The Press: It seems like each time you made a run at them, you'd get it down to ten and they kind of answered back. What was the difference in them being able to hold you off each time you charged at them?
Coach Balcomb: They're a very very confident team
right now, and I think that in close games that's really important. When we
did make runs, they came back and they hit big shots. Obviously
defensively we made some mistakes, but we didn't do that bad of a job
defensively, and we gave up 79 points. They're an extremely good team. With the
addition of Fowles now, it's really tough because you could come out
and guard their guards, and now you have to worry about their inside
game, their midrange game, and their outside game. It's like: Which of the
three evils do you give up? They stepped up and hit a big three. In
the second half they just lobbed and used their height with Fowles, and
that really hurt us. So they played very very smart and went at us at
their strength every time, and their players came up big.
The Press: Is this just a case where you kind of tip
your hat and say that we got beat by a better team that executed better
than us today?
Coach Balcomb: This is always a team that we play well
against because we're so different. We're nothing like LSU and LSU is
nothing like us. And I like to be different. The difference is that we
have to execute as a team. We can't just make one pass to Augustus,
who's one of the best players in the country, and she can make a one-on-one
move and score and make big shots and big plays when it's close, or lob
it to a 6'5 kid who's just going to jump over you and score. We have to
do all the little things right. We have to out-hustle people. We have
to make hustle plays, and we have to not make mental mistakes. And I
think on both ends of the floor, we made a lot of mental mistakes,
especially in our offense the whole first half, we did a poor job with our
The Press: Does that play into the fact that today
was your worst shooting percentage performance of the season?
Coach Balcomb: Again, I wasn't aware of that. As a
coach I'm looking at - Are we executing? Are we ready to shoot when we
should be ready to shoot? Are your shooters ready to shoot? Are your post
players posting when they should be? Are they all doing what they need
to do in the offense, so that all five people have to be guarded and
all five people do what they need to do, and if we don't get the first
option, do we look, look, look, and then throw it there instead of just
moving on to the next option?
I think we shot poorly because we were hesitant on offense at a lot of
positions, especially the high post and from 3-point. We were hesitant
and at times looked confused, and that's not a good situation on
offense against a team like LSU, although in the end, we finished scoring 68
points. I think the key is we've got to find a way to be more relaxed
on offense and maintain our defensive intensity for 40 minutes, for a
longer period of time than we have.
The Press: What kind of a challenge is it when you
lose three straight games like this to keep your head up?
Coach Balcomb: Yeah, I think confidence is the first
thing that you worry about. Obviously there's positive in this game. I
don't think this team is used to turning the ball over 17 times. The
fact that we forced 17 turnovers, the fact that we out-rebounded them on
the offensive boards, and, yes, we missed more shots probably so there
were a lot of boards, but for us to get 18 offensive rebounds against a
team like that is good. So there are some positives we can take from
this game as well as things we can learn from. It's a time when you have
to be real positive with your kids because you are playing every night.
You've got to be ready for a great team.
The Press: You came in after the UT game and said you
can learn a lot from a loss. Now you've got three to learn from. What
do you feel like you're taking out of these? Is it different things in
Coach Balcomb: No, I think a lot of the teams in the
SEC are similar, and we have to be different, but we have to be good at
being different. I think we're trying to look to much like the other
teams. We have to be smarter. I think it's more mental than physical
right now. That's why we're able to make runs. The positive is we don't
quit, we keep fighting back, but we've got to be much more relaxed and
ready to play on offense and have enough confidence in the things that we
do as team and the things that we do individually.
The Press: When you say you're not relaxed, is that
where the hesitancy coming in? Are some people thinking too much about
Coach Balcomb: I think they look like they're thinking
a lot because-- You know, we practiced yesterday against our practice
guys and it was the best practice we've had. Our execution was
excellent. It was all five people doing what they needed to do, and we've got
to figure out why we're not translating that into the game, and why
mentally we're not executing and running the things that we know how to run
and positioning ourselves, footwork, and everything that we just did
Next, sophomore point guard Dee Davis and senior forward Ashley Earley answered questions.
The Press: It's the third straight loss for your
team. What are the challenges involved in keeping a positive attitude and
Dee: Well, for one, Ashley Earley and Abi, this is
their senior year and every game is my motivation not to let that season
end on some losses that could have been won. Right now we're just trying
to challenge our teammates to step up with us and try to win these
The Press: Ashley, was today a question of what LSU
did to you defensively or was it just a matter of you all not doing what
needed to be done offensively?
Ashley: I think that we didn't do a good job executing
our offense. That's a change that we're yet to make. We've lost three
games in a row, and we're out there just not running our plays. It's
almost like we're trying to play like the LSU's, trying to play like the
Tennessee's. We're a different team. Vanderbilt's always been a
different team in the SEC, and we have to get back to playing our game and
executing our offense because we've been successful doing it.
The Press: What is that difference between you and LSU
Ashley: It's pretty obvious looking at us. Every night
out, I'm a 5'10 post player. We're going to be shorter, so we're going
to have to out-work teams. They had a Sylvia Fowles. We don't have
that. They're more athletic. We have to run our offenses. We can't just
shoot and go rebound because we're not Sylvia Fowles. We don't have that
presence in the paint. We have to out-work teams to get good shots.
The Press: . . . . do you feel like you were trying
to force it inside too much?
Ashley: I think the hesitancy was from not running our
offense. People were catching the ball on the perimeter and they don't
know what to do because we're not in our offense. I think that's what
The Press: Dee, when you're running the team, how can
you tell when things are out of sync and not running properly?
Dee: Well, . . . when an option is taken away or
something and people freeze up, I have to run back out and run a quick
hitter, and sometimes I try to avoid that and see if we'll work out of it,
but many times you just have to go back and get the ball and see if you
can run something else to get people moving.
The Press: Ashley, I want to be sure I understand what
you just said. Like someone on the perimeter will get the ball and
they're looking and not seeing what they're expecting to see?
Ashley: You're talking about people being hesitant
about shooting? I think a lot of that is a matter of people being "a
player on the catch". That's a term that we use a lot.
Dee: Being ready to shoot or drive, if need be.
Ashley: Right. Because a lot of times, people are
sagging in the post. They're double-teaming, and you have to have somebody
on the perimeter, whoever's sagging off of them, being ready to shoot
on the catch.
The Press: Did you say 'be a player on the catch'?
Ashley and Dee: Be a player on the catch.
Ashley: Like the triple threat position, being ready
to pass, shoot, dribble.
The Press: When you say that people hesitated, do you
mean that people who got open shots are thinking too much about it, or
passing them up?
Ashley: Yeah. Yes. I do. I think we do that a lot. I
think we do a lot, and it especially happens when we get out of our
offense, like at the end of the play or when we don't run the play, I
think it happens..
Dee: Catch the ball and then you realize you're wide
open, and then you're hesitating, second-guessing your shooting.
The Press: How can you try to push through this and
get everyone on the same page?
Ashley: I think it's mental. It's obviously mental.
Dee: It's a gut-check.
Ashley: It's a gut-check, yeah, exactly as Dee said.
You just have to-- We have to determine individually that we want to
make a change, that we want to turn this around. We've lost three in a
row. It's gut-check time. We just have to play harder. We have all the
elements. We can win. We can win our next game. I don't know who we
play, but we've been in all these games. We lost by 11 to LSU - what are
they ranked? 3rd? 2nd? We lost by 11, and we played horrible. It was
awful, and we lost by 11. So we're a good team. We just have to play
smarter and stop making mistakes. We could say "LSU's defense". They do
have defense. Sylvia Fowles in the middle, that low post presence, but we
play against guys every day. We just have to carry that over.
Women's Hoops: LSU postgame comments
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