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March 12, 2019

Doug Bruno

Mart'e Grays

Chante Stonewall

Chicago, Illinois

DePaul - 74, Marquette - 73

DOUG BRUNO: The Marquette program has been awesome, and they've done a magnificent job, Coach Kieger and her staff have done a magnificent job of developing their team and bringing that very excellent Marquette team to the forefront of the nation this season. And I really -- I just really want to state our respect for everything that Coach Kieger and her seniors have done. That's a great senior class. It's a great story. And they've just done so much for the Big East. It's a very, very good Marquette team we beat, and basketball is a funny game.

Our players never gave up. They never quit. There were many, many ebbs and flows and ups and downs, and I was just really proud of the way that they stayed the course and were able to put themselves in position so that we could make a play at the end of the game. Chante made a play at the end of the game, and the play that she made at the end of the game everybody thinks is just scoring the ball and making a free throw. But Hiedeman with five seconds to go is one hard match-up. She got rid of the ball with five seconds, and she did also a very good job of keeping Hiedeman from scoring.

But again, it's always the players that win the games. We coaches try to lead them into position to be able to win the games, but this coach sitting here talking to you didn't get a rebound tonight, didn't get an assist tonight, and didn't make a basket tonight. The players did the work against a really, really excellent Marquette basketball team.

Q. Are you able to walk us through what you were thinking there on the last DePaul offensive play and the last Marquette offensive play?
CHANTE STONEWALL: Yes, sir. Well, the plan was to get me back to the pinch post and operate there and get to the basket if I could, and if not to kick it out for Ashton. And then after it went in, of course we were all excited, but I knew I had been struggling with free throws lately, so I knew I had to just hit that free throw, knock it down, but then also get another stop.

Throughout the series, throughout the fourth quarter, we knew we had to get a stop, get a bucket, get a stop, get a bucket. So after I made that free throw, it was like, all right, what's next, and I had to defend Hiedeman who actually got up the floor pretty quick.

Q. After the game you were awarded the Most Outstanding Player Trophy. Your teammates were saying it was all you, all your effort, but you deferred back to them. What does that say about your team?
CHANTE STONEWALL: I understand it's not one player. It's not me, it's we, and throughout this whole entire season, it's not me who just had like 20 points in one game and the next game I have two. 25 points, next game I had 6. So throughout I showed a lot of inconsistency but my teammates always had my back, get the next game, get the next play, I was telling Te', like we got to get you going, we got to get you going. Same thing with me throughout these past two previous games, she's like, we got to get you going we got to get you going. So after hearing that I won that, I'm like, no, the girls got me going. They believed in me. And so yeah, that's why I referred back to them.

Q. Mart'e, how big of a win is this for you going out being a fifth-year senior? Can you speak on how special of a moment this is?
MART'E GRAYS: Yeah, this is a very special moment, man, like because --

DOUG BRUNO: I'm sorry, again, I'm not supposed to talk. We were given these Big East hats to represent the Big East, all right, so I just realized that. Thank you.

MART'E GRAYS: Yes, this is very special. Everyone keeps coming up to me, like you guys did it, you guys won it. But it's so unreal right now because nobody believed that we could. Everybody was like, oh, Marquette got this. Like Coach Bruno always preaches, they're on a mission, but what about us? Like we don't have a mission? I'm just glad that we fought through everything that we fought through in this game and got the W.

Q. Chante, you had the basket and the and-one to win it, but Mart'e, on the possession before that you had the tip to keep the ball alive and that led to free throws to cut it to one. So on a tough shooting night what's your mentality shift to and help carry the team forward?
MART'E GRAYS: Oh, yeah, most definitely. These girls don't know -- well, they probably do -- but I have so much confidence in them. It's just contagious. Everybody knows, like, you know, if one of us is not on, we know to give the ball up. But my mentality was just do what I can do -- do what I do, but just not trying to force it. So if I'm there, I'm trying to make a play. I'm not about to be like, oh, I'm not shooting well or whatever. I'm trying to help my team. So I'm glad I was able to get in there and shoot because I barely had any rebounds. But I'm glad Chante is always in the right place at the right time, she got in there and she did what she did.

Q. Chante, can you talk about every time Marquette would go on a run they were up by 13 points, at one point, and you guys kept responding every time. Can you talk about you guys' willingness not to bow down and just to keep fighting?
CHANTE STONEWALL: Coach always preaches that there's no such thing as a four-point play or a 13-point play, but always that we can get a stop, make a bucket, get a stop -- I already said that earlier in interviews -- but yeah, just one stop at a time, win every possession on offense and on defense, and that was going to get the game closer than what it was.

Q. Mart'e, how cool was it to play in this game in this atmosphere tonight?
MART'E GRAYS: It was so cool, man. Like it's just so cool. This type of competition, this type of atmosphere, man, like this is games we live for. I feel like nobody has ever -- well, on our team I could feel it, like nobody is nervous, we're more excited, we're more pumped up. It's just great.

Q. For either player, how would you guys say that the match-up between DePaul and Marquette has intensified over the last two or three years?
CHANTE STONEWALL: I feel so young, I feel like I'm still a freshman. But coming in here, I never really understood the rivalry, and I never really took it as seriously. But man, one year later you understand it. Both programs are just so competitive, and the growth through their side of their program and ours is just amazing to see the evolution.

Like I said, the rivalry is something special. So every time you step on that court you know it's going to be fast. Referees should be even bringing their inhalers. But it's just -- no, but it's fun, and you play against the best players in the Big East, and it's just a really fun game to play. And tonight the atmosphere was great. I don't remember the last time I seen Wintrust that packed, and you always see the court get rushed, in my dreams, on TV, so it was nice actually being there. Like Te' said, this is stuff we dream of as little girls, like this is going to be us one day, and it was just incredible to feel that tonight.

MART'E GRAYS: So I've been here five years, and my freshman year -- it's just crazy how Coach Kieger developed and evolved this team. Like my freshman year, Marquette was like one of the lower teams in the Big East. Like we used to -- it was a rivalry, but we used to just run right past them. And then it's just crazy how the next year they just got so much better, and they're just getting better and better. So it made it more fun, made it more interesting to play in the game, and I just have so much respect for her and her players for even putting in all that work and being dedicated to their program.

Q. Chante, you said as little girls you always dreamed of this moment. How did this moment exceed your expectations?
CHANTE STONEWALL: I know it sounds cliché, but hard work always pays off. Tuesdays are always our hard practices but I'm just thinking like, man, I'll take this game over a Tuesday any day. Man, it's just -- this is the stuff that you dream of, that you pray of, and when the moment comes, it's like, wow, it actually paid off, and this group of girls is just -- man, I'm speechless. This is an incredible feeling, and I hope we just ride this wave on -- maybe bring it back here and let's do it again.

Q. Coach, Mart'e briefly spoke about this, but can you just speak on behalf of Marquette and how much they've evolved as a team?
DOUG BRUNO: When you're as old as I am, sometimes when you're a younger person, you think that Marquette is just starting right now. Marquette has had a great program over a lot of years, and so for me, it's not just starting. I've seen these ebbs and flows happen before, where we'd be on top and then Marquette would be on top and then we'd be on top. So I've seen this come and go and ebb and flow. It's great to see, though, this group, they just did a great job -- I think in my opening statement I said I really respect what they've done, and we're proud of what they've done, but competition is competition. You love your brothers, you love your sisters. Inside a league, we're brothers and sisters, but still, when brothers and sisters go in the backyard and put a competition, put a ball out there and compete, brothers and sisters fight, like hard.

So it's a competition. We know it's a competition. Again, the Marquette -- the Marquette-DePaul rivalry is a long-standing rivalry. I think it's the longest rivalry on our men's side. I think they've played 125 games or something to that respect, and the women's side, if I'm not mistaken, it's either us or -- this has been going on for a long, long time. So it's a great rivalry, and again, Coach Kieger has done a great job with her program, and the senior players there, they've done a great job of working hard to get better. It's always about development and getting better.

You know, I really don't want to forget that our players have worked hard to get better, too. I'm answering your question about Marquette, but sometimes through the evolution of Marquette, people have just kind of treated us like stepchildren, and guess what, we're not going away. I don't care what, who, what program brings in anybody, we're not going to go away. We're going to -- our players have worked very hard to develop, as well. And I'm proud of our players.

Chante Stonewall came back to school this year the most improved player. She worked very, very hard in the off-season. I'm just -- as did everybody, Kelly, Mart'e. So I'm just thrilled that our players have worked hard, also.

Q. I know plays sometimes run together, especially in a game like this, but it was a frustrating thing in the third quarter kind of leading up to the technical foul after the three-point shot. Did you tell your team anything to get them kind of --
DOUG BRUNO: Well, it wasn't just the beginning of the third. It was the end of the second quarter. I mean, we gave up five points in a couple seconds to close out the half. And then you come back and you give up six straight. So we gave up five at the end of the second and we gave up six at the beginning of the third to go from a tie game to chasing 11. Maya Stovall -- I love these freshmen, all of them. Lexi has got more minutes tonight, but Maya Stovall and Sonya Morris have all been very, very important. She hit that shot and she knocked it down and she let her emotions get away with her and clapped, I guess, in the opponent's face.

But as Maya said to me, Coach, they're talking, too, and I said, Maya, we can't control them, they can only control us. That's what rivalries are. You're going to smack with one another. So somebody talked at her and then she clapped in somebody's face, and then it was a technical. But it was really more to do with us letting the game get away from us than even the technical. I mean, it was -- and basketball -- again, I feel so bad for you all having to listen to me repeat, that every basketball game has a life of its own, but it does. For us, for the two technical fouls to be missed, the free throws to be missed, for somebody that shoots as well as Lott to miss three free throws, things like that, you still have to catch breaks in basketball games. And we caught some breaks, also, but we took advantage of those breaks, as well.

Q. Can you just talk about the play of Chante Stonewall tonight, especially guarding Hiedeman?
DOUG BRUNO: I mean, she did a magnificent job. Hiedeman is a really hard match-up, I think she's a pro. I really do believe she's got a chance to be a pro, a WNBA pro, okay, and I just think she's a really hard match-up. As thrilled as I was at the end of the game when Chante, we iso'd Chante in the pinch post, she took a very good defender, Marquette's best defender is Selena Lott, and she took Lott to the basket and finished strong. But we knew five seconds, Hiedeman has thrown in more buckets with less seconds time than that. And the stop that she made on the five seconds is every bit as important as the -- as she had to make that bucket and she had to make the free throw, but then she had to make the stop or make a very talented player like Hiedeman on the left side miss a shot at the end. Chante had a really strong game all night long. She did score her thousandth point the other night. I'm not going to take Bob's job ever. I don't want Bob's job. But for the record now, DePaul has got four 1,000-point scorers. We don't have five but we got four out there, we got four out there and Tanita Allen hadn't hurt her knee this year we would have had five this year, too.

But at the same time, again, Chante was just awesome tonight. At one point in time, there was -- I barked at her about something -- I forget what it was. It was something that she needed to get barked at, and I brought -- and then she turned and didn't let me continue my second and third bark. I gave her the hook, and I kept her on the bench for all of about four seconds. It might have been 12 seconds, 30 at the most, but at the same time, that's just what we do in our program. When I talk to you, I expect to get a response from you. I love Chante, I love the effort she's put into this, and so I'm just thrilled that she was able to, when we called her number, come up big.

Q. Can you talk about the play of Lexi tonight?
DOUG BRUNO: Yeah, again, Lexi took the charge, maybe a couple charges if I'm not mistaken, and maybe a third -- she took two for sure. But then the post feed pass from the corner. It's not just Lexi Held knocking down shots, it's Lexi Held, that pass to the post from the corner, that's got a subtle, very special basketball player to it. So I think she was really, really important tonight. I think Tanita Allen was important tonight, and the bench tightens, but when I talk about Lexi I have to talk of all our freshmen. Sonya didn't have a lot of minutes tonight but I thought she was nice and aggressive early, got to the rim and just missed it and got a good pull-up and just didn't knock it down. And Maya gave us a good start to the basketball game.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how this win is going to propel you into next week and obviously the NCAA Tournament?
DOUG BRUNO: Well, it's really one of those situations where you play for March and it's March, and then March is here. But for two teams, the emotion -- what makes this tournament so beautiful is the excitement of who's getting in, who's not getting in, the first four days before competition starts where all the conversation about the match-ups, the story lines about the match-ups, the players in the tournament, who didn't get in, who did get in. And then all of a sudden the games start.

Everybody is going to crash and burn except one team on the men's side and one team on the women's side. It doesn't matter if you lose in the first game or -- we've only gotten to the Sweet 16 four times, or the third game for us so far. It's crash and burn, and you're in this exhilarating place of high and there's no other way to describe it when you're not going to play tomorrow.

So we're really excited to put ourselves in position to hopefully earn our way into the NCAA Tournament and then we'll regroup here and get ourselves ready to be the best we can be no matter where we get sent. And no matter who we're going to play against, I promise our players will be ready to compete in the NCAA Tournament. This is what we play for.

Q. The play of Kelly Campbell tonight, all around, three steals, 12 rebounds, especially in the second half when you needed those rebounds to keep chipping away at the lead, can you talk about her play?
DOUG BRUNO: Kelly is just a special player. She's a rock. She does all the things that go unnoticed. And we couldn't be where we are without her, and she's emerging -- the class of 2020, Chante and Kelly together are emerging. Their leadership is emerging, so Kelly is becoming more of a vocal leader out on the floor, also. And I just think there's no way we're where we're at without Kelly Campbell and Chante. We're not here without any and all of our players, but she's really been special to this program.

We've got a lot of work to do still. We've got a long way -- we still have miles to go before we sleep, Robert Frost. Miles to go before you sleep, miles to go before you sleep.

Thank you all for covering women's hoops, and again, I'm really thrilled for our players that they can steal a victory again against a very, very special Marquette team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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