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Postgame Quotes: Lady Vols 77, LSU 65

March 7, 2014

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes

THE MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening comment from Coach Warlick.

COACH WARLICK: It's a 40 minute game. We kept telling our young ladies that. It was a battle. It was a grind. LSU was a lot to handle. They played yesterday, played today. They put it all out there.

But proud of these young ladies. We finally settled in and got stops when we needed to. It was a very good win for us.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions.

Q. Even down to the middle of the second half things weren't going your way. To what would you attribute the turnaround?

COACH WARLICK: We talked a lot about our defense. We gave up seven threes. You can't do that. I thought the second half when we made our run, we didn't give up any threes. We made them take difficult shots.

We talk a lot about our defensive play. This is an attest to them understanding why it was so important because that's why we got back into the game.

We had steals, we stole the ball from the point guard, shot a lot of layups. When you get steals, you get great looks.

We hadn't hit a three in I can't tell you when. We were 0 8, I think. That wasn't our game today. It was defense and rebounding and getting all over the boards. I thought that's what we did today.

Q. You were down by 6 at halftime despite shooting 34%. How much does that tie into the offensive rebounding?

COACH WARLICK: Well, I thought the first half we didn't get the ball inside. I thought we had an advantage there. I thought we took some ill advised shots the first half. When we cut it, we went into halftime and talked about getting the ball inside and making sure that we got all over the boards.

We just weren't getting good looks. We pounded the ball inside. It kind of opened up the outside for us.

We talked about as we always do just rebounding and defense, so...

Q. Isabelle, talk about the challenge of playing against someone like Plaisance. Also, you seemed to get stronger as the game went along. Talk about that.

 

 

Isabelle Harrison:
Going against TP, she's a great player. She can play outside and inside. Being in the post, sometimes it's hard to adjust to players like that. I really wanted to get focused. I knew when she was going off, I made a commitment to myself and the team that I was going to lock her down.

Q. Isabelle, there aren't many teams anywhere that can match up with Tennessee's height and inside presence. LSU is one of them. Talk about the physicality of the game.

Isabelle Harrison: They're a physical team. But being a post, things happen. As a post, you have to be that tough player. You have to be the person to take the hit, not let it frustrate you.

Playing against LSU, it was tough. We battled. I think our posts were standing strong.

Q. Coach, just the way you won the game, how you closed so strong, how does that carry over to tomorrow's game? Also, how did the crowd factor into this one?

COACH WARLICK: The crowd was huge. They're always big for us. They don't ever give up. I think we feed a lot off the crowd.

But we knew it was going to be a grind. The first game for us is always very hard. I know I in particular was concerned just because we haven't been on the floor, we didn't get a chance to shoot in the arena.

It's really difficult I think the first game. Once you get that under your belt, hopefully it's smoother for us.

Let me talk about Plaisance. She's a difficult person to defend because she can step out and hit the three, she can duck in, she can post up. She handles the ball. It was a challenge for us.

I thought when we needed stops, I thought our post players stepped up and got big stops. I mean, a credit to her. She's a heck of a player.

Q. Meighan, you started 1-11. What was that like for you to kind of come back after a slow start?

Meighan Simmons: To be honest with you, the coaches were getting on me about continuing to shoot the ball. Holly was telling me to get it on the defensive end, stay within the system.

Finally after a while, I got a couple steals, some assists later on in the game, some good defensive stops later on.

No matter what, sure you're going to continue to shoot. I was very proud about how my teammates stepped up they lifted me when I got down on myself, when I felt like I wasn't doing things right. They just stayed on me and told me I needed to be out there to lead them and help out.

I feel that's what I did. I played within the system, played my role today.

COACH WARLICK: She was probably harder on herself for missing a free throw than she was all her other shots.

Meighan Simmons: I really was.

Q. Does this game speak to Meighan's development as a player? In the past an off shooting night might have put her off, but tonight she played great defense in the second half.

COACH WARLICK: I think that's a fair and good statement. I think Meighan's game has just continued to grow. Now she's a complete player. Meighan is a great scorer for us. We're not going to tell her not to shoot the basketball. When she's not in her rhythm, we're going to get her to spread the ball around.

But I just think she focuses. Right now she plays within the team. She understands the importance of the defensive end. It's a mindset for Meighan. She's one of the best defenders on the ball. When she puts her mind to it, she's a tough defender.

I'm proud of her. This year she's really developed her game. She understands that her teammates can help her. I think that's what they've done.

Q. Do you think you could have won this game early in the SEC season when you weren't playing this well, this kind of game?

COACH WARLICK: Well, we lost to LSU our first game in the SEC, so probably not.

I think this team has learned to be resilient. They've got a mindset right now that they're never out of the game. I don't know. They kind of bow up a little bit when they're behind. I wish they would do that when we're ahead. It would save me a lot of stress and yelling.

You're seeing a result of this team staying together this summer, making a commitment, going to summer school both sessions. We've had to step up. We lost Ariel. I'm going to tell you what, Andraya Carter and Jordan Reynolds were huge today. They would not have done that had they not had the experience and support of the rest of the team.

Probably the answer to your question is no, but I think it's been a learning process. I think this team understands the importance of playing together, sticking to a game plan and knowing that this staff is going to try to put them in the best possible situation to score and win the basketball game.

They're just so resilient. I sometimes don't know how they do it.

Q. You brought up Andraya Carter. How much faith do you have in her?

COACH WARLICK: I think Andraya, she gets better and better each game. Here is the deal. Andraya is a competitor. She leads by example. She loves the defensive end of the floor. She's extremely athletic. But she competes.

I thought today she stepped up. She got in a little foul trouble. She's been great for Jordan. Jordan sees how Andraya practices and Jordan steps up as well. I can't say enough about those two. I don't care if Andraya and Jordan are freshmen. All I care about is they get it done, and they're getting it done for us.

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