Post-game Quotes: #3 Maryland 78, #2 Duke 70
March 4, 2006
COACH BRENDA FRESE: I will tell you, just a heck of a game from two great teams and it's about time, and I will tell you like we said in the locker room, the monkey, we feel free, knowing that that was a situation.
I'm just very proud of this team and the composure that they kept down the stretch of the game. I will tell you it was one of our best 40 minutes games. We really kept poise and Duke's a great team, and we have the utmost respect for them and their program, and it's exciting to see the progression that this team is making.
Q. Brenda, what does it mean to you all to get one over on Duke?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: You know, obviously, it's a special win for us to be able to get ourselves into the championship game. From everyone's end, this is a team that has really challenged us. Duke has made us a better team. They've made us work, every win you get at this time of year.
But it's just nice, like our players said in the locker room, to know that when we step out on the floor that they can compete with anyone.
Q. You went nearly four minutes without any points there in the second half, was that something Duke was doing, or is that something you weren't doing?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: I thought Duke got really aggressive in that stretch when they started trapping us all over the floor. They changed up their defenses. They were playing the 1 3 1 defensively on us and they took us out of our rhythm. They forced a lot of turnovers on us.
I was really proud of the fact that we were able to go down and get defensive stops. We talked about that at halftime. It was going to come down to our defense. We really did a tremendous job for 40 minutes tonight.
Q. Coach, do you guys feel you have done enough at this point that you are worthy of a No. 1 seed?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: You tell me. Absolutely. I think that speaks for itself. Obviously that will be left up to the selection committee. I said this going into the tournament. The biggest thing we can do is win and to put yourself into the championship game speaks volumes for this team.
Q. Coach, you did such a great job underneath the rim today, really stifling Duke in the post, did you plan for that specially, was that your game plan after they were 0 for-12 the last time against you from beyond the arc; you wanted to make sure they didn't beat you underneath?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: Yes, you know, obviously, I think both teams know each other extremely well. The game plan, you're prepared. But, you know, they were a team that, you know, we know is very dangerous off of a dribble drive. We know they get on the glass really hard and we wanted to really be able to push back and be aggressive on the glass.
Q. Coach, can you talk about the Duke run in the second half where they just chipped away at your 15 point lead, and it looked like you were just calling as many time outs as you could to see if they would finally breakdown, what were you thinking about, as the lead is 15, 13, 10, 8?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: I'm thinking thank goodness we have a cushion here because we just had a light moment there where we really did have a lot of breakdowns. All of the credit goes to Duke in that run. They were extremely aggressive defensively and really taking it to us hard on the offensive end. I thought Lindsey Harding and Monique Currie were aggressive going to the hole. It was a game of runs and we knew that as well. We just needed to ride it out and to be able to get our composure back.
Q. Marisa, what were you guys thinking, did you think that, okay maybe, they've done all they could do, eventually you would you take control again?
MARISSA COLEMAN: I didn't lose confidence or anything. We knew they were going to go on their runs. The game was a game of runs. We fought back and stayed together as a team and pulled it out.
Q. Crystal, can you talk about sort of ending this streak, and you don't have to hear anymore of this talk of 14 in a row?
CRYSTAL LANGHORNE: I was really happy about it. I was the first to say we got the monkey off our backs. Everybody was really happy about that win. I think we really played a really good game tonight.
Q. Everybody, the last few days is talking about Duke/Carolina, how much of a motivating factor was that for you as players and, Coach, did you use that at all?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: We love when the media continues to hype up the Carolina schools. I hope you continue to do it more because this team is motivated by any challenge you give them. They definitely responded.
LAURA HARPER: It's never a good feeling to be overlooked, and I definitely think this helped us build some confidence in this game, and refocus and realize that we have a good chance of winning this game.
Q. Brenda, Crystal (Langhorne) had one shot in the first half, how much at half time did you stress for your guards to get her more touches?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: Actually we didn't. We understand from all five spots that anyone, who has the hot hand is going to be able to score. We knew Crystal wasn't going to be limited come the second half. Crystal is Crystal. And she is always going to do great things. Crystal plays within the flow of the game, and whatever comes to her.
In that first half we were able to execute with our perimeter play and, you know, we knew we would be able to go back to her in the second half.
Q. Laura, all game playing with a lot of emotion and showing it, what was it like being out there today having not played last year and yesterday's game not your best?
LAURA HARPER: Well, just when I came down to this tournament, I knew this was the feeling that I wanted that I missed out on. That is just where all of the emotion is coming from. This is my first ACC tournament. Our first time beating Duke. This is the sixth time I think we played them, and you just can't ask for a more exciting environment.
Q. Crystal, yesterday 20 point effort, today a double double, in the running, I would think, for MVP of the tournament; how has it felt to be really carrying a team at certain points, playing a great job underneath? A lot of the success you had under the basket was thanks to the great job you did on Mistie Williams, can you talk about how you have been able to do that this tournament?
CRYSTAL LANGHORNE: Well, I think we prepared pretty well and my teammates gave me the ball as usual. Our coaches are running things for me. We are just going in and trying to win tomorrow and hopefully win. Hoping.
Q. Coach, can you talk about the play of Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman, they seemed to step up today?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: They've done it all season long. I said this before, neither one of them acts like freshman and are freshman. They really play beyond their years. There are so poised. They always want to take the big shot. They want to get after it from the defensive end. They are never satisfied with their game. It's a pleasure to be able to coach players like that. This team, I've said all along, is a special team, having a special season, and all of them just is tremendous to be able to coach.
Q. Coach, in the last couple of weeks, Duke has said that they felt that they have been a bit tense, and a bit overanxious, did you sense any anxiousness from them today?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: You know, I sensed more of that yesterday in their game. But I think from both teams' ends, we looked tense yesterday as well in our first game. But, you know, they're a team that they are very dangerous, their depth. They're extremely athletic. So I knew they were going to respond and come out today and play really hard.
Q. Marissa, I just wanted to ask you about the little exchange that you and your coach had yesterday and whether that played into your mind today in today's game, apparently you had a couple of words late in the game yesterday, did that impact the way you decided to go out and play today?
MARISSA COLEMAN: Yesterday was just a rough game for me in like every aspect of basketball. But when Coach B yelled at me, I didn't get down. What she was saying to me was right. I needed to here it. I wasn't crashing the glass, and I was letting my team down. So today that's what I wanted to do, I wanted to go out on the defensive end and get stops and grab rebounds.
Q. You had a great game with Carolina the first time you played them, it was an epic game, what do you take away from that game into the final and can you top it?
CRYSTAL LANGHORNE: I think we are just going in with a lot of confidence. North Carolina is a great team and we know we are going to have to bring our A game to compete with them.
Q. Crystal, when did you say that about getting the monkey off of your back, how soon after the game?
CRYSTAL LANGHORNE: As soon as we were in the locker room. No, we were walking to the locker room.
COACH BRENDA FRESE: I think it was like 10 seconds after the game end.
Q. Laura, you guys are the only one to beat Carolina this year, what does that do for your mental outlook or confidence going into tomorrow's game?
LAURA HARPER: It definitely gives us confidence, but at the same time, they kind of want revenge, so we're going to have to play a more complete game, I think than we did at their place.
Q. Marissa, I just wanted to check with you about the first couple minutes of the second half where it looked like you were making every shot that you took. You had a little personal 7 0 run, what were you thinking about at that point?
MARISSA COLEMAN: Just trying to help my team out. I just wanted to get that win out. A very exciting environment. Basically help my team win. Jade (Perry) and all of our posts were setting great screens and getting me open.
Q. Coach, what's the status of Shay Doron's thigh bruise?
COACH BRENDA FRESE: You know, again, day to day. She was extremely sore coming into this game and it was nice we were able to get her some rest there in the second half. What a warrior and a champion to be able to come out and play the way she has. She has really grinded it out and really made some big plays for us the last two games. You know, I know Shay, she is a competitor. She will be ready to play tomorrow.
Q. I notice that Laura and Marissa had a chest bump right there with one second left on the clock, Laura, you were pretty into it, do you have any concerns about beating up on your teammates?
LAURA HARPER: No, it's funny because me and Marissa were talking after yesterday's game, yo, we did not show up to play. Our team needs us to play tomorrow. That was the exchange that we came to play today.
DUKE BLUE DEVILS
COACH GAIL GOESTENKORS: Just congratulations to Maryland. I thought they played an exceptional game. It is always difficult, I think, to beat a team three times. It's extremely difficult to beat a great team three times. And I think Maryland is obviously one of the best teams in the country. So I thought they played just a tremendous game really from start to finish. So I congratulate them.
Q. Gail, the 16 0 run you guys had, you took the lead, was it just too much to overcome that deficit, or when you got to that point what do you think happened to your team?
COACH GAIL GOESTENKORS: I thought you know we did a great job defensively there. We went small, went to a zone. I thought we really did a nice job.
And then I thought once we got the lead, I thought we were still anxious, and we took two real quick shots in a row and on both occasions they came back down and scored. They took the wind out of our sails a little bit. And we were a little fatigued at that point too, because that group had just really worked their tails off to get to that point. And I thought Maryland started taking advantage of their size on the inside, and they got two offensive rebounds. We fouled four out of six possessions. You know, it just made it tough. It's like we made our run, and they withstood it, and they came back and made a run of their own.
Q. Gail, how concerned are you about the team's recent form, if at all. And are you still pretty confident in a No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament?
COACH GAIL GOESTENKORS: I think, I talked to the team just now and said, you know, we just lost to two great teams. We have three losses to great teams. The No. 1 and No. 4 teams in the nation. I think people are looking at our record thinking, you know, we are on a down slide, but I don't think there is any other team in the country that has had the schedule that we've had as far as playing No. 1 teams, playing No. 2 teams and now playing Maryland, who's a No. 4 team, three times. We've had the roughest ACC schedule. Everybody should know that, if they don't. Because we did have to play both Carolina and Maryland twice. So I think it made it rough on us.
But at the same time I think it has prepared us probably better than anybody for the NCAA tournament. So I'm not worried, I think every time we've lost, I think we've learned. So we have several days to really work on some of the things that we need to, to get ready for the tournament. No, I don't think it should affect our No. 1 seed at all.
If it was to a team that wasn't ranked, or not highly ranked, then I'm sure it would.
But because Maryland is such an exceptional team, I don't think it should affect our No. 1 seeding.
Q. Monique, did you have anything going on before the game today; were you tired from playing in the tournament or anything like that? It looked like the only stretch where you really where you played up to what people are used to seeing you play was that stretch where you guys made that big comeback in the second half; is there anything going on that we out to know about?
MONIQUE CURRIE: No, not that I know of. I thought I was pretty prepared going into the game.
Q. Lindsey, since January, where do you think Maryland has improved the most since you saw them at their place?
LINDSEY HARDING: Just today, they knocked down almost every shot they took. They did a great job of moving the ball, going inside and outside and just mainly knocking down the shots and knocking down big shots when it counted.