Interview: Melanie Balcomb

The Vanderbilt Commodore women's basketball team swamped the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks on Saturday, 93-50. After the game VandyMania's Whitney D. spoke with head coach Melanie Balcomb.

VandyMania: In the second half you came out on a big run and held them without a field goal for a long, long time. What happened from first to second half?

Coach Balcomb: We talked about defense. We came out at the beginning of the game ready to play and caused a lot of turnovers. Then we didn't make shots, and we weren't shooting the ball well, and we let our poor shooting get us down on defense.

So at halftime we talked attitude and how great we want to be defensively. If defense is our #1 concern this year, then we shouldn't lose defensive intensity because we're not making shots. So we talked about that, and I think our mental toughness and our attitude changed. If we missed a shot, we went back and got it on D and got a better shots off our defense. We created 17 turnovers in the second half and only 11 in the first half. I think that made a big difference. That's all we talked about at halftime, believe it or not, was defense.

VandyMania: Late in the game, you had most of your starters out, then you put them back in. What was that all about?

Coach Balcomb: The defense was horrible. They were scoring too quickly. There were still five or six minutes left in the game, and I don't care what the score is, you can't go in there not ready to play and lay over on defense. You can mistakes on offense, you can miss shots, you can turn it over, but your effort defensively needs to be a great effort.

And they had all played in the first half, other than Kat, and they came out not ready to play and not playing defense with any effort, and I decided to make a statement and sit them. Then we got that lead right back and I didn't want to embarrass the other team, so I put the them back in.

But it was to teach them a lesson about being ready to play defensively when they get in the game - because we're going to need those players, and they made a lot of mistakes, and they were scoring too quickly. It was ridiculous.

VandyMania: During the game, some of the fans were saying that this was one of the strongest teams that you have played so far; Would you agree with that?

Coach Balcomb: Yes. I think, like I've been saying, our schedule is going to keep getting better. This team was 4 and 1. They're picked to win the East of the MAC. They're well-coached and have a good history, and this is a tough place to play. I think we had to learn from Savannah State and be ready to play on the road, so I was really pleased with how we came out ready to play, and each game is going to get more competitive and tougher. Top Stories