Jan. 20, 2013
Head Coach Holly Warlick
"I have to say, this is the first game I've coached in orange tennis shoes, and I kinda like it, I can do a lot more stomping and can get up and down the court a bit more. We started the first four minutes a little bit slow, but we came around. After we got back from Auburn, not too often do we get outrebounded, so we thought that coming into this game, our defense was going to be huge because Alabama is so athletic, so all we did the last two days was work on our defense and rebounding. I don't know if our offense was sluggish or slow, but we chose to make a commitment on the other end. I thought our defense was solid once we settled down and understood that we needed helpside defense. It was a good effort by our team."
(On the team's emotions on the "We Back Pat" game)
"We talked about that and showed a couple of films before the game of people honoring Pat and just what this game meant to her and to our team, so I thought they were prepared. We wanted to play this in honor of Pat and hopefully she saw what she has built this program on, and that's hard work and a foundation of defense and rebounding. That's a lot of what we talked about. We talked about Pat's sacrifices and what she's meant to everyone. We used it to honor her and not to be worried, we just wanted to make sure we represented UT and Pat in the nature we needed to."
(On the team's high shooting percentage)
"When you shoot 53 percent, you're getting good looks. We got good looks because our defense got us good looks and we got the ball inside. If that's the case, then we should shoot a high percentage. At halftime, our two posts were 10-for-10. We just have to rely on our defense to create our offense, and I think we did."
(On the improved post performance over Thursday night against Auburn)
"I think Thursday they rushed everything they did. I think today, they settled down and ran their defense and made the right play for them. They needed to move and countermove today, and I thought they did both. Against Auburn, we were nervous with the basketball, they made us play fast and we didn't handle it very well. "
(On Alabama's game)
"I think the score wasn't showing of Alabama's talent. They have a lot of talent, they're very athletic. The first four minutes we struggled to defend them. When you get up on the ball, which we wanted to do and you're guarding a great athlete, you have to run your help side defense to get the ball and the first four minutes we did't do that. We addressed some things and then our help side was a lot better. Alabama is one of the most athletic teams that we have played, throughout their whole team."
(On moving forward to the next two games)
"We've talked a lot about discipline and we have to be extremely disciplined for the next two games, whether it's on offense or defense, you can't turn the ball over against either of these teams (Vanderbilt and Notre Dame) because they will capitalize on it. Turnovers, you have to make plays and you have to make stops. It's like, against Auburn, we needed stops and we got stops towards the end. With Vanderbilt, it's a healthy rivalry for both teams. It's a very tough place to play - they're very offensive-minded and we're very defensive-minded, so what's going to give? Our opportunity against Notre Dame is to establish ourselves on a national level. These are two huge games for us - huge for this week. We need to be mindful that we need to focus on Vanderbilt first but then as coaches, we have to prepare for Notre Dame as well at the same time. Notre Dame is important for us, but it's also important to get an SEC win, so that will be our first and foremost focus."
(On the morale boost from the Alabama win)
"We talked a lot about passion and I thought the game against Florida and Auburn at times, we didn't have a lot of passion. We didn't play up to our ability and they play hard all the time. Today, that's all we put on the board, was passion. We talked about playing hard, playing for yourself, playing for Pat, just getting to a point to where you're passionate about what you do and that it's for us. I hope that it gives us a lot of momentum going into the Vanderbilt game so that we can be focused on just how we play. We keep saying that if you play hard, great things will happen and I think that today we played extremely hard, we got good looks and great things happened. It goes hand-in-hand. I can draw up all the plays I want, I can tell them what kind of defense to run, but it takes players making plays and it takes them coming in to have a heart for what they do and I think that they did just that today."
Junior Meighan Simmons
(On hugging HCE Pat Summitt before the game)
"We watched a film about people from Iraq and how they appreciated Pat. It was really emotional for all of us to have a coach who has made such an impact on everybody's lives and our lives. It was a really emotional time. We just let her know we appreciate her and we love her, but then we had to get ready for this game. We refocused after that."
(On her stellar run the past few games)
"I think it's just me making an effort. It's a new year. It's my new year's resolution to be a better basketball player and make sure I'm playing as hard as I can for the team. Not just for me or the coaches. I've been trying to support my team."
(On her 7 rebounds this game)
"To be honest, I just go as the game flows. I just happened to be in the right position to get those rebounds. I knew that there was something I needed to do besides score and to play defense and put ball pressure on them. It was one of those things. It was my goal today to have five rebounds. I ended up with seven, so I'm very proud of myself for that."
Senior Taber Spani
(On the decision to see HCE Pat Summitt before the game)
"We were all going to do something. It was a team decision to let the coaches go over and have their time, and then go over together."
(On whether Pat Summitt seems like a coach or visiting celebrity)
"Pat Summitt, for myself and everyone here, is always going to be our coach. Nothing is going to change. When we come back in 10 or 15 years, I'll still think of her as my coach. She's still involved in our program. When you see someone in practice and you can talk to them about basketball or life, she's definitely a part. She'll always be our coach."
(On getting going on defense)
"Alabama is very athletic. Their guards are small. It's a little bit harder because most of us are taller. They were getting by us. When we started Jasmine, Kamiko, and Ariel, they came in and did great things. They had ball pressure. That's when you can see us get out in passing lanes and get blocks. That's what our focus has been since Auburn-defense. We're going to need a full 40 minutes at Vandy, for sure."
(On the offensiveness of the game)
"We were just trying to take what they gave us. A lot, we got out of transition. That's our game. We were trying to push on every possession. We were starting to get off of our defense. A bad shot, you have to get a rebound and refocus. It was a great game and a confidence booster. A lot of us got into double figures. For everyone to get some playing time is good."
(On improving the defense)
"I would say consistency for 40 minutes. Especially since we're playing Vandy and then Notre Dame. Vanderbilt is always tough to play at their place. Defense has to be our rock, really, because you can never count on offense in a place like that. Specifically, ball pressure for 40 minutes and great helpside. We need to be one out on the floor."
Freshman Bashaara Graves
(On comparing post performances in this game and the last)
"We didn't have a great game against Auburn. We couldn't get shots off. It was terrible for us. We wanted to come out for the Alabama game and make up for that game. I think we did that."
(On guarding this team)
"They only had one post at the start of the game, so Izzy was guarding her and I was guarding a guard. It was hard at first. Our team defense helped me try to play those guards."
Head Coach Wendell Hudson
"I think when you play a team like Tennessee you have to take advantage of all the opportunities you have as far as scoring in particular. I thought that early in the first half we did that. As the first half went on there was a couple of plays, about three plays in a row we went down and we had two people go to the basket and shot two layups and missed them, and then we had a wide open three (missed). They scored on each one of those possessions, so then a six-point game is a twelve-point game. Playing Tennessee at home on We Back Pat Day is a lot to contend with. We've got to give them a lot of credit. They made a lot of shots, and they did a lot of good things. In the second half they stepped out, and some of the players shot the ball really well. I thought we played hard for both halves, didn't convert as many, and that's the reason where we are right now."
(On using Alabama's speed and quickness to its advantage)
"We're not the biggest team in the world, but we think we can go up and down the floor and make the game a transition game, and that's the best way for us to play. I thought we did that early in the first half and wasn't able to continue. At least we played that way; we didn't convert the shots."
(On ever seeing before three blocks on one possession and then a prayer three pointer go in)
"Well, you watch this game long enough. I was glad to see something went our way."
(On Kaneisha Horn getting healthy, helping in the post)
"I think she's helping us a lot. She's getting better and better every game and playing in a situation where she is that focus point for us, especially from a post-player standpoint and carrying the load and everybody understanding that. She's getting double teamed and triple teamed sometimes, but she's doing a great job for us."
(On Tennessee's style of play under Holly Warlick)
"I thought Pat was over there coaching. Holly was over there? (laughter) I think Holly's done a great job in stepping into a role, especially stepping into Pat's footsteps. She's done a great job and got the team playing at a very high level. And, watching them play not only play in our game but watching them play. I thought Thursday night down in Auburn when Auburn was playing really well and was really fired up. I thought Tennessee just kind of willed their way through that one. I think Holly's done an outstanding job."
(On Meighan Simmons' play tonight)
"Simmons. That's who she is. You know you have to guard her, and you have to find her. She is a scorer. She did step up and make some big baskets and kind of carried, I thought, Tennessee early when we were making our little run early in the game."
Alabama Sophomore Kaneisha Horn
(On having to play inside against Isabelle Harrison and Bashaara Graves)
"It was a big test. They're really long, and they were able to get some rebounds and put backs. They're pretty good players. I respect them."
(On keeping track of both of Tennessee's post players, Harrison and Graves)
"It was pretty tough. They're really long. I'm not that tall, but it was hard. I tried to stand my ground."
(On being recruited by Pat Summitt, being here as part of We Back Pat Week)
"It was very nice. I like Coach Summitt. I think she's a great coach, and I respect her."