Women's Hoops: Ole Miss postgame comments

After Vanderbilt's disapointing 66-60 loss at Ole Miss, Vanderbilt's Melanie Balcomb spoke with the media.

The Press: Obviously that stretch from like the 10:20 in the first half until the end, you . . . missed your last ten shots. What was - was it Ole Miss defense or just your guys- your girls -- not executing as well as you wanted them to?

Coach Balcomb: First half, we just turned the ball over under the pressure. They did a great job trapping and pressuring and making us go really fast, and we fell right into it. I forget what our turnovers were at halftime, but they were a ton. (Looks at stats.) Fifteen. And we only finished with 21. So a lot of their offense came off our turnovers.

The Press: I'm not sure you've had a chance to look at the stats yet, but you guys won on every single category but lose the game. Is this one of those statistical aberrations?

Coach Balcomb: No. We got killed on free throws. That's the only thing I see. They shot 18 for 26, and we shot 9 for 11. They were the more aggressor. But we have to take advantage. We weren't ready when people trapped us, and people stepped up. We weren't ready on the next pass even when we didn't turn it over to shoot or drive and were not aggressive enough going to the basket. And that's one of the adjustments that we made. As you saw, our posts driving from the high posts, our guards driving from the guard. We had to go to the basket stronger and more aggressive. And we played on our heels.

The Press: Having said that, you guys come back from 19 down. You trailed by 19 on two separate occasions. Is that just a matter of expending a whole lot of energy there and coming up short?

Coach Balcomb: I just think it's really tough on the road. I'm not sure it was the expending so much energy. I think Ole Miss did a job of hitting big buckets when they needed it, Price making that big play. Their big players stepped up and made big plays. And I give them credit for their execution down the stretch because that's a tough situation to be in, when you're down, and people are making a run, and you're trying to hold on to that lead. But I think being at home, having the crowd, having the energy that you guys had here made a big difference. It's comforting, and they made the big plays on the offensive end when they needed to. We continued to score, but we had gotten stop after stop after stop, and then they made some big plays.

The Press: Coach, how did you approach halftime, and as your team was making the run in the second half, what were you talking to them about during timeouts?

Coach Balcomb: I approached halftime as unpleasant as I get. I thought our effort was poor, and it was the first game this year where I felt like we were on heels and standing around and not ready. And it hurt with Abi getting hurt and then we were even stunned more. I know you talked about the end of the first half; when your leading 3-point shooters gets hurt that's a senior, that's one of our leaders, that made it even worse. It was like, "Okay, now Abi goes down." So we had some young guards that had to play and had to step up, and -- I think what was tough was trying to coach effort and really get them to where they weren't playing-- It's like we were playing timid, afraid, and yeah, it probably helped that we were down by 19 because then we finally just went for it and played. Sometimes the easiest way to play is down by 19, because you've got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

The Press: How is Abi?

Coach Balcomb: I don't know I haven't even talked to [the trainer] yet.

The Press: She started the second half?

Coach Balcomb: Yeah, but she was real slow, and this was a fast game, so I had to go with the sophomores.

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