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March 7, 2010

Quentin Hillsman

Erica Morrow


Connecticut – 77
Syracuse - 41

THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening statement if you wouldn't mind, please.
COACH HILLSMAN: Sure. Obviously disappointed in the loss. We didn't come here for any more victories, and we really wanted to come out and compete and win the basketball game.
Overall, you've got to give a lot of credit to Connecticut. They have a great basketball team, great players, a great coach, and I'm happy they're in our conference, I really am. We have the best conference in the country. We have the best team in the country, and we have the team that's probably going to end up winning the national championship.
So when you look at that overall, you have to be happy to be able to compete against No. 1 in the country. There's not too much chances or opportunities you're going to get to compete against such a great team and such great players. So we relish the opportunity to come in and compete against that kind of team.
It's hard to sit up here and really give a basketball opening statement because I thought that we competed and we played as hard as we could. Obviously playing three games in three days is tough, and playing three games in three days and your third game being against UConn is really tough. But overall I'm really happy for our team, really happy for what we've accomplished this year, winning 22 games.
I've got to give all the credit to Connecticut and to their players and congratulate them for tying the record. They're a great basketball team. We have great kids. This is the best conference in the country, and it's an honor and a pleasure to be coaching in this conference at this press conference. It's a great day for us, and I'm going to take a shower and come back and watch some great basketball.

Q. Coach, with the win over West Virginia and the win in the first round with Providence, can you talk about where your season stands now?
COACH HILLSMAN: I hope so. I hope you're on the committee if you're saying yes. We know as we say at Syracuse, we're Bowl-eligible, so we know that we're eligible to play in the postseason at the NCAA tournament. That would be awesome. If it's the WNIT, that's going to be awesome, also. We just want to keep playing basketball. We want to get our young kids as encouraged as possible.
We want to make sure that if we go on the road that we play hard, and if we play at home, make sure that our team has a lot of work to do to get our gyms ready for us to play.
We're very excited to give our kids a couple days off. We know we're playing somewhere, so we're looking forward to preparing for that. I don't know. I think we have a good basketball team, and I think that we are NCAA talent. And if they vote us into the tournament, we're going to go and play hard. If not, we're going to play the WNIT, and we're going to play hard there.

Q. Erica, can you discuss the start of the game? I believe it was 17 to 2 at one point, just kind of your mentality going forward?
ERICA MORROW: Well, my mentality was to just keep being aggressive, keep being aggressive, and actually even on offense. You see the scoreboard, but at the end of the day you can only control what you can control, so we just wanted to keep being aggressive and just execute our offense and defense.

Q. Erica, I think you had like 42 points the last two games. What were they able to do to frustrate you today, and how was it different?
ERICA MORROW: Well, I mean, I'm not sure what they did, but on our end, I kept being aggressive. I had to look to score the ball and be a threat for my team, and that's what I tried to do.

Q. Coach, in terms of Tina Charles, it seemed like out there today you'd try a little bit more with Kayla, Vionca, everybody kind of against you. Just what was your thought process against a player like Tina?
COACH HILLSMAN: It's difficult because she's such a great player, and once she gets in deep post position, she's definitely hard to guard. We were just trying to get Kayla some good experience against her because eventually we're going to need Kayla to be that dominant, and we also had to use Troya because we knew that it was going to be a physical game in the paint.
We just wanted to come out and do the best we could of trying to take players away and try to take situations away, and when they started hitting the ball into the short corner, I knew it that was going to be a long day, because that's one thing, that you can't get the ball into the high post or to the short corner if you want to stop deep post position. They got that numerous times, and that was the biggest key, I think, in Tina getting so many points, because she stayed right at the blocks in the paint and got the easy baskets.

Q. Erica, the third game in a row for you, first game for Connecticut. Was fatigue a big factor?
ERICA MORROW: Definitely. UConn is definitely a great team, and like Coach said earlier, to play two games, get two tough wins and have to play the No. 1 team in the country, it's tough. But it was a great opportunity, and it was a great basketball game.

Q. I guess this is for both of you. Do you think early on you rushed shots? There seemed to be a lot of possessions when you down and the ball went right up right away without a lot of passes, or was that a situation where that was going to be the best shot you were going to get on that possession?
COACH HILLSMAN: I'll take that one. We definitely took some quick ones. We talked about not going to one-pass to the shot. But when you're in the situation that you're in with this crowd, with this team that's really constantly putting pressure on you, you want to take looks when you get them, and that's one thing that I did say, that if we get an open look we have to take it, not say, no, no, no, not that one and overlook it.
It's one of the things where you get into the game emotionally, I think that at some point I kind of backed off and I relaxed and I let our kids play. But you try to control every situation, you try to control every call, you try to control every pass, and finally once you get the game flowing, you can kind of back off and let things happen. A lot of the early shots, a lot of the frustration is because of what we talked about; if you get an open look you have to take it. And a lot of times when we got the first look we got a ball screen when we turned the corner, and we had to look at the basket but that definitely hurt, the early shots and leak-outs, but definitely didn't want that to happen.
ERICA MORROW: What he said.

Q. Erica, last time-out Maya had obviously a career night, and today Tina was just off the charts. What's it like playing against a two-headed monster like that?
ERICA MORROW: Well, I've played with them before on different levels, and I've played against them, and they're both two great players. They have great players and they have a great team, and they just had a great night.

Q. You've done some decent things since becoming the head coach at Syracuse. I assume it's your goal to win Big East Championship, National Championship at Syracuse, but you've got to go through UConn at some point to do so. These losses the past couple weeks, 36 today, how do you try to use these things going forward to try to reach that level UConn seems to be at?
COACH HILLSMAN: First of all, we have to just continue to recruit at a high level and get great players, and we'll definitely do that. One thing that I know we have on our side, with our chancellor, Dr. Cantor, Dr. Gross and Barb and all the people that we have as supporters, we have every resource that we need to win at a high level. We have a great conference; we have everything in place.
So we just have to continue just to progress and grow. I always tell my players, I'm growing up with them right now, so we have slinky, we kind of started out together, I just coached the best I could and I recruited the best I could.
So we're still growing up. So I'm growing this business, and there's a lot of things that I still have to learn, but there's one thing that I definitely know is that you have to have great players to win championships.
So we're going to continue to recruit players. We're going to continue to do everything we can to make this conference proud of us, to make our University proud of us, so eventually and hopefully soon we can be at a national level year in and year out where we're in the same conversation with these top 10, top 15 teams where we're not sitting here wondering should we have an NCAA party at my house or should we not. We already know we're going to my house, we're going to eat and celebrate because we're in.
So it's tough. But it's a great goal, and when I see 70 wins and when I see this kind of crowd and I see the trophies and I see these teams and I see Geno successful and when I see these kinds of players, it is something to strive for. It is something to look at, and coaching, knowing how tough it is, I really admire Geno and UConn even more for what they've been able to do because it's tough. It's definitely tough.

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