Commodores / James Madison - Post Game Comments
The Press: Other than the opportunity to play where the SEC tournament will be played, what were you looking to get out of this game, and what did you get out of it?
Vanderbilt Head Coach Jim Foster: We have to have a certain mentality about us and a certain aggressiveness, and we felt very strongly that we didn't have that Friday. And that was the basis of some conversation yesterday and the emphasis in our practice. So from a basketball point of view, that intensity that we feel is necessary. From a logisitics point of view, these are the kind of houses that you play in in the post-season, and it had that feel to it. You pull up like you do at that time of year in a bus in sort of a foreign gym -- we hadn't had the experience of walking into this gym before -- it sort of gets your juices going for what could be down the road.
The Press: How would you rate the defensive effort?
Coach Foster: I think our defensive effort through the course of the night was good. I think we were intense, we were there and covered their shooters, and we knew where they were, and I think it fed into our aggression on the backboard. I think because we were active defensively, we were a better rebounding team. We were in better position to rebound. The other night . . . we're a very good offensive basketball team. But the worse thing we can do is fall into the trap of thinking offense is going to win games for us.
The Press: You often refer to this team as an inside outside team. Did the 3-pointers in the first half come in the flow of the offense?
Coach Foster: They had made a conscious decision to take away our inside game, and what I liked about our first half was how we got our three's. There's a rhyme and a reason to how we play this game, and . . . you've got to have an unselfish group because we don't want that first one. We want the ball moving. We're big on "the next pass" and understanding the concept of what that means. We drill it, we talk it, and that's who we are. And I thought that in the first half, in the framework of that, we got some great looks. But we immediately in the second half, when they had to make an adjustment of sorts, went back in and didn't lose sight of that.
The Press: Ashley, can you comment on the defensive effort? Was it a focus coming in?
Ashley McElhiney: Yes, most definitely. We weren't pleased with our last performance defensively. And as he said, it was our focus yesterday in practice, and it just carried over to tonight's game. I think our offense was fueled off our defense tonight.
The Press: Ashley, teams traditionally struggle shooting in this building, but you all shot 66%. Can you talk about that?
Ashley: I think you have to go out to the gym thinking you're going to make the shots. I think most of the time we have pretty good shots, and the shots were falling tonight.
The Press: Is Katie Smith injured?
Coach Foster: Yes. (What is her injury?) Talk to the trainer. I can't say. It's one of those words she can say and I can't.
The Press: There were only 25 fouls total in this game. Have you found a way to beat teams without getting beat up so Chantelle spends more time on her feet? Have you found a way to beat teams without getting so physical?
Coach Foster: Don't misunderstand "physical." When you rebound the way we rebound, I think you're physical. Being physical comes in many forms. There's a time to be, and there's time not to be. I think one of the transformations that Chantelle is going through right now, and I think is making, is that she's relying less on her physicality in terms of strength and more in terms of movement. And because she's moving more, she's a better defender because she's leaning less. She's not in position to fall down as often. I used to play games as kids, and if somebody lened on a me and I wanted them to fall down, all I had to do was move real quickly. And they would fall down.
The Press: What did you feel like they tried to do with you defensively?
Chantelle Anderson: Well, obviously they tried to take me out of the game initially at the beginning. I got that first shot, and then they packed it in after that. And I think we did a great job of opening it back up again. Our shooters were hitting shots, and I have no problem with that. We are an inside outside team, but as long as they are looking and trying to get the ball inside and not taking crazy shots and forcing shots, then I have no problem with not getting the ball because I know it will come eventually. And so I think they tired to clog it in, but we did a good job of combatting that.
The Press: What does it say about your team that Chantelle can score 35 points one night, then only score 2 in the first half in the next, but yet you win with a bigger margin of victory?
Coach Foster: Well, I've never viewed as a one-dimensional basketball team. We have a lot of facets to our offense, and a lot of different pieces. And we're getting smart enough that we realize when our opportunities are there. When McElhiney is making herself more of an offensive threat this year, there's a couple of subtle things we're doing that help that. And a couple of things that she's doing and looking at and some skills that she's worked on over the summer. This is a team that wants to be coached, and when you have a team that wants to be coached, it's a lot of fun.
The Press: Ashley, you've played in a lot of big games. Have you ever had a better shooting night than this?
Ashley: I don't know. (somewhat embarrassed) I have no idea.
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