Melanie Balcomb talks about loss to WKU

After the loss to Western Kentucky on Thursday night, Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb talked to the press about the second half barrage of fouls called on Vanderbilt and how the team will rebound after such a disappointing game.

The Press: Have you ever had a foul situation turn around like that, from seven in the first half to 20 in the second half?

Coach Balcomb: No. It was a tough second half. I was running out of players that don't normally play.

The Press: Was it a change in the pattern of the whistle or a change in your defense?

Coach Balcomb: The whistles I can't comment on. It's my job to have composure and not talk about the whistles. All I can say is, I think defensively we didn't do a good job of keeping them in front and just kept getting beat on direct drives in the middle of our zone and therefore, the back row had to come up and challenge and then they crashed, and when you keep letting the ball get in that tight underneath, there are going to be calls, and on the road, they're not going to go your way. We have to know that as a team, and we have to be prepared for that. It's part of going on the road. It's a tough environment.

The Press: Can you comment on the environment in the second half, how they kept coming at you in the second half? Seems like they got the fans behind them.

Coach Balcomb: I think the fans obviously do a great job here. The place is really loud. I don't know what your attendance was, but it was the first time that we've been in an environment like this. I knew coming in and tried to prepare the players for that, but that's kind of hard to simulate. But yeah, I think you guys have always done a great job with your crowd, and they were very very much into the game and the sixth player for your team.

The Press: You got a lot of open looks in the first half. What happened in the second half?

Coach Balcomb: I thought we had easy looks when my posts were in. We ran out of posts and went to four guards, but when our posts were in, I thought we got good looks and we didn't put the ball in the basket especially down the stretch. We had good looks in our offense.

The Press: Did you have any indication down the stretch that being in their first close game of the year they reacted differently, or maybe reacted in a way you didn't want them to?

Coach Balcomb: No, I actually think--- We talked about it at halftime. It was about recovery, and I knew it would be a great challenge and learn a lot from it. I thought we handled ourselves well in the situations that we were in. Our players stayed positive, and after they made mistakes, tried to come back. Obviously we can do better and need to work on it, and there were situations that we didn't. But overall, I don't think we handled the adversity as poorly as we could have, to be honest with you.

The Press: After the first loss of the year, how do you approach the team, both psychologically and in what you work on, to get ready for the next one?

Coach Balcomb: We sit down and go over the film, and we learn from it. There are so many learning things in a situation like this, with a game like, that we have to be careful not to put the blame on anything else externally, but put the blame on what we can control, and there were things out there that we can control that could have controlled the outcome. And we've got to focus on that and fix those things.

The Press: How seriously can you treat this loss, again in light of 27 fouls?

Coach Balcomb: I think they'll get it, and I think it's my job to make sure they get it. Like I said, despite all that, we should have been able to win this game. The problem is, I don't think our effort was that poor. I thought we didn't play very smart, and so we can learn from that and play smarter. I just feel like there are so many things that we still could have controlled in this game and didn't, and, as I told my team, we needed this game, but you hate to lose to have to learn. Sometimes you can get scared and win a close one and learn from it, but because some people had good effort, and it was a tough situation with fouls, we're going to have to learn from a loss. And that does hurt more. So if they take it to heart, like I know my team will, I think we can learn from it.

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