The Press: Would you comment on Chantelle's game tonight?
Coach Balcomb: The biggest thing I can say about Chantelle tonight is she competed. It was the best game I've seen her play since I've been coaching at Vanderbilt. She was a competitor for 40 minutes, and I was just really impressed with her competitiveness on the floor. And she was very aggressive -- competitive and aggressive, and I love it. And she promised to bring it on Sunday.
The Press: When you left you were limping more noticeably than when you were on the court, how much was it hurting you, and did it cause you to lose your balance and fall?
Chantelle: (Smiling.)Well, anybody that's been watching me through my career knows I fall a lot. But, yeah, as the game went on, I started to feel it a little bit. I didn't feel it at all in the first half, really. And then as the game continued to go on, it started getting a little sore, and-- mostly like running fullcourt, not so much in the halfcourt, just trying to sprint. I didn't really notice it too much, besides running.
The Press: Did Tennessee play you more physically? Were they rougher?
Chantelle: Yeah, Tennessee is always physical, but they do something that no one else does to me, in that sometimes when I get the ball, they back off me. And I think that's because I've spun off of them a lot and scored, so they just kind of back off me and let me try to shoot over them, and so, I'm looking at the stats, and while I was 10 for 20, that's okay, I got a lot more shots because they were backing off me, just trying to play me straight up when I got the ball. So I got more and probably made a lower percentage of them because I was shooting over somebody.
The Press: Coach, it looked like several times Tennessee was going to pull away and you held them off, and then finally they did. What happened at that point?
Coach Balcomb: I just think they went on a run. They shot almost 70% from the floor. They got hot, they went on a roll, and we didn't get back in transition, and we didn't get any stops. But I think also we missed probably nine layups. And I think as the game wore on, I think mentally it's kind of demoralizing when you can't score, and then you let that affect your defense, and I think that was the toughest thing that I was bothered with. I felt like the fact that we were struggling offensively and missing a lot of easy shots that eventually we gave in on our defense.
The Press: Was McElhiney's lack of offense a big factor?
Coach Balcomb: No, I thought McElhiney played well. McElhiney played a solid game. They guarded her tight all night. They were going to. She didn't have a lot of mistakes, didn't have a lot of turnovers, ran the show, and she did what she needed to do for us. She wasn't left open for free shots, and usually she gets shots within our offense if she's left open, and if they double. And Chantelle got 20 shots because they weren't doubling from anywhere, anybody, so somebody like Ashley McElhiney is going to get less shots.
The Press: Chantelle, did it suprise you when Coach Summitt presented you a rose before the game?
Chantelle: No, I wasn't expecting it. It was cool. It was a surprise, I wasn't expected a flower from the opposing coach.
The Press: Are you going to miss playing Tennessee?
Chantelle: Right. (Laughs, indicating otherwise.) That was a "no."
The Press: Coach, were you wondering if anybody else was going to score?
Coach Balcomb: I think Abi scored a lot. She stepped up. But, yeah, I think that was a big problem with our supporting cast. Our supporting cast has gotten better and better every game and more confident, and then when Chantelle had her breakout game, her best game, the supporting cast didn't show up, and I think we need to get the two put together, and if we all show up the same night, we could be dangerous. But that hasn't happened yet?
The Press: What positives do you take home from tonight?
Coach Balcomb: I think we competed most of the game. We were there until six minutes to go, or whenever they made that large run. Abi is really a bright spot. She's been consistent now for six games. Until this game, Jenni Benningfield had been consistent in her play. Ashley Earley's still giving us stuff off the bench. Mac's giving us-- I look more at individual play and what happened, and thinking that this was a great game for Chantelle, and Chantelle needed this game, and I'm thinking that the positive is that we do put this together, we gain confidence from individual play and put it together. I think in some ways it was a positive game-- in other ways obviously it was negative. But we can't dwell on the negative.We've got a big game on Sunday against LSU, and we need to take something positive away from this game.