Coach Balcomb: Honestly, I'm proud of the heart my team showed coming back down 16 on the road at a tough place, and we just didn't finish well. We did a great job coming back. I thought we did a really good job defensively, made some good stops, but we couldn't keep them off the boards, and they got a lot of second chance points, loose balls points when we needed stops, then down the stretch, we didn't execute and hit the shots we needed to. But I thought we showed a lot more poise and a lot more heart for 40 minutes this time.
The Press: Coach, when you're doing your scouting
report and walkthrough for Tennessee, how much do you emphasize getting to
Coach Balcomb: I emphasize it every minute I can.
Every SEC game is like that. Every night in this conference, it's very
important. But we're playing one player over 5'10 so sometimes it makes it
tough. At times we had our 5'10 and below lineup in, so that makes it
The Press: In your recruiting class that you signed
early, are you bringing in more height?
Coach Balcomb: Yes, we have a redshirt player, a
transfer from Connecticut, who's 6'5. We've got a freshman that's 6'3, and
another one that's 6'1. So yeah, we have three big players coming in
The Press: Coach, can you talk about the foul
situation ya'll had both in the first half and in the second half, where you
weren't in the bonus late. . .
Coach Balcomb: It kind of worked-- we got all the
foul calls in the first half; we were all fouling out, and it really hurt
us. We were winning the game with a minute to go at 27-28, and we
didn't have Carla in there, we didn't have Abi in there, or Dee in there. So
we didn't have three of our starters on the floor and they went on a
10-2 run in the last minute of the half, and that was very important, and
that was because we were in foul trouble.
Then, down the stretch, when we needed to be in foul trouble, it worked
the opposite. We hadn't had enough fouls, so it worked to our
disadvantage in both halves.
The Press: Speaking of that, what does it feel like
when you're over there, and it looked like you were having some
Coach Balcomb: You can't ask me that. (Laughs.)
The last question was good. (General laughter.) I can't say
anything about the officiating. All I can do is look at the difference of
free throws and how many they made and took and how many we made and
took, and there's a big difference, and we have to change that. We can't
be in a situation where they score so many more points from the line
than we do. Obviously, that's a big difference on the stat sheet.
The Press: Ashley, you were scoring against a lot of
taller frontline players for Tennessee. What were you doing against them
to get into position?
Ashley Earley: It's just all about footwork. Every
night out I'm playing against someone that's bigger than I am, so I really
didn't do anything differently than I've done for the rest of the
season. I was just aggressive this time around. The difference between this
game and the last game when we played them, I was more aggressive.
The Press: Coach, can you talk about the improvement
you see in your team from the last game against Tennessee to this one?
Coach Balcomb: I think we're a much better team,
obviously, from what I said at the beginning. I think that we played more
for 40 minutes. We had a bad end of the first half due to our foul
trouble, and then we had a bad start at the second half. But I think we
played with more heart for 40 minutes, and I think we need to get some more
confidence, but I think winning four in a row coming in, we were more
confident obviously than we were the first time we played them. We
hesitated much more the first time. People like Ashley and Abi were a lot
more aggressive and confident this game, and that's good to see in
The Press: Abi, in the second half on your 3's, were
you not getting quite as much time as you wanted, or did the ball just
didn't drop for you?
Abi Ramsey: It was a thing about footwork. I think my
feet were really close, and I was pretty much rushing it. Maybe a
little bit tired also . . .
The Press: Coach, can you talk about the last sequence
of the game, where they fouled with 8 second on the shot clock and
eventually sent Zolman to the line?
Coach Balcomb: We wanted obviously to foul earlier
than that, and the problem was we didn't want to foul Zolman, so she
passed the ball back and forth quickly and the players we wanted to foul got
rid of it quick and we didn't foul those players as quick as we wanted.
So then you send Zolman to the line and that's not who we wanted.
The Press: Melanie, is it hard to prepare for
Tenneseee because they're playing so many people from one game to the next?
Coach Balcomb: No, I don't think that's anything that
we were focused on. At this time of the year, you have to do what you
do, and do it to the best of your ability. You have to play your game
and play it well, and you have to take away their strengths. You have to
know their personnel, and I've been in the league two and a half years,
and we know there personnel even with the younger players and I think
my players know you just have to take their individual strengths and
weaknesses away and decide what you want to give you and what. It is
different every night, they have different people step up, but I think we
did a good job with the personnel and what we were trying to take away on
different people and their individual tendencies.
Women's Hoops: Tennessee postgame comments
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