The Press: Chantelle, after the last game you were talking about being mad and frustrated. How are you feeling tonight?
Chantelle Anderson:: I'm good. I don't know. Any time things aren't going exactly how you want, there's a possibility you get frustrated. I think I worked through it well tonight. I didn't do any stupid things.
Zuzi Klimesova: She hit me instead of the opponents. (laughter)
The Press: You gave up 38 points and 35 points. Are you impressed with your defensive performance?
Ashley McElhiney: I think at this point in the season, defense is going to carry you. You're going to have off nights offensively, but there's not a reason to have an off-night defensively. If you come to play defense every night, like I said, it's going to carry you. I think we've done that the past two nights, and hopefully we plan to do it the rest of the tournament.
The Press: You were quite offensive though in the first half. Were you trying to make it a point to score?
Ashley Mac: Yeah, it was there. I was looking for it, and the shots were falling. When they're playing that hard on the inside, it kind of opens it up on the outside, and I think that's what helped me knocking down the shots tonight.
The Press:Ashley, this team's got a history of coming back. Once you got up, were you cognizant of that?
Ashley Mac:: Yes, that was one of the main points we talked about at halftime. No lead is big enough at this point in the season. We've gotta remember that every game. At this point at the end of the year in the tournament, I think any team is capable of coming back from any deficit, and I think we did a great job of playing, for the most part, a 40-minute game.
The Press: Zuzi, what are you guys doing defensively to shut down these teams?
Zuzi: We concentrate on the main 3-point shooters, and Jill and Ashley and whoever gets on them do an excellent job of limiting them. When somebody is used to scoring 17 points and all of a sudden they score in single digits, it makes a lot of difference because the team has been relying on them to score much more. The rest of us are just trying to help out wherever we can, hedge on the screens and do the rest of the work.
The Press:Jillian, earlier in the year, you guys were running up 80, 90 or a hundred points. Now are you taking more pride in holding teams down than in scoring a lot of points?
Jillian Danker: I think so, because at the beginning of the years, we'd have great wins, but we were letting teams -- Western Kentucky is one that comes to mind -- we'd let them way score more than we should have allowed them. We won, but it didn't feel like much of a victory because we know at this point in the year, you need defense. And we knew that. We knew that down the road we had to be ready to play. We need our office to be strong, but we're proud of our defense. We're proud of the way it's working right now.
The Press: Chantelle, as you guys leave Memorial and you go to the next round, do you feel like you're playing at the level you need to?
Chantelle: I think we're playing very well right now. I think that our defense is great. We just need to keep up the intensity. I remember there were three or four plays at the end of the first half when there were at least two people on the floor after the ball. Every single play we got . . . Our halfcourt intensity is great on defense. I think our offense can continue to get better, our offensive execution. But I think we're doing pretty well. We just need to focus on getting better.
The Press: Zuzi and Jillian, it's your last game in Memorial Gym. Can you each talk about that a little?
Zuzi: I would just like to thank everybody out there who has been supporting us for four years. It seems that there are so many more fans, and especially these last two games, people came and they were loud and very very supportive. It is almost sad leaving here, it would be nice if we could just play a few more games because the people are just so great. We'll always be coming back here, and we'll have great memories. Finishing up our play here with a win, what more could you wish for? (pause) I guess a Final Four would be great. (laughter)
Jillian:: Zuzi pretty much said it all. Everyone here has been great. The fans, everyone who has supported from our freshman year when we didn't even make it to the NIT. Those same people are still coming back. They're here now, and we're going to the Sweet 16. We really appreciate that. We really hope that they know that, because there's a lot that's here besides for just basketball. It's great -- all the wins and the success on the court, it's wonderful -- but there's a lot more that goes into it, the atmosphere, the people you meet, and it's great. And I'm happy we went out with a win.
The Press: Ashley, can you talk about your defense on Levens and how that helped in the first half?
I don't think it was just me guarding her. I think 5 people contributed to that. But we came into this game knowing that she can score, and I think she is one of the people they rely on the most. We knew we had to shut her down. And I think, like only me, all 5 of us did a great job of doing that.
The Press:You shot only four 3-pointers tonight as a team. Did you expect that?
Ashley Mac: I don't think we ever actually know how many we're going to get. They weren't giving them to us, I guess..We were getting other shots, from other spots on the floor, and we won.
The Press:Chantelle, can you talk about your offensive balance tonight?
Chantelle: Well, I think we just have a great all-around team, and as people prepare for me, they might overlook Zuzi. I don't know how they do that, but if they try to stop our inside combo, myself and Zuzi, then Jill takes off and gets threes and drives and then you have to look out for Ashley. When they're giving her the shots and she decides to take them, she's going to be deadly as well. You have to prepare for everyone. The totally balanced scoring tonight just shows our versatility.
The Press:Yesterday they were talking about how well they defend the high-low. Did you see that tonight?
Chantelle: Yeah, I think for the most part they defended it pretty well in comparison with other people we've played. Johnson is a hard person to play against. She moves her feet well. I think that relatively they did a good job of that.
The Press: Has there been a relentlessness since the Arkansas game? Is there a feeling that you guys aren't going to look back?
Zuzi: I definitely think that as a team we have really grown over the year. We have learned from every loss that we've had. I think that the next main step, after we stopped losing and we went all the way in the SEC championship, was to really come out and keep our lead for 40 minutes. And as Ashley already mentioned, that was the main point of our halftime talk today. It just shows that we really continue to grow. And I really hope that we can keep it up, because that's the only way for us to succeed in the next game.
The Press: Talk about the next game. What do you know about North Carolina?
Zuzi: They beat Minnesota. (laughter)
The Press: Anybody else want to take a shot at that?
Jillian: Obviously they're a good team. They in the NCAA tournament, and they're heading to the Sweet 16. Nikki Teasley is probably the first thing that comes to mind. They're a great squad. I'm sure the coaching staff will be all over that soon, and they'll let us know what we need to look out for, and the strategy and what not. But, they're a solid, good team.
The Press:Chantelle, you said that it was tough. Can you talk about that?
I just think there are some games when we just played, we had the lead, but we knew we were going to win the whole game. And I thing the entire game they kept the pressure on us, and we felt we had to play, even though we had a big lead. I think they made us work really hard for the things that we got. They were a tough team, and I think that this win tonight was gutsy and showed that we have grown up a little bit. They were very tough.
The Press: Chantelle, it's the 500th win in the history of the program. Is that a nice number and a nice accomplishment?
Chantelle: Any time you're talking about wins, it's a nice number.
The Press: Coach, did you feel like you came out with intensity?
Coach Foster: I think we played with intensity against Oakland. It was an interesting draw for us because we got two methodical halfcourt basketball teams in our draw. We didn't get a team that likes to run up and down and score 80 points a game. So we're capable of playing in a variety of ways. And as we say, it's a "Pull up your shorts and let's get after it" sub-regional, and that's what we did.
The Press: So is that taking something away from the defense?
Coach Foster: No, probably even giving it more credit because Arizona State's played a certain way all year, and they're very very good at playing that way. You look at their scores, and there's a real consistency to them. And you're going to decide that you're going to bump and grind with them, then you're bumping and grinding with a team that's really good at it. And you've gotta step up -- and we stepped up.
The Press: Can you talk about the influence that Ashley has at both ends?
Coach Foster: She's a consummate point guard. She's a point guard. And there are very few of them around any more. The three-point field goal has destroyed the concept of point guards. When you see one, you salivate. And if you get them to play for you, you're even happier yet because that's the kind of basketball I grew up with. You need a strong leader. You need someone who takes care of the ball. You need someone who has pride in direction of your offense and your defense. You need someone who's mentally tough, and she has all those attributes.
The Press: Have you ever been so excited about going to Iowa?
Coach Foster: No, I've been around a long time. My grandfather was born in Iowa. I've never been there. So, yeah, you're excited to go places you've never been.
The Press:Jim, did you guys try defensively to set a tone. They scored 2 points in the first 6 minutes?
Coach Foster: Well, we're doing what we do at a high level, and we did it every time. One of our freshman broke down on a screen, didn't hedge, wasn't aggressive. That's the only time I can remember. Every time they set a screen we came out, and we were there. It was like a drill. It was like practice. In practice you get there all the time. In games sometimes people make excuses for not getting there. There were no excuses. We got there every time. It was a youthful indiscretion one time.
The Press: You mentioned you've played two halfcourt teams. What kind of team is North Carolina?
Coach Foster: The antithesis of halfcourt.
The Press:Is that good or bad?
Coach Foster: I really haven't looked at them. We really are focused on the next thing in front of us. We've done a very good job of that, and I don't think the coaching staff is any different than the players. We will be up late tonight, and we'll be looking at them. Nikki Teasley came to my camp as a high schooler. She played AAU basketball with Chavonne Hammond, so I'm familiar wtih Nikki.
The Press: 500 victories for the program and just under half under you.l What does this say about the program and where it's going?
Coach Foster: It just says it has a history of success. Hopefully the better successes are still ahead.
The Press: Coach, do the 16 turnovers worry you at all?
Coach Foster: No.
The Press: Do you want to talk about your fan support?
Coach Foster: There were a lot of people here. I guess there were a lot. I'm probably the worst person to ask. I don't see. I don't hear. Somebody told me there were a lot of people here. And I guess they were loud.
The Press: Can you comment on the rebounding effort your team has given in the past two games?
Coach Foster: Well, we've been a pretty good rebounding team all year. We've gotten better at it since we adjusted what we're doing defensively. We have a mentality about it. That's what make you a terrific defensive team. To be an excellent defensive team, you must make the first shot difficult and not give them a second, because no matter how difficult the first shot is, if they get a second, that's fifty percent. So you've got to grind. And for the most part tonight, they didn't get the second. Even if they got an offensive rebound, it wasn't a putback kind of situation.
Coach Turner Thorne: I'd just to start by thanking the NCAA and all the wonderfully hospitable people here in Nashville and all the people here at Vanderbilt.. . Every thing was run tremendously well. We really enjoyed our time here up until this evening. Not even our defense is good enough to beaet Vanderbilt on their home floor when we shoot 29%. That's the story of the game. I would say even if we shot 39%, it probably would have been down to the last possession, in my opinion. And we got beat on the boards. We usually don't get beat on the boards. That was a huge concern of mine. They're a tremendous rebounding team. And that as a coach is the thing that scares me the most. . . .We're a team that needs that second shot. We just had an off-night offensively, and we had it pretty much on the same night, all of our players, which is a tough situation to be in in a big game like this. Obviously, Vanderbilt is a great team and did a great job. Give credit where credit is due. I'm proud of my team. I still think we're one of he best defensive teams in the country. We didn't finish it with rebounding today. When we haven't been good, it looks a little like this. We've had some really cold nights from the floor and definitely credit Vanderbilt's defense. It was different look for us. We talked about making the extra pass, but we didn't really do it much when we needed to. We did a better job in the second half. We shot 32% instead of 29%.
The Press: Amanda, can you talk about McElhiney?
Amanda Levens:: I definitely think she's what makes them go. She's hard-nosed. I think to be a championship caliber team you need somebody like that on the floor, that's going to dive for balls, that's going to lead the team, to be fiery. I think she might have games where she doesn't score a lot of points, so her stats may not show it, but I think her presence on the floor is really what makes them go. It seems like when things got a little sloppy, she'd pull people aside. She commanded their attention, and I think every good team needs somebody like that.
The Press: Coach, take the clock back 24 hours. It probably wasn't what you expected. There was probably an element of surprise. What did surprise you?
Coach Thorne: Nothing did surprise me. My two biggest concerns were realized in the sense that I knew it was very difficult to out-rebound this team. If we had had maybe a week of practice to tell people they really need to box out better . . .
The Press: Was that size advantage?
Coach Thorne: They box out. Most of the time when you play big teams, they don't box out. They just rely on their size, even Stanford, I think. They're not really boxer outers. . . This team is big, athletic, and they box out. That's pretty potent. We control the game when we control the boards, and we couldn't control the boards today . . . Obviously the other one was if you go cold. I think our defense could have been better, but it was probably good enough if we could have knocked down some of the good looks we had.
The Press: On Sunday you talked about the similarity between Vanderbilt and Stanford. Now that you've played, how would you compare them?
Coach Thorne: One way that they're similar, both their four players to me that's the biggest key on their team. That is so tough to match up with those guys. Their front players are running the wing, driving, hitting the three-pointers . . . .And the passing ability inside and out. And then just great floor leaders in Powell and McElhiney. They both play great defense, but it's very different style than us, but it basically accomplishes the same thing. Vanderbilt boxes out better, and Stanford probably has better transition offense and shoots the three. There are a lot of similarities between them. It would be fun to see them play in the tournament. And they both have the ingredients to win it all.
The Press: Can you talk about McElhiney?
Coach Thorne: Great point guard. What else do you want in a point guard:? Smart, works hard. Plays good defense. Hits every open shot. . . . I don't know how many times I've seen her miss. It's not that many. She doesn't miss, she makes 'em all, and there will be one or two seconds on the shot clock when she does. What she did to us today, we've seen her do it in every game on tape. That's a great player. Okay, let's work the clock all the way down, no one's open, I'll take the shot. Five turnovers is probably a lot for her, so we probably did a decent enough job on her. Really I thought Klimesova was the other biggest player, we needed to a better job on her. We did a good enough job on Anderson.. . . And Benningfield hurt us on the boards, too.
Vanderbilt- Arizona State post game comments
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