March 2, 2014
HEAD COACH Holly Warlick
"It was a great game. Great effort and great way to send Meighan [Simmons] out on her last regular season game here."
(On beating South Carolina)
"It was a pride factor today. We're going to compete and I thought we did that today."
(On overall play)
"I thought we played smart. We got the ball to the side. Isabelle Harrison was just outstanding and Bashaara [Graves] and then Mercedes [Russell] came in- they were just, took good shots, we got them the ball and I thought our defense was just solid. It was physical and we matched their intensity. We did some really good things defensively, both inside and out."
(On not playing zone)
"We pressed the whole game. When we scored, we pressed the whole game. I wouldn't have thought that we would have done that, but it slowed them down I thought. We worked a lot on our zone as well. I think our players bought in to what we needed to do defensively and we were solid. We were solid. We gave up a couple of penetration points, but I thought for the most part we were really solid in all aspects of the game."
(On beating a top-five team)
"Well, it's huge for us. We talked a lot about seeding for the SEC tournament. We talked a lot about seeding for the NCAA tournament and we thought it was really important for us to go out and make a statement and I thought obviously we did. Over all that, I thought we competed and we played for 40 minutes and we made big plays. We got tired a little bit, but we hung tough and when we play for 40 minutes like that, we're going to beat some good basketball teams."
(On players coming off the bench)
"I think we had to use our bench because it was fast. It was physical. We got a little tired, had to give everybody a little breather and the people that came in- Jasmine Jones was just incredible. I thought she was going to hit her head on the rim a couple of times rebounding, but she and Jordan [Reynolds] and Mercedes [Russell], they all came in and did their part. They did their part. They maintained what we got off to a great start on."
(On defensive play)
"We pressured the ball a little bit more than we have been. We played behind the post. Usually we're playing in front. We played behind. We got physical with them. We doubled down on the post at times. I think we just made them change up their shot a little bit and made them rush. When you do that, you don't hit the shots that you normally hit. We gave up and we can get better on that end, but for the most part, we made them take rushed shots."
(On looking forward to tournament play)
"I'm just going to enjoy this win. I hope we get to the finals, if they're still in, to play again. The SEC tournament- you couldn't decide who was going to be what number until after today's game, so it ought to be fun. It ought to be a fun tournament."
(On Meighan Simmons)
"I think Meighan's [Simmons] career- she's had to step up. She started as a freshman and she's had to be big for us throughout her whole career. I can only imagine the type of pressure she feels, but she delivered. The only senior and I thought she delivered today. I thought for the most part she took good shots. She played solid defense. She passed the ball. I thought it was another great game for Meighan and I think she's hitting full stride right now."
(On the posts)
"I think we tried to get our posts a little bit more breathing, rest time and our guards a little bit more rest time. When we do that and we didn't lose what we had. We maintained. When you do that, you can give your players rest, so I didn't think we let up when we subbed. When we sent a kid in- when we substituted, I didn't think we lost any intensity. We just maintained what we were doing, which is a credit to the bench and coming in. It's tough coming in off the bench and maintaining but I thought they did a great job with that."
(On Andraya Carter)
"I can't say enough. She's a competitor. When you have a competitor and an intelligent player- you see, I think Andraya [Carter] gets better and better each game. She's stepped up. She and Jordan [Reynolds] have stepped up and they've been big for us. They've run their team. They run their team out on the floor. They're vocal. They're leaders and we've needed that. They've just been big for us they really have."
UT Point Guard Meighan Simmons
(On Senior Day emotions)
"Good thing I didn't cry. I thought I was going to cry, but I didn't. I strong enough to hold my tears back. But, it was very exciting to have my family out there, but I knew a lot of people were saying, 'This is your day. This is Senior Night,' but tonight really wasn't about me, it was about this team. It was about us getting a W and taking care of business and trying to think about the future. As I say, this may have been my last home game in the regular season, but we still have a lot more games to play. And, that was my mindset going into this game. I just wanted to come out, give my 110 percent for this team and make sure we got a W."
(On her last home game)
"I love our fans. We probably have the most loyal fans that any program could ever have. I was blowing a kiss to my family. A lot of my family is here. I was really happy and very appreciative of them being on this journey with me., allowing me to share the gift I have with them and appreciated what I do as a basketball player as well as a person.
UT Center Isabelle Harrison
(On whether team executed plan against South Carolina)
"Definitely. Dean [Lockwood] told us that before the game that they have very good post but we have a good first step. He told us to shot fake and go around, and it worked."
(On Harrison's previous success against South Carolina)
"Coach Law brought it to my attention after film, but I was really focused on this game, one, because I wanted to play hard for Meighan, it being her senior night, and we had to protect our house. That was on our scouting report before the game. I think we did a good job of that."
(On beating a top five team)
"I think it really helped us. It got us back where we need to be, and it showed us how when we play hard, we can defeat. I think we just really did a good job of focusing on the task today and doing what we had to do."
(On South Carolina)
"They have great post players, especially down to their freshmen. They're great. They have high percentage shooting. I think we really did our job tonight, especially from the guard position. We really frustrated the outside game as well so they really had to depend on the inside. I think we took care of that as well."
(On Bashaara Graves)
"Bashaara is a great player and I love playing with her. She's an all-around good post player. When she's in the game we feed off of each other so well. I see her easily in the post and she sees me easily in the post. I tell her I'm going to pass the ball to her, just go to work and that's what we do. I just love playing with her."
UT Point Guard Andraya Carter
(On opportunity that today presented)
"I think it was a huge opportunity. It was a great game for us, and South Carolina is a great basketball team. They showed it. They're ranking showed it. They've been getting good wins and playing really good basketball and the fact that we just came out and we were able to play our game, execute our game plan-- it says a lot about going into the SEC Tournament. It gave us good momentum."
(On her confidence today)
"I think I get a lot of my confidence from my teammates and my coaches. I didn't have a really good last game so I just wanted to let that go. I wanted to play hard and play for Meighan and my teammates. Just shoot the ball. And have fun out there. When I'm not thinking about it and just trust myself and my teammates out there with me, I think I play really well. That's what I tried to do this game."
(On the team's low turnovers)
"That was a huge deal because as everyone knows we've struggled with turnovers a little bit this season. The fact that we had seven turnovers against a top-five team and a great defensive team, it's not cut down to them, it's huge for us. South Carolina is so athletic. They're known for their defense. We took care of the basketball which is something we know we have to do in postseason."
(On taking care of the basketball)
"It makes us feel a lot better and more comfortable out there. We're more comfortable with the ball and loose. When we start to turn the ball over, we get a little tight. No one likes to turn the ball over and we know it's something we struggle with. When we're out there taking care of the ball, moving the ball and just playing together, it affects the whole game when you take care of the basketball."
South Carolina Quotes
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley
(On team's difficulty converting inside the paint)
"We are a lot more efficient team than what we displayed. Part of it is the faster pace of the game. They forced us to play fast and take quicker shots than we would normally take. Tennessee had a lot to do with it because they wanted to get up and down in transition. We just tried to keep up with their pace."
(On Isabelle Harrison)
"The thing about Isabelle is that she is a real tough matchup for us. We have to figure out what to do if we want to win an SEC tournament championship. We have to learn how to slow her down and not allow her to be as efficient as she has been the past couple of times that we have played her. Our bigs had a tough night tonight. We can use this as a teaching tool for our basketball team. We will learn from this."
(On Isabelle being quick for her size)
"She is pretty deceptive. I thought she played with a certain will to win that you don't come to match that. You will have a tough night, and that is what happened to our bigs and our team overall."
(On seeding for the NCAA tournament)
"We won't discuss that. We will talk about games like this to win and opportunities to win at Tennessee. If we want to compete at the highest level, we are going to have to come into hostile environments like this. We will continue to talk about getting the monkey off our back in Knoxville."
(On what was said to the team after the game)
"Like I said, we have a good basketball team. We have been playing our best basketball. We will learn from this. This was an opportunity for our bigs to see something they haven't seen all year long. I told them we may have an opportunity to play Tennessee again in the near future, and we will make some adjustments to be ready. They won't be as efficient as they were in the first half."
(On expecting the zone)
"I just expected them to mix it up. I did expect them to trap us a little bit like they did with their half court trap. They played a little bit more zone than they usually play, but we weren't being as efficient as we usually are."
South Carolina Center Elem Ibiam
(On Isabelle Harrison being the toughest person to guard all season)
"She is definitely a physical player. She was getting a lot of shots early. I wasn't not prepared, but she is very physical and a good player."
South Carolina Guard Tiffany Mitchell
(On Tennessee being more excited with it being Senior Day)
"I think both teams were hyped. It was Senior Day for them so they were going to come out extra hyped. The game was moving pretty fast, and we just tried to settle in."
(On what was said after the game)
"We just got beat by a good team on their court. We are just going to take this and turn around and be ready for the SEC tournament."
(On liking the shots she got during the game)
"Most of my shots were at the rim. I did miss some easy buckets at the rim, but next time, I will have to convert on those."