Postgame Quotes: Tennessee 83, Auburn 61

Feb. 21, 2013

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(Opening statement)
"I have come in here so many times and preached defensive rebounding. I thought today we made a statement on the defensive end. I think it started with Meighan Simmons. We have tried to harp on her to not be a one-dimensional player. I think today she was outstanding. We had some great individual effort by Cierra Burdick with seven offensive rebounds, 13 total and 15 points. Ariel Massengale had a double-double, 10 points and 10 assists. We talk about these people and if you had to pick a player of the game, Tabor Spani shot the ball well too, it is hard to pick a player of the game, you understand it has been a great team effort. Best team effort we have had in a very long time, if not the best."

(On the difference in tonight's game from the others)
"We got off to a great start. I think it started with our defense. The last twi days all we have worked on is defense. We have not touched a basketball on the offensive end in two days so you are seeing, I think, the result of us emphasizing our defense. It got us going. It got us the momentum. I thought on the offensive end we got good looks. We moved the basketball, we had a season high of 24 assists so I think it was a complete game. I just think our defense started the whole thing off."

(On keeping Simmons focused on her defensive game)
"We make sure she understands that (defense) is a priority. I think she does that. We just have to make sure when she lets up or makes a mistake we draw attention to that and teach her, coach her, that is what we should do. We should be coaching her to understand how to play defense and the importance of it. She has played better defense this year, but I she understands she has to be better. I think she started off the year wanting to get better by making a priority and I think she has."

(On Auburn the difference between this meeting and the last)
"Missing your point guard is huge for a team. She was a huge leader for them playing well. I think it was an emphasis for us. We started off very slow down at Auburn, we got down by 12 and we had to come from behind. Meighan Simmons had to hit huge shots for us with 12 points in a row, I think. We were not prepared to play Auburn, mentally we were just not prepared (last meeting). I think tonight we focused on them, we focused on preparing and focused on not overlooking anyone, because we are not good enough to overlook a team. We have to play in the moment and I thought we prepared for Auburn, not looking down the road at four games left. We prepared for Auburn these last two days."

(On stressing what happened at Auburn earlier this season)
We watched quite a bit of tape on our first game at Auburn and the things that we did not do well down there, and the things we did well down there. Primarily, the lackadaisical effort that we had , the non-existing defense we had. It was all over. For whatever reason, we didn't come out ready to play. You can't do that, Auburn is good enough to beat anyone on a given night and if you don't compete, you don't come out and play, you're going to get beat. For the first 32 minutes, Auburn had their way with us in the first game. We wanted to make sure tonight that wasn't going to happen."

(On Jasmine Jones' injury)
"From what I understand, she just got her nose hit and it was a precaution. I think she's fine, but I'm sure they'll evaluate her tomorrow."

"It is a concern, but it's how we present it. Last year, we beat Arkansas pretty handily up there, by a lot, and we come back home and are leading the SEC. We have two games at home and we play Arkansas and they beat us here, and we lost our bid for the SEC regular season championship. It is really fresh on our minds, and that's the groundwork we set tonight, we will not allow them to overlook Arkansas, it does us no good. You can't overlook the two ahead of you, you have to take care of business in Fayetteville. We laid the groundwork today for what we needed to prepare for. They had better not overlook Arkansas, I'll tell you that right now."


(On steals)
"We've been focusing a lot on the defensive end the last couple of practices and I feel like I've been working so hard to make defense a priority. Coach Elzy and Coach Law were telling me they wanted to see some defense tonight, so I feel like my defense really did dictate my offense. I got early points off of steals. On the offensive, we just moved the ball around. We shared the ball. It wasn't just me that got steals. A lot of them got in the pass lane and got steals. We had a really good team effort today and I'm proud of the team and how we played."

(On offense)
"I feel like with the offensive end, it's just something you know that I'm used to doing. The coaches consider me a scorer and I consider myself a scorer, but I feel like to work twice as hard to be the greatest player, you have to play on both ends ofthe floor and that's something I've been focusing on a lot lately, you know making sure I'm playing deeper from the defensive end, because when I play defense, when I'm getting intense, the emotions going and everything, it's like everybody follows. It's like a domino effect. It's one thing after the other. I feel like it just leads into a team effort. When one person does something great, the next person goes and it just keeps going. It just really worked for us tonight. Like I said, I couldn't be happier or be more proud of the team effort we had today."

(On three pointers)
"I feel like I started off a lot more energetic than when I did the last time that we played them. I was a lot more hungry this game. Like Taber said earlier, from watching the film from the last time, there were so many mistakes that you know for the coaches explain and everyone was like Meighan, we need you to be of help, we need you to do this. There were just so many things that I needed to work on in practice lately. Those are the little things that I've been trying to focus on to try and make things better and when my defense is going, the offense just comes and it comes naturally. So, if I continue to work hard on the defensive end, and get prepared for the next game, we have to play just like we played defense today, we have to play defense against Kentucky, Texas A&M and Arkansas, so from here on out, I think we're going to do great things."


(On the intensity level)
"Yes, I say this all the time. It was just an intensity level that was different. I think the word discipline, Holly wrote on the board, sometimes we play hard, but then we play undisciplined and we get in foul trouble or then we have to call somebody to help and rotate and all that. We really played disciplined while being intense. I think we found that perfect medium in the first half. We had a few lapses in the second half, but it's definitely something to build on."

(On matchups)
"Yes, I mean definitely we felt great with that matchup that Meighan had on her. She was really getting into her and she is kind of a natural 2-3 guard so anytime that kind of make shift point guard you really want to get after her.

(On watching film)
"Oh absolutely. Every time we go and we look back at the film, I thought Coach Jolette had a great scout and we really focused on the defensive end, keeping them outside the paint. A lot of them, besides Alverson are penetrators, so really focus on that and then on the offensive end, really you know, they're a great pressing team and we turned the ball over a lot when we were down there, so we really focused a lot on that not press break and I felt like we did a much better job of breaking it and then attacking off it."

(On remaining games)
"Yes, absolutely. I mean every game is important and especially at this point in the season, I mean we have three games left. You always want to be very confident going into, you know Arkansas is going to be a tough place to play. They're a scary team at home. Then we have two huge games next week, so this was a huge game for us to come in and really be intense."


(On returning after injury)>
"Yes, I finally can smile after the game. It's kind of like a sigh of relief. I finally just came out and played the way that I feel like I'm capable of playing. I really just tried to be aggressive on the boards and I was able to get some put backs off that and my teammates found me when I was open and I think this was just kind of a stepping stone again for me."

(On physical strength)>
"I mean I think just trying to be positive. I've been pretty down on myself lately and I lost some confidence being hurt, so just finally getting my confidence back, you know that can make a world of a difference. It can make you feel stronger physically, mentally and emotionally. So, just having the confidence back, it really helped me."

(On intensity)>
"Just the intensity that we had. Like Taber said, the way played, the energy that we had, that dictates the score. I mean if we come out positive and energetic and just fired up, you're going to see that on the court. As long as we continue to play like that we're going to have starts like that and we just have to make sure that we stay disciplined and keep defense a priority and we're going to be able to do some special things."


Auburn Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy

(Opening remarks)
"We didn't look very controlled. We looked panicked a little bit. I thought we got composure and came out and played better in the second half."

(On Meighan Simmons)
"I think Meighan Simmons is a great player, and when Meighan Simmons plays defense, she becomes an even better player because we already know how good she is offensively. I thought she did a really good job defensively defending the point guard."

(On Auburn's point guard issues)
"We know who our point guard is (Ouardad); she's just hurt."

(On why Auburn struggled)
"Well, I think when you have your starting five together. Right now we're putting different kids at different positions. We have Hasina at the point. You have Blanche at the three. That's not our normal starters that we've had throughout the year consistently. Whenever there's a change, there's a disruption that happens. We'll get our starters back for Sunday."

(On when things start to go bad if there's a snowball effect)
"I don't know if it snowballs. It makes you have to call a few timeouts as the head coach to try to get your team under control and get them to settle down a little bit. I don't think it would be called snowballing."





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