Postgame Quotes: #6 Tennessee 87, #25 Vanderbilt 64

Jan. 15, 2012

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(overall thoughts)
"Obviously, I thought we really committed to our defense and our board play, especially in the second half. We've been talking about that consistently. We've also been stressing the need to pound the ball inside if we could. We have to take advantage of what Glory, Kinna and Vicki can do in the paint.

"Overall, I thought we did a lot of good things on both ends of the floor this afternoon."

(on Glory Johnson)
"Glory just plays so hard. You probably noticed it was pretty physical in there. Today, I was really impressed with Glory's composure and energy. She was so focused on finishing her shot or boxing out for the rebound no matter how many people she had around her. She made such a big difference for us today."

(second half keys)
"I thought we really did a nice job of forcing Vanderbilt turnovers in the second half (15) instead of committing them (UT had 3 in the second half). That was huge for us."

(on her halftime comments to the team)
"It doesn't hurt to remind them about the pride of wearing the orange...especially when you are playing your cross-state rival in Vanderbilt. I think they received the message I delivered and responded in a positive way."

(on Vicki Baugh)
"I have been so pleased the way Vicki has been playing coming off the bench. Besides scoring, she has really gotten active and come up with a lot of hustle plays for us."

(on Ariel Massengale)
"I really challenged Ariel at halftime, and she really responded with a better second half. She's the type of player who will take the information and use it. That's exactly what she did.

"A freshman assist record (with 12)? I'm not surprised. She has such great court vision and gets her teammates in a position to score."

(on Vanderbilt)
"Vanderbilt played with such toughness today. Melanie and her staff always do such a great job of preparing her teams to play. They always play so hard."

(opening statement)
"First of all, the attendance and the atmosphere was fantastic. I thought the first half, we weren't holding up our end of the bargain. We were a little sluggish, on our own agenda. If you question that Pat Summitt has an influence on this team, at halftime, she had a major influence. I thought we came out a little more inspired, and it started with our point guard. I thought Ariel Massengale wasn't at the top of her game in the first half, so she came out and set the tone on defense and we followed suit. I'm proud of our effort the second half, but we continue to need to put 40 minutes together as a basketball team."

(on Summitt's message to the team at halftime)
"She challenged them the way Pat Summitt challenges them. They were inspired when they left the locker room."

(on Shekinna Stricklen's injury status)
"Preliminary, they think she possibly strained her knee. Don't know the details. She will be reevaluated tomorrow."

(on whether the injury might be an ACL tear)
"Right now, I don't know. I'm just going off of what the doctors have told me and told the staff."

(on Glory Johnson's double-double performance again)
"Glory is our rock. She's our constant on the offense end, scoring, rebounding. She just goes to work. She's a constant on the defensive end as well. If we have to lay our hat on somebody, it's Glory Johnson. She plays the game the way it should be played, with a lot of effort, a lot of heart. She's a talented young lady and plays hard every possession. As a coach, you ask a young lady to play every possession as hard as she can, and that's what Glory Johnson does. She continues to do that. She's getting beat up a little inside, but she's got a maturity about her. I just can't say enough about Glory and what she's doing for this basketball team."

(on overall defensive effort against Vanderbilt, if there was more effort in the second half)
"We got serious about it. It started with Ariel on the ball. When she had pressure, Shekinna got more intense, Meighan (Simmons) got more intense, and it carried over. I didn't think our pressure was very good in the first half. It starts with Massengale, and that's a lot of pressure on a freshman, but she's one of the best point guards in the country. She needs to take that responsibility. As we're asking her to do offensive things, get our team in an offense, we're asking her to come out and play hard on the defensive end and set the example."

(on Vicki Baugh's performance)
"If Vicki Baugh plays like that, we're a much better basketball team. She's put two games -- as you said -- back-to-back. She's a leader for us. She's a leader for us on and off the floor. Our players get excited when Vicki Baugh does something special."

(on scoring inside)
"We're shooting a great percentage inside, so we need to continue to get the ball inside to our post players. I will say this, the last two weeks, we've really focused on our defense. I know the first half you could not tell that, but we spent a lot of time in practice on our defensive effort. I think in the long run, our offense has suffered. So now maybe we can balance it out a little bit. We need to play from the inside-out, and I thought at times when we needed to, we got inside and made plays."

(on making layups and only having three turnovers in the second half)
"When you're not turning the ball over and have the opportunity to make plays and score, your chances of winning are a lot better. We talked about that. We had three turnovers in the second half. That's what we have to do to be a better basketball team. We've got to shoot the ball better from the free throw line as well, so that's one aspect we can clean up a little bit."

(on whether first-half struggles were the cause of Tennessee mistakes or Vanderbilt's defense)
"Vandy runs a variety of defenses and changes them up. They're good. They're physical. They're very well coached. I think it was a combination of what Vandy was doing to us and our lack of effort and not playing as hard as we're capable of doing. I think it was pretty much a combination of both."

(on Stricklen's effort level)
"At halftime, she did. Stricklen's got to know she's a leader by example for us on the court. So if she gets after it, shows emotion, then our team seems to take it to another level. We need that from Stricklen. Obviously, we need her offensive punch, but she's got to get better on the defensive end. And I thought in the second half, she got serious about defense."

(on getting ranked wins at home, if team is more comfortable playing at home)
"It appears that we are. We appear to have a lot more confidence at home. We play in front of a huge crowd. I think our crowd gives us a lot of energy. So on the road, we've got to create our own energy. We've got to learn how to play whether we're at home or away. We've got to learn to play Tennessee basketball and play at a level that it's intense and we're playing with a lot of passion. I think at times, we got caught up in having to rush, and we didn't rush our shots tonight. If we could play all our games in Thompson-Boling Arena, I would absolutely love it, but we've got to get better and get more focused on the road."

(on Briana Bass playing in the first half)
"Bree gave us some quality minutes at Kentucky, too. I never question Bree's heart or her ability to defend. I think sometimes her size affects her on the defensive end, but she plays hard. She gets after it on the ball and sets the tone for us when she's in. She doesn't make a lot of mistakes. She's a team player and she's into the game whether she's on the bench or playing. I'm pleased with that."

(On spending time in the training room tomorrow)
"I'll spend the majority tomorrow, since we have an off day, in the training room getting treatment, because I'm hurting today, and then I'm going to wake up feeling worse, so it's all right though."

(On what hurts the most)
"Probably my hip. I landed on it twice: first play of the second half and then right before the second half. It's okay though."

(On Tennessee's increased effort on defense in the second half)
"I think one thing Vanderbilt did well was set a lot of screens, and at first we were kind of hitting the screens and (it was) every man for himself. In the second half we came out (and said), `okay, we're a team.' We're going to help each other through the screens. If they get stuck, we're going to switch. We're going to do whatever it takes to stop them. It's not really one-on-one if your man screens and you have to help. Our guards did a great job of fighting through the screens, and I think that intensity along with communication helped us defensively."

(On causing Vanderbilt's turnovers)
"Right, we tried hard denial, especially Vicki Baugh. She got a steal. I think we got a couple of steals just putting a lot of pressure on the ball and denying out further than they expected. When No. 10 started shooting three-point shots, we had to get out there and deny. Whenever we switched, we had to put a lot of pressure on the ball. I think that helped a lot, and we got steals off of it."

(On what happened to her and the status of her knee)
"All I remember is going up for the ball, and I don't know. I hit my knee, and I came down wrong. I probably hyperextended it, but I really don't know. J-Mo (Jenny Moshak) hasn't told me anything, so I'm not sure."

(On whether she's looking to score inside)
"Yes. The three-point shots haven't been falling. The coaches stay on us saying we need to get paint points."

(On the challenge of guarding Christina Foggie)
"For one, she's shorter than me. She's a little quick, but just knowing that every time we hit a screen, there's going to be another screen. She is a good shooter, but trying to get there when she got there with the ball. She still had some open shots, but I think we limited her shots a little more in the second half. I think my teammates had my back and called the screens. They made sure if she curled there would be someone there. We just have to do it from the beginning of the game and not just wait until the second half."

(On the pain in her knee, if she felt a structural change)
"Honestly, I just felt the pain. I really don't have a clue, but I trust J-Mo. I know we have the best trainers, and I know I'll be all right."

(On what happened during halftime)
"Halftime, they (the coaches) just reminded us of everything that we've been working for and reminded us of the Kentucky game and how we had too many similarities of that game in the first half. We've been working hard on defense, and it was time to show it on the floor, and that's what we did second half."

(On what Holly said to them at halftime)
"She asked us, `what have we been doing? This looks like the Kentucky game.' And (she said), we cannot play like this and win against anybody no matter who the team is.' So, that was just motivation. We're wearing `We Back Pat' shirts as well. We know we're Tennessee, and we can't just put on the Orange and win. I think she reinforced that."

(On her, Glory and Shekinna being Tennessee's new "Big Three")
"Like you said, we're seniors, and I think all of us have that leadership ability and have a leadership role on the team. I think all of our seniors are just great assets to the team in helping our freshmen. `Big Three' is great, and it's great if you guys see us as the `Big Three.' I would definitely consider that a compliment being compared to Nicky Anosike, Candace Parker and Alexis Hornbuckle."

(On the play of Glory Johnson)
"I think it's hard to get open on her, so it's hard to enter the ball. We try to avoid entering the ball when she is defending and have our other post come up and give us some relief. She makes it difficult for you to enter the ball to the post to start your offense, as well as anytime you set a ball screen. If she is the one out hedging or trapping hard, she's really tough on getting deflections. She is so athletic on smaller guards like we have."

(On the second half)
"I think they (Tennessee) came out more inspired and intense on defense and took away passes and shot the gap and got us to turn it over. We have been struggling all year. We have not come out inspired after halftime, the first four minutes. I thought we helped feed into that. We did not come out the way we should have as well."

(On the stat that jumps out to her)
"Turnovers and offensive rebounds. That is usually the stat that jumps out to me every time I play Tennessee."

(On the early foul trouble of the post players)
"Again, it's the same thing as the other two points I was making. Every time we play Tennessee we get into early foul trouble. I'm not going to blame the officials, our kids know. We play them twice a year, sometimes three times and if you are the aggressor, that wouldn't happen. Tennessee, especially Glory Johnson, is so aggressive, Shekinna Stricklen was aggressive and Vicki Baugh is extremely aggressive. It puts us in a bad position that we are fighting back and we are already behind the play. They just beat us to the spot and did the work early that we didn't do."

(On the youth of her team)
"I felt good about a couple of things. I felt good about our guards and their composure in this kind of atmosphere. My guards are very young. Two sophomore guards, I thought Jasmine (Lister) and Christina (Foggie) played really well. I liked Kady Schrann who has been hurt and now in playing on one leg. I thought her composure was good as well. I think we have some promising play from the guards especially, and I liked how calm we were in the first half in this atmosphere. I was disappointed in the second half just because I felt like they really outworked us, outhustled us and were more aggressive and we didn't rise to that challenge, and that is what we needed to do. That second half, we can't play that way against anybody in the SEC."

(On struggling after halftime)
"Our play can't be dictated by how the other team comes out. Yes, Tennessee came out very inspired, and we came out on our heels. It's almost like we are waiting to see how the other team is going to come out at halftime instead of us coming out the way we want to come out at halftime."

(On whether the SEC is wide open)
"I think a lot of teams have a lot of people back and obviously there will be some mix-up. It's early. Only certain teams have played other certain teams, so it's too early to say. Obviously when Tennessee loses to a Kentucky, and South Carolina is making a good run early, that is a shift and some changes right away. But I have always thought that any night, anybody can beat anybody, whether it is the beginning of the SEC or the end of the SEC. You always see those upsets and those tough games. You have to really take care of your home court advantage when you can."

(On her play and adjusting to the Tennessee defense)
"In the first half I hit a few threes and after halftime they were more up in my space, and that is when I became aggressive and attacked the basket, got fouled a few times. It was just an adjustment of how to score after halftime."

(On the second half struggles)
"Basically we just have to be strong with the ball, come out aggressive and things like that and intense on the defensive end and that will help us."





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