Coach Sharon Fanning-Otis Press Conference

Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs head basketball coach Sharon Fanning-Otis talks about the big win at Auburn and the upcoming two-game homestand against Vanderbilt and Tennessee Thursday and Sunday.

On the big win at Auburn...
"It was a great team win. We had to make some adjustments with Tysheka Grimes out of the game (due to being hurt). We had to put some people in roles they had never played before in games. We adjusted and as we played the game we became more comfortable with the rotations.

"In the second half we were able to shoot 51 percent from (the) field (and we had) nine assist to three turnovers. (That meant) we had a chance at scoring every time down the floor. I think those two categories and (also) holding them to 40 percent from the floor had to be the three reasons we had the margin that we had. But we (still) have to rebound better. There were mistakes made but we still kept our focus.

"(A) big win on the road in the SEC (is) something you have to have if you are going to compete for a championship and that's where we are going to keep our vision."

On effort from team against Auburn...
"(I was) pleased with (the) effort for the most part (although) maybe not always with positioning and where we were playing on the weak side away from the ball. Defense starts with pressure on the ball, so if I'm standing off the ball and I'm letting the ball (in) then that's not a good possession. We are trying to get (to the point) where we have 100 percent good possessions. What you (should be) focusing on is how many possessions are (you) playing hard and (also getting yourself) in a 50-50 position to make a shot. The other stats will fall into place if we do that."

On lineup changes without Tysheka Grimes...
"We rotated everyone but AJ the first half. (And) she got in the second half. Rima (is) starting right now (but) there are no set starters in that position. The (game) finishing lineup was a small lineup - Diamber, M-Kat, Alexis, Armelie, and Chanel. The way we start could be Rima or could be Diamber at the one. But I'm trying to think of the long haul of the whole game. And I know these other players are going to have to rotate. We got to give our other players some windows of time whether it's 30 seconds, 2 minutes, or 5 minutes."

Match up against Vanderbilt...
"Vanderbilt makes the extra pass as good as anyone. On offense there are multiple things that they do. They are going to have a couple people on the floor that can shoot the three. They drive and they are a smart team. They know how to reverse the basketball and they know how to penetrate the ball. We are just going to have to play better defense than we did the other night."

Playing Style against Vanderbilt... "Last year transition was the difference in the ballgame. Pressuring and pushing were factors against Auburn. And I feel (those will be factors) with any team. If you don't have that push, then how will you execute in the half court game?"

Making up for Tysheka Grimes defensively...
" I think it's everything - the experience that's out there, the quickness, getting deflections, taking charges, getting loose balls, and being able to have multiple defenses."

On Armelie Lumanu's play...
"She came back from Christmas break and I felt she was one of the key leaders leading up to the last couple of games . She is listening and she is working hard. Things that I see (improved) are better balance and a little bit more patience, both of which are important. (But) she has to become a better communicator (and she) has to (understand) that is playing the 1, 2, 3, 4 and helping everywhere else on the floor. The other day she was a little tentative early on but became more comfortable."

On Armelie Lumanu's offense...
"I thought that she didn't force things. She was all over the floor and had a double-double. You want her to take what she has and take advantage of her abilities, She is going to score off of a three or score off a layup. She is going to help us in every aspect of the ball game."

On Mary Kathryn Govero...
"She came up with steals and buckets that we needed. (Plus) she had the confidence to keep shooting even though she didn't hit some early shots."

On Thursday-Sunday turnaround...
"(We) have a game Thursday, then on Friday we come in, lift, then have (our) regular time for scouting (the other time), then the rest of the time is spent on the floor.. (But) Friday is not going to be a full practice day anytime during the spring. (And) it will depend on how the game went Thursday night (in regard to) minutes and such. They may lift and do a little bit of shooting and a lot of transition stuff."

The importance of winning at home...
"Whether it's Vanderbilt or anyone else, this is the league and in the league you have to take care business at home."


Jeremiah Short is a columnist who covers various Mississippi State sports for GenesPage.com. He can be reached by email at moot2005@yahoo.com


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