On not calling a time out at the end of the game: I had told them what I wanted to run. I felt comfortable with them running without setting up. I just felt like if we had them set up, we would have given them time to set their defense. It has been one of my things, one of my philosophies. We can flow into something without a timeout. It doesn’t give them a chance to react to what we were doing. Our kids knew what we wanted to do.
On the last play: I was hoping for something else to be executed. You didn’t see what I was going to run. They did a good job.
On how the game played out: We made some poor decisions defensively. We got screened, we didn’t call some screens. We made some poor decisions on leaving, rotating on the wrong people and leaving their shooters open. We know they’re going to get offensive rebounds. We know we’re going to have trouble stopping two big kids. I think we got into a lot of trouble, giving up those threes that we shouldn’t have given up. We left people we shouldn’t have left and then rotated. We made some mental mistakes obviously down the stretch. That wasn’t the plan on that end of the floor either.
On playing with a large crowd: I think it was a great example of women’s basketball today. It’s tough not playing on a neutral court, which the men are doing. You saw that environment and you saw the higher seed playing at home and that’s difficult. So that’s why you see a lot of the seeds move on that are the higher seed. But it’s also good for women’s basketball that we are getting crowds. I wish it was on a neutral court and still getting a crowd that was more neutral. And I hope we can get there someday.
On the last shot: I knew I had to get it up quick, with a few seconds left, if that. I hoped it would go in, but unfortunately it didn’t. It felt good when I released it, I guess I shot it too quickly though. I rushed it a little bit.
On what how the game played out: Offensively we were getting shots in transition and started knocking down some threes. When it started to go wrong, Amber Harris, the great player she is, she stepped it up in the final minutes of the game. They were able to get it inside and get some offensive boards and finish those. We weren’t able to check them out like we wanted to.
On playing the #5 team in the nation: We’re a tough team and we know it. We practice against each other, day in and day out. We’re a team that has always had to prove people wrong. We’ve had a tough season and I’m so proud of the girls tonight. It’s a tough way to go out at the end of the season, and the end of my career. It’s just tough and it’s not the way you want to you. I wouldn’t mistake our hustle or our hard work or anything tonight, we just fell a little bit short. I’m proud of our season. With the SEC being the SEC, it helped us out. Playing a game like this playing in front of a crowd like this, we came prepared, but we just fell a little bit short.
On Xavier’s defense: They ran a lot of people on me, two or three different types of people rotating in on me. They had a different plan than DePaul did. But it left other people open. Jence stepped up and hit big shots. Hannah did and Lauren did. Our offense isn’t just set for one person to score points, its two or three or four options in one set. I think we executed well, but offensively tonight we didn’t hit buckets here and there. But they had a good game plan against me. I just didn’t hit some shots. I was a little hesitant in the first half to get my shot off, but I was looking a little to score more in the second half. The coaches were like we need to get our shooters to shoot, and that’s what I did in the second half.
XAVIER POSTGAME QUOTES
Xavier Head coach Kevin McGuff
Opening statement: “First of all, I’d love to congratulate Vanderbilt. They’re an excellent team and played hard tonight and this was just a great, great basketball game to be a part of. I’m really proud of our players, we stayed together, we executed as well down the stretch as we have all year and I’m just really excited to have the opportunity to coach this team in the Sweet 16.”
On Katie Rutan and taking three pointers: “It’s hard. We’re talking about a freshman here with the opportunity to go to the Sweet 16 on the line, misses seven straight threes and makes her last three. That’s a unique player with a unique mindset and that’s why I left her in there because I knew she was capable of doing that. I’m just really happy for her and proud of her, she’s a great player and has been a great addition to our program so that was fun to see her contribute in such a big way down the stretch.”
On Gonzaga: “They have an outstanding coach, they have a great team, they have one of the best point guards in the country and are really, really good on offense. We are going to have our hands full but we found a way to win and go out there with the mindset to find another way to move on. It’ll be a great game, they are a terrific team and it’s going to be a big challenge but definitely something we’re looking forward to.”
On how important it was to play on home court: “It was important; you always need somebody to lift you up so I felt like it was time to go. Vanderbilt was coming out strong so we just had to take it one possession at a time.”
On going to the Sweet 16 “I’m excited. I’m excited to go back to California. It’s just a good feeling, we still have more to do, so we’re just looking at it like that.”
On being down 10 with nine minutes to go: “It was definitely a rallying effort as a team. We were talking to each other saying we needed to stay together like we did in the game before and just come out and play the defense we know to how to play and the offense. We were getting good shots and they all weren’t dropping and we just kept telling each other that we needed to have confidence in each other and ourselves that we were going to do what we needed to do.”
On the importance of offensive rebounding: “Very important when we’re not shooting how we usually shoot. It gives us a second chance to get the ball up and maybe get ourselves back into the play and gives us the opportunity to get the shots we need to go in and that’s what happened.”
On going to the Sweet 16: “Very excited. It’s not quite hit me yet. We’re still enjoying the moment. Vanderbilt played a great game and we pulled that one out for a Sweet 16 and I think everyone is breathing a sigh of relief right now and we’ll get back to worrying about the next practice next game.”