Jan. 30, 2014
HEAD COACH Holly Warlick
"That was a great win for us- different first half, great second half. I'll tell you, Arkansas is a very good basketball team. Their record is no indication of the talent that they have. We were concerned about this game. We have a lot of respect for them and it proved to be true. I think we battled, we hung tough. In the second half, we decided to get a little bit serious about our defense- good win for us."
(On Jessica Jackson)
"She was a concern, because she's a very difficult player to guard because she plays inside, she plays out, she shoots the three and they spread out their offense, so we were concerned about it and I didn't think we could- we started out zone. We didn't through the middle of the first half. They're a different team than Texas A&M. Texas A&M- we didn't have to go out, that was our plan. Tonight, we needed to go out and we didn't go out, so I just think [Jessica] Jackson and all their players with the ability to shoot the three and to penetrate, it was just a difficult team for us to get adjusted."
(On Cierra Burdick)
"A little bit of everything. I thought Cierra [Burdick], I didn't realize she played 39 minutes, but she's just been solid for us. I'll tell you this- she stayed, she played pretty hard, she stayed pretty focused in the leadership role she was in tonight, so I'm proud of her. I thought she hit big, it seemed like every shot she took was a big shot for us. I think Cierra [Burdick] is playing within herself, meaning she's not having to shoot a spectacular shot. She's taking the shots that are given to her and she's making them, so I think she's taking very makeable shots for her and she's always been a great rebounder for us, so I thought she played a great game- was one of the reasons we stayed in the game and then took the lead as well."
(On halftime changes)
"We decided to guard the basketball. I thought Jasmine Jones coming in and setting the tone was huge for us. We had a totally different mindset from the first half to the second half and plus we changed up how we defended ball screens. We weren't pretty effective on what we were doing in the first half, so we changed it up a little bit in the second half. I was fine with the game. I got pretty upset at one timeout because of our effort and we weren't defending anyone and it was a shootout. It was going to come down to who was going to get stops and who wasn't, so that was my concern, but I thought halftime that we made some adjustments and they came out and they were pretty focused."
(On the Lady Vols losing their locker room privilege)
"Well they lost it just because of a couple of things. It was a coaches choice and I thought we needed to put value in practice and value in wearing a Tennessee uniform and I think after the Notre Dame game and after we had our meeting - and I thought the result of how good we played together against Florida and [Texas] A&M - I thought they deserved to get it back. It's not a guaranteed thing. They're renters right now. So they're renting the locker room and they can get evicted any time the owner or the landlord feels like they could be evicted."
"They did not [have access] for the last two weeks, it was before Notre Dame. I just think that we got comfortable with things and I think we got comfortable with things in the locker room and I think we got comfortable with things in practice and we can't get comfortable. We've got to keep battling and I thought they had to get uncomfortable."
(On the point guard play without junior Ariel Massengale)
"We're just doing it by committee and I thought both the them [Jordan Reynolds and Andraya Carter] - we knew that Ariel was going to have some sort of break down the road. They've been working pretty hard in practice since day one both [Carter] and Jordan [Reynolds] so we've run both of them at the point, both of them at the two. They've played with Massengale, they've played without Massengale so they've prepared for this so I have a lot of confidence in both of them. I think they're just doing what we've been practicing since day one."
(On Ariel Massengale)
"Ariel [Massengale] is still day to day. I can't tell you, they just continue to evaluate her and hopefully we'll get her back soon. Obviously we miss her. We want her back on this team. I think Jordan and Andraya have stepped up but it'd be really nice to have her back and have 11 strong."
(On Jasmine Jones)
"I think she pulled a muscle or something. As she was walking off she was smiling so I assume she's going be ok."
(On the misleading stats)
"I thought that - we only allowed Arkansas 24 points in the second half so we got serious about the defense in the end. They shot in the 30s in the second half so it boils down to who's going to make stops so we got serious about making stops because you have I think two very solid offensive teams and somebody has to step up and make stops and that's what we did. Gave them too many offensive rebounds I mean come on. When you play as hard as you have to on the defensive end, you've got to come up with the defensive rebound or your job is not done and that's what I thought kept us in the game. Then we hit the three three's in a row to kind of pull away so it was a little touch and go for awhile but we got serious about the defensive end."
JUNIOR FORWARD Cierra Burdick
(On her successful performance tonight)
"Obviously I have been struggling early and I am just trying to have fun. At the beginning of the season I feel like I put a lot of pressure on myself to do this and that. I am just out here trying to enjoy my teammates, my coaches and love this game. For a minute there I kind of lost sight of what I was doing and I just got back to having fun. My teammates have always encouraged me since day one, so I am just glad to see them falling."
(On teammates' reaction to Jasmine Jones exiting with an injury)
"Well Jasmine (Jones) is goofy and when she went down there, she said she strained a muscle in her back and she told me to rub it, and I said `Rub what? What do you want me to rub?'. And I didn't know what I was doing; I'm not an athletic trainer. That's what we were giggling about. Hopefully Jasmine is okay though. I know Ashley Wilson will take care of her and get her straightened out, but it was no disrespect to Jasmine at all. We just had a little team mate moment."
(On winning without Junior Point Guard Ariel Massengale)
"I think we've just got a great team. I think Andraya (Carter) has stepped up and played the point guard position phenomenally. Jordan (Reynolds, Freshman guard) has come in and had huge plays for us. It's all about having each other's backs. I think that is the biggest compliment you can give somebody, just saying, `I've got your back'. We've got Ariel Massengale's back. This is a family. We're 11 tight and we've just got to continue to move forward. Obviously we'll be happy when Ariel (Massengale) is back, but until then, we've just got to stay strong together, and continue to work."
RS FRESHMAN GUARD Andraya Carter
(On how they picked up their defense in the second half)
"It definitely showed in their numbers that we picked up our defense in the second half. I think in the first half they were shooting over 50 percent on the field and then in the second half we held them to 24 points, I think and they were shooting 31 percent. So it shows. When we play great defense the way we know how to, it definitely shows and it pays off. We have to let our defense generate our offense and we knew that. We wanted to keep the momentum going that we got at the end of the first half and we didn't want them to get a lead. So we had some motivation and we tried to get stops."
(On why the team improved on defense in he second half)
"I think we were all just on the same page, just playing harder, we all wanted to get stops on defense. OUr coaches were stressing that and I think we are stressing that. Every time down the court somebody was yelling `we have to get stops.' It is just something that we have to focus on and we have to just make an effort. Defense is an effort thing. I think that is what we did in the second half."
(On team's ability to hit big shots)
"We were shooting really well from the floor tonight, which was pretty awesome. We all have been in the gym putting in work. Cierra (Burdick) had some huge shots for us. I know Meighan (Simmons) had some and those moments are just moments that you love to have. You get excited, they're momentum builders, and we were lucky to have them. I think we took our time on those possessions on offense. I remember on a couple of them, it was down to the wire, down to the end of the shot-clock, like the one Cierra (Burdick) hit, and we just got ball movement. It's just ball movement, finding each other, and working the defense. We worked them for 30 seconds and got great shots, and we needed those. We needed great possessions."
SENIOR GUARD Meighan Simmons
(On the physicality of the game)
"It was really physical. We knew Arkansas was going to be a really physical team. At the end Jasmine [Jones] said she had pulled a little muscle or whatever but she got up and she was smiling about it. It is just one of those things where we have to be physically tough no matter how tough the opponent is, we just have to go out there and play."
(On the team's success shooting the ball)
"I think just sharing the ball. A lot of us were hitting the shots that we know we can hit. Cierra [Burdick] was hitting the shots that we know she can hit, Andraya [Carter] was driving to the basket and dishing and doing what she does best. Izzy [Isabelle Harrison] and Bashaara [Graves] did well in the post. I was proud of everyone today. If we do that, we spread the offense around and share that ball, that is when it is more fun for each and everyone of us."
(On confidence after 4th straight conference win)
"I think we're playing with a lot of confidence. I think it's just from the meetings we've had to talks with one another about what we need to do out there individually and then bringing that together cohesively and understanding what our roles are out there on the floor. When we do that, things become a lot easier for us and it builds a lot of confidence within ourselves. We just go out there and we play. Lately, we've been consistent with how we've been playing. I feel like we've been taking better shots. We've got to take care of the ball a little bit more, but other than that, we are playing with a lot of confidence and if we continue that for the rest of the SEC season, we'll be fine."
Coach Tom Collen
"I thought it was a pretty good game. I thought we stayed with them for the most part. It's a tough place to play, and we know that. Coming off of a game at Kentucky that was a tough place to play too, I look at our kids and I think that they've proven time and time again that they can play with anybody in the country in tough environments and I thought they certainly proved it tonight. Tennessee is obviously a great team and they're hard to beat in this building. We just look forward to continuing to play against them in the future because I think we're building something special at Arkansas right now."
(On Cierra Burdick)
"I was looking at the box score on the way in here and thinking to myself 'what was the key to the game?' and I thought it was Cierra Burdick. Not to downplay her, she's obviously a tremendously talented kid, but she's been in and out of the lineup a little bit, she hasn't shot the ball very well, and tonight she stepped up and stuck three's and [Andraya] Carter stepped up and stuck her three's. It just seemed like every time we got a little bit close they made a big shot on us and I thought Burdick was a big part of that."
(On three point shooting in close losses)
"We haven't shot the ball well from the perimeter, and I think that's the thing that's hurting us. I think Jess [Jackson] has scored well and pretty consistently for us. I think one of the nights where Keira Peak and Jhas Bowen get enough touches and they stick shots like they do, I think we have a chance to beat anybody in the league. Calli Berna is solid, she doesn't always score, but she takes care of the ball. I think the only thing that we're missing right now, is we came into league play, I think, ranked #1 in the nation in three-point field goal percentage after 13 games. We're last in the league in three-point field goal percentage right now in SEC games only. That's really been the missing link for us, we just have to get Kelsey Brooks, Mckenzie Adams, and those kids going. Those kids were shooting 45% from the three point line coming into league play so if we can get them to step up and make shots, and tonight if McKenzie Adams makes shots, I think it's a good game."
(On rebounding and forcing turnovers)
"I think we're not a real aggressive team like Kentucky in that we don't get out and try to force turnovers but a lot of times, I think we force turnovers just by nature of playing good back line defense and teams get frustrated that they can't score so they throw it away. I felt like Tennessee was capable of turning the ball over. I feel like that's been their Achilles heel at times this year, but the rebounding, if you had told me we were going to come in here and out rebound them, I would have told you that we're going to walk away with a victory if we shot the ball well, and we did shoot the ball reasonably well, and we did out rebound them but I think probably the difference is that they shot the ball exceptionally well, and you can't rebound made shots, and they made plenty."
(On Tennessee playing different defenses)
"Somebody tipped them off. Did you tip them off on that Kentucky press conference statement that I made that if they were smart they'd have played more zone or Kentucky should have played more man against us. I know it appeared in the paper today. We expected them to play a lot of zone. I would have been very comfortable if they would have played more. I told Matthew Mitchell after that game up there that I wish he would have played more in the second half and I think we would have won the game. My gut feeling after reading that in the paper was that if they weren't going to play man before, they probably were going to play man now and they came out and they pressured us and they did a good job, and I thought we handled it pretty well. A lot of turnovers for us, 17, because we lead the league with the fewest number of turnovers. I thought they did a good job with their pressure and they took us out of some of our offensive things."
"Thank you guys for being such great supporters of women's basketball; appreciate it."
(On the difference between the first half and the second half)
"I felt like in the first half we were getting the shots that we really wanted and in the second half they just turned up their defense and they tried to stop us from getting the easy shots that we were getting in the first half."
(On how to not get frustrated by losses)
"We just have to forget about the last game and move on to the next one. We can't dwell on the loss because with that, we'll never be able to move forward to the next game so we just worry about the next game and worry about how to win that game and just keep playing."
(On trying to turn things around in February)
"This league is very unpredictable. There have been a lot of losses and a lot of wins by teams that you thought would have gone differently. We just have to keep playing and can't worry about our record. We just have to move forward."