Player Interviews

After Vanderbilt's 84-44 win over Harvard in the championship game of the First Tennessse Tournament, tournament MVP Ashley McElhiney met the press along with forward Jenni Benningfield and center Chantelle Anderson, the other Commodores on the all-tournament team.

The Press: Ashley, coach just said that this was the best effort that the team has put together both offensively and defensively?

Vanderbilt point guard Ashley McElhiney: Yeah, I think everybody would. We played probably 38 minutes of defense, and we executed on offense even when they changed defensive sets a couple of times. It was good to have success today at both.

The Press: From an outsider looking in, how has the transition been, pretty seamless, you haven't had any problems thus far? That's a wild card for whoever wants it.

Vanderbilt center Chantelle Anderson: I guess I'll take it. It's been good. I think both parties -- the coaches and the team -- were nervous coming in, anxious to get to know each other. I think that we've handled it pretty well, and we can be hoping to get better every game.

The Press: Was it nice to relax on the bench the last 15 minutes?

Chantelle: It was nice to be able to take some time on the bench happy. (laughter)

The Press: Chantelle, I guess you're happiest with your performance today compared to the previous 3 games?

Chantelle: Oh my goodness. I think "happy" would not be a good word. I think "relieved" would be the best word. I just needed to come out and play well. My numbers aren't so much different, but my performance was. It's not a big deal about what the numbers are, but I have to feel good about how I'm playing, and I did that today.

The Press: Chantelle, it really looks like you're zipping the outlet pass from defensive rebounds down the court fast. Is that my imagination, or is that a change? Both you and Ashley can address that. 
Chantelle: Oh, I definitely think it's something that is different, because it really didn't matter how fast we got out the outlet pass because we weren't looking to run . But now, if it get the rebound, Jenni, the other post, is sprinting down the floor, Tia and Hillary are sprinting on the wings, and Ashley is cutting down the middle trying to get the ball so that she can run up and look for the long pass or look for our set shooters. I know when I'm running I want the quick outlet pass so that she can get the long pass and we can just run, so I think that's definitely it now.

Ashley: Yeah, last year, I would just kind of hang back and wait for the outlet pass and walk the ball down the floor, and we'd have our halfcourt offense. I think the outlet pass is what triggers our transition game. She really has me and Erica both doing sharp v-cuts down the floor. We're getting better. It was a hard adjustment because we were such a halfcourt team, but we're making it through it

The Press: Jenni, you had 10 points early ine the game. What do you attribute that to?

Vanderbilt forward Jenni Benningfield: I know a couple of them came off our our in bounds plays, which were working really well. Ashley got the ball to me and the other post players, and -- I dunno. It was just there early in the game, and I had to take advantage of it and give the team a little spark. We knew we had to come out and put everything together, which I thought we did tonight for a full 40 minutes -- well, almost 40 minutes anyway, on both offense and defense. I think everybody contributed and everybody else had spurts where they scored a bunch of points, too, so I think it was really a team effort tonight as far as that goes.

The Press: Ashley, when a team hoists up 33 three's like Harvard did, it's usually a sign of being frazzled. What did you guys do to push them out there?

Ashley Mac: I didn't know they tried 33. Well, I think we were playing as one on defense. The past several games, we've had like four people doing one thing, and then maybe one doing another. But today we were all on the same page, and when we're working like that, we're really good defensively, and they were having to rush their shots. They didn't want to drive because they knew they were going to run into help. They just wanted to get rid of it. So I guess 3-pointers is what they decided to take for half their shots.. Top Stories