Vanderbilt-Siena post-game comments

Melanie Balcomb, Ashley Earley, Dee Davis and Abi Ramsey met with the media after Vanderbilt 76-47 win over Siena for the Vanderbilt Tournament Championship.

Post-Game Comments:

The Press: Did you lose some of their 3-point shooters in the second half, or was that a 27-point letdown?

Coach Balcomb: I do think we let down in the second half. That's what we were talking about yesterday. We only won the second half by 2 points, and that's what we've been talking about. That's what we talked about yesterday in here, how we focus on playing two halves and maintaining that lead. We just drew it up on the board and explained to them that we gave up 36 points in the second half. It's not so much our offense, but our defensive intensity was not the same in the second half. So you didn't see us get all those steals and transition buckets and end up with 100 points today.

The Press: Is that a young team that is disinterested in an opponent that's down for the second straight day? Do you think there's an element of that?

Coach Balcomb: I don't know. I hope not. I hope that we have enough experience on the floor to know, and I hope their leadership is talking about it enough. They also did a good job; they're a very well-coached team, and she really spread the floor on us in the matchup and got their 3-point shooters off, just really spread us out wide, really went five out, four out and a high post, which not many people run against a zone and a matchup. So we then went man and didn't get as many deflections and turnovers and things, and we need to keep working on our man defense because that's one of the reasons why they scored a lot more points in the second half, and we're trying to work on that.

The Press: One day is nice for Abi, but two days is starting to looking like a trend. Is it nice to see her back in that groove again?

Coach Balcomb: Yeah. Abi had a great practice all week, was very focused, was very involved, and I just want to keep her that way. If she could consistent like she has, she's been much more of a complete player even in practice on the offensive and the defensive ends. She's very into it right now, and we just need her to maintain that focus. (Pause.) She's doing a great job defensively. Nobody talks about her defense, but she's playing the top of the matchup, the bottom of the matchup. She has a very good understanding of what we do and anticipation of what we do. She never hurts us defensively, which is nice. A lot of times you have a shooter, but they hurt you on the other end and Abi doesn't do that. She does a nice job defensively, playing more than one position for us, too. I just don't think her defense gets enough credit because she shoots the ball so well.

The Press: Dee- 8 assists tonight, 9 last night. Another mark of consistency from another player?

Coach Balcomb: Yeah. And like I said yesterday, that has everything to do with how she's practicing, how she's making changes. Coachability is making changes, and she's making a lot of changes. She's starting to really learn the game and understand the game and is being so much more of a coach on the floor and a smart player and all those things. Last year she relied on her athleticism and speed as a freshman, and now she's starting to understand the game. She's going to be very good. You can tell she's already worked on her 3-point shot. Her hard work in the summer is paying off. It's paid off in her confidence, her strength, so she's just playing with a whole different level of confidence, and we need that.

The Press: Are there some benefits from a holiday tournament besides getting back to back games? Is there anything more tangible that you can get from this experience?

Coach Balcomb: Yeah, we always want to play two or three tournaments so when we get to the big tournament, the 64 team tournament you have had success and can tell your players that you won the tournaments where you played back to back and you know how to recover and the things that we do become routine, and kids get confidence out of routines. So they already kind of know the routine, and I like to play two games back to back. I like to play a lot of tournaments.

Coach Balcomb left the room, then senior guard Abi Ramsey, sophomore point guard Dee Davis, and senior forward Ashley Earley entered.

The Press: Abi, was it a question of just when, not if, for you as far as catching fire from the outside?

Abi: Well, yes and no. I had kind of gotten out of my groove the first two games, and then I think I finally just got a little ticked off and just had to go and shoot for an hour before the game and just find it. It wasn't really like, when is it going to come, I had to go and just really shoot and shoot and lay on the floor and shoot and shoot until I felt confident enough coming into the game. That's the big thing, the confidence.

The Press: Did you say "lay on the floor"?

Abi: On the floor, just shooting, because it was all mental.

The Press: That's an interesting statement in that the success that you've had over three years, to think that you might have lost confidence in your shot. Had it gotten to that point?

Abi: (Sigh.) It was just a down for me, like starting out the first or second exhibition and not coming out on fire. I think as it progressed and there was really no change, it was easy for me because I'm a shooter, I'm a 3-point shooter, and if that's not working, you kind of get to question, What am I doing out here if I can't do the one thing? I think for any person, if what you're out there for isn't going, you're going to lose confidence.

The Press: Do you think that's what you're out there for? Coach Balcomb stated over and over again emphasized that your defense is understated, something that's not appreciated enough. Does the offense ever affect the defense?

Abi: Well, no. Really, we play off our defense. Our offense works through our defense. I know that I've had success in our defense --- it's such a fun defense to play, like with D-I don't want to say that I'm just a role player with the 3-point, but if you're not hitting those shots, someone else can come in and give the intensity that I do on defense as well.

The Press: Abi, I hate to sound stupid, but when you said that you lay on the floor shooting, did you literally mean you were laying down on the floor?

Abi: Yeah. I laid on the floor. Yeah. Laying down on the floor and shooting in the air.

Dee: Not shooting in the basket, but just shooting the ball in the air, like rotation. You have to see it. You just lay on your back and you shoot the ball in the air and catch it and shoot it.

The Press: That's a routine part of practicing shooting?

Ashley: I think that's something that you learn when you're younger.

Abi: When you're younger, to work on rotation. Just because Coach had been telling me that I wasn't following through and my rotation didn't look right, so I just spent a few hours working on it.

The Press: Ashley and Dee, could either or both of you talk about the difference between the first half and the second half?

Ashley: I think obviously we only outscored them by 2 points in the second half. We maintained on the offensive end. We scored 38 both halves, but our defensive intensity was lacking, basically.

The Press: What do you attribute that to?

Ashley: Mental. We just have to learn to consistently put teams away. Just don't let up, and I think we did a little bit in the second half.

The Press: Dee, a little more on that. Is it hard to not lose interest in a game when it's 38-11 at the half, after you guys just scored 108 the day before? Is it hard to keep an emotional high when you're routinely destroying people?

Dee: No, because we can never get satisfied with that because you never know - the next day we might only score two points. It's like everybody was pumped about yesterday , scoring that many points. And then today, we were excited to be up that much, but again, you can't let up because teams can easily come back. You see what we did last year. The second half is a new half, 0-0.

The Press: In light of yesterday when you did put two halves together back to back and last weekend against St. Francis you did the same thing, is it disappointing to not come back and play the second half with that intensity tonight?

Abi: Yeah, we got the W, but definitely it is. That was the one point we talked about as soon as we got to the locker room after the game. Coach put up on the board, this was the score in the first half, it was like 11 to 38, and then in the second half, it was 36-38, and that's just upsetting. We don't want any team coming in here thinking they can compete with us like that.

Ashley: One of our goals going into every game is to play 40 minutes. We got in a real bad habit last year coming out flat in the first half and then having to make miraculous comebacks and we don't want to be that type of team this year.

The Press: Ashley, would you like to see a different type of opposition in these tournaments. I know last year you had Louisville in the final and they pushed you hard. Would you like to see a team like Louisville in the tournament every year?

Ashley: I think our coaches in scheduling, they have a certain mindset, so we trust their tactics in scheduling. I think you'll see the teams that we're starting to play gradually get better. I think they have a specific thing in mind in scheduling. Top Stories