Women's hoops: N.C. State postgame comments

After Vanderbilt's surprising 65-64 loss to North Carolina State, head coach Melanie Balcomb along with seniors Abi Ramsey and Ashley Earley, talked to the press.

The Press: What happened on the possession where you had a chance to go ahead with about 9 seconds left?

Coach Balcomb: All we wanted to do was see if we could get a quick look for Abi, and they defended it well, and then we were going right into one of our zone offenses - they'd been in zone all that time -- and we just over-penetrated into the zone. We just rushed things instead of being patient.

The Press: At that point didn't you just need somebody to get a shot up to get a stick back or something?

Coach Balcomb: Yeah. I'd love for somebody to have gotten a shot up. Abi just over-penetrated and threw a pass that Carla didn't catch. Yeah, you want to get a shot up. It's disappointing that we didn't.

The Press: Coach, is it kind of disappointing how sloppy the game was, being the last non-conference game coming into the SEC season?

Coach Balcomb: They're very very athletic, and I knew that they would trap us a lot. I think that made it tough, handling the pressure, and we hadn't seen that pressure since Western Kentucky, and I thought they did a great job pressuring us, and yeah, they forced us into more turnovers than we've probably had all year, and that's something we've been working on and gotta continue to work on.

The Press: You said this was kind of a test game for the SEC. You wanted to be challenged. Can that be a positive out of this one?

Coach Balcomb: I hope so. A lot of good things came out of our loss against Western, and our kids I know will want to come back strong after this game, and we'll learn from it, and I'll have their attention. You can count on that tomorrow.

The Press: Was that a little bit of a factor tonight with Katie sitting on the bench?

Coach Balcomb: Yeah. I'm certainly not going to make an excuse, but Katie Antony plays 40 minutes a game, and she plays five positions. I call her "the glue." She plays every spot on the floor. She starts at the 3 and backs us up at the point and backs us up at the post and backs us up at the shooting guard. You name it, we've had her learning every position. To be honest with you, it really was tough because you had Caroline and Cherish playing a lot more minutes than they normally play. .And Katie had been the fourth post player, and Carla got very tired and had to play more minutes. So she's been filling every gap and every hole, but I certainly don't want to use that as an excuse. But depth was-we definitely lacked the minutes that we needed in a game like this.

The Press: Without having looked at the film, what positives can you take away from this game?

Coach Balcomb: I think we played in spurts. We had a 10 or 12 point lead in the second half. I think the positive that we can take from it is that we did get some big shots in certain situations. Not at the end of the game obviously, but there were times where they went ahead, and we came back strong, which we didn't do at Western. And then they went ahead, the see-saw back and forth. I thought we carried ourselves much better in the second half. Our body language and our confidence and came out stronger in the second half than we did in the first. And a lot of it's maturity. We're a young team and have the ball in young people's hands. And like I said tonight, Cherish and Caroline, guards going against this kind of competition that haven't played that much is different. And Abi and Dee had to play every minute, and they knew it, so that's difficult.

The Press: NC State obviously got back in the game shooting 3's. What was going on there?

Coach Balcomb: What was going on there? [#2] hit four 3's in a row, and we never made an adjustment and never made her put it on the floor. Those are again learning situations. They have to make those adjustments on the floor during close games, and they know that. They were told what to do, but didn't go out there and do it, so those are adjustments they're going to have to make in game situations, and those are the things we already have started talking about with them.

The Press: Coach, I know it gets lot in the grand scheme of things, but can you talk about Abi breaking the 3-point record?

Coach Balcomb: She's been the best 3-point shooter that I've had since I've been here, and I know today her percentage probably wasn't real good - 4 for 13-but she's one of the best 3-point shooters in the country. It's such a huge asset to have a player like that because -- I know we were talking about this the other day -- even if she's not hitting, somebody has to guard her all the time, and it opens up other people, especially our post players, and it's just nice to have that shooter you can count on, night in and night out.

The Press: Coach, Ashley didn't score in the last 6:30. Were they doing something to take it away or were you all just not finding her?

Coach Balcomb: They went zone and packed it in. Absolutely. They went to their zone and just packed it inside, and our guards had to make plays and take shots and didn't make those plays and didn't take those shots or make those shots. But year, they really packed it in on us and we didn't hit from the outside.

Coach Balcomb left, then senior guard Abi Ramsey and senior forward Ashley Earley came to the table for questions.

The Press: Abi, what was happening for you defensively with Stockdale, #2 for them?

Abi: Well, we just didn't make an adjustment. She hit a three, I think she might have hit two in a row, and still we gave her two wide open looks, and luckily she missed those. I mean, we went into our full court press and just didn't make the adjustment once we got back down the court. That's something that's shown while we play these more athletic, more competitive teams. You can't lose a scorer.

The Press: Does playing forty minutes and having to D-up on Stockdale, does that take your legs out from under you when you're trying to shoot?

Abi: Well, this probably is my first forty minute game, but I don't think I blame it on just that. I was rushing shots. They did a good job of pressuring me on the guard playing with me. I don't think it was so much my legs. I felt like I didn't have a good hand on the ball all night.

The Press: Can you talk about the play where there was 10 seconds left and you didn't get the shot up? There was a turnover there. Coach said it was saying it was over-penetrating and having nowhere to go with the ball. Describe what happened.

Abi: Yeah, well, we ran a special offense, and they took away our first option, and instead of keep on running the offense, we kind of all froze, picked up our dribble. We didn't have anyone - we could have drawn, dished, done something. We just-I think just kind of freaked out. That was the first time we've been in a situation like that this season, and it's just something we're going to have to learn from.

The Press: Is there a sense of relief knowing that the record's behind and not having to have questions about it?

Abi: I don't think I knew until just a few days ago that I was that close to beating it. That doesn't-It's a bittersweet feeling right now. Like, I mean, it's nice to have a legacy here, but at the same time I would rather not have gotten that tonight and gotten a W.

The Press: Ashley, what kind of adjustments did you try to make at halftime?

Ashley: Coach said we were winning the game, but we were losing in every category. Rebounding was a big thing. They were getting a lot of offensive boards, a lot of put backs. That was one adjustment we had to make. What was another one?

Abi: One thing also she said before the game was we needed to be low and slow. And we definitely didn't do that. We were just like run and gun the whole first half. It just kind of progressed into the second half. If we could have been patient and just run our offenses through and through to the second, third and fourth options, it would have been a lot different ball games.

The Press: Ashley, what do you feel like the team can learn from losing a game like this at home?

Ashley: Take every possession like it's the last, I think. There are a lot of little things we've been doing and been getting away with. We've been beating people by, what, 40 points a game? But this was an every possession game, and we learned that the hard way tonight. We lost by, what, one point? I mean, there are lots of little things you can go back and look at - free throw checkout. I let a girl get a board on a free throw checkout and we lost by one point. It was a two-point bucket. We just have to take better care of the ball and understand that basketball - the kind of basketball we're about to play - is an every possession basketball game.

The Press: Is it kind of frustrating for you personally to go the last 6 and a half minutes - I'm not even sure you touched the ball, I know you didn't score -- to not be able to do anything more for your team offensively?

Ashley: It's just - I have to communicate, and I have to be more aggressive. You know what I mean? I think that if I would have demanded for the ball, they would not have looked the other way. I have to want the ball at the end of the game, and I have to be more talkative. I think that's what it is.


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