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March 11, 2013

Geno Auriemma

Stefanie Dolson

Bria Hartley

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis


UConn: 64
Syracuse: 51

THE MODERATOR:  We are joined by UConn.  With the win tonight, they will play in the finals tomorrow night against Notre Dame.  We are joined by Head Coach Geno Auriemma, junior center, Stefanie Dolson, junior guard, Bria Hartley and sophomore forward, Kaleena Mosquesa‑Lewis.  We will start with an opening statement and questions for Coach.
COACH AURIEMMA:  I don't even know what‑‑ that was a crazy game, I thought.  You know, we did a lot of really, really good things in the first half and we‑‑ we got a lot of contributions from various people and we got ourselves, you know, in a pretty good situation, playing pretty well defensively, offensively we were a little bit inside/outside, great combination of stuff.
So I thought I would go in at halftime and try to ruin it and I did.  That's about it.

Q.  Coach, your thoughts on facing Notre Dame for a third time now.
COACH AURIEMMA:  I don't have any thoughts about it.  I don't.  I'm not playin'.  I'm going to coach the same way I coached the last two times we played 'em.  So what I think and how I feel, that doesn't matter one iota.  I think what's most important is how our players play tomorrow and how we play the whole game.  How we defend, how we run our stuff and how we put ourselves in a position to win the game.
We've done that, we just haven't been able to do it.  If we can put ourselves in a position to win the game tomorrow, I'm confident that we will win the game.

Q.  Coach, I know you're probably sick of the whole Big East breaking up, but is it fitting that the two teams who dominated the league in the last decade will meet in the championship game tomorrow night?
COACH AURIEMMA:  Yeah, I guess, I mean, you know, we have been the only two teams from our league to win national championships.  Us and Notre Dame have been to the most Final Fours.  There is not a whole lot of nostalgia going on, though in conference realignment.  I don't think anybody goes to the meetings and goes, for old time's sake I think we should do this.
I don't know that anybody else is paying attention to it.  I'm glad we're playing in the game tomorrow night, I'm sure Notre Dame is glad they're playing in the game tomorrow night, all the schools that are leaving and some of the other schools probably wish it was somebody else.  It seems like it's been us and Notre Dame for a long time but we're the two best teams in the league and it's fitting that the two best teams should play.

Q.  Ladies, what's the biggest difference against the team tonight and last Monday night in South Bend?
BRIA HARTLEY:  I think we're playing more aggressive, we have multiple playmakers on our team and it's hard for teams to defend that so I think we keep having that aggressive mentality going in will be special.

Q.  Bria last night you looked less hesitant to shoot the ball, today you dished off seven assists, do you think you're start to go break out of the funk you were in?
BRIA HARTLEY:  I think so, I think I changed my mind to be more aggressive and I think the coaches have been encouraging me to be more aggressive.  Just have to have a good mind‑set and be more confident when I'm out there on the floor.

Q.  Stefanie, Kaleena, do you guys sense you are part of a great thing here at UConn, part of women's basketball these last for you years and is it hard to look at the big picture and what the rivalry means to this sport?
STEFANIE DOLSON:  You mean being a part of it?  Yeah, after the era of Tennessee and UConn, it's definitely hard because there are so many‑‑ everyone is talking about it and there is so much hype around it but I think we do a great job of keeping each other grounded as players and focusing more on ourselves as a group of Connecticut rather than, you know, Connecticut versus Notre Dame all the time.
So we're always there to support each other make sure that no one's head is focused that.

Q.  Stefanie last time, triple, great game, what's got to change for you guys to come out on top?
STEFANIE DOLSON:  We can't have 35 turnovers, that's 35 times we should have had a shot.  We have to do a good job of taking care of the ball and making good decisions.  We are all good passers and like Bria said, good playmakers.  Sometimes we don't make the right decisions.  We have to stay strong as a group and make good decisions.

Q.  Kaleena, what was happening tonight that kept you guys from getting any good separation between you and Syracuse?
KALEENA MOSQUEDA‑LEWIS:  I thought we did a good job in the first half being aggressive and everyone having a good continuity, Stef was scoring inside, and Brea was, and everybody was getting to the basket and in the second half everybody got‑‑ I think we just lost our flow somewhere and we kind of‑‑ Syracuse got us out of our own rhythm, started throwing the ball all over the place and didn't have a lot of composure and on defense we weren't getting them as much as we were in the beginning, we weren't forcing them to take bad shots.  That's something we have to continue for forty minutes, you know, it needs to continue from the first half into the second half to make sure you have a complete game.

Q.  Coach, Kayla had 14 points, she was doing well in the low post tonight and she is the first SU player to get over 2,000 points, how impressed are you with her play tonight and her senior year?
COACH AURIEMMA:  One of the big factors when we played them the first time was that she got in early foul trouble and didn't spend a lot of time on the court.  They resorted to just, you know, trying to win just by taking outside shots.  Shows you the difference that she makes when she is on the court.  She got Stefanie in a little bit of a foul situation and she has probably improved more from freshman year to senior year than any kid in the league.  Right now or that I can remember in recent memory.
I remember when she was a freshman and watching her play her senior year she has put herself in a situation‑‑ like in our league we have three of the best centers in America and she is certainly one of them.  I don't think you would have been able to say that her freshman or sophomore year.  That's how much she has grown and how much she means to Syracuse's program.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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