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Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper
March 19, 2011
UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN
Stefanie Pemper, Navy Head Coach
I thought we played with a lot of heart. We were really good for most of the game defensively. I thought we did well in rebounds and we boxed out better than we ever have. It wasn't good enough. We were right there and then it shifted to a different offensive set that we really struggled to defend. It's like the baskets got a little bit bigger for DePaul. They were shooting well early on--I think that was a credit to us. Then they started hitting. We weren't able to execute some set pieces. A few too many out-of-bounds and underplays and just too many turnovers. I think offensive rebounds and turnovers were a difference in the game. I can't say enough about these two women sitting here next to me [Jade Geif & Angela Myers]. Jade was just so tough. For her to come in here against such a good team, you guys just don't understand. This is the best team we've played in three years. For Jade to have a double-double and believe right from the outset that we could pull off this win helped. And I can't say enough about Angela, what she did today, and what she's given to our program. Her competitive spirit and love of everyone associated with Navy women's basketball is really special.
Q: What did DePaul do that frustrated your team's defense?
A: All of the dribble-weave stuff and the high ball screen. It was just hard to stay with them. Then you throw a ball screen into that and wonder if they're going to use it or not. When you get all the attention on the perimeter it made it easy for them to go inside. It was harder for us to double down on their shooters and a lot of movement on the three-point line. It gave them lanes to drive and some space on the inside.
Q: Can you talk about how your team kept its composure during the game?
A: I think we didn't try to make it a Hollywood setting. We just tried to keep it real and not be naïve. Also our preparation. Should we let them watch the Penn State vs. Dayton game or not? So many decisions we made throughout the tournament. We just tried to keep it pretty normal. We also admitted that we were playing the best team we've ever played. DePaul was really good. They've got experience, they're tall, and they can shoot. Their athleticism created a lot of those turnovers. It's just hard to replicate that. You need a male practice team to replicate that kind of athleticism.
Q: For the most part, would you say the game plan was executed well?
A: Yes. We did miss some free throws in the first half that I though we should've had. I just thought they really focused on the plan. I don't think you saw a lot of our players looking up at the JumboTron and seeing themselves on T.V. I think they just thought it was a big task. Who doesn't want a big challenge? This has been a season of challenges. It's not like we're 27-5. We had to win some really close games to get to this point and make plays. I'm definitely disappointed. There's no question that I look back and think, "Could I have called a time out? Could I have put us in an offensive set that would've been more successful?" There's no question that I will definitely be critical of what I could've done. Something else that changed the game was DePaul's press. It was nice having Audrey Bauer in the game to bring the ball up the court. It's not like we've ever had to do that the whole year. No one has ever asked Audrey to try to attack the basket in three-on-two break situations. It's a little bit of an unknown. I knew that Audrey could do it, but I thought the changes and offense of DePaul made the difference. It went to about a four minute run where the game kind of got away from us.
Q: Did you think that Navy would feed off of its lead in the second half?
A: It was a long 15 minutes. The game was a close game and with four minutes to go, DePaul turned it up a notch and we weren't able to respond. I wasn't surprised that DePaul had a different notch, but we felt that we had to keep executing well. You saw the shot clock winding down on us a few times. We struggled sometimes to get space to operate. I would love to have that chance again. Jade Geif's success was just fantastic.
Q: How do you feel this season has set up the future of Navy women's basketball?
A: I think it has been great. These women have definitely taken ownership of the program which is the goal. Jade is really special and Erin Edwards as well. Edwards is going to be our captain next year. Just winning the Patriot League every year would be a really awesome accomplishment. That's going to be our goal. If we're successful with that and we're back here on the stage, great. We know how much hard work goes into trying to be the best team in the Patriot League. We respect those teams and that's going to be the goal. Do I think these women can do it? Sure. Just like the recruits coming into Navy. We're excited to work with them again. I'm going to miss Angela Myers and Cassie Consedine a lot, particularly Angela. There were times in her career where we've shaken our heads and thought, "What will we do when she graduates?" What's really neat as a coach is when you have someone like her that is so excited what the future means to a program, especially when the coach is like, "No, no. It's going to be hard without you." She knows her teammates and the spirit. For her to have the confidence in what we have coming back is powerful and means a lot to me. I believe her.
Angela Myers, Sr., Guard
Q: What was it like in the locker room after the game against DePaul?
A: There were a lot of emotions. For the seniors, it's their last game. For the freshmen, they have three great years ahead of them to play with the team. There were just a lot of emotions flying through the locker room.
Q: For many of Navy women's basketball, this was their first NCAA tournament appearance. Was it satisfying to just stand in the game for 36 minutes or did you really try to pull it out?
A: Who doesn't want to win? Yes. The reason that we were all in that game is because we all believed that we could win. Everybody played well. We did pretty well up until some point and something just happened. We broke down a little bit and we weren't able to get back in it. Of course we believed that we could win. Even with two minutes left, we were like, "This game's not over."
Q: This season has set the bar for Navy women's basketball. How do you think they will pick up the pace without you?
A: This program is in great hands. The freshmen class is outstanding. For the next three or four years, this program is looking to enter the NCAA tournament every year. The bar is set pretty high. Maybe they'll win that First Round game and keep going. The sky's the limit. This team is pretty good. Look out for us in the future.
Q: What did you try to do to stop DePaul defensively?
A: We practiced this whole time on blocking out and being really physical to stop their second chance points. We had to combine the physical aspect of blocking out and the great defense of a team to keep it going for us.
Q: What would you credit your turnovers to?
A: It wasn't nerves. I had seven turnovers. It was my fault. I just wish I never gave the ball up or passed it. It was carelessness on my part, not nerves or moving too fast, just carelessness. Those turnovers really killed us.
Jade Geif, Fr., Forward
Q: Was there a point that you felt the momentum switching over to DePaul?
A: I felt that they had a little bit more going for them, but everybody was hustling for every single loose board. I fouled out going hard for the ball. Yeah, they were hitting more shots than us and more buckets were going in, but I still felt that we all believed we were going to win. We still had that motivation and pushed for every single ball. Yeah, they were putting in more shots but we had it in our hearts for sure.
Q: This season has set the bar for Navy women's basketball. How do you think they will pick up the pace without Angela Myers?
A: We've just scraped the surface. We have so much talent. Angela Myers and Cassie Consedine were great leaders out there, but Erin Edwards is coming up. She's going to be a great leader also. The freshman class is outstanding. Not only do they have skill, but they have the motivation and hard work. We come in early. This is nothing. Next year, NCAA Tournament watch out.
Q: What did you try to do to stop DePaul defensively?
A: Communication was huge. We worked a lot on blocking out, but we're a pretty good defensive team. We just had to carry that out in the game. Being physical was huge also. This was probably the most physical game we've played this year, so it was huge to stay with DePaul. They were more athletic than us, but just boxing them out was really huge for us.
Locker Room Quotes
Cassie Consedine, Sr., Center
Q: How special was to make the tournament your senior year the first time in Navy History?
A: Well, we set it as a goal, but it was still pretty unique when it happened. We all believe that we can do these things and our team plays with a lot of heart, so I don't want to say it was surprising. We just did the things we needed to do to get us here.
Q: What factor do you credit as the greatest reason for the loss?
A: Honestly, this team played with so much heart. It was just a matter that we had a couple more turnovers than they did and they were able to convert those. I don't see one single factor being the reason for the loss. We just didn't hit shots, but we still shot really well.
Q: Do you feel, as a team, that you played the best you possibly could?
A: I feel we played the best we possibly could. We put a lot into this game and I think that people saw that. We played with a lot of heart.
Alix Membreno, Fr., G
Q: If you were to play this team again, what would you do to change the result of this game?
A: I don't think we would have done anything different. I think we played really tough today and I thought we played with a lot of heart. Maybe, we would have made less turnovers, but I think we played really well.
Q: How will Angela (Myers) and Cassie's (Consedine) absence affect Navy next year?
A: I think we have a really great group of freshmen. We are going to miss them- Angela and Cassie. They are great leaders and really set the tone for what we want to do as leaders getting older in this program. I'm really looking forward to the future, especially with Erin Edwards. She's a junior and she had a really big leadership role this year. I'm looking forward to it.
Q: How will you use this loss to help prepare for Navy's future?
A: I think now we know how high our standards are. We just know how hard we can play and I think this experience showed us what we're made of. I know we know how capable we are.
Erin Edwards, Jr., Guard
Q: How will you learn from this loss to better you for the future?
A: I think just this experience, as a whole, has been great for our team. We had the opportunity to play against a great team like DePaul. If we prepare like we did for this game against DePaul that is going to help us so much more. When we go to the tournament next year, we will have had at least some experience, and more of the jitters will be out.
Q: Are you satisfied with the way you guys played today?
A: Yeah. It's hard not to be satisfied with the heart that we had and the hustle we played with. That was just a goal for us to come out and be the aggressor and have more heart than the other team. I think overall we're satisfied with how we did.
Jade Geif, Fr., Forward
Q: How will you use this loss to build upon the future?
A: We are down, but we know that we just made history at the Naval Academy. That's huge for us. Just seeing how good and how much potential we have, I know these girls will be in the gym tomorrow getting ready for next season. We have the heart and the hard work. We're getting ready all ready. I can feel it.
Q: What things do you see this team doing in the next couple of years?
A: Our expectation is to go to the NCAA tournament every single year. Just sticking with DePaul was okay, but it's not good enough. We need to win the first round for sure. Having higher expectations, this year they were just goals, but at least while I am here, we expect to go to the tournament and win the Patriot League.
Angela Myers, Sr., Guard
Q: Looking back, what would you have done differently to change the outcome of this game?
A: As far as our game plan, I don't think we would have done anything differently. We worked on blocking out, that was a major part of it. But we had 23 turnovers as a team. I had seven turnovers. I think I would have kept the ball a little longer in my hands and not have been so careless with it, but that's it. Everything else was going well for us. We were doing well on defense and blocking out.
Q: You had an incredible career and made Navy history with the tournament. How are you feeling, despite the loss?
A: I feel great. Just getting into the tournament is great. We have outstanding freshmen that are going to be here the next three years and I'm happy for them that they got to experience this. I'm happy for them they get to remain a part of this. This has been awesome. Cassie (Consedine) and I started as freshmen and we were a horrible team. The culture was bad here and nobody thought we could win anything. Then (Coach) Stefanie Pemper comes in and changes the entire culture of the program and does really well. It just feels great to be a part of this change.
Q: How much do you see Navy progressing in the next couple of years?
A: I see Navy continue to make the tournament. I see them at the top of the Patriot League. I think they will just keep doing well. The leadership on this team is so great because everyone is a leader on this team. I think you're going to keep seeing Navy at the tournament, winning first round games, and stirring some upsets. They are going to be a great team in the future.
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