The Press: I know you probably don't have much to say, but we have to ask you anyway about that call at the end of the game?
Coach Balcomb: I would love to talk about it, but I
can't. What disappoints me is my philosophy-I hate to see such a great
game that goes to overtime decided by a call by the officials instead of
by the players, and that's either way. That's the way the women's game goes a
lot. We talk about it, but it continues to happen.
The Press: How was it not having Davis those last 50
Coach Balcomb: Obvoiusly she plays every minute at
point for us, so that was very important. When she got called for her last
foul, leadership-wise and confidence-wise, I think that hurt us. But,
again, we still had opportunities to win the game. I think that's the
whole thing. We had opportunity after opportunity and didn't take it,
didn't seize the moment on the road, and it's going to be costly.
The Press: Did you think that Arkansas was playing a
kind of post-season desperation mood?
Coach Balcomb: I don't know-I have a lot of respect
for Susie and what she does here. I think they always play hard. I think
they always-last year I thought they were one of the best defensive
teams in the league. We struggled scoring against them last year. I think
they played extremely hard, and I think she gets a lot out of her
players. I know she's had a lot of injuries, but again I knew that this
would be like this. Every time I've come in here it's been like this. I
think the last time we played here, we won by a point. It's SEC conference
time. I don't think it's playoff time yet. I'm hoping we're better by
then ourselves. But now that it's conference time, I think both teams
worked very hard, and it was a good game.
The Press: You only out-rebounded them by one. Would
you expect that number to be a little higher?
Coach Balcomb: Not really. We've never been a great
rebounding team, no matter how big we get and part of that is that we
generally shoot the ball very well. If you don't have a lot of misses, you
don't have a lot of offensive rebound opportunities. We usually
out-rebound our opponent, but we're a team that actually goes against the
stats a lot and wins games without out-rebounding our opponent. Now
tonight, when you shoot a low percentage - I didn't even look at what it was,
but obviously we couldn't even make a point-blank layup - so when you
shoot poorly now, it costs you because you aren't used to crashing the
boards that hard, and I knew that they had 23 offensive rebounds against
Mississippi State, so I expected them to crash, and that was one our
keys to try to keep them off the boards.
The Press: Coach, you trailed by five at halftime,
what did you talk about at halftime, and what did you think about how your
Coach Balcomb: Again, a lot of the same things that we
had focused on early in the game. They got so many second shots and
opportunities off their rebounds and just trying to get them to relax on
offense. We were so tight on offense, not hitting people when they were
open, holding on to the ball too long. I have a lot of young players on
the floor. I know there were times when I had three freshmen on the
floor at one time, and they've never been in a game like this of this
magnitude, and like I said, just being in an SEC game, we had a lot of
people making young decisions, and it was nice to see Carla and Dee play so
well tonight, but we needed more help from a lot of inexperienced
The Press: How hard was it to regroup for overtime
after a miracle shot like that?
Coach Balcomb: I actually thought our kids did a good
job. I know it is hard on the road when something like that happens
because then they have all the energy, but I thought our players did a
nice job talking to each other and staying up. What hurt us more was Dee
fouling out than that shot from halfcourt.
The Press: How do you talk to your kids in the locker
room after a game like this?
Coach Balcomb: I think because we're young, you have
to focus on improving and not getting all emotional and upset about it,
just talking about the adjustments we could have made during the game,
and some of the things that we could do a practice so that we're
looser. We're just squeezing the ball. We couldn't have gotten better shots
with the right people. We were just squeezing the air out of the ball,
whether we passed it or shot it, or getting steals and not being willing
to go take a layup. We were just too hesitant, and it's just a
mentality we're going to have to work on in practice and get more gametime
experience. I'd be a lot more upset if this happened in March with a young
team. It's going to take some time, and I wanted to be patient, and it
was really important to me that I was patient with them early in the
SEC play whether we win or lose.
Next, junior point guard Dee Davis answered questions.
The Press: Dee, what kind of a look did you all have
at that halfcourt shot at the end, and . . . (inaudible)
Dee: Something like that was bound to happen the way
the game was going, back and forth. It was a great shot. I'm not going
to take anything away from it. There's nothing else to say. It was a
great shot and brought us into overtime, and we came out and didn't do
everything like we should have.
The Press: How frustrating was it for you to sit on
the bench and watch the rest of the game after you fouled out?
Dee: It was very frustrating to want to be leading
your team on the court, and you're the point guard that's supposed to be
out there leading them. It's very frustrating in that aspect, but I knew
my teammates were going to be able to step up . . . on the floor, if
I'm not, they've been playing with me long enough to be able to carry the
same enthusiasm, the same desire to win that I do, so I didn't really
have any concerns about that. I just knew I had to be on the bench and
cheering them on every step of the way.
The Press: Dee, you were trailing five points at
halftime. What did you all talk about during halftime and how did you feel
about the adjustments that you made?
Dee: Rebounding and turnovers. We just wanted to focus
more on trying to turn that around. We knew it was all work ethic,
who's working harder, who wants it more, who has more heart, and we had to
individually hold everybody accountable, and say "This is what we've
got to do, we have to step up," and we came out on fire. We came out
pushing it and setting the tempo. We just didn't come out with the victory.
The Press: At the end of a game like this, how do you
handle it afterwards as one of the team's captains and coaches in the
locker room afterwards?
Dee: We definitely have to make sure that the team
doesn't get down on themselves and on each other. We've got to keep
picking each other up. This is really early, it's the first SEC game. It's a
bummer we have to lose on the first game, but all we can do is get
better. We just have to take what we didn't do well in this game and get
better in practice and get ready for the next game. We can't dwell on
this. It's a long season to come, and we'll do fine.
The Press: Coach Balcomb said that a lot of players
were tight offensively, not you necessarily, but would you say that as
Dee: Yes, first game jitters for the freshmen and some
of the upper classmen as well, first SEC game. They're tight, they're
ready to play, but they just can't get out of this zone. But first game
jitters are over, so we have to put that behind us and definitely look
forward to the next game.
The Press: It seemed like Carla really stepped up
rebounding during OT. Did it seem like that to you?
Dee: Yes, definitely. Carla is one our best rebounders
on the team, and she can do that, and in overtime she was like, "Yeah,
I gotta do this in order for us to win," and she stepped up, and she
handled her business on the boards.
Women's Hoops: Arkansas postgame comments
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