Women's Hoops: Tennessee postgame comments

After Vanderbilt 72-63 loss at Tennessee on Saturday, Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb and seniors Abi Ramsey and Ashley Earley talked to the press.

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 the boards?

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 even harder.

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 next year.

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 reactions.

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 February.

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.

VandyMania.com Top Stories