Postgame Quotes: St. John's 69, Creighton 67 (NCAA Tournament First Round)

March 18, 2012

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ST. JOHN'S HEAD COACH Kim Barnes Arico

Opening Statement:
"It was an exciting finish. Nadirah (McKenith) made a tremendous play down at the end to get us the win. I thought it was a great basketball game. It was a game of runs. They went on a couple of runs. We went on a couple of runs. I thought we had to make some tremendous plays down the end when things really didn't go our way. We really stepped up. They should have made some free throws and Nadirah made a big play. We got some defensive stops and I think a couple travel calls. We were able to make big plays like we had to. We are happy to survive and advance."

On if she expected the game to come down to the last shot:
"The style that Creighton plays is very difficult to defend. If you don't have a lot of time to prepare for that kind of style, you get caught off guard. They move the ball exceptionally well. They run it down to the end of the shot clock, they slip screens, it's continuous movement. We got caught a number of times and they made shots. They made plays. Every time we made a run they came back and made big plays. We knew by watching film that they were going to be a difficult matchup. We tell our kids as much as everyone thinks we are a No. 3 seed now, it's survive and advance. It is one game at a time. We want to be Cinderella. We don't care about the No. 3 in front of us. It's just about playing a basketball game. If we don't bring our A-game we can lose to anybody in the country, but if we do we can beat anybody in the country. They exposed us and did a lot of great things, but we made plays when we had to."

ST. JOHN'S GUARD Nadirah McKenith

On what was going through her mind during the last play:
"We practice that kind of play all the time in practice, every day. Basically we just try to get a sprint screen at half court for me to go to the basket or try to make a basket every time."

On her emotions after making the shot:
"I was very excited for my teammates. They had just made two clutch free throws to tie us in the game. I was very excited for my teammates. I felt like I needed to make that shot for the team because I didn't have a very good game. I was very excited. I was praying that it was going in. I practice that shot every day. I take that shot every day joking around, but I took it today. I normally take the pull up shot in practice, but I just floated it and it worked."

ST. JOHN'S GUARD Da'Shena Stevens

On her mindset at the end of the game:
"I have learned not think on the free throw line. My mind was blank. I was just focused on the rim. I kind of blocked everything out, the crowd and it all. I just try to focus and step up there with confidence. Really nothing was going through my mind."

On the team's reaction after the technical foul:
"You just have to take something like that and come together. That's what we did in the huddle. We huddled up and said let's go. It's time to try to bounce back from that because that was really tough for us at that point. Everyone just kind of used that to pull together even more, to really fight and get a key stop. We go that key stop and that's what we really needed at that point in the game."

Opening Statement:

"Congratulations to St. John's. I thought it was a great basketball game. They made a great play at the end that we defended okay. [Nadirah] McKenith made several plays in the second half and that (the play at the end) was a great one. I told our team that I couldn't be more proud of them, win or lose. The team that we are today is so much better than the team we were in October. That, as a coach, is what you strive for. In my 20 years of coaching, I've never had a team that has improved more in that time frame. A lot of credit goes to these two here [DaNae Moore and Ally Jensen]. These are our team captains. I feel really strongly about who they are as people and how they represented our program and what they meant to our team. That is the story of our team. They got down right away and they [St. John's] made everything. The second half we got down eight or nine in one stretch, but we kept our heads up. We made a ton of plays at the end, but so did they. It was a great basketball game. Congratulations to them. But I can't say enough about the fight this team has had all year and the fight that they had today."

On the last play:
"It was my fault. I had to address to Carli [Tritz] that she might miss the free throw. I told her three times that she is going to make it, but I just had cover [the missed free throw] just in case. That is why we had people up on the free throw line. You have to cover the potential that the free throw might miss. You don't want all of your team back. I had confidence, but there is potential for that. We had our two post players up just in case there was a miss and we needed to either back tap it or score an offensive rebound or foul right away. If the ball went in, Jordan [Garrison] was supposed to take the ball and DaNae [Moore] was supposed to take the gap position off the trailer. Jordan would take the ball and slow it down and DaNae would gap to force lateral dribbles, opposed to what you saw, girls running down the floor. We didn't get in quick enough, but I felt like we had to address the potential of a missed free throw. I also felt like she [Carli Tritz] is quick enough to go end-line to end-line and she is quick enough to draw a foul if she didn't pick her up. I felt like we had to cover a few bases, instead of running straight down the court. Jordan was to be the outside in and then DaNae couldn't get there because she was responsible for having the ball dribble out. The other three were supposed to match up on the other three players. We either wanted them to dribble sideways out to eat up some time or get a throw back to the trailer. "


On the last play:
"I was in possession, and I wish that I could rewind and go back on this one. It was a lot. They are a great team and she is a great player. She was making plays all day, she is super quick and has a super good crossover. I just wasn't ready for that play."

On coming back after being down:
"We have been that team that has fought from behind all season long, so I don't think that we were nervous or worried about it. Obviously, we would have liked to cut into their lead a little bit more and maybe take the lead, but we felt pretty confident and fine coming from behind. We knew that if we just stayed with it we knew that, we thought we would have a chance to win at the end. Every timeout, Coach Flanery and our coaches kept saying that we were fine, we are in this and that we could do it. We like playing from behind, but that might change in the next couple of years."


On the season in perspective:
"I think that what everyone has been talking about this year is just how young of a team we were, how we have a great sophomore class. We only have three upperclassmen. I think we had our ups and downs during the season but I think that in the end we all stepped up. I was always talking about heart, so was Coach Flanery and the team and the rest of the coaches. I think at the end we had a lot of great wins at the end of our conference season and in the conference tournament, we won three in a row. I think that we had a lot of confidence and a lot of heart and I think that is great for the rest of the years to come. There were high expectations, there are a bunch of great players, and I think everyone is excited."

On the free throws at end of game:
"I wasn't trying to think about it too much. I practice shooting free throws every day, every practice. Obviously, there are huge free throws, but I shoot them every day. Even Carli's [Tritz] free throws were just as important and she hit them. It just shows how determined our team is and how we want this and we will do well. It's what it takes."




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