Women's Hoops: Player Interviews

After the Commodores 73-66 loss to Purdue on Saturday, Vanderbilt senior center Chantelle Anderson, junior forward Jenni Benningfield, and senior point guard Ashley McElhiney met the press.

Here's what they had to say.

The Press: Jenni, talk about when you were down by 10, and you and Tia hit back to back 3's to cut into the lead.

Jenni: If I remember, it might have been after a timeout. Coaches said we have a lot of time, and we just need to keep chipping again and we just need to believe in ourselves and keep after it. I think that helped, but again we kept getting ourselves back in a slump. I don't really know what to say about that.

The Press: For each of you, what was the difference in this game?

Ashley Mac: This is supposed to be the type of game that you dream to play in, that you want to position yourself to be in this type of a game. And we came out, and we looked timid, we looked hesitant and scared, and with all those going against you, you're not going to do too much, too many positive things. And I don't think -- Chantelle and Jenni were just talking about it -- I don't think x's and o's beat us tonight. It was heart, confidence, believing in ourselves, and believing that we're a good team, a combination of all those.

Chantelle: At some point you have to start to believe that everything that you've done in practice is going to work and that you are a good enough team to come out and beat whoever you're playing. It didn't seem like we came out with that kind of confidence. And it was like fighting an uphill battle when you don't have that . It's like you're always tryingto get, so at some point when we were making runs, we were playing as a team, we were playing very well, you could see us kind of start to get confident -- okay, we're doing good, okay, okay -- then something would go wrong, and we'd just be like omiggosh and freak out. So, like Mac said, I don't think it was x's and o's -- yeah, there are a lot of x's and o's we can get better at, no doubt, but I don't think that was why we lost this game.

Jenni: I'm going with what they said. Basically, it's all down to us, we've just got to learn from this and go on and never let this happen again, just use it as a learning tool. That's basically all we can do with this game. It's behind us, there's nothing we can do about it.

The Press: Chantelle, did Purdue do something to shake your confidence as a team?

Chantelle: I don't think so, no. (Mac shakes head). I think that's internal. We have to walk on the floor knowing that we're better than whoever we're about to play, and we didn'twalk on out the floor with that confidence today.

The Press: Why?

Chantelle: Good question.

Ashley Mac: That's what we're about to go home and figure out.

The Press: I know that you've got some players missing, but you went to the Elite 8 last year?

Ashley Mac: That was last year, and we've got a whole new system. I think it's almost confidence in that. We have to believe what they're teaching, and we do it in practice. We believe every day that we're going to go in there and have a good practice. We execute, we do what we have to do.We have to carry it over to a game. It's like believing in what they've brought to us.

Chantelle: I don't think the last two years have anything to do with now. It's completely different -- the personnel, the system, the roles. Everything's different. Like I'm playing a different role, Mac's playing a different role, Jenni's playing a different role. Everything's different. So I don't think that it has anything to to with --

Jenni: We do that in practice. It's just a matter of being consistent with it and bringing it to the game. They have it there for us on the table; we just have to take it and believe in it, and execute it, and do it every day, no matter if it's practice or a game.

Chantelle: As a player you have to walk out thinking, "They can't guard me; they can't stop me, and they can't stop us," and I don't think everyone feels like that.

The Press: What do you think when you don't make shots, like in the second half?

Chantelle: Well, I only took five shots in 20 minutes in the second half . .

Mac: It's a combination of things.

Chantelle: It's a combination of things. I'm missing shots that I normally would not miss. I don't know what it is. Are you saying that since I went 0 for 5 in 20 minutes that I don't have confidence now?

The Press: (inaudible)

Chantelle: I think I could have played better in the second half. Of those five shots, I got fouled on one of them, I should have hit two of them, and I just probably missed the other two . But it hasn't shaken my confidence, no.

Mac: We have to find ways to get her the ball. That's where we're struggling. They had two people on her the majority of the game. We still have to find a way to get our post player the ball. And until we have confidence in our outside shot and our game, well, yeah, I'd play her that way, too.

The Press: Is the burden on you guys?

Mac: I don't think it's a burden. We have to get it done. If we want to win, we're going to have to get it done -- or else, she's going to have five people on her, and they're going to beat us. Hillary and Tia, this is their first year to be in a situation like this. And so far they've done a pretty good job. We have to get better, though.

Chantelle: It's a combination. I can't miss five shots, and I can't only take five shots.

The Press: Is it understandable that at this point you might lose this game; not that you're happy about it, but is it almost understandable?

Jenni: Well, I think, if I remember correctly, the first two or three minutes of the game, we were down 9-2. That's 7 points right there. We have to come out differently. I don't know where my head was the first two mintues, and I take full responsibility for that, and again that's something that you learn, and I'm never going to let that happen again. But that's 7 points right there. That's what's eating me alive right now. That and the fact that we had our spurts, and we had our moments where we chipped away, and we let them get back. They weren't doing anything that we couldn't over-do or that we haven't been working on or executing or planning on doing this entire week. That's the thing that's upsetting, you know, it's just -- that's something to consider. Yeah, we only lost by 7, but yeah, we all feel sit here and feel that we should have beat them.

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