Women's Hoops: Postgame comments

After Vanderbilt's 68-51 victory over Boston University, VandyMania talked with several players, then joined Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb in the post-game press conference.

VM: Tell me about the game, the differnce between the second half and the first half.

Vanderbilt guard Hillary Hager: In the second half we executed a lot better on offense, and we handled their pressure a lot better on offense. In the first half, we were all kind of helter-skelter, kind of everywhere.

Vanderbilt center Chantelle Anderson: I thought our team came together well on defense. We played very good defense and held them to a really low shooting percentage.I played terribly personally, but I think I got it out of my system. Like I said, the last time I started a season like this, it was my sophomore year and that was my best season yet, so I'm looking forward to it.

VM: Chantelle, you say you played terribly. Looking back on it, why do you suppose that was?

Chantelle: I came out tentative on offense, and usually my offense is what gets me going as a player. I went strong to the hole the first time and got knocked out and the refs didn't call anything, and I let that affect me, and so I started being tentative, and I just didn't get it back. I just have to make that adjustment, to not let things get to me like that.

VM: Jenni, can you tell me a little about the game, the first half versus the second half?

Vanderbilt forward Jenni Benningfield: We didn't come out to play the full 40 minutes. I think that's something that we've got to learn from. We've got to be ready to play all 40 minutes. But we had our spurts and our moments that really gave us a lot of excitement for the rest of the season. Everybody came out and gave an effort; we've just got to come out and get everything together for 40 minutes.

VM: Did the coaches say anything at halftime that made a difference?

Jenni: They gave us confidence. Before they came in, we were trying to get ourselves -- trying to figure out what we had to work on, talking among ourselves. But the most important thing is that the coaches gave us confidence, like, you're fine, just go out and just run the things like we've been doing in practice against the guys. I mean, we knew what we had to do, and we came out in the second half and played a lot better.

VM: 13 rebounds for you (showing the box score)?

Jenni: Oh? . . okay. . cool. Oh wow. That's nice.

VM: How many charges did you take?

Jenni: Kremer told me I got four.

VM:You've got a busted lip?

Jenni: Yeah, I got hit pretty hard. But it's all good. You gotta take the battle wounds with the wins. You gotta do what you gotta do.

The Press: Coach, could you talk about the game?

Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb: We played two good halves defensively, but offensively we played two different halves. We were very tentative in the first half, very unsure of ourselves, and hesitated way too much and that caused a lot of turnovers.

The Press: Was it because of BU's defense, do you think?

Coach Balcomb: I think it was a combination of both. BU came out very aggressive, very physical, and trapped a lot. We've worked on that for weeks, but it's different when you get in here and actually have to do it. I think our players, as the game went on, got more used to it and more comfortable, more confident with it.

The Press: Apparently Jim coached more of a halfcourt game. Did the players seem to be adjusting okay to the change?

Coach Balcomb: Yes, actually I thought the transition game is what gave us those two runs and those two spurts. The rest of the game was pretty even. And the way we play, what you'll see happen is the transition game will give you that run or that spurt that usually in the men's game is the difference in the game. And that's what happened. But that was really nice to see. I thought that our transition actually on offense was our strength tonight. That was great.

The Press: Chantelle Anderson (inaudible)

Coach Balcomb: Yes, she got in early foul trouble and also they double and tripled her in the zone and really packed it in on her and were very physical. The bullseye's on her back, and every night she's gotta be ready for those people to come at her, and I think she wanted to do so well in the first game. She puts a lot of pressure on herself, and she wanted to do really well tonight to get off to a good start.I think she'll be fine, her and the rest of the team. I just wanted to get this game out of the way with a W.

The Press: Did you make any offensive adjustments in the second half?

Coach Balcomb: I think the biggest thing is we wanted to get more in transition and get the ball into Chantelle more in transition where they weren't set defensively and couldn't double and triple and really pack it in on her. But I also think that Boston U came out with so much energy and did such a good job with their trapping and then they stayed in that all game, and our kids kind of got used to the pressure. At first they were affected by it. Actually, the pressure makes you go faster, and once we got more tired, we were better because it slowed us down, and we could read things that we weren't seeing.

The Press: 16 points and13 rebounds for Jenni Benningfield?

Coach Balcomb: Yeah, she's just gotten better every single day. Her work ethic is incredible. She's intelligent, so she really reads the game and is very smart. She's been amazing us in practice, so it was so nice to see those results in the game, because she's earned it.

The Press: What did you say to the team at halftime?

Coach Balcomb: I talked to them about confidence and told them how good they were. That was the bottom line. They were really hesitant. They were unsure. Believe it or not, we have high expectations, but we have a lot of players on the floor that haven't played that much and their expectations are very high, too. So there's a lot of pressure there. Mac and Chantelle, they're used to that, but the other kids aren't. They're on the road, first game with a new staff. They were very hesitant, and I just tried to build their confidence at halftime and told them that we were a better team than what we had shown, and that we would be fine. I just tried to re-assure them.

* * * * *

Commodores Daily Top Stories