Women's Hoops: Georgia postgame comments

After Vanderbilt's loss to Georgia, head coach Melanie Balcomb, guard Cherish Stringfield, forward Carla Thomas talked to the media.

The Press: Considering the shooting percentage and the turnovers, was this about as bad as it gets offensively for you all?

Coach Balcomb: Absolutely. I think I was surprised myself that we shot the ball like that, and I think they were surprised. The problem is when you don't hit shots, your defense has to keep you in games until you shoot your way through it. I can't say that we shot our way through it, but when we did make a run in the second half, we were too far behind. Our defense didn't keep us close enough while we had our shooting woes.

The Press: What was going wrong defensively?

Coach Balcomb: Everything. We weren't aggressive. We got beat on the drive over and over and over, so they never had to go to the basket. All they did was pulll up. And they hit every pull up shot and every open 3, and if you get beat off the drive, and then run in, then they kicked out for 3 or they pulled up. Also, dribble screens and ball screens, we didn't step up off those. We just weren't aggressive enough. We let them attack us all night off the dribble, and it led to their pull ups and their 3s.

The Press: The fact that a game like this pops up late in the season, do you kind of write it off as one of those games, or is it a concern because it's so late when you should be getting tuned up?

Coach Balcomb: I'm just surprised. I wasn't ready for this. I felt like we had played better and better. I thought we had been improving, and to have this game-- I don't know what they were thinking. We didn't make the changes necessary, even throughout the game. I know we had bye week that we haven't had before, and the tough part is, our practices were very good. We played better in practice all week than we did today.

The Press: A little concerning?

Coach Balcomb: Obviously, you have to be concerned at this point in the year when both ends of the floor go wrong that way.

The Press: What do you do now, Burn the tape and move on?

Coach Balcomb: You've got to be careful. You've got to know where your team is at mentally, and that's what surprised me. I thought mentally we were confident, and at this point you need to be, on your own home court and we need to take care of us, we're not worried about anybody else. I thought our focus was good, and so, yeah, we can't dwell on it because we've got another game right around the corner that you have to prepare for, so you make a mistake if you really dwell on it, but at the same time, you've got to learn from it. You've got to make some changes, or you'll repeat what just happened.

The Press: Did you expect them to come out zone and stay zone?

Coach Balcomb: No. We had worked against zone because they had shown some zone all year, especially in their last game. But it was a straight 2-3 zone, and that's usually is to our advantage and was not tonight. We got shots. I don't think we had trouble getting shots. We had shots and didn't make them.

The Press: Are there any positives you can take out of this game?

Coach Balcomb: I can't find any. Not tonight.

The Press: When you go in at halftime and you've shot 1 for 15, or whatever it was, from 3, you can't -- can you coach making shots?

Coach Balcomb: You can coach making changes and adjustments and not continue to live and die on your 3 and gets some points inside and then go back out to 3. We're a great 3-point shooting team, so you want to be positive. . . . If you're dealing with an individual shooter, I take them out, talk to them, and say, go get a layup and then go back out at 3, and kind of did that with the team. I wanted to attack the inside of the zone to suck them in a little bit more and give them more time on the perimeter. And we did. We went high-low more, and Liz and Carla started to score a little bit inside, and then we went back outside and had those looks, we still didn't knock them down.

The Press: Is Georgia the kind of team that can make people look bad?

Coach Balcomb: Absolutely. I think Georgia is very good defensively no matter what they're in. I knew that they obviously would force a lot of turnovers. Sherill Baker is the best defender, probably in the country. They have some great defenders, and they're extremely quick. I thought watching them on film that their zone is as good as their man, and I think their man is tremendous, and I was concerned about being able to score. I was surprised that we got the looks we did and just didn't knock them down.

The Press: It's got to be frustrating when you're one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the conference and somebody comes in here and plays zone . . .

Coach Balcomb: -- on your own home court. It makes it even more frustrating. Absolutely. We played like they weren't our rims. We shoot on this court every day.

Coach Balcomb left, then junior guard Cherish Stringfield and junior post Carla Thomas answered questions.

The Press: Cherish, how bad was this offensively?

Cherish: It was pretty bad. We weren't knocking down shots that we usually do. It was just horrible, and we should have found other ways to get something going offensively, get some offense off our defense, but we never did.

The Press: They came out and played zone and it looked like you guys got open looks. You shot 20 3's and it didn't look like many of those were contested. The fact that you only hit 3, can you attribute that to anything in particular?

Cherish: No, the shots just weren't falling.

The Press: Carla, with them playing zone, did that give you more room to work inside? Did you expect them to? How did that play out?

Carla: Actually, the way they had their zone set up, they were spread out so much that it was open a lot in the middle, like the high-low was open a lot. We just didn't capitalize on that the way that we should have, especially when our shots weren't falling outside.

The Press: What was more disappointing, you offensive play or your defense?

Carla: Defense. Offense, you can't really control that from day to day. There's not really much you can do when the ball doesn't fall, but defensively we didn't have a very good game. We didn't play to get stops and get offense off our defense.

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