Patriot League Championship Postgame Quotes

March 15, 2014

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Army Head Coach Dave Magarity
(Ref.: opening statement)
“I want to compliment Holy Cross. To be playing them in this game was special. I think a lot of people just assumed that if we got this far that we’d be in Annapolis playing against a great Navy team. It was so special to be able to get the game here. It was a great crowd considering the Corps was on break. We all know what the atmosphere would have been like if they were here. These kids didn’t worry about that. They knew whatever the atmosphere was they were going to make their own history here tonight.”

(Ref.: the play of Kelsey Minato)
“We had the great equalizer. She is just an incredible player. She is as special a player as I’ve ever coached in my 43 years and 32 years as a head coach. I’ve had some pretty good players, but I don’t know if anyone is as special as this kid. She is a remarkable young lady. I can’t say enough about what she did tonight. With (Jen) Hazlett in foul trouble and (Jean) Parker, who has been tremendous for us during this winning streak, she was able to hold down the fort and control the game. She made plays when we needed her to. They chipped it down and then bingo, she gets a three-point play. I think she is a remarkable young kid.”

(Ref.: getting the team back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006)
“The one thing that I was concerned about after Holy Cross beat Navy was all the focus was going to be on that. I didn’t want anything to be taken away from this group. They embraced it. They embraced what happened the last time we played a championship game here, what happened, how it happened. We told the story. I told the story. We showed them the story, but we also spent a lot of time talking about how this is their time. It’s their team. These kids were 10, 11, 12 years old back then. Some of them didn’t even know who she (Maggie Dixon) was when they got here. She is such a part of the fabric of our Division I history.”

(Ref.: his feelings about the team)
“As special as Kelsey Minato is, this team will go down in terms of their ability to get better every game and their ability to learn from their mistakes. There was only one time this season we lost back-to-back games. That was at Penn, who is going to the NCAA Tournament, and at Ohio State where I blew the game with a technical. This team is remarkable. They are now the winnignest team in school history. They have just amazed me in these past seven games."

Sophomore Guard Kelsey Minato
(Ref.: her thoughts after the championship)
“This year it just felt right with us being the No. 2 seed and Holy Cross beating Navy to give us the opportunity to host the championship game. It just felt right. I can’t say enough about the team. We really came together and played our best basketball.”

(Ref.: taking control of the game)
“I knew that they were going to come out and throw something at us to try and get us off our game. The last game against American, we really came out aggressive and that set the pace for the entire game. I kept reminding the team that we needed to come out aggressive from the start and really take advantage of our opportunities. For me, that was a big part of my focus. I was just trying to set the pace, set the tone and control the game.”

(Ref.: keeping the team’s emotions in check)
“Really, it was just playing the game and playing the way that got us here. It’s a championship game, but it’s the same game we’ve been playing our entire lives. You still have to put the ball in the hoop. You still have to defend. We really had to focus on the game and not the outside distractions. We focused on the game plan and executing on offense and getting stops on defense. We needed to do what we’ve done all year, which is attacking the basket and sharing the ball, and just be confident in ourselves.”

Senior Guard Jen Hazlett
(Ref.: her thoughts on the championship)
“This is a very special team, and I’m just grateful for the opportunity to play with this group of girls. They’re very special to me, and they mean so much to me. Even thought I was in foul trouble and only played 19 minutes, I still felt like a big part of the win. The girls who went in and had a lot more playing time than usual really stepped up.”

(Ref.: playing for Dave Magarity)
“I wouldn’t want to play for any other coach. I’m so grateful to have played for him these last four years. It’s been a rough stretch not getting past the first round my first three years, but once we did, we went all the way. Coach deserves this more than anybody because he cares more than anybody about this team. We’re really glad we could do it for him and all the other coaches.”

Junior Guard Krishawn Tillett
(Ref.: her thoughts on the win)

“We talk every day about how we have to believe. This team believes in itself and the coaching staff. We put our hearts into it every day. I think believing was the key, and it feels amazing to get this far.”

(Ref.: the team’s mindset before the game)
“We definitely knew that we were going to win. We kept repeating that this is the game we’ve been playing all our lives. Nothing is going to change that. We’re going to go out and do what we have to do and win.”

(Ref.: overcoming injuries and contributing late in the season)
“It’s amazing for me. Knowing that I, ‘still got it,’ really helps my confidence. Earlier in the season I wasn’t really progressing, I was just playing. Now that I’ve actually got a chance to play in a game and contribute, it really boosts my confidence It feels nice to know that I can contribute to the team again.”

Holy Cross Head Coach Bill Gibbons
(Ref.: opening statement)
“I just told the team that I never thought we were going to lose in this run. I really didn’t, so I didn’t have anything prepared if we lost. I believed we were going to win this thing. Our slogan this year was, ‘Rise.’ We wanted to rise to the top of the Patriot League. It’s funny how things work out. My wife, Lisa, read a quote this morning about when you have setbacks in life and adversity in life, which we all do, what defines you is how you rise from those setbacks. This team rose. Even though it doesn’t say it on the scoreboard tonight, and my heart is aching for them, this team rose above a lot of heartaches and a lot of setbacks and a lot of things they didn’t deserve. They stuck together, and they became a true team. They rose above that. I’m very proud of them even though I ache that we didn’t get that gold medal.”

(Ref.: the team’s seniors)
“I think they’ve changed the culture, led by these two (Alex Smith and Brisje Malone). They’ve changed the culture that we’re battling for a Patriot League title every year. There is no more outs in the quarterfinals. They’ve changed that culture with their work ethic, their belief and their loyalty. I’m very proud of them.”

(Ref.: the team’s strategy against Kelsey Minato)
“We were trying to play a no-help defender on her. They ran some different stuff. I’ll second guess myself for not playing a box-in-one or doing something special, especially when (Jen) Hazlett went out of the game. I thought their other guys did a nice job and hit some shots. (Krishawn Tillett) hit a big three in front of us when we left her open. I’ll second guess myself for not doing something special against Kelsey, but we hadn’t played it all year. As a coach, and I talked to my assistants about this, you don’t want to change anything. She got too many open looks tonight. My one regret this summer will be thinking what if we had played something different.”

(Ref.: his thoughts on Army and head coach Dave Magarity)
“I told Dave that Maggie Dixon will have a front row seat up in heaven for this.  He (Dave Magarity) has done a great job with this program and getting them back since Maggie’s tragedy. He’s a class act. If it wasn’t going to be us this year, for all Dave’s been through and what he’s done with this program, I’m happy for him as a friend and as a colleague. This one hurts, but Dave Magarity is a class act, and the job he’s done since Maggie’s tragedy has been awesome. They’ll represent us well.”

(Ref.: scoring 92 points against Army in the regular season)
“I don’t know if it’s the psychology of sports. I don’t know if we got a false sense that we could score against them. Even me, I might be guilty of that. We knew we were going to have trouble scoring against Navy, and we scored. We knew we were going to have trouble scoring against Bucknell. We scored 92 up here. You miss 10 foul shots and that’s big. We only shot 34 percent. We missed a lot of bunnies. We missed some shot we usually make. I don’t want to take anything away from their defense, it was part of it. I don’t know if that psychology of scoring 92 hurts you the next time because you get a false sense that it’s easy to score.”

Senior Guard Alex Smith
(Ref.: playing in the Patriot League title game three years in a row)
“It’s even more difficult because this is our last time here. In the past two years, we’ve known we’ve had another shot to get to the championship game, but now it’s over for the two of us. We’re both very proud of the achievements we’ve made and the impact we’ve had on Holy Cross. Although losing isn’t always the best, at least we got there. That’s the attitude we’re trying to take right now.”

(Ref.: Army’s defensive play)
“We didn’t seem to get into a flow. I think it was more us than them. Credit Army, they played great defense, but we didn’t flow very well into things. We score, we win. We didn’t do that tonight so they played very good defense. They contested all our shots.”

(Ref.: overcoming adversity to get to the championship game)
“We’ve overcome a lot. Throughout the season, we have been handed every bad card in the deck, and the four seniors did a great job. The underclassmen believed in us and we’ve overcome injuries, people being out, people leaving, people coming in and a whole environment that wasn’t exactly what we wished for during our senior season. I think it makes us better people and better players, and I wouldn’t change anything for the world.”

(Ref.: Army’s run that put the game away)
“We were down seven at the half. We knew that they are a great program. Kelsey Minato is a phenomenal player. She put the team on her back tonight. They didn’t allow us to get too many stops in a row. We needed three or four stops in a row and capitalize on that with scores. If we did get a stop, they wouldn’t allow us to score or vice versa, when we scored they would come back and score. Basketball is a game of runs. We made our run, but they made one right back at us every single time.”

Senior Guard Brisje Malone
(Ref.: her emotions after the game)
“I’m very proud of the impact we’ve had on this team the last four years. I just hope our underclassmen took some of it and continue to push this program. We have a great group, so hopefully they can get a championship.”

(Ref.: Army’s defense)
“They took away a lot of our post play. We’re a great in and out team, but we need both. When we can’t score, it’s difficult for us. The credit goes to them.”

Knight Vision


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