Here are the UConn Huskies women's basketball team's pregame quotes before their matchup with the Louisville Cardinals on Tuesday night for the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship.
Quotes courtesy of ASAP Sports:
MODERATOR: Joining us now on the dais we have UConn head coach Geno Auriemma and student‑athletes Caroline Doty, Kaleena Mosqueda‑Lewis, Breanna Stewart, Stefanie Dolson, and Kelly Faris.
We'll start taking questions for the student‑athletes.
Q. Caroline, I don't know if there is such a thing, but are now in official final game of your career mode?
CAROLINE DOTY: I don't know if there's a mode to get into it, but definitely crossed my mind. It's been five years. I don't know what I'm going to be doing next year. It's a long time.
I'm just happy to be here and I'm glad the national championship is my last career game. Hope to go out with a bang.
Q. Who's got Shoni Schimmel assignment tomorrow?
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT‑ATHLETE: We haven't gone over that yet.
MODERATOR: That might be a better question for Coach at that time.
Q. How much has it helped you guys having played them already and there's a familiarity of an opponent so in scouting reports it's fresh as opposed to seeing a team for the first time that you may not know as much about?
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT‑ATHLETE: It helps. Obviously they're a Big East team, so we've seen them a couple different times and played them once earlier this season. But at the same time, that was a while ago. And you know they're going to change, just as we've changed over the season.
So there's some things that are gonna be the same about them that we know, and then we just have to make sure that we're focused and prepared for the type of play that they're putting on right now.
Q. Stef, sort of the same lines there, I mean, this Louisville team seems to be loose and feels they have nothing to lose tomorrow night playing the national championship game. They've been doing that all through the tournament it seems. Whereas you guys, expectation every year is you come to win a national championship and compete for it. Do you feel there's more pressure on you guys to win tomorrow night, or is it you guys are loose and ready to just play?
STEFANIE DOLSON: I think that exactly. We're just ready to play. Louisville has done a great job beating Baylor, beating Cal, beating Tennessee. They've come a long way, and I don't think a lot of people expected it.
But, like you said, they're going to come and play like they have nothing to lose, and we have to go out there and not really focus on them and focus on working hard in practice today and then come out tomorrow ready to play and have fun.
Q. Kaleena, what do you think the most important moment of the season has been?
KALEENA MOSQUEDA‑LEWIS: Up to this point I think after our Big East Tournament and just the turnaround that we've made this season as a group, you know, the confidence level has risen and just our mindset has gotten a lot better as a unit.
Q. Kelly and Caroline, you guys obviously have a lot of experience playing in the NCAA Tournament. What would it mean for both of you to bring another national title back to Connecticut?
CAROLINE DOTY: It would be a great team win. It would be a great ending to a great four years for Kelly, five years for me.
We come in every single year with the mindset and the goal to win a national championship. So for it to be the last go‑around to be with the teammates we have, who are playing unbelievable, that would just send us off on a great note. We wouldn't be more happier.
But we just gotta take care of business and prepare and really work with the game plan Coach has for us.
KELLY FARIS: I would agree. For us it's our last opportunity, and each year is special and different in its own way, and this year we've had our ups and downs. And we've had to work really hard to get to the point where we're at. So I want it just as bad as anybody on this team. And I know we want it for each other more than anything.
So like Caroline said, it sends us out on the right note.
Q. Breanna, while you were going through your stretch between the first ten games and the start of Big East Tournament, do you remember anything particularly funny or insightful that Coach Auriemma or Coach Dailey said to you that resonated with you either as a‑‑ in funny way or in a serious way that got you going?
BREANNA STEWART: I was about to say no, not particularly. I don't really have anything in particular, no, but they always seem to be busting my chops.
Q. Kelly, I was reading up on the last game against Louisville, and I think you had seven turnovers that game, seven assists. And it was interesting that Coach pointed out‑‑ he said you were really upset after that game, you were really hard on yourself. What are your memories of that game even though you won? Seems like at least individually you were not happy with your performance.
KELLY FARIS: Yeah, I've had a few too many of those games this year. The turnovers are huge, and you can't have seniors contributing the most to that.
So, yeah, of course after that game we won, but there's times that you can win and still feel like you lost a game. It's not all about winning here‑‑ and we said that multiple times‑‑ it's about how you win. And so as a team you're happy that you get the win, but individually there's times that you're gonna be unsatisfied with how you play. And that was one of them.
Q. Can you quantify how unsatisfied you were after that game versus, let's say, another game this season?
KELLY FARIS: I don't really remember exactly. But given the fact that I had seven turnovers, I'm sure I was pretty disappointed in myself in that.
Q. Stefanie, how difficult has it been for you to play through this pain? I mean, in a realistic sense to‑‑ I know you haven't been practicing as much, but how much pain are you in and how much mental stress does that put you under?
STEFANIE DOLSON: It's definitely frustrating to play with this, but my team and the coach has done a good job of just supporting me and helping me through it, because I've never had to do anything like this. Rosemary has done a great job of taking care of me and treating me, making it feel better every day.
So I'm just working through it. Like I said, my teammates are helping me out and doing what they gotta do.
Q. This is for Kaleena. Very few programs have such legendary figures as a Diana Taurasi or a Maya Moore, and sometimes I think it can be hard when you're the player that comes in and is inevitably compared to these great players. How have you sort of dealt with that and tried to just be yourself, not necessarily get caught up in being compared to legends in your program?
KALEENA MOSQUEDA‑LEWIS: It's easy with our coaching staff and with my teammates to not really get caught up in stuff like that. Especially playing on a team like this with so many good players and so many people that are capable of so many things. You don't really think about yourself.
Last night was a perfect example of what a great team we have and how many great players are on this team. It wasn't just one person making everything happen out there; it was a team effort. So it's not hard at all to look past that stuff.
Q. Breanna, people have expected so much of you since you were like 14 years old in terms of playing. Do you ever surprise yourself by what you're able to do? Do you ever come out of game and go: I didn't think I was capable of something like that?
BREANNA STEWART: To think that I wasn't capable of doing something? I don't know if I have ever surprised myself just because you would think that you would be the one person that actually knows what you're capable of doing. But I think there's been moments where there's been like certain plays that you've been‑‑ or I've been surprised about, I guess.
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT‑ATHLETE: Awesome answer (laughter).
Q. Stefanie, good to see you smiling. You usually come into press conferences smiling, and you looked a bit in pain.
STEFANIE DOLSON: What?
Q. Usually when you come into press conferences you're always smiling.
STEFANIE DOLSON: I'm always smiling.
Q. Anyway, my question for you, just talk about the three seniors and what they've meant, not in terms of leadership this season, but since the end of Big East Tournament. How key have they been to just bringing everybody back together, getting on this new page that you've done through the NCAAs?
STEFANIE DOLSON: They have meant a ton. They have since then spoken to all of us, saying it's their last year. And we're all going out fighting for them. We know they want a national championship; we want a national championship for them. And they've all given up so much and worked so hard for all the years that they've been here.
So for any of us to give anything less than our best out there would be a disappointment to them.
Q. Stefanie, do you think you guys should be favored in this game? Do you consider yourself the favorite in this game?
STEFANIE DOLSON: I don't think so. I mean, we can't really think about that, to be honest. We gotta go into it‑‑ like I was saying before, Louisville is going to give us a great game. Every team we've played in this tournament has given us a great and tough game.
And to go into it thinking that we're the favorites‑‑ I mean, they beat Baylor. So we gotta go into it knowing how hard they've worked to get to the point that they are and, like I said, focus on ourselves and just executing offense, defense, and playing together as a unit.
To see what head coach Geno Auriemma had to say, please click on the continue reading button below if you're on the home page.