Bearcats Fall In Crosstown

In front of 1733 rabid women's basketball fans from across the Tri-State, the University of Cincinnait put forth a dismal road showing against perennial crosstown rival Xavier.

In front of 1733 rabid women's basketball fans from across the Tri-State, the University of Cincinnait put forth a dismal road showing against perennial crosstown rival Xavier. Led by senior Tara Boothe's 30 points (23 in the first half), the Musketeers took down the Bearcats for the second straight year in embarrassing fashion, 87-60. Their first road game of the season, Cincinnati response to greatest test of their young season was one that had their coach calling for a change from her youthful team. In her 20th season, Laurie Pirtle has seen her team drop the last two versus XU, the seventh and eighth in the 28-year history of the Queen City Showdown.

Q: Despite a 3-0 start to the season your team has made many of the same mistakes in their previous games, it just seems that tonight's level of competition was able to take advantage of your miscues. Do you try to use this game as a wakeup call for some of your younger players?

R: I really think so. You're right on. You could have been right in our locker room. That is what I just got done telling the kids. We talked about the things we've been preaching on the defense, denying the reversal and having a substantial closeout, and the kids go "yeah, yeah, yeah", go 3-0 and being young kids don't really pay attention. But you play a team like this and they stop and go "OH! Maybe coaches have a point there." We are hoping this game serves as a wakeup call starting tomorrow, because we knew Xavier was a good team coming in, had a lot of good weapons, and they showed our weaknesses –things we've not been able we've get across to the kids every day in practice. So, I hope it serves as a wakeup call.

Q: Was this outcome a product of effort, execution, maybe nerves a little bit?

R: I think it was a "neck up" game for us in some ways, we expected the kids to come out of the offense to some extent, but not this much. There was a lot of frustration on the sidelines, trying to get the kids to stay in the offense, to make the right cut, and generally somewhere on the floor, and Treasure [Humphries] could agree, we weren't functioning in some aspect of our offense on the floor…but because we do it day after day after day there is no excuse. You definitely give credit to Xavier and their pressure defense and how they kept changing defenses, whether they were doubling or denying and all these things, but we do that in practice. So some of it was execution, but I am no so sure some of it wasn't poise as well. Xavier was able to make that worse by how they were pressuring us.

Q: What was your team's attitude coming into this game? Did they seem to know this was the Xavier-UC game?

R: You know I don't really know this team well enough, to be honest with you. I only had a couple kids that have ever played in this game before…and it is just hard to get a read on that. I think some of them might have tried too hard at times. The proof is in the pudding that Xavier is a good team. Xavier managed to do some of it to us, and we did a lot of it to ourselves.

Q: Did you see any evidence of "freshmanitis"?

R: They've been faking me out to some extent, and I didn't real know it was there," speaking of "freshmanitis". These are confident kids…I think that this is going to help elevate this team to a new level, it always does. This game always seems to do something for us – excluding last year. Last year really didn't do anything for us. This year I think it will do a lot for us. You know, we have some good talent and they definitely grew up tonight in one way or another. I know they blew us out in the second half, but we did not go away; we did not give up.

Q: What does this game mean to Cincinnati as basketball program?

R: You know there is a hype to it. I think that is undeniable in how the city looks at it. You know though, I think both coaches and staffs go in wanting to win this game, but each team is going to survive this game and know there is a season after it. The "real" team, a team that really knows what they are doing, will cut it off like a faucet and move on…and that is what you have to do. We really felt that this was a great game for our kids, win or lose, because these kids went "OH!" in the locker room today, and I think our team is going to better in the long-run for it. This is going to be a difference-maker, but not a season-maker.

Q: Their team kept making shot after shot after shot while your team was missing bunnies. Is that the difference between seniors and freshman?

R: I think that [missing easy shots] probably happened to [Xavier] when they were freshman. You know some of the easy shots we missed they probably would have made because they were seniors. When I looked at the stat sheet and saw Kristy Wallner and Tara Boothe's statistics I went, "these kids stood on their senior's shoulders tonight". We didn't have that luxury. You know, not having Micah [Harvey] really hurt us. She is really our wide-shouldered veteran, our senior point guard. She is just someone that carries us quite a bit.

Q: When you see those veterans on the other team doing what they are supposed to be doing, does it make it that much more obvious on the court the plays that your freshman are missing?

R: That is a no-excuse answer; she is not going to let youth get in the way [speaking of Treasure Humphries stoic "we do it everyday in practice" response]. These kids have shown in the first three games that they have the ability to be resilient, because that is what we ask of them – to walk in to practice tomorrow and be resilient. We do have talent; it is just dependent upon how they respond to this. It is not what happens to you, it is how you respond to what happens to you. This team will respond. We have what it takes.

Q: Knowing that Xavier runs a short bench and is a lot smaller, running up to four guards at times, what was your approach to the game offensively and defensively?

R: We were going to try to go harder longer with them knowing they were undersized and only going to run six or seven players out there on the floor. We were hoping we could pound it in and get Boothe in foul trouble, but we were just a little bit shy under there. We didn't make reads right about how they were defending us. Our game plan sorta went kaput, especially the way we were defending them. We were giving them some easy buckets. The first half killed us; the first ten minutes killed us. That was the game breaker.

Q: What did they do that was so effective against your team?

R: They kept changing up how they were guarding us, and our young kids were having trouble recognizing it. We work on this stuff every day during practice everyday; we just did not adjust to it during the game.


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