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DePaul head coach Doug Bruno
March 21, 2011
University Park, Pa.; -
DEPAUL BLUE DEMONS
Doug Bruno, DePaul Head Coach
It feels great to sit here, but I didn't make a basket. I didn't guard Maggie Lucas, I didn't make the baskets that Keisha Hampton made, and I didn't make the tough buckets inside like Felicia Chester made. Whenever a game like this is won, it's credited to your players and they way they stepped up. We're very resilient in the face of the adversity of playing a very good team from Penn State. They're going to be a great team as they mature. I'm proud of the DePaul team for not letting themselves succumb and give up under the duress and pressure given by a great crowd at Penn State. I'm really excited for these players. Felicia [Chester] and Keisha [Hampton] did a great job offensively. Sam Quigley didn't have a great scoring night, but I think that's as tough as I've seen Penn State's Maggie Lucas guard all year after watching all those tapes. She still threw one in that almost beat us. That's just how tough Lucas is. Also, I'll make sure that I personally thank my staff Nicci Hays-Fort, Bart Brooks, Ciara Johnson, and Candis Blankson. Nicci had the Navy scout, Bart had tonight's scout. Without the job that they do to prepare these players, it wouldn't have happened.
Q: Can you talk about what China Threatt did for DePaul tonight?
A: China's game tonight was huge. We told her if it were football, we would've given her the game ball after the game. She gave us quickness and athleticism. Alex Bentley wasn't guarded that well by us the entire evening, but Threatt gave us an answer for Alex. It was a very tough match-up and you've got two very talented guards out there. You saw Alex explode at the start of the second half. China gave us a great lift on defense and made some big plays offensively. Her resilience to the comeback after the turnover and the tough shot on the baseline was huge. She gave us a great floor game tonight and we didn't win this one without China coming off of the bench.
Q: Can you talk about Felicia Chester's efforts in the game tonight?
A: Felicia has been a rock force. We shot 26 percent in the first half and took 19 threes in the first half. Our objective is to take 20 three-pointers, not 40. We had to do something at half time to get more stabilized. We went to more of our DePaul offense and Felicia did a great job finding the opening. Every time we've played a huge game and won, Felicia has stepped up. She came up big tonight with the huge baskets she made.
Q: How key was it to make Alex Bentley cave in the last 4.9 seconds of the game?
A: Unfortunately, we've had some experience on teams going coast-to-coast on us in the last few seconds of the game. We've had some experience getting deep with length. If Keisha made the three points and Coquese Washington hadn't called the time out, I would've called a defensive time out. We doubled Alex Bentley and I think that was a huge decision to make because we left the back line open. It was still very close for Julia Trogele to get a shot, but not letting Alex to get up court was huge for us.
Q: What did you tell the team as you were coming back from Penn State's 14-point lead?
A: We tried to tell the players to take it two points by the media timeouts. By the three-minute time out, we wanted it even so we could play a three minute basketball game and that's exactly what happened. It's very important that you don't let your players think that there's a 12-point basket out there. Sometimes players want to put their teammates on their backs and try to make shots that don't have a chance of getting in. I know Keisha Hampton is very gifted and some of her shots may look supernatural, but at the same time she has been making her shots during her entire career at DePaul. I don't consider those gifts from God, but we were just trying to chip those things away. During the first four minutes of the second half, Penn State just burned us. Bentley just got a couple of points so quickly. We just decided to chip away. It's boring, but that's what we were trying to do.
Q: How good do you think Penn State women's basketball team will be in two years?
A: I think they're going to be very good at the next season opener. I think they would've done a good job at Philadelphia for the regional, but it was our job to not let that happen. They have Bentley and Lucas, two spectacular guards. Coach Washington goes a great job. It was the right decision to hire her. She's a grounded coach. She's from the ground up, not a quick fix. I think Penn State will be a Top 20 team next season and maybe even a Top 10. I don't think it `ll take a couple of years to reach that. I think it'll happen very quickly with the talent, coaching, and Penn State's long tradition to treating women's basketball with equity. It's huge. I think this is a program that will get back to the old days and even beyond.
Keisha Hampton is going home to Philadelphia. It would've been either Keisha or Maggie Lucas going to Philadelphia and we didn't say one word about that. Keisha's high school, George Washington Carver's Engineering and Science, is located literally a few feet from where we'll be playing Regionals. The subplots are all over the place. Keisha will be able to come back to Philadelphia. The regional is huge and I'm excited for her and the job she has done tonight. For her to put her team on her back offensively, we couldn't chip away defensively like we wanted. I'm really thrilled for her. She's going to get to take it home to Philadelphia.
#41 Felicia Chester, Sr., Forward
Q: Was there a point where you felt like you guys weren't going to make it against Penn State?
A: No, because every time we made a point, they would come and score on us. It was really back and forth. The whole game was a fight. I wasn't comfortable saying we won until the buzzer went off.
#24 Keisha Hampton, Jr., Forward
Q: What was going through your mind during those last three free throws?
A: "I can't let our season end like this. We've worked too hard for this!" I just took my time, shot those free throws, and made them. I didn't want our season to end like that.
Q: When you went into halftime, did you feel like the shots were going to start falling for you during the second half?
A: In the first half, I was probably too rushed. I wasn't relaxed and I didn't take my time with my shots. During the second half, I just came out. It was a new half and I had to let the first one go. I just came out, shot the ball with confidence, and made some shots.
#22 Sam Quigley, Sr., Guard
Q: When you came down with the rebound at the end of the game, what were you thinking as you were trying to find Keisha Hampton? What did you try to do on Maggie Lucas tonight defensively?
A: I think after that rebound that I was trying to get us contained and settled down. I knew that we needed to run a good offensive set. In regards to Maggie Lucas, I can't believe she's a freshman. Whenever I felt I was two inches from her it felt like I was five feet away from her. I felt like she was going to shoot the ball by the way she moved off of screens and moved with the ball. It was really hard to guard someone like that.
#51 Katherine Harry, So., Forward
Q: How did you feel going into tonight's game?
A: We just wanted to take them out of what they normally do. We have been working on defense all year long and we kind of got shown up last year in the NCAA Tournament when we played Vanderbilt. They really took it to us on the defensive end. So, we have been preaching defense and rebounds all year long. So, we knew this was our one shot to take it to them. We knew defense and rebounding would get us the win down the stretch. That's what we did tonight.
Q: How did you approach second half, going in down 11 points?
A: We've been down at half before, and we've been up at half before. Every half is a new game. We start a 0-0 game. We had to come in with that mentality of `ok, we're down.' So, we had to chip away. We knew we were going to have to make defensive stops and go down and score on the offensive end. We just knew to take it one possession at a time. There was no nine-point play that would get us the lead back. We just knew we had to go down, make a stop, and make a play on it.
Q: How do you feel going into Philadelphia facing No. 2 Duke?
A: We are really excited. We haven't been to the Sweet Sixteen since the last time we won an NCAA Tournament game. So, we are really excited. It's a great opportunity. Duke is a great team and we have all the respect in the world for them. Penn State is a wonderful team, as well. We are really excited about the opportunity we have.
Q: You kept Penn State off the perimeter and in the paint. Can you talk about how you kept Penn State off the three-point line?
A: We know they are a really great three-point shooting team. We are as well. We talked about that and knew that if we wanted to get the win we had to keep them off the three point line. A three is worth more than a two. We were trying to make them shoot contested shots. They got a couple off and probably made a couple threes but we were really trying hard to keep them off the three-point line. I think we did pretty well. All the credit to the guard defenders, they did a really good job of getting on and denying them the three-point shot.
#12 China Threatt, Sr., Guard
Q: Can you talk a little bit about the bench performance in this game?
A: The bench, in coach's eyes, are starters too. We just had to come off with intensity to get the job done with whatever we needed to do.
Q: The largest deficit you guys had was 14 points. What was your approach in turning the game around?
A: We were just thinking defense and defensive rebounding. We had to get a stop. One shot was not going to bring us back into the game. Every stop we could get and try to chip away at the lead was what we were trying to do.
Q: How do you feel about facing number two Duke?
A: We are really excited. This is what we play for all year. We play for this time. This is our time to go at any team that comes our way.
#5 Anna Martin, So., Guard
Q: You guys haven't won a game in the tournament for four years, now you have turned that around and won two. Does this give you momentum going into Philadelphia?
A: Definitely, it gives the whole team a lot of confidence. We have a lot of seniors and fifth year seniors who have been through this before and have lost the first game four years in a row. We are all pushing for them. We don't want it to be our last game. It's been so fun. Every game is a life of its own.
Q: How did the bench help you guys out?
A: The bench was huge. They help us every day in practice. China Threatt, Deirdre Naughton both played so strong and we needed that. We need subs. We need that extra oomph. I think that's what we were missing last year. We weren't as deep and this year we know that when they come in, we aren't going to lose anything. They pick up right where we leave off.
Q: How did you approach being down 14 points at one point?
A: Whenever we are down like that, we know the key is defense and rebounding. We know that we are such a good offensive team, so that offense is going to come. We really just focus on defense and rebounding and making stops.
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