Postgame Quotes

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 22, 2014

Oklahoma Head Coach Sherri Coale
Opening Statement:
“I would imagine for the fans who were in the arena and for the people who were watching on television, that was a very entertaining basketball game. Lots of points scored. Lots of big plays. Very talented offensive players. I thought our kids fought very hard. I’m very proud of our second half effort. We could have hung our heads and gone to the corner, but we didn’t. We fought back and took the lead and I’m incredibly proud of that. Our seniors played in that sense of urgency that’s special for this time of year. DePaul is just really good. They’re really, really good, and I hate it, obviously, that our season is over. Doug Bruno is a fantastic basketball coach, and he’s an even better person, so I’m happy for them as they continue to move forward, but I’m proud of our kids’ fight, and I thought it was a great game for our sport. It was a great showcase of what women’s basketball is all about.”

On half-time discussion in the locker room:
“We spent the first half of halftime talking about fighting back, and not cowering in the corner, and how we have been in that position before—trying to draw on that. I think the mentality is the first thing. You can give all the strategy in the world that you want, but if the mentality’s not there then it won’t be worth anything. Then we talked about going possession by possession, and being hard to guard, and we appealed to their sense of defensive pride. Quite a few times this year, we’ve given 50 points in as half, and that’s just unacceptable. You can’t win games doing that. Well, I guess DePaul just won one, but you can’t do it both halves. They didn’t give up both halves and we did, so we talked about defensive pride and just physical toughness in terms of standing in front of the basketball. Discipline and not closing out with high hands then putting your hands down for a second. Really good teams will make you pay for that. But we didn’t make any big schematic adjustments or changes like ball screen different or run more zone. It was just mainly let’s go about the business and try to chip away at this.”

On Aaryn Ellenberg’s performance:
“I think it’s appropriate that Vegas’ last game in an Oklahoma uniform, she scores 36 and hits key steals. When you ask what fueled the ride, it was the run throughs. She had two or three of them in a row that led to wide open layups and we cut it and we took the lead. She just played really possessed offensively and she’s done that on occasion throughout her career, and when she does there’s not a whole lot you can do about it. It’s really fun to watch. I thought every phase of her game—defensively, offensively, rebounding, everything—I thought she was really engaged tonight and her best version of herself for 40 minutes, as a senior, that’s how you want to go out.”

Oklahoma Guard Aaryn Ellenberg
On the effort she put into the game:
“The most I can take away from it is my effort. And I gave all I had for 40 minutes so I don’t have anything to hang my head about.”

On the stretch:
“I think it was just playing each possession. Just being in the moment and getting stops and making plays down that stretch. We got that lead, should have built on it, but I think it was just playing each possession the way it should be played.”

DePaul Head Coach Doug Bruno
Opening Statement:
“This tournament is a tournament about the players, it’s always been a tournament about the players … it’s a tournament about the fans. The NCAA Tournament is one of the great sporting events of America because the fans love the games … the real life reality of show of sports plays itself out in games like this. I was very proud of our players coming out ready to play. We did a good job of getting a 16 point lead and then the second half we got a little bit complacent on some defensive rebounds … our pressure … didn’t rotate a few times then all of the sudden … one thing adds to another thing and then you have to start subbing some people to get some rest … then comes an Oklahoma win. Oklahoma put themselves in a position to win. The only thing that’s tougher than beating your friends is losing to your friends. Sherri is a great friend so it’s tough to sit here having beaten a friend, but Geno’s taught me well how to lose to a friend. That’s just what happens when you get close to people in this business. We saw them come back from 31 down at Baylor and close the game to six. We reminded our team of that at halftime that if they can come back at Baylor at 31 down, close the game to a six-point game that they’re going to give us another tough shot. I thought our players did a real good job regrouping down the stretch. I thought some of our reserves, even though it was chaotic when they were in there and they didn’t have great production, they were able to stem the tie just long enough to give our starters enough rest to get them back in the game down the stretch and then back to the players again. The players took over and won the game down the stretch. Brittany Hrynko made some great plays down the stretch. [Megan Rogowski] hit the shot, but Hrynko created the shot. Chanise Jenkins did a great job. The players made the plays down the stretch. To walk in this room and have us gone up and down the floor more than two hundred times it’s a two possession game and that’s the beauty of this tournament. It’s really a tribute to these players. I’m proud of what they did. We get to play again.”

On Jessica January:
“Jessica is really a special player. She’s a starter in my mind and even though we have a nine player rotation, Jessica’s a starter. There were some lineups out there tonight that allowed us to go small. Sherri was going big and small, small and big so it allowed us to go small when we had the foul trouble with [Jasmine Penny]. This was not one of Jasmine’s better games at all and Hrynko was in foul trouble as well. So it was very important that Jess have the kind of game that she did. It got very chaotic … we had two things to do. We had to stop the momentum of Oklahoma. At the same time, I had to give our players rest. This is NASCAR country. I’ve driven around … Motor Speedway … I’ve been driven around it. It’s pretty cool, but you’ve got to stop somebody’s momentum … that’s why it felt over on the bench. You know you’re going to need timeouts at the end and get those reserves in there and just trying to stay the course. We didn’t get great play out of some of the players that give us great play in that nine-player rotation. It’s very important that Jess played the way she did. She’s growing up and playing really good basketball. Megan is so much better than she looks. She’s just a better player than she looks. She’s one of those players that just gets the job done. We also had to play more minutes. Our players played more minutes than they’re used to playing. I thought the pressure did a good job … we’re always trying to take our opponents legs away with the pressure. I thought some of the Oklahoma misses were because of the pressure but at the same time it’s a high risk defense. You’re going to give up easy points when you do that. It was just huge that Megan was able to be on the floor. She gives us offensive stability. What we were doing offensively down the stretch was getting the ball up to Hrynko in the middle of the floor. Megan was a part of that. That’s the little subtle stuff that she can do that some of our reserves don’t do."

DePaul Guard Megan Rogowski
On her big shot late in the game, considering she’d missed her last several shots:
“Coach [Doug Bruno] always says we have the green light to shoot, shoot when you’re open, don’t take a bad shot. I felt like every three-point attempt I took, it was a clean look. The prior shots didn’t go in, but this one fell. It just happened. It wasn’t a great pass, but [Brittany Hrynko] got the ball to me and hit the open woman. She drew two defenders on her and just created an opening for me, and I was able to knock the shot down.”

DePaul Guard Chanise Jenkins
When asked about the added pressure on her two free throws late in the game:
“Believe it or not, nothing goes through my mind. My mind is completely blank. I wipe everything from my mind, and my main focus is just getting the ball in the rim and making sure it hits the bottom of the net.”

On how she and her teammates mentally dealt with the Oklahoma second-half comeback and their closing the gap with only a few minutes remaining:
“In the huddles, they were huge. Everyone was talking and we were all on the same page, saying that we need a defensive stop and then we need a defensive rebound, but then once we come back on offense, we just have to take our time and get a great look. I think the team did a great job of communicating with each other and letting everyone know that this isn’t just a regular game. This is a game that we want to win, and it’s going to be a collective win if we all work together.”

DePaul Guard Brittany Hrynko
When asked what stands out in her mind about this game:
“I guess the one play that stood out was me getting the ball to Megan [Rodowski], just me drawing two defenders and getting her the ball, and she was able to knock the shot down. I know it wasn’t a great pass, but I got it to her and she was able to still have time to get it off.”

On how she and her teammates mentally dealt with the Oklahoma second-half comeback and their closing the gap with only a few minutes remaining:
“In the huddles, we would gather ourselves and just let each other know that we were still in the game, that we still had time and we just had to stay together and make sure we kept playing smart and just rebound.”




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