The Press: Melanie, what do you think was the difference in going from a 14-point lead to losing it at the end? What caused such a swing?
Coach Balcomb: They switched defenses, and we did a
good job against their man, executed well, forced them to go zone, which
is what we wanted them to do, then we lit it up against the zone, and
we got a big lead. The problem was when they went back to man, they
really picked up their pressure, and they forced three turnovers and made a
run there and got easy layups down at the other end. I think that
really kind of took the wind out of our sails going into the halftime.
The Press: They were talking about putting Anosike on
Dee . . (inaudible)
Coach Balcomb: We just wanted Dee to attack more,
attack the basket more, and drive more. What ended up happening is she
played in the passing lane a lot, played off her more because she had been
able to go by the other kids that she had on her, so we just tried up
over too much.
The Press: Coach, what are your thoughts on Coach
Summitt's 900th victory?
Coach Balcomb: I think it's a tremendous
accomplishment, and I think she's done so much for the women's game, I have a lot of
respect, and I think everybody does for what Pat has done for the game
of women's basketball. It's people like her, why you grow up wanting to
be a coach and get to this level. I can't imagine coaching in 900
games, no less winning 900 -- and at the highest level. She's been a coach
at the highest level with a lot of pressure and stress since she was 22.
It's an amazing accomplishment.
The Press: Coach, what positives do you take out of
Coach Balcomb: The biggest positive is I think we can
build some confidence on this and see that this is the #1 team in the
country; they're a legit #1. I've never been into rankings, but they
deserve to be where they are right now, and we were right in this game and
had every opportunity to take it. We didn't, but I think our kids can
build on that and see that we're not that far from where we need to be.
We've improved a lot. The last team that we played in the top five was
North Carolina, and I think we've improved a lot since that game.
The Press: This is for Dee and Caroline . . .
Caroline: I think they did a good job of knowing who
are big players are, Carla and Liz, and I think in the beginning, like
coach said, we were doing a really good job of getting through our
offense ... and our guards did an awesome job, I think, Dee giving us the
ball at the big times, and we hit some big three's. But yeah, it really
hurt us that they shut down our posts like they did.
The Press: Coach, with seven minutes left in the game,
there were zero fouls called on Vanderbilt. What did that tell you?
Coach Balcomb: I didn't notice that. What I noticed
that is that we did not shoot a free throw, we did not go to the free
throw line the whole second half. That told me more than how many fouls we
had. We played zone, and we shouldn't foul a lot. I think what was
disappointing was not getting the ball inside enough, not getting enough
touches, and I was telling Teresa [Walker] yesterday that we needed to
get touches inside. We didn't need to score that much, but at least get
touches and go inside out, and we did not do that, and that's where you
go to the free throw line a lot. Our guards did drive more than they
normally do, and we've been working on attacking the basket from the
guards, and we did, but in the second half, . . . what we needed was to
make their posts defend and get them in foul trouble and get to the free
throw line. You can't win games not going to the free throw line the
entire second half.
The Press: Dee, where did you feel like the game kind
of got away from you all?
Dee: Like coach said, in the second half when the
turnovers started, they were getting transition points, and we just didn't
counter it and come back. We just weren't doing the defensive stops
like we were doing in the first half and executing our offense.
The Press: Dee, it looked like you came out early in
the game looking for your shot (inaudible)
Dee: "Attack mode" was like my whole mantra for the
game. I know from previous games playing against Tennessee I was able to
get to the basket a lot, and I just knew that was something that my
team needed me to do today, and I was ready for it, and I came out
confident and felt like I could lift the team and have everybody playing up to
my level, and Caroline was for sure out there with me offensively and
The Press: Is it frustrating to have all these
Tennessee fans around cheering "DEFENSE" when you guys are on offense, and
that kind of thing?
Caroline: I don't think so. If anything, it makes it
even more fun. We had them on the run in the first half, and it's so
much fun to see us playing so well like we know how to play. That's the
#1 team in the country, and like coach says, they're a legit #1, and we
were shutting them down, and a lot of people didn't have anything to
cheer for, so if anything it's a little bit more fun. But I thought our
Vandy fans were pretty good. I could hear them.
The Press: Caroline, do you guys have frustration
playing this team? It seems like it gets close, but it never works out.
Caroline: Frustrating-- it definitely is. It is
frustrating. I don't know what else to say, but we definitely know we can do
it, we just haven't pulled it out. But we've got them at least one more
time, and who knows after that.
Women's Hoops: Tennessee post game comments
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