking about tomorrow is one possession at a time.

Q. Four seniors had 57 of the 75, they all played like 33 minutes plus. This has sort of been your group for the last four years. How much does that class mean to you?
CAROLYN KIEGER: Well, this is their time. You know, this is when you want your seniors to step up and enjoy themselves and enjoy each other. This group, it's really hard to put into words what they mean to our program and mean to myself and my staff. They were our first recruiting class. They were the first ones to buy into a vision that wasn't clear yet. We told them when it came to recruiting what we wanted to do. We told them we were going to be a top-10 team, and they bought in. They stayed loyal, they stayed true to the process, and it hasn't always been easy. We've had a lot of ups we've had a lot of downs. They've really worked hard and they've rolled up their sleeves and we got here through sheer hard work. And I think it's been a phenomenal story because these six seniors, they didn't come in as McDonald's All-Americans, they didn't get the credit they deserved out of high school, and I think they've made a big splash in the nation right now.

Q. With no disrespect to either of your potential opponents, would it be extra sweet to have a chance at redemption against DePaul?
CAROLYN KIEGER: No comment. (Laughter.) Well, of course as a competitor you always want to. That's a rivalry that has been going on for a long, long time. But we also have to get redemption on Creighton as well. They gave it to us pretty good on their home court a week ago. So for us, no matter who we play, I think our girls are going to be ready and focused.

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