Geno Auriemma National Quotations
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I don't care if you have the best team in the country or are Cinderella, this is the hardest game to play in that you'll ever play in. The goal for most people is to have an experience of being in the Final Four. After you've been to the Final Four there's no experience like it, except winning a national championship.
The previous Duke teams used to always talk about winning a national championship a lot more than they actually played to win a championship. This team is a little bit different. They don't talk as much about it. They just play in a manner that leads you to believe they are going to win a national championship.
When you lose this game, there's nothing worse. There's nothing worse because this is the game that gets you to the place where all good things can happen. This is the hardest hurdle to get over, because you need 12 more months then to get back here and you didn't put yourself in a position to win the national championship.
I've been in their situation enough times where you come in and you feel like you've got every answer to every question that comes up. And you know the only way you can lose is if you don't play to your ability. I'm sure Duke feels the same way. (Duke) plays in a manner that leads you to believe they're going to win a national championship.
This is probably the first time since 1991 that I feel like we're truly a team that relies so heavily on each other. Everyone has to make a contribution for us to be really good. And obviously, Barbara and Ann have the ability to make huge contributions, and they did. That's what you expect from them. And sometimes we do forget they've won two national championships. They know how to handle these situations.
It's a great barometer for not only what is happening with our team at the moment but what could happen, what might happen down the road. There are times we have played them at our place and played unbelievably well and beat them easily and I thought, 'You know what? I think this team can win the national championship.' There's times when we've played them at their place and got our heads handed to us and I left there thinking, 'You know what? I'm not sure we're a national championship-type team.
It's kind of odd. She coached players who won national championships. She made women's basketball acceptable. And yet, she's not in the Hall of Fame. People say it's because she didn't coach long enough. I don't care whether she coached three years. When you win three national championships, you're in the Hall of Fame. So there's a lot of people that aren't in that should be.
It's different than it was two years ago. People buy into teams and into personalities. We were coming off a national championship and we had the dominant personality in the country. Now we're coming off losing in the Sweet 16 and we have a bunch of nice kids that are just happy to be here. Maybe I'm going to have to rile some people up, start saying and doing stuff that stirs the pot a bit.
It's different than it was two years ago, ... People buy into teams and into personalities. We were coming off a national championship and we had the dominant personality in the country. Now we're coming off losing in the Sweet 16 and we have a bunch of nice kids that are just happy to be here. Maybe I'm going to have to rile some people up, start saying and doing stuff that stirs the pot a bit.
I think our defense will be tested, no question. I think our offense is going to be tested. You have to be a good defensive team to win, don't get me wrong. I don't think non-defensive teams are going to win national championship. I don't think non-defensive teams are going to win the Big East championship.
For the first time since 1994, there isn't anybody sitting there saying, 'You know, there's three or four teams that can win the national championship: Connecticut and three other teams.' First time in 12 years. So, how they react to that is going to be interesting. They might like being in that situation.
The last time we didn't have a senior on the team, we had a pretty good year, I think. We were (37-1) and we won a national championship. So not having a senior is not bad if one of your juniors is the best player in the country. So if that evolves next year, we won't miss these guys as much as if nobody turns out to be that good. Then we'll miss them a lot.
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