Troy postgame quotes by coaches and players

Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb and seniors Ashley Earley and Abi Ramsey met with the media after their 78-50 win over Troy on Sunday.

The Press: What did you think of your offensive play in the first 6-8 minutes?

Coach Balcomb: To be honest with you, it's the first time a team started in a zone and really packed it in on us, which surprises me. We worked a lot against their 3-2 yesterday and just didn't do a good job in our offense. One of our goals was to go inside-out, and we didn't get it inside, so we were taking quick shots from the outside and weren't hitting.

So one of the things we talked about at halftime was getting the ball in transition inside and not relying on all these 3's that we were just chucking up there.

The Press: It kind of looked like maybe you guys were standing around, was that because . . .

Coach Balcomb: It was the first time anybody had played us a 3-2, so we didn't do a good job also of running our transition right into our offense. We've seen a lot of 2-3 at times, but not that defense, and we didn't do a good job of going from our break right into our offenses and you're right, we were standing around.

The Press: And so in the second half there was a conscious decision to go inside?

Coach Balcomb: Yeah, we wanted to go inside more because-- we always get to in the second half because we've worn people down, and they can't double as quickly because their defense isn't set. So we wanted to take advantage of getting them when they weren't set and we could get the ball inside without that quick double.

The Press: Seemed like you had a lot of success with high-low?

Coach Balcomb: Yeah, we tried to with not as much as success as I would have liked. I think we could have done a better job high-low. That's what we were trying to do, but didn't think we did a lot of. We needed more assists from our posts to our other post. I think our guards did a better job of getting the ball in, but I think we still need to work on our high-low and our posts making that pass.

The Press: What's been happening the last couple of games, with Ashley getting those points in bunches, like she had 14 straight down there and 12 straight today in the second half?

Coach Balcomb: Yeah, she's been going off in the second half because I think people are wearing down, and Ashley's taking advantage of that. She's in tremendous shape, as you can see. She's very strong, and she's been playing a lot of minutes, and in the second half, she's worn people down and really has stepped up. And I think we're doing a better job of getting her the ball when other teams are tired and can't just sit on her and double team her right away.

.The Press: Coach, there have been some times in the last several games when you look at the personnel on the floor, you'd think it's a 4-guard lineup. Is that a variation or an adjustment of your offense, or is it just that Katie Antony is learning to play the post position?

Coach Balcomb: Katie's learning, because of our lack of depth in the post, she's been learning to play the 4, so yeah, we've been running her at that spot. That's why you see her finishing these games at that position. We're just trying to get her experience in game time at the 4.

The Press: This was a game where there were very few fouls, where neither team ever got to the bonus. . .

Coach Balcomb: That's the first thing I noticed. I look at us first obviously and I was like, "We need to get to the free throw line more, we're only 6 for 7. We need to attack the basket and get to the free throw line more. I know they packed it in, they played sagging man and zone."

But then I looked at theirs, and they were 1 for 2. So then it was matter that there just weren't many fouls in the game. We played more aggressive than they played. They sagged, and we tried to pressure the ball more, so we did foul, had some touch fouls and things, but you're right, it was pretty much a foul-free game.

The Press: Do you think it had more to do with the style of play or the way the game was officiated?

Coach Balcomb: I think it was them playing so much zone, because on film they were a very very physical team, and we expected a lot more physical play. But for us, they really played a higher percentage of zone than they had been playing on film against other people. And, see, they have four small players. They really have four guards, and that doesn't match up with our lineup, so to compensate defensively they had to play a lot of zone.

The Press: Coming into this game you said that you expected them to penetrate a little bit more. Were you surprised that they took so many 3's and were you pleased with that?

Coach Balcomb: That was one of the other things we weren't pleased about at halftime was they were shooting 50% from 3 at half, and they hadn't penetrated. Where they had penetrated was that 4-player, #15 and #44, they had driven on us in the post at the high post and the short corner and the wing, but they had not driven on our guards. So the second half, we decided to get out and play their guards and not give them a gap, so we tried to pressure more on their guards and sag more when their posts faced up because their posts were driving by our posts. So those were the adjustments that we made defensively, was to try to pressure more in our man than a sagging man.

The Press: So by doing that, you're going to give up more 3's?

Coach Balcomb: We wanted to pressure more and not give up the 3's, but, yeah, going into the game, they hadn't had a real high percentage from 3, so at half when they were shooting 50%, we had to pick up the pressure and make them dribble the basketball.

The other thing was #14 got off early so once she started hitting, we tried to adjust with her and not double off her and not choke off her and not jab off her and what ended up happening was we got beat on drives, mostly from the post, and then we had to rotate. And that's when we didn't do a good job of what we called "helping the helper" and that's what happened several times. That was our discussion after the game. We helped and had to rotate because we got beat, but then the next person did not help the helper. That's the basketball term for that. We just waited . . . . That hasn't happened to us a lot this year, so it's something we definitely will be working on tomorrow in practice, because NC State's gonna drive, and we're gonna to have to rotate and help the helper.

The Press: You were 32 of 55 from the floor. Considering the thing they did defensively, do you feel like you shot it pretty well?

Coach Balcomb: I think the second half, I felt like we shot it really well and better from 3. I wasn't pleased with-- we were just standing up, we weren't low and ready to shoot the ball. Sometimes I think when teams-- they were just standing up on defense playing a zone and that makes the offense stand up.

Coach Balcomb left the room, then senior forward Ashley Earley and senior guard Abi Ramsey entered the room for questions.

The Press: Ashley, when you go on a run like you have in these last two games, do you realize it?

Ashley: No. Every time I shoot the ball, I try to make it. I don't really realize it. I realize that the ball's going in and that my teammates are finding me in the right position, but . . .

The Press: Is there anything in particular that's going on offensively or defensively for you to get them in bunches like that?

Ashley: I think after I score a couple of times, I think my teammates look at me more. I think they try to get me the ball because they see that I'm scoring.

Abi: I think Ashley also does a good job when she gets in a rhythm of just reading the defense. They take something away, and she sees the next option really well. She's patient.

Ashley: And I think the guards are doing a good job of reading that and knowing where we're supposed to be and having the pass there for us when we get there.

The Press: Coach said you made kind of conscious effort to go inside today. Can you comment on that?

Abi: Well, the first half, I think we weren't shooting that great from the 3 and it almost looked like we were throwing stuff up there and that was ugly. We were getting offensive rebounds, and we know, and everybody knows our inside game is our game right now, so --

Ashley: Before the game, inside out was one of our keys to begin with. We knew that they would probably try to double in the post and the guards would be open. We tried to go back to that in the second half.

Abi: They were coming out on us a lot once we did do the inside out and we could . . . go back inside.

The Press: Abi, for as badly as you feel like you played on offense in the first half, you wound up shooting 60% from the floor. What turned around in the second half?

Abi: Well, actually one thing was our people coming off the bench. They've done a great job of coming in and contributing fast. There's no drop off, and I think that's factor, and also the fact that we did go back to the easy shots. I mean, I'd rather have a two-footer any day than a 15-footer, and I think just making a conscious effort to get those shots. That's probably the biggest difference.

The Press: As team captains, as the team's about to head into the SEC season next week with a big game in between, could you give kind of a report card on the team, what you think the strengths of the team are and what you need to be working on?

Abi: One thing I just mentioned is that we're getting help from everyone on the team right now. Everyone is being a player, like we're peaking at the right time.

Ashley: We're forcing a lot of turnovers. I think that's another one of our strengths and getting a lot of points in transition. I think that our defense is creating a lot of opportunities for our offense. I think that's going to help us in the SEC if we can maintain that.

Abi: Something Coach said after the game today, little habits that we have, like guards not staying low, little things that are going to be a lot difference once we get into SEC play. Defense, these teams are going to guard us . . . so we have to get ready for the pressure which we haven't faced yet, and that's going to be something that we might struggle with getting into the SEC.

Ashley: In the post, a lot of times we're stronger than a lot of these girls that we've been playing. We just have to continue to play strong when we're matched up with people who might be as strong or stronger and play smarter and keep playing harder. Top Stories