March 9, 2014
Coach Joe Tartamella, St. John’s head coach
“Very pleased with our effort in the second half. Our group has been very resilient all year, especially at the end of games. We found enough ways to finish at the end. I thought our energy level in the first half; we were a little lethargic. I thought we came out better in the second half. Seton Hall has played everybody tough all year. We knew it was going to be a battle.”
(on responding to the recent 4-game losing streak)
We needed to get a win (against Providence) coming in here. We did win 11 in a row, which we don’t talk about a lot. This was just another indication of our players understanding that our room for error is not very large.
(on Aliyyah Handford)
I think the young lady to my left, we always say she’s only a sophomore, but you look at the toughness that she shows in games, whether she’s playing great or she’s struggling or she’s playing great defense, she’s brought great toughness to our group. I think our players genuinely like each other, and I think that’s a huge piece of what our program has become. They really fight for each other.
Sophomore Guard Aliyyah Handford, St. John’s
(on going head-to-head against high school teammate Ka-Deidre Simmons)
“Going against an old teammate from high school it was great playing against her. She’s a tough player. She’s hard to guard. I had to get used to it and we just had to play. That’s what we were doing. We were going at each other.”
(worried when Seton Hall got within two?)
“No. We all just got it together and just played as a team. It’s nothing we can say to each other. We just give each other a look and we just come out and play.”
Anthony Bozzella, Seton Hall head coach
I thought it was a great game; St. John’s made some tremendous plays in the end, and showed why they’re one of the best teams in the country. They had a bad couple of weeks, but they play with poise and experience, and they’re extremely well-coached.
I was proud of our young ladies. We came in with determination and confidence to win games. I thought we made some great shots; St. John’s gave us our most difficult loss of the year a couple of months ago, and our kids still came in and played confident and did the best they could even when they were down ten points.
There’s no shame in losing to a great team like this, but next year we’d like to be in their spot, and advance.
We’re going to take everything as a building block. Whether you lose in this round or the next round, you lost. Our goal is to win a championship; that’s why I came here, that’s why she [Simmons] came here. We have great support, we have great players, and we want to get to that level at some point.
How did the team respond when behind by ten points late in the game?
We always look at it like we’re never out of the fight. We were still poised and knew we could make a run. We made sure we kept our heads up and stayed together.