March 8, 2014
SETON HALL head coach Anthony Bozzella
Obviously, I’m very proud of the ladies to win a BIG EAST playoff game and advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in many, many years. It’s a tribute to their hard work and leadership, especially to the lady to my left [Simmons]. I give Providence a lot of credit, how they played short-handed, their point guard got hurt yesterday. They were down 19 points and could have quit, but their coach is a tremendous competitor. I’ve known her for many years when she’s had many championship teams at St. Francis (Pa.), and I know Providence is going to be a very strong team for many years to come. I give their kids a lot of credit, they didn’t give up. But, neither did ours, and even when they got it down to six, I saw good poise in our team, they have a great leader and captain in [Simmons]. I thought our kids did the right thing. I was particularly impressed with Tara Inman, one of our freshmen, who plays a little here and a little there. She really played some great minutes for us. Sidney Cook, another freshman, really stepped up and played to her potential today. I was very happy, and obviously we know we’re going to have to defend a lot better in the second half to beat such a formidable opponent tomorrow, but at least we get that opportunity. I’m proud of the girls, I really am.
How big was it to get a contribution from Sidney Cook?
Sidney and Tara, they were great. Sidney needs to play this way, she’s a talented player. Our girls are fighters, and they’ve never given up all year. They’ve fought through a lot of adversity, and the kids never quit on Sidney. We needed her today; we wouldn’t have won the game without her.
It looked like you guys wanted to get up and down the court tonight; is that something you talk about before the game?
SIMMONS: We definitely want to get the ball and push it up the court. Then, if we don’t have anything, just go into a quick ball screen and attack the defense. That was my mindset today, to just attack the basket. We wanted to get them in foul trouble, because the last time we played them, basically their whole team was in foul trouble. Providence is a good team, so if we were able to get them in foul trouble, it would be an easier game for us.
COACH: And then, not having as many players, and being down one, we just wanted to wear them down. To their credit, they got better as the game went on. I thought, ‘you guys are supposed to get tired,’ but they’re fighters. They take after their coach, who is a strong person who never quits, and they played to the end. I think at the end, we were able to get such a lead, I thought they got tired in the middle of the game. Sometimes you get that, then you get your wind back, and I think the middle of the game is where we separated ourselves.
Alexis Brown seems to get better and better each game, what’s it like having her in the backcourt?
SIMMONS: It’s helpful, to just have another guard on the court who can do everything I can do. Push the ball, attack the basket, or hit the pull-up shot, it takes a lot of stress off me. In the game, Coach made the call to put Ace [Brown] at the point, and I just filled the lane and got some open shots. It was really good, it just freed me up, and we can go back and forth from that.
PROVIDENCE Head Coach Susan Robinson Fruchtl
Hats off to Seton Hall; they beat us three times this year, so they had a pretty good game plan. They were physical, which gave us some issues with our post players. We don’t have a lot of girth inside, and Alexis [Harris] didn’t get going early in game, like she normally does.
We did a much better job on the boards tonight, but the turnovers were the insurmountable thing that got us, especially in the last five minutes in the first half. It led to some really easy scoring opportunities for them, and they took advantage of that.
What did missing Sarah Beal mean for this team tonight?
Sarah [Beal] being out for us really hurt our depth at point guard. She’s normally our floor general, but Karin [Robinson] played pretty much the whole game and did a good job. I feel confident she could be our starting point guard, she’s been our sixth man all year.
They responded really well; this group has been pretty good with their chemistry. I think at times we can execute better on the floor, but I felt they responded pretty well mentally and stayed together the whole game. She [Beal] means a lot. Going forward I think she’s going to be one of the best point guards in this conference, bar none.
What’s something you can take into this offseason as a silver lining?
I just feel that our kids have learned how to fight, in a positive way. That’s a big difference from last year. In the offseason, we have to become a much better defensive team, and that’s priority number one.