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Postgame Quotes: #11/12 Tennessee 89, Florida 69

Jan. 23, 2014

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HEAD COACH Holly Warlick

(Opening statement)
"Great win for us. Any win is a great win. We did some great things, played together and we talked a lot about that this week. Just proud of our effort. We had some great hustle plays and distributed the ball. I know we had some great assists. I can't even think right now. I'm kind of happy on how we played."

(On bouncing back after second half slumps)
"Absolutely. We talked a lot about that this week. This team seems to let things affect them. They do one thing wrong, and then we seem to drop our shoulders. We talked a lot about refocusing and forgetting about... I've said on defense the last two days, I don't care if you make a mistake, I want the effort and the energy. Just fly around. I just wanted them to fly around and move around. I think, for the most part, they did that. Can we get better on defense? Absolutely, but I thought we communicated. We shot the ball well, but we took shots that we could make. Makable shots. They made that run and I thought Jasmine Jones stepped up and made some big shots. It's about players making plays and I thought when they cut it, we stepped up and made plays."

(On point guard depth)
"Jordan and Andraya had to carry that load. I think we've prepared them for it and I think they did exceptional. I don't know how many turnovers had - 1 and Andraya had 3 so that's outstanding."

(On Ariel Massengale's status)
"I think they're evaluating her. My first thought was that it's a concussion, but from this point I don't think it is. I think they're just going to evaluate her. I think she got hit in the head pretty incidentally. Got hit in the head pretty hard."

(On if she was worried after Notre Dame loss)
"I was. I debated on whether I wanted to go in at halftime because we kind of get into halftime and take a deep breath and sigh. But, high energy in the locker room. I'll say this. Wednesday we got up at six in the morning and we watched the second half of Notre Dame and we had a pretty strong conversation with each other. Then we went to the practice floor and we had an unbelievably tough practice. We ran up and down, and we didn't even go over what Florida did. It was pretty exhausting coming off Notre Dame and we got up early in the morning. I just felt it was important for us to come together as a team and just talk about things, and then practice. This morning, I thought, 'man, I hope I didn't run them to hard; we won't have any legs.' But they battled through it."

(On Bashaara Graves' play)
"She played with a lot of confidence and that's what we needed from her. She didn't back down and she battled. She was 7 for 8. That's the Bashaara that played for us last year. I think she just kind of held back a little, for her, and I think she made her mind up that she's going to play the game as hard and as fast as she can do. When she plays like that and Isabelle gives the effort she does, the whole team - and I can just go down the line - we just shot the ball very well, 50%, and we haven't done that in a long time."

(On turnover improvement)
"That's huge. I think, probably, I'll sleep pretty good tonight. I'm happy about it, but 27 assists, that means you're playing as a team. You're just going some really, really great things and you cause them to have 19 turnovers and we had a lot of deflections. I look at the stats sheet and one thing I know is we've got to get better in our free throw shooting. That's just a mindset. We've got to get up to the line and not think that it's a rest, that we're tired, and get up there and get your mind right and make some free throws."

(On the importance of this win before taking on Texas A&M this Sunday)
"Any win for us right now is huge. It's a team builder and it's a confidence builder and I thought tonight we got back on track."

(On her defensive strategy)
"Well, I wanted to mix it up. They went small so I thought maybe we would go to our zone early to start the game but I wanted to play man-to-man. They drove on us a little bit and then I wanted to change it and we went zone. We kind of went back and forth just to keep them off guard. I thought we missed some rebounding assignments out of our zone. We didn't get out on three point shooters. I know they had five, but it seemed like they had twenty. Every time somebody shoots a three point shot, I cringe. I thought for the most part, we covered them. They're not big but they're athletic and they play hard. I thought we had to match their intensity and we had to mix it up on them."

R-Fr. Guard Andraya Carter

(On mindset going into second half taking point guard spot)
"I talked to Ariel at halftime and told her that we were going to hold it down for her, we were going to take care of business. She's the leader of this team, she's what Dean says is 'the head of the snake' and we have to have her back. She always has our back in tough games, the one pulling us together and that's the mentality that I had."

(On the team coming together)
"Coming into this game we knew we needed to pull together, we knew we needed to lean on each other and have each other's back the whole time. Then Ariel going out, we just had to do it even more. We had to come closer, we had to have tight huddles, we had to stay together. That is what we did and that was really exciting. It was such a good feeling getting that kind of win with Ariel out, on Pat's big night, so it was a great night for us."

(On tonight's lower turnover number)
"It's a big deal. This week in practice, we ran so many sprints because of turnovers. Coach Law specifically has actually put a huge focus on turnovers for us. Turnovers in practice, turnovers in the game. We've watched film. When we move the ball, when we have player movement and ball movement, we don't turn the ball over. That's what we have to focus on. We're focusing on it in practice. It transferred to the game today. I think we had 11 turnovers until the last two minutes of the game. It's transferring, we just have to keep focusing on it, working and being consistent."

So. Forward Bashaara Graves

(On feeling better on court)
"Yeah, I'm definitely feeling better. I just go out there and my team got me the ball so I got some easy points."

(On keeping momentum heading into Texas A&M game on Sunday)
"We just go into Sunday looking to get a win, playing hard and coming in with energy. We know everyone is going to be cheering against us so we have to play together and stick together."

(On Jasmine Jones play tonight)
"Jasmine was amazing today. The coaches know what Jas can do. They keep pushing her in practice to come out and play like she did today. We need that from Jas. If she just stays consistent, she can do that for us every game. We believe in her and she just has to keep going with it."

Sr. Guard Meighan Simmons

(On performance during game honoring Pat Summitt)
"It added some extra oomph today going in. It was Pat's day and I think that was the mentality for a lot of us. We went out there and we played hard, we knew we had to go out there and play for her."

(On Andraya Carter stepping up in second half)
"The coaches half been getting on her in practice about being vocal and getting the ball because her, Ariel and Jordan are in the string so what ever Ariel does Jordan and Andraya try to follow behind it. So I think that really built her confidence tonight to get out there and lead. We trusted her; we were comfortable with her being on the floor and it just excited me to be able to see her take on that role, I'm very proud of her."

(On the difference within the team tonight)
"I think our mentality was a lot different, the energy was a lot higher. There was an expectation that we wanted to hold for ourselves, not just from the coaches but within ourselves, that we needed to go out there, we need to be able to handle adversity. I think from the lessons that we learned from the Notre Dame game, from watching film and things like that, I think we made that adjustment, the big adjustment today. I was proud of the way the team handled adversity today, even when Ariel went out, that is a big piece of adversity that we had to handle. We went out there and we handled business and we did what we do best. We just went out there and played Tennessee basketball."

(On playing at Texas A&M)
"I've had the experience of playing in that arena. It's going to be a little homecoming. We have to go out and play Tennessee basketball. I'm really excited that my family is going to be there. I think it's going to be an exciting game and a test to how well we handle adversity. We'll see how we stick together."

(On having two good offensive games in a row)
"I mean, it's a confidence thing and you know I have not been able to hit a lot of the shots that I know I can hit because I haven't been confident mentally in my shot. I know I can hit those shots. I just have to be confident like you said, get my feet set and just be ready to shoot. My teammates always tell me - you know you can hit those shots, just be ready to shoot the same time. I'm still kinda rebuilding my confidence, but just got to be consistent like Bashaara said, just got to be consistent in the game that I play."

(On getting open looks in the second half)
"Well, we were trying to get our turnovers under 12 today, but I think it was just a matter of us attacking, penetrating, and dishing because Florida would help in with two people on the ball and Draya would be open or Jasmine would be open and they hit those really clutch threes and it was just one of those things that we have to continue to do on any team, especially when we go into Texas A&M who is number one in SEC right now, so we just have to go out there right now, we have to do the little things and when we move the ball and force other teams to play defense, it's easier for us to hit those open shots."

FLORIDA QUOTES

Florida Head Coach Amanda Butler

(Opening statement)
"Tennessee played great which is exactly what we expected and we didn't which is not what we expected. We started slowly. There we definitely some positives. We wanted to neutralize the majority of jumpers and I thought we did pretty good with that. When you look back at the final stat sheet and you've got great players like Meighan Simmons and we let her get 10 looks at the basket, trying the three point line, things like that, it's going to be really difficult to overcome things like that. We've just got to be tougher and better and work harder. Not an interesting answer but that's just how I feel about it."

(On their shooting)
"That's important regardless of who we're playing. A team the same size as us, we've got to shoot the ball better. We've got great shooters on this team. Something we work very, very hard at is getting up those shots weekly and we've just got to be confident in that work. Because if you're going to be a great team certainly you've got to utilize that three ball if it's awarded to us. It certainly doesn't determine everything but I know we're capable of shooting better and we have to."

(On the size difference)
"The size thing is just not a brand new challenge. We play a different opponent - what are we going to do with their size - well the same thing we did with the last one that's bigger. That's kind of just part of the way we have to play and Kayla [Lewis] is a great demonstration of how we handle that. You just have to fight and scratch and claw and move your feet and try to pick your spots. We've got to do a good job as coaches at trying to defensively adjust so that we're not putting her in a position that she can't overcome. Kayla's fight I thought was great, I know that she knows there are areas she could have done more, could have done better, because that's how champions think. That's the mindset she has."

(On turnovers)
"Our turnovers we're just very costly. It's not like we had 30 of them, we ended up with 19 but they were just very timely. Jaterra [Bonds] and Cassie [Peoples] are both very sound ball handlers and decision makers and of those 19, 10 of them to come from those two guys that's hard for us to overcome. Tennessee's a great team, they're going capitalize if you give them another chance. They're going to take the ball back and make you pay and they did a great job of that."

(On the technical foul)
"We were trying to sub in and there were six players on the floor and the ball was handed to our inbound so we were trying to get one on and get one off and it didn't work out that way."

(On the We Back Pat night)
"I really appreciate the University of Tennessee and the folks here involving me, just letting me walk over there and holler at Pat for a second. She's so special to all of us. Just continuing to show that consistency in her fight and her strength to be present and a lesser person would right now be taking days of or hanging out at the lake and she's just not going do that. She knows how important her impact is and this is obviously a fight that's one of those deals it's not Gators and Vols its just something we've all got to engage in together. I think from that standpoint it was a great night."

(On the SEC)
"You know what, the league is just real good. We live it every Thursday and Sunday so we sound like a broken record saying that in the face of a loss or after a big win. There's just not a weak sister in this league. Everybody, you've got to be ready, be on your toes. There's great coaching, the best student athletes in the country and it's very, very hard to maintain consistency of play when you've got that kind of challenge but I think it's a great demonstration of the strength of our league from top to bottom."

Guard Kayla Lewis

(On closing the gap in the second half)
"We just played the way that we were supposed to play the whole time but like coach said there were just untimely turnovers, fouls, technical so some things didn't work out in our favor but we definitely were playing the way we liked to play."

(On We Back Pat night)
"Just like Coach Butler said, Pat Summitt is such an icon for women's basketball and I think we all want to support her. I have a grandmother who suffers from it so it's good to have that in the public eye and make people aware of what's happing and try to get research done to try to cure it."

 

 

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