Opening Statement: I felt like it was gut check time. When we got down in the second half I really liked how we called a time out and got in their face and they responded. We got more aggressive attacking and got in the tempo that we needed to get into. We got free throws, got them worn down, and I thought it was our game from that point on. I don’t know what took us a long time to get to that point but once we got there I felt really good about our efforts.
On the seniors asserting themselves in OT: I hope so but I didn’t get any sense until they went out there. I can usually tell by my player’s eyes and their body language and I felt good about it. What I felt good about was I really had gone down the stretch with 3 seniors and 2 juniors and I knew they were a lot younger and I knew that we had more wins in post season and I felt like I had kids on the floor that knew how to win.
On first game back in the Cintas Center: Once the game started and after being here I didn’t even notice the difference. I felt like I was coaching Vanderbilt at a first and second round game somewhere away from our gym, Memorial Gym.
On the offensive pressure of DePaul: I think one of their strengths was size and one of our strengths was quickness. So we tried to use our quickness and have a lot of ball pressure and we changed our defenses up as they did. At times I thought it was successful and at other times it wasn’t. What I thought we did a really good job of was defending it on the blocks. They had big size and three big players. And we did a lot of switching while our guards had to guard their post and I thought we did a great job of not letting them score with their back to the basket. I think we should have done a better job on the perimeter against their threes I like the fact that they weren’t able to just bang it in on us and take advantage of their height. A lot of times we switched and had guards on them so we could pressure the basketball.
On ball movement and turnovers: We at times just threw it into the bleachers and we don’t do that much. Jence made clear to me afterwards they hadn’t played in 15 days. I don’t think about that, I don’t think they’re tired. This is NCAAs you’re not tired, you’re not rusty because you haven’t played in 15 days. But they think about that and when they tell me things like that I’m sure that did affect them a little bit. And with their game plan and switching things up on us and changing things, even though we have people with experience with the ball in their hands it made us not flow very well from our press break to our transition in our half court and then we rushed. And I have two guards with a lot of experience.
On Hannah Tuomi: She didn’t get to play last year. She’s come on here now, It’s taken her a long time to be the player that she was before and now I think she is even better than that. Her last six games have been very good and very strong. And that’s what I felt good about right now in post season, not just a shooter but that post. I love how she’s playing right now, she’s very confident and very strong and that’s what we needed desperately right now.
On potentially playing Xavier: We’ve played big we’ve played small. We’ve played east Tennessee and they’re small but their guards are very good and we had a lot of trouble with them. There’s nobody bigger than Tennessee and we played them three times. I think our schedule gave us a lot of experience against all different types of teams and this will give us an opportunity to see them in person and get a game plan together.
On the spurt at the start of OT: Overtime is about heart that’s all it is. We played a game of fourty minutes and whether or not you have that last five minutes in you. And every senior, I know I didn’t want to go out like that and we didn’t want to go out like that. We’ve won every overtime game that we’ve been I and that builds a lot of confidence in us. I don’t know. You have to get the mental game, the physical stuff you put aside and it’s a mental game whether or not you want to walk away with a win or a loss. And that’s what I told myself and that’s what we talked about in the huddle is whether or not we were going to dig deep enough and show how much heart we truly have.
On Sam Quigley: I don’t know if it was to get her in foul trouble but it was to get her out of the game and get the ball out of her hands. And that’s what we did and I think we executed it solidly.
On the toughness of DePaul: Obviously their height. They are bigger bodies and harder to get around so I had to get down and fight for a position before them and not let it be easy for them to get the ball.
On the plays and stops made today: Offensively DePaul had a good game plan. It took us a while to figure it out but luckily we did figure it out and finally started to execute some offensive plays. Overall we did a good job.
On potentially playing Xavier HT: We will come up with a game plan. I don’t think they will be exactly like DePaul, they’re a little bit bigger
JR: We’ll definitely be ready to play them and we will be excited and build off this win and hopefully play better than we did today.
DEPAUL GAME QUOTES
Head Coach Doug Bruno
Opening Statement: “I couldn’t be more proud of coaching two better human beings and better players than Felicia and Sam sitting next to me. They just did a magnificent job this season bringing us to the point of pulling the upset and then when we win, the players are going to win and when we lose the coach lost, and that’s the way I look at this. I’m just really proud, we could not have been here without what these two did as leaders for this basketball team facing the adversity that they did.”
On turnovers and what changed “It’s been a theme with our basketball team all season when I keep referring to our inconsistency, that’s a major aspect tof our inconsistency. While we want to push the ball as Vanderbilt wants to push the ball you have to push the ball with visual intelligence and our goal was to have 15 or less turnovers today. We knew if we were at a 20 to 25 turnover pace we were not going to have a good chance to win the game. We really had some silly ones in the first half and we’ve been talking about it for 4, 5, 6 weeks about cleaning up those unforced decisions so I just think the team understood a little bit better of what was going on.”
On what he did different to get back in the game in the second half: “ Defensively we know we have to scramble. Even if we were as athletic as we might appear that’s a very difficult team to play one way against. There too well coached, execute too well and too smart so you have to juggle the game. We were in a constant state of attempting to juggle the game. I thought a key place in this game was when we took the first 6 or 7 point lead in the second half and then gave 3 or 4 consecutive weak possessions where we just figured that now were scoring and we can just trade off and I really thought that was a tough place in the game for us and then the offensive adjustments.
On chance to win at the end of regulation: “We’ve played 3 overtime games in a row, won 2 of them and lost a close one at West Virginia. The players were siked, we were excited about still playing basketball for five more minutes. It comes to being able to make a defensive stop out of the huddle and we didn’t. We’ve done something that we’ve done all year, we tend to get into a panic mode and think that you’ll make this up in the next possession.”
On early foul trouble: “It was unfortunate and I think it gave me an opportunity to see some things that we could get handled in the second half on being on the bench and being able to watch what was going on.”
On feelings heading into overtime: “I think we just talked about continuing to execute what we were doing, things seemed to be working so it was just some defensive mistakes and that led to a lot of the points.”
On what made Vanderbilt tough to play: “I think maybe just their attitudes about winning and being competitive. There was a loose ball and they were usually on the ground before we were.”
On late runs in the second half: “No, I wasn’t really thinking about that. I mean, we had to make a run at the end to go into overtime, so I was proud of everyone on my team for pulling that off.”
On push off call by referee: “I really try not to judge what the ref’s do, I mean the ref’s are a part of the game. Sometimes they’ll make calls that maybe you don’t completely agree with but the physical part of the game as a post player is just something you’re used to so can’t really get to heated over it.”
On the Big East physicality: “I would definitely say that it’s similar. I definitely think that playing in the Big East prepared me personally for playing against the tough post players that Vanderbilt had.”
On what made Vanderbilt tough to play: “There a very smart team. I know we struggle with turnovers, they are very smart with executing on offense and making defensive plays.”