Earlier this week we passed along thoughts from Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie harvested in October when she was in New York City to help promote Tuesday’s game against UConn for the JimmyV Foundation.
Coach P. conducted a conference call on Saturday during which she updated the media on what’s new with her 10-0 team.
On the current condition of senior guard Chelsea Gray, who is back after a dislocated knee cap ended her junior season on Nov. 17, 2012:
“It’s been extraordinary; I have never been a part of that kind of story [recovering from knee dislocation]. She’s worked hard, preserved, put herself into position to be in tip-top shape. … We’re not there yet. It’s December, but we are at a good stage with her. I’m proud of her. It’s a hard injury.”
On continuing the series with UConn after its concludes next season in Connecticut:
“We still have to look at things. Our conference [the ACC] has become stronger, particularly with the addition of Syracuse and Notre Dame [and Louisville next season]. We had a series with Tennessee that’s been interrupted, so I need to look at that, too. We are still in the process of looking at things. We’ll see, but I feel like we play a great schedule across the board and this one [2013-14] takes the cake [in terms of difficulty.”
On the importance of beating UConn, who has won the last six meetings by an average of 29.3 points:
“Every year it’s a different team. I don’t think you can show me any situation [series] where it [the result] hasn’t been lopsided. UConn has had a monopoly, but you can’t indicate that it’s only been against Duke … it’s been against everyone. They are very good. They have a momentum from the monopoly. It’s a special team.
“They have the history. They’ve won a lot of games. They are well-coached for nearly 30 years. So they have the longevity. And they’ve had terrific players. The reality is that Connecticut has had continuity. They are out in front. So all we can do is concentrate on what we are doing and see what we can do.”
On Duke’s team this season:
“I have a special team, but we haven’t been able to play 40 minutes yet this year. That’s not a good thing. So we need to concentrate on ourselves and executing …At some point, we need to hit the high level of execution we want to hit. For us, it’s more of our focus than beating any one team. … We don’t think in the context of beating one team. We think in terms of playing who is front of you and trying to playing consistently against every one.”
On UConn’s team:
“Bria Hartley has developed into the top point guard in the country with decision-making, athleticism and her ability to score in transition. They have Breanna Stewarrt, Stefanie Dolson and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis. So they have a lot of the best. When you play them you need to lock in, guard and cover.
On whether Duke is practicing in preparation of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis returning from injury:
“It doesn’t matter [in terms of practice]. You also prepare for the best five players on the floor. She’s a great player and you assume she will be back stronger than ever for [the Duke game].”
On the fact that school is on break, meaning a likely lack of students in attendance at Cameron Indoor:
“I don’t think it’s significant. Both teams have played in hostile environments. I don’t think it’s a factor.”