Post Game Interview: Melanie Balcomb

After Vanderbilt's 86-47 win over Brigham Young, VandyMania's Whitney D. spoke with Commodore head coach Melanie Balcomb.

VandyMania: Coming in, what were the keys to the game?

Coach Balcomb: Ball pressure. This is a team we wanted to run on and make go fast. Traps. We worked on trapping and working on our presses a lot more, forcing them to go fast. We thought this was a team we could get about thirty turnovers on, and as you see, the game plan was executed as good as I've seen it. I mean, we took them out of everything that we wanted to take them out of. They're a very good team if you let them run their stuff, and they're very patterned, and we tried to take them out of that pattern and get them in our tempo and force them to run because they're not a running team.

VandyMania: Did you think as the game went on they started to get a little frustrated?

Coach Balcomb: I thought they got very frustrated on offense and got emotional, and it made it easier for us because we kept our cool. And I thought mental toughness was important - they were tired, and we were tired, and that's when we need to know inside that we're tougher and that we do this every game and that we should be able to make a run on them when they're tired. And that's when you separate yourselves, and we were able to do that in the second half, better than we did in the first half.

VandyMania: The team came out ready to play?

Coach Balcomb: Absolutely. We've been very focused. Our shoot-around today was excellent. They went hard. And yesterday, I thought our practice was very focused, so I'm just really proud of how well they've been at practice. They've led each other the last couple of days, and that's hard when you're in exams at Vanderbilt. They've been studying. They've lacked sleep. But when we practice, they have come all business, practiced hard and then went back to studying.

VandyMania: When you're at a tournament like this - beautiful location, exams over, holiday break - is that kind of a treat for them in addition to being a couple of tough games?

Coach Balcomb: Yeah, but I think that it's really important that you have leadership and you have kids that their #1 goal is to win games. And I think we have a very unselfish team, and they want to win games. They treat this as a business trip until we're done. Yes, we have a nice time off the court, but they really have been able to maintain their focus, and I think that shows a lot of maturity for a young team.

VandyMania: Have you gotten a chance to do anything outside of basketball?

Coach Balcomb: We went to Santa Barbara [Sunday] and went to Hadley our manager's house because her dad wanted to have us over for dinner, and that was really nice. The kids wanted to go there, and we did a little Christmas shopping. The weather can't be any better, so I think it was nice that we got the best practice time. We practiced in the morning and had all day to relax and have a good time together.

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