TAMPA BAY (FL) -- Notre Dame came from behind Friday night in the Final Four to defeat UConn 81-76 and advance to their second-straight appearance in the national championship game.
Irish senior guard Marina Mabrey broke her scoring slump in the tournament, recording a double-double with 12 points and 12 assists.
After the game, she spoke with WNDU Sports Director Alex Wilcox about the win, celebrating with family, and playing for ring #2.
GOING BACK TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, BEATING UCONN FOR THE SECOND-STRAIGHT YEAR, HOW DOES IT FEEL? WHAT’S GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND RIGHT NOW?
A: I want another ring, that’s what’s going through my mind right now. Just going back on tonight, all the emotion, all the hype about the game, being able to keep our composure was huge and just being able to lock down and get the stops we needed finally and get the rebound was really important for us, and just playing as a team, I feel like we really played as a team tonight.
I ASKED BOTH BRIANNA TURNER AND JACKIE YOUNG THIS, THEY BOTH SAID THAT EVEN WHEN THEY WERE DOWN…THERE WAS NEVER A DOUBT THAT THEY WERE GOING TO PULL THIS ONE OUT. SO WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS TEAM AND ABOUT YOU GUYS THAT GIVES YOU THAT BELIEF THAT NO MATTER WHAT, YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO COME OUT ON TOP.
A: First of all I feel like we’re so talented and can put up numbers so fast that we’re not out of any game. Also, I try to be that voice behind us saying this is what we’re going to do, we need a stop and a score. I feel like once we got a stop and a score, Arike and Jackie get out in transition, Bri blocks a shot, now we’re out, and-one, stuff like that. Once we get something going really quick, we’re back in it, we’re fine, we get our composure back.
AFTER THE ELITE EIGHT, YOU TOLD ME THAT YOU DIDN’T FEEL THAT THE SHOTS WERE FALLING AS LONG AS YOU GUYS WON. TONIGHT, THE SHOTS WERE FALLING, YOU BREAK OUT A LITTLE BIT, 12 POINTS, 12 ASSISTS, GET THE DOUBLE-DOUBLE, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE THAT MOMENT ON SUCH A BIG STAGE?
A: I’m just really happy that my teammates trusted me. They kept believing in me even when the shots weren’t falling. Just to have Bri’s eyes light up when she saw me open, I was like ‘Wow, they really do believe in me, I have to make this shot,’ and being able to get them the ball too and get everybody involved, I feel like everyone feels like they’re part of the win, everyone feels they’re making a contribution, so just having that balance was huge for us.
AFTER THE GAME I SAW YOU PRACTICALLY DIVE INTO THE STANDS TO HUG YOUR FAMILY. WHAT WAS THAT MOMENT LIKE FOR YOU, GETTING TO SHARE THAT WITH YOUR FAMILY?
A: I don’t really get to see my family a lot. They don’t come to a lot of games; it’s really far away, it’s really hard to get there. There’s so many kids in my family, and everybody’s so competitive, everybody plays basketball. My older brother wasn’t able to be here tonight, but I feel like he’s at home somewhere tonight, he helped me with everything. Everybody in my family helped me with every part of my game, so I feel like being able to share this with them for one last time was really, really cherishing.
ON SUNDAY, YOU’LL PAY YOUR FINAL COLLEGIATE BASKETBALL GAME. IT’LL BE FOR A SECOND-STRAIGHT NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU, THAT YOU GET TO GO OUT WITH A CHANCE TO WIN A SECOND RING?
A: I feel like it shows all those mornings we woke up early and went to the gym, all the time we put in, as individuals and as a team, just all the work we went through physically and mentally to get here, just to finish off my senior season with a ring would be great.
Notre Dame plays Baylor on Sunday night in the national championship. Tip off is at 6pm.