March 2, 2012
HEAD COACH Pat Summitt
(On the Lady Vols' win)
"We knew Vanderbilt would come out ready to play. I didn't feel like we got the best start. I thought we had a great finish. We had a lot of people step up. Obviously, Glory Johnson and Shekinna Stricklen. I was proud of Stricklen, she hadn't done anything early, but she came up really strong late. I'm just really proud of this team overall."
(On the weather delay)
"We may have been (effected). They took us back in the locker room. Heather Mason was in the locker room, just trying to stretch them out. I thought we did a good job just trying to stay focused. I thought when (the officials) took us back into the locker room we would be alright, they responded right after that."
(On Meighan Simmons' maturation and evalution)
"It is always is a learning process. From one day to the next, we don't know what we are going to get. Meighan is the type of player that is very, very explosive and fun to watch, most of the time. The fans love it."
ASSISTANT COACH MICKI DeMOSS
On foul trouble
"The foul trouble did effect us a little bit. Also, when Vicki Baugh picked up her second foul. We had to go to the bench. One thing it hurt a lot was our rebounding. We didn't seem to dominate the boards like we did early with that big line-up. I think our defense did slip a little as well. The foul trouble did effect us a little bit in the first half."
On what was said to Shekinna Stricklen to get her going
"It wasn't at halftime, it was on the bench. Midway through the second half. She responded to Pat. She has done this (before). Hopefully we won't have to start her engine. At the same time, she really stepped up and made a big difference for us."
(On Meighan Simmons strong start)
"She shot the ball extremely well. She moves fast and shoots fast. She is explosive. She can ratle of 10-15 points before you can bat an eye. The first half, she did help us to help extend the lead. Second half, she didn't shoot it quite as well."
(On switching defense schemes)
"We switched around. We ran from 3-2. Sometimes we overload the top from the free throw line. And, we ran some 2-3. The zone was pretty good to us overall tonight. They started getting it inside in that post area. They were going high-low when Holzer was hitting that shot. We would go zone then we would go man for a while. That bothered them a little bit. We switched off screens. We knew (Head Coach) Melanie (Balcomb) would adjust to whatever defense we were running. That's why we kept switching. Whatever we were running, she adjust. They would switch. It was a well-played game, a well-coached game. It was great for our fans."
COACH WARLICK: It was a great win for us tonight. It's kind of weird because we've been in a game called off at Ole Miss because of the rain, the lights went out in St. Thomas, so now we have a tornado watch. I don't know what we're doing, but...
I was proud of our group. I thought we got ahead. Vanderbilt came back. That's just Vanderbilt. They're well-coached, very offense-oriented team. I think our young ladies stepped up and met the challenge. As I said, just very proud of 'em today.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Shekinna, you picked up a third foul on the push-off early in the second half, went to the bench. What was going on in your head? Shekinna Stricklen: I was really frustrated. I didn't get to play in the first half because I had two fouls. I picked up the third, got really frustrated. Coach came over there, went off on me, made it worse. I really got mad. I really felt bad because I let my teammates down. They were still encouraging me.
I went out there understand a let it go. I was positive. I stayed focused. Just knew I had to step up. Glory stepped up big for us on the inside also.
Q. Shekinna, wondering if that little chat with the coach served as motivation?
Shekinna Stricklen: It was a lot of motivation. I think I got the stare. She really stared at me. I had to really respond (laughter).
You know, just having my teammates having my back, they were there for me, encouraging me. I just feel like I was letting them down.
Q. Coach, tinkered with the starting lineup all year long. You went with your seniors and graduate students in the starting lineup today. Why was that?
COACH WARLICK: Well, that's probably our best defensive team. The last couple games before their Senior Day, we haven't gotten off to a good start. So we thought it was important when we played Florida, we got off to a great start. Our defense was solid. So we're going to go with it.
These seniors have been through a lot so we're putting it in their hands. They've accepted the challenge. They set the tone and then we subbed in. But just excited about how hard we played.
At the beginning of the second half when we had the delay, I wasn't really pleased with how we came out. But we sustained the run. These young ladies, they've had a lot of pressure on them all year. They've stepped up to the challenge. If they play the way they played and continue to play, we're in good shape.
Q. Less than a month ago you gave up 93 points to this Vanderbilt team. What changed?
COACH WARLICK: We've gotten very serious about our defense. Not very often we give up 93 points. We went back to work. If I would have told you we were going to run three-fourths of the game in a 2-3 zone, I thought you would have been crazy. We went back and forth, thought we would go with it, it worked. Then we had to get back into our man defense.
We made a commitment in practice. They understand the value of defensive rebounding. So that's what has gotten us so far and why we're playing the way we are.
Q. Shekinna, I noticed you especially interacting with a very passionate pro Lady Vol crowd that takes the neutral out of this neutral. Almost like a home game.
Shekinna Stricklen: It's great. I feel like we're at home. I feel like we have another player on our team with our fans. They're so loud. They stay into it the whole game. They there cheering for us. Why not ask for louder noise? It's just great. I love it.
Glory Johnson: Something we like to do is acknowledge the fans before and after the games. They travel far to see us play. The majority of every game we've played has almost all Tennessee fans. It's just Lady Vol fans. They love the game of basketball. We have to respect that and acknowledge them. I think it's great they come to so many of our games.
COACH WARLICK: I think it's a tribute to the program that Pat has built, the tradition. It's amazing to me, it really is. So we're very proud of our fans. We just appreciate them coming out.
Like Shekinna said, we need our fans. Times we need our fans to get us going. Whatever it takes, we'll take it. We love the crowd and we appreciate 'em.
Q. Shekinna, when you hit the deep three, then a couple more threes, was that just riding the crowd or were you hot and feeling it?
Shekinna Stricklen: If you see me play, I'm like a streaky shooter, I hit one and I really feel like I'm going to hit the next one and the next one.
But the crowd helped out a lot. When I hit the second one, the deep one right before the shot clock, maybe the third one, I think that really helped, yes.
Q. The 2-3 zone, were you concerned that Vandy might shoot you out of that?
COACH WARLICK: We worked quite a bit on their sets. I think probably what we worried about the most was their setting screens, us going under, they hit threes. So we worked really hard on going over the top of their screens, making sure we identified their three-point shooters.
It worked. We were rebounding. So as long as it kept working, we were going to stay in it. If they would have hit some threes early, we probably would have gotten out of it.
But I thought our game plan, our practice on them, was great preparation. We had stops and that's what we needed. We rebound better out of our 2-3 zone, as well. It worked out for us today.
Q. Glory, when you were making that second-half run, you hit a fade-away, Shekinna came up and hit you in the back. How hard was that hit?
Glory Johnson: Shekinna is really strong. But the majority of that game was so physical that that was nothing compared to the rest of the game (laughter).
COACH WARLICK: You'll take that hit. Glory Johnson: Yeah, I'll take that one (laughter).
Q. Shekinna, in the few losses that you have, a lot of times you're getting off to a slow start in the first half. Why is that?
Shekinna Stricklen: You know, honestly just having low energy. That's something that my teammates have addressed with me, came to me. It's something that I let them down. I really told the team that this won't happen again.
I'd have to say low energy. Tonight it was
my fouls. But it wasn't too late and I was able to
come in and step up.