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March 9, 2014

Joanne P. McCallie

Haley Peters

Elizabeth Williams


Notre Dame – 69
Duke ‑ 53

COACH JOANNE McCALLIE:  This was a good game, really good basketball game.  Really, really proud of our players and their fight.  I thought Elizabeth was just absolutely outstanding, absolutely outstanding and aggressive in a way that she can be.  And it was really a dominant performance by Elizabeth.
I thought Haley was just a fierce competitor, as she always is.  Rebounding and looking to score, being aggressive there, too.
It's interesting shooting percentages are not so hot.  It's good that we out‑rebounded them, because we need to get in the habit of doing that more.  But they're a terrific team.  And we didn't do much with McBride and Loyd, much of anything defensively there.  Between not really finding them at times and the turnovers, that cost us a little bit.
We've got some great lessons.  Lessons that we'll take from this game.  We're very grateful to play the games that we played.  We need to play games, so we played the maximum we could play in this tournament.  We're very disappointed to not finish and do what we do.  But at the same time we're looking forward to improve from this.

Q.  Coach, how happy were you with your game in the paint?  Was that something you could build on?
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE:  Absolutely build on it.  I was very happy, you look at that 36 for us, that was good in the paint.  That was important that we established that.  Elizabeth was often playing against two people, one and a half, two, at all times.  It was very, very physical.  And so that paint ‑‑ those paint opportunities are key, are really, really key for us and we need to continue to have patience to continue to work with that.

Q.  In watching your game a lot this year, they're a very level‑headed team and very rarely see them frustrated.  For about 25 minutes tonight was the first time I've seen them frustrated, especially on offense, where they're usually very fluid.  You mentioned they weren't able to guard McBride or Loyd very well.  But the shots they were taking were very tough shots.  They were making bailout plays.  What does it say about your team and what do you see as the potential over the next two weeks for growth going into the NCAA tournament, being what you gave was probably the No. 1 team in the country 30 really tough minutes of basketball?
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE:  Obviously there's a lot of great lessons for us.  And I think there's no limit to what we can do.  We just have to own up on some things.  The turnovers cannot happen.  We have to slow down and stop trying to go at a certain speed.
I was disappointed at us in the second half.  The second half turnovers were horrific.  We've got to maintain it and control the tempo.  We've got to own up.
We've got to learn and certainly be motivated by all the good stuff.  As you say, plenty of good stuff to look at.  But we've got to be hungrier than that.  I don't think this is a team that wants to be patted on the back.  I think this is a good team, a great team that wants to be even better.  And that's going to come with a little bit of self‑reflection, a little bit of how can I get better, and everyone's got to ask the same question:  What can we do?  How can we get better?  And I know we will.
So I think there are no limits.  I think tournament time is an exciting time.  We'll be ready to get after it.

Q.  Coach, I guess on Loyd and McBride, are they about as athletic, a good executing back‑court?  There's back‑courts that are very athletic, don't execute as they do.  Are they about as tough as anybody you'll face this year?
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE:  Yeah, it would be hard‑pressed to find a better pair.  I think McBride's season was player‑of‑the‑year material.  I know there's votes and stuff.  But she was fantastic all season long.  And to me was very, very consistent and leading her team.
I think that's the thing that separates them.  As you say, they're athletic, very smart, they're high IQ.  They perform every night.  They perform every single night.  And that's something that our team has to get used to.  I see it so many times, somebody has a great game and the next game they don't.  It's like the success ‑‑ they have a problem with success.
Players of that caliber seem to get driven by their success.  And they're so consistent.  I mean, we didn't want to get 25 and 26, but if we had held them for 19 and 17, then we're in the ballpark of what we're supposed to be doing.  But we obviously didn't get that done.

Q.  Liz, you guys worked hard in the paint, particularly yourself, in getting those points first and second half.  Second half looked like you needed to work harder, because either they were doubling down ‑‑ what made it tougher?  And then on the defensive end they gained more points in the paint than the first half.  What was the difference there?
ELIZABETH WILLIAMS:  I think it was kind of a matter of focus and concentration, and getting the ball inside.  I think like Coach B. said, we bugged out of some of our offenses in the second half.  And defensively I think we started cheating out the shooters and that kind of left the paint a little more open in the second half.  We just have to be able to adjust better.

Q.  What do you think about Duke's overall tournament performance and how disappointing is this one and what do you take out of it to take to the NCAA?
HALEY PETERS:  I think our overall tournament performance, I mean, it's good for us, because we just need to play as much as we can together.  And we earned all three games.  And we learned in every game we took a step forward in being as good as we can be.  And I think we did that a little bit tonight.  But we just didn't stay with it for the whole game.
And there's a lot that if we go back and look at, especially the second half, that we're going to learn from it and just keep getting better to try to get as many games as we can out of the season.

Q.  You basically got two weeks to fully practice with this team.  It's kind of like a boot camp, essentially.  What two or three things are you going to zero in on in particular over what you've seen over the last couple of weeks that you really want them to get better at when the first game of the tournament rolls around for them?
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE:  Yeah, it's a space of time.  And it's a good space.  We need some rest, first.  And then we'll bring the team back.
Our defenses are getting better, but there's improvements in all of them that can be done.  So we'll go back at that.  Of course we'll look at the handling of the ball and the patience on offense and the execution piece, because of the turnovers.  You look at the stats, it's just so difficult to see that entire game as points off turnovers.  That's why they win.  That's hard to deal with.
So we'll use that as a motivator.  We'll look at film.  We'll check out what exactly we were doing.  And we'll just improve in all areas.  And it's hard because you come off a loss, it's a long time before you play again.  And the sting of this is it's important for us to remember this and carry it with us at the appropriate time.

Q.  Tricia had a particularly tough night offensively.  Can you address what they did to her to slow her down and give her such a bad time?
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE:  They really went after P and they did a great job.  My heart goes out to her.  Three charges, I've never seen that before by Tricia.  I don't think she's had three charges in her career prior to this game.  So this was a really banner game for her that way.
I think she was frustrated.  They played good defense.  They played very physical.  We needed to just kind of, again, continue to execute and be patient.  And I think at times we tried to push the envelope a little bit there.  The turnovers that she had are uncharacteristic.  And again, no one hurts more than her on that.
And just great lessons for us.  Good film watching to show how we really weren't setting things up.  How we really weren't executing and trying to get each other open.  That would be good for us to see.

Q.  Coach, you talked about the body of work.  What would you like to say to the selection committee, you should not be in the same region with Connecticut or Notre Dame when the tournament starts?
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE:  It's a hard job they have.  Everyone told me we're going to get whacked because of our situation.  I think we need to be true to the principles.  Our body of work is incredible, our RPI, our strength of schedule.  The players have worked very, very hard.  I'm not a big fan of seeds overall.  It's not the seed; it's just playing.
But on principle, on principle, I think we should be evaluated for our body of work.  And I hope we will be.  Whatever happens, that would be fine.  We've got to play and get ready to play.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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