More Story: No. 1 UConn 91, No. 3 Notre Dame 81

IRISH STEW

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

When Geno Auriemma wants to talk, there isn't a newspaper large enough to contain his thoughts and feelings.

And on Saturday night, following No. 1 UConn's 91-81 victory over No. 3 Notre Dame, Auriemma felt like talking.

Here are some quotes from Auriemma and Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw that didn't make the final game story.

Geno Auriemma

On his team's shaky transition defense in the first half, when it allowed 43 points:

“In the first half, I have no idea (what happened). I watched it, I saw it happen and I have no idea. We managed to do something that’s really, really hard to do. Think about how hard this is to do. We managed to not get any offensive rebounds, because we weren’t trying, and give up layups in transition. I checked the student section, if they were sitting up there watching the game, because they weren’t offensive rebounding and they weren’t back on defense. That’s the dreaded daily double in basketball.”

On Notre Dame's 13 3-pointers, which ties a school record:

“Some of the 3’s they made were just ridiculous – how deep they were, with a hand up and all that. Some of it, you just have to give them credit. Those were really tough shots that went in.”

On not having an answer for Notre Dame's four-guard offense:

“Sometimes you just have to score enough points … and pass the ball to Stewie (Breanna Stewart) more. That would be my answer to most of this crap.”

On asking point guard Moriah Jefferson to lead the offense (14 points, six assists, four rebounds) and guard Marina Mabrey, who scored 21 points in the first half but just two after Jefferson switched onto her in the second:

“If we would have lost, I’d have been Grady Little. I left her out there too long. But we won, so it was the right decision.”

On if Notre Dame can actually be more dangerous without forwards Brianna Turner and Taya Reimer:

“Absolutely. Absolutely. We went to the Final Four in 1991 without a center. I like when people have two big guys. I don’t like playing teams that play without big guys, because it really restricts what your big guys can do. Now, they’re way more dangerous. Way more difficult to defend. Somebody asked yesterday what the difference is. The difference is now you’ve got to play four guys off the dribble instead of two or three, and that’s not easy.”

On UConn's defensive lapses:

“They’re not paying attention a lot to Professor Auriemma. They must have saw where I went to school and don’t value my diploma.”

Muffet McGraw

On the team's performance against UConn:

“I was really proud of the way we battled. I thought Marina was outstanding in the first half, and then in the fourth quarter I thought we came alive again. I thought we lost the game in the third quarter. We can’t afford to make those kind of mistakes. The margin for error with this team right now is pretty small. For us to have 20 turnovers, I thought that was the difference in the game.”

On using the UConn loss to establish an identity:

“There’s so many good things to take away from this. The way we shot the ball from the 3-point line was really good, and that’s what we have to become now that we’re not as post-oriented as we wanted to be.”

On when she first saw freshman guard Marina Mabrey's fearlessness:

“High school. I think I saw it in AAU first. I knew that she was going to be that feisty person that had a little bit of a swagger, and that’s what we were really looking for. We really need that, and hadn’t really had that since Skylar. So it’s great to get that back.”

Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw greets Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma before the NCAA women's basketball national championship game on Tuesday, April 7, 2015, inside Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN