Women's Hoops: UNA postgame comments

Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb talked to the press after Vandy 57-41 win over Northern Arizona on Thursday. VandyMania's Whitney D. was there and filed this report.

The Press: Is it fair to ask the subject of the [post-game locker room] sermon?

Coach Balcomb: I think Northern Arizona did a great job scouting us and exposed a lot of our weaknesses, and people are not confident enough to do things that they gave us. We have to do a better job of working harder in practice to get better at our weaknesses. She did a really good job. I was really impressed with them on film, how well they execute, what plays they run. I thought they were extremely well coached and I knew that they would give us some problems because of that. They were very prepared.

The Press: Is that about as bad as it gets - the first half?

Coach Balcomb: Well, when you shoot 33%, it looks really ugly. I think one of the things is, we preach "team" and unselfish play and balanced scoring, and I think we rely so much on Caroline Williams to hit six 3s a game, that when she started missing, I think other people got tight. They were there, never left her, they were there on the catch every time. She did a nice job of putting the ball on the floor one time and drove and got an easy layup, but has to do that more. She can do it. But I think everybody just got really tight once they saw that. She's really been our most consistent player every game, playing the most minutes and very consistent on both ends of the floor, and I think when somebody like that is leading you and you're counting on them, and then when they get tight, you all start to get tight.

The Press: Do you have a strategy to address Carla's early foul trouble?

Coach Balcomb: No, I think it's happened a lot. It's happened just as often with Liz, so I didn't start them in the second half, so that was my strategy. If they're not out there, they can't foul, right? (Chuckles ruefully.) It gives us a few more minutes with them only with two.

The Press: Seriously, is that why you had a different lineup to begin the second half?

Coach Balcomb: One of the reasons, yes. The second reason is I just wanted to shake things up when it was one of the worst halves we've had effort-wise. The five people that were out there I thought were giving the most effort at the time so I just left them out there and had the five that finished the first half start the half.

This is one of those games that - we've responded well after our two losses, and now we'll find out how we respond and do we learn from a W. I don't know yet. We haven't had a win we needed to learn from, and we need to learn from this win.

The Press: Was your sermon calm, or was it fire and brimstone?

Coach Balcomb: It was calm. My assistants joined in, maybe they were a little more fiery than me, but we all gave our thoughts and our opinions, and the players did, too. We had a good talk, and we just need to make some changes. We'll see.

The Press: And these are related mostly to effort?

Coach Balcomb: Today it was effort.

The Press: Did you feel any better about your shooting in the second half?

Coach Balcomb: Not really. I'll tell you what I did feel good about, and that's one player. I thought Holly Rogers showed up today, and that was good to see. Holly has not been confident enough and has not been playing as of late because of it, and has put in extra time and worked harder in practice and was more confident today, and it was really nice to see because we need her minutes. We need her to play, and she was ready today. I can always find a positive - I just wish there was a list; that's the top of the list and the bottom of the list.

The Press: I think that Liz scored like nine points in that stretch in the second half when you finally took control and she had that penetrate and pitch to Nicole for a 3-point play. Did you see something in that stretch there?

Coach Balcomb: She penetrated. The fact that she drove. We needed to penetrate more and drive more, and, shoot, my 6-5 kid did it, put it on the floor and got success.

The Press: When you talk of lack of effort, does that refer to both ends of the floor, both offensively and defensively?

Coach Balcomb: On offense, we just made poor decisions. On offense, you need to be relaxed. You need to be relaxed and ready. We weren't ready to shoot. We took shots that at halftime I could ask every kid - and did - "Was that a good shot? Were you ready to shoot that shot?" They just sat there and said, "No," "No", "No." I said, "Why did you shoot that shot then? Was that a good shot?" We didn't take good shots. Some of them were bad decisions. Other ones we were not ready to shoot, which could be effort.

But our shot selection was poor. They weren't shots we've been working on, and that's why you shoot 33%. But the effort part that was bad was the offensive rebounding. When you shoot 33%, and you only have five offensive rebounds-- I guess we're used to making more shots and standing and watching, and that's what I was upset about was the rebounding effort. Not missing shots, but the rebounding effort.

* * * * * *

VandyMania.com Top Stories