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March 8, 2014

Tricia Liston

Joanne P. McCallie

Haley Peters

Elizabeth Williams


Duke – 66
North Carolina ‑ 61

COACH JOANNE McCALLIE:  That was a great basketball game, just a terrific, terrific effort.  I'm really proud of my team's fight and particularly just the execution down the stretch and the timing score.  North Carolina is a very, very good team.  We didn't really do much to stop their primary go‑to's.  But we worked hard to, we tried to.  And we tried to be aware and alert and make things difficult, if we could.
Out‑rebounding them was very important for us.  That's something that we need to get going on.  Having three primary rebounders, when I look at that with Haley, Elizabeth, and Ka'lia, we have got to be a team that has three primary rebounders.  So that was a great thing for us.
I liked our heart, our grit, our effort, our fight, and some great lessons there.  Great lessons.

Q.  When the season began, I'm sure you didn't anticipate the players you had on the free throw line in that situation being there.  What does that say about them and about Duke basketball?
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE:  It says a lot about them.  It says a lot about their character.  I can't say enough about Ka'lia Johnson and what she means to this team and what she's been doing.  It's just frankly incredible.  And she just has so much respect from her teammates and her coaches.  You have no doubt about her.  I didn't have any doubt about what was going to happen.
Oderah is a competitor.  I could see that Oderah was sort of pleased, they fouled, and it was Oderah.  I looked at Oderah's eyes, and I said, She's going to make these.  She's, again, a person of character and a person who's going to step up.
It's great stuff to see people step up and to see a team play well together and to fight through adversity.  And we've had a lot of that.

Q.  Coach, if you're on the other side ready to face you guys, what are you thinking as an opposing coach right now of this Duke team, where you are right now versus what you might have expected previously?
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE:  I just love my team.  I don't know how to really answer that question.  I just love ‑‑ right now we're just trying to get better.  Is this three games with this team?  This is three games with this team.  Three.  So we're just so grateful ‑‑ I'm sorry, four, my bad, four.  We're just trying to get games as much as possible and play together and get better.  So I don't know if I can say much for what somebody else might be thinking.

Q.  Elizabeth, on that block that you had at the rim, I think it was on Stephanie under the basket.  You had four fouls at the time.  What goes through your mind in that situation?  Do you already say, I don't want to try to block a shot, I'm in foul trouble or how do you make that decision or maybe you don't have any time to make it?
ELIZABETH WILLIAMS:  I think in that position and at that time in the game I wasn't really in a position that I could foul.  I felt like I could get a pretty clean block out of it.  I tried to get my hand on the ball and keep my contact away from her.  That's pretty much what I was thinking in the moment.

Q.  I was struck by it was a throw‑back for you, that the last couple of years Duke has been offensive‑oriented team.  And they've lamented they didn't play some of the grittier defense you had earlier in their stay here.  But it seemed today it was special in that regard.  When you look at things like points in the paint and rebounding, do you sense that this team has just kind of absorbed the message that if they're to do anything the rest of the year they have to embrace that identity as opposed to sort of the offensive identity?
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE:  Yeah, I think it's taught us a lot of lessons about the value of passing before dribbling.  The value of rebounding and the value of really measured defense, where you're focused on trying to take away the strong hand of somebody, and really getting particular about those things.  We've really had to get detailed and focused and can have no distractions, because it's hard work out there.
And I think this team has learned ‑‑ learned a great deal about that, yeah, I do.  And I think it will help us this year, and I think it will help us in the future.

Q.  Tricia, can you talk about how your roles had to change since Lex went down, and how much more comfortable you are and your teammates, even though you've had a very short time to get used to not playing with her, and how that may impact going against Notre Dame?
TRICIA LISTON:  I think one noticeable difference is we're not running every chance we have.  With Lex, she has the ability to get up and down the court so quick off the dribble.  We find ourselves passing a lot more especially in the open court and breaking presses.  But knowing what we do well and how to play with each other, I think it's ‑‑ at first it was a little difficult.  It was a little weird.  But now I think we're knowing each other better, and knowing what each other likes to do and where to get them the ball.  And I think the chemistry is really coming together again.
Being able to set up in the half court and execute our stuff and use our length on defense and play that match‑up really well, we're trying to perfect that.  We still have some work to do.  And then staying on the rebounds with the big lineup we have and the people off the bench.  I think all of that contributes to the new team that we have.

Q.  Tricia and Haley, playing Carolina in this situation in your senior year, is this as motivated as you ever were for a basketball game?
TRICIA LISTON:  It's great.  Especially after the first two games we had against them this year.  I definitely would like to end my career beating Carolina and not ending on a loss.  But coming into the ACC tournament, there's motivation there.  We want to come back and defend our last year's title.
I think between the two of those there was a lot of motivation in this game.  But not to expect anything in tournament play, because you're only guaranteed one game.

Q.  Coach and maybe Elizabeth, about Notre Dame, they've hit more than 51 percent of their shots this year.  Coach Calder was talking about their offensive execution, the precision they brought to this league.  Do you feel like you've learned anything in the first two meetings that will enable you to interrupt that precision a bit tomorrow?
ELIZABETH WILLIAMS:  I mean, yeah, every game is a learning experience and learning opportunity.  I think we had a couple of good stretches in our first couple of games against them, but we've also had some bad stretches.  So being able to play a full 40 minutes against them is going to be really important.  And like Tricia was saying using our lengths in match‑ups and rebounding is going to be important, just getting those extra possessions.

Q.  This is for Haley or Elizabeth, because I know how post players stick together.  What is it about Oderah Chidom and what you've seen from her so far this year that maybe you felt confident that she was going to knock those free throws down?  Haley, I saw you having a conversation maybe with her when she was on the line.  What have you seen from her this year?
HALEY PETERS:  Well, O is a funny character, she really doesn't get phased by a lot.  She always seems to be kind of in her own world, which is a really good ‑‑ it can be something we have to jar her out of every now and then.  But in a situation like that it's a great thing.  She's confident in herself and she just went up there and hit four free throws in a row and really won the game at the end of the game.  So that's who she is.  She's kind of very composed.  She doesn't get high.  She doesn't get low.  She's just ‑‑ she just plays and plays hard.

Q.  At the end of the game when they came down trying to hit a shot to tie the game, was your strategy to maybe pack in the zone with DeShields and Gray hit a 3‑pointer?  But it seemed if they were going to drive the refs were going to call a foul.  Did you have any strategy there?
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE:  I think we had some pretty good strategy just trying to take away DeShields down the stretch.  I thought Ka'lia did a tremendous job doing that, she's hard to take away.  So we tried to work with that a little bit.  And I thought the rest of the team did a very good job matching up and containing the paint and looking for Gray.  So I thought it was great team defense by our team down the stretch.  I thought our last, probably our last three minutes were the best of the game.

Q.  Coach, you played Notre Dame twice and learned a lot about their team.  How big is the challenge tomorrow night?
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE:  Sure, it's a very big challenge.  They haven't lost all year.  Haven't really been challenged all year.  They're a very, very good team.  They're, as you said, precision offense.
It's going to be important for us to get back, really work on our transition defense.  It's a great opportunity for us.  A really great opportunity for us because they're very, very good.  They're definitely picked to beat us, obviously.  They're ahead of us, they have been all year.  And that's just the way it is.  And it's a great opportunity to try to go after a great team like that and find out what you can do and what you can attack and go from there.  A tournament situation is a lot of fun.
So we're going to hopefully get a little bit better, grow more as a team tomorrow night.

Q.  Haley, I think it's fair to say you guys have had a lot of gut checks this season, maybe more than maybe any other team possibly in the country.  Emotionally did you guys feel you had this in you tonight?  This was a tough battle, you've lost to these guys twice.  Your lineup is so different.  What was it that you think emotionally brought you guys together?  And did you feel like you could do something like this after everything you guys have been through?
HALEY PETERS:  Yeah, I mean, I think we've had ‑‑ we've gone through a lot as a team and it hasn't really, I don't think, worn us down emotionally, at all.  It's just made us really become a closer team and really we just ‑‑ we just want to be as good as we can be.  It's been a fun challenge since Lex got hurt for all of us in playing new roles and trying to get to know each other in our new identity.  We've been energized by it, I think.
Obviously Lex and Chelsea on the bench wouldn't have it any other way, they wouldn't let us be drained by it at all.  It has only made us more energized and more focused.  And we've always ‑‑ we think we're good.  So we don't ever doubt that we can win when we step on the floor.

Q.  Question for Tricia and anybody else that wants to take it on.  You guys played a difficult game last night.  It wasn't really close, but you had to spend more energy because there was less of you.  Notre Dame has played its bench over the last two days.  The fatigue factor is in their favor.  Mentally how do you prepare yourself to go into that type of situation and possibly even make it an advantage?
TRICIA LISTON:  That's it.  A lot of it is mental.  We're tough, we're in great condition.  Tomorrow there's going to be enough energy from playing in a championship game that we don't really have time to worry about if we have our legs and if we don't.  It's going to start by inside, getting some layups and kind of getting our flow from there and moving outside.  I don't think we're going to want to start shooting outside shots and seeing if our legs are there or not.  But I think we're going to have to attack it and keep doing what we've been doing.  Our bench will come in and give us great minutes like they did tonight and yesterday.  I think we'll be just fine.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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