Postgame Quotes: #3 UT 70, Northwestern State 46

March 22, 2014

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(Opening statement)
"I thought Northwestern State was a very good basketball team. They're very well-coached. We could tell we hadn't played in about two weeks. We missed a lot of easy shots. Our defense wasn't a priority but I think in the second half we got our point across. We got the ball inside. We showed a little bit of what our defense is supposed to be like."

(On her feeling under the weather)
"I was a little under the weather last night. I got a bug and it probably started about 2 a.m. this morning. About 9 a.m. this morning, I didn't think I was coming to the game. I had a lot of IVs and fluids pumped into me. That was my choice to sit the first half. I was still a little light-headed. Then I couldn't sit there any longer. When we back at halftime, we tried to do some more IV, but that wasn't my focus so we took the IV out of my hand. It's difficult when you have someone who is up and you have a voice. I'm not up and coaching the basketball team. Kyra (Elzy) did a great job. You're not going to do too many good things when you're shooting 22 percent in the first half. We were quick shooting the basketball. I felt I needed to get up. Somehow I found a lot of energy after the first half. I had a lot of energy and decided I needed to get up and coach this basketball team."

(On how many IVs she had)
"I had two this morning and probably about two or three drops at halftime. I couldn't wait any longer so I took it out."

(On how she felt)
"I didn't feel very well at all. I hope I'm a pretty tough person. When they came in and gave me the IVs, I quit being nauseated and dizzy. Hopefully they put some good stuff in there. I don't know what they put in there but it worked. I don't know how I'll be tonight. I may have to get some of that stuff pumped back in."

(On what caused her sickness)
"They thought it was food poisoning. We'll go with food poisoning or a bug."

"I called my doctor at 3 a.m. this morning. She came over when she got up. I had three people there. They were just outstanding. I couldn't have done it without them. Our kids knew. They had a great shoot around. They had a great prep. I don't think that had anything to do with our slow start. We hadn't played in two weeks. We were playing against a great basketball team. They were running a Princeton offense and they run it well. They hit big shots. We had to get a game under our belt. I'm sure it's probably difficult that I'm not standing up and coaching the team. It was hard for me to sit there. We shot 58 percent in the second half and 94 percent from the free throw line. We were missing lay-ups and put backs. When you do that, you let teams hang around you."

(On the slow start)
"We're seeded No. 1. That's great for us. Northwestern State had to do something great to get into this tournament. You can't take anything lightly. I refer back to Ball State when we got beat by Ball State in the First Round in Bowling Green. We cannot overlook anybody or take for granted that we're going to win. We got off to a slow start. I think we had a little bit of the jitters. It's like any other team in the tournament. This is it. Each team is playing 40 minutes of their best basketball and all out. There's no `we have to get better tomorrow.' This is it. Hopefully we got that out of our system and we can get back to playing 40 minutes of basketball."

(On the team's struggles)
"They policed themselves. They understood. We weren't playing any defense. We were quick shooting the basketball. They were not having to defend at all. We missed easy baskets. We're a team that it snowballs. If we miss, if Meighan (Simmons) misses, then Bashaara (Graves) misses, then Izzy (Harrison) misses. Then we get on a roll. Then we'll get on a positive roll. I was more upset with our defense, getting beat and not talking. We started off with a switching man and it wasn't very good. Then we went to a straight-up man-to-man and it was better. We gave them too many open looks. We put them at the free throw line. We fouled. We have to be more disciplined. We were bigger and we were stronger. But that wasn't getting it done the first half."


(On Northwestern State PG Janelle Perez)
"She was a great point guard. She was super-crafty with the ball, she was quick, had good change of direction moves, good footwork. It was a challenge, especially for some of our taller guards to get low, stay in front of her and keep her in front of them. She could score different ways, she had floaters, she had different moves, so it was a challenge and we'll see good point guards along the way, so it was good for us."

(On the conversation in the locker room at halftime)
"Holly and coach Elzy were definitely frustrated with us and we were frustrated with ourselves. We came in and a lot of us were saying things to each other. We weren't being negative or tearing each other down, but we just knew that we had to do better. We just talked about what we needed to do and basically everything surrounded just playing Lady Vol basketball and playing hard and giving our full effort on defense and playing together. We all knew what we had to do, we were on the exact same page and came together."

(On what caused Tennessee's early struggles)
"I think it was more just us, we were out of it, we hadn't played in two weeks and had just been going against each other, so we were a little out of rhythm, a little out of synch and we forced a lot of shots instead of getting it to the inside. I think we lost ourselves a little bit in that first half, we just needed to come together as a team the way we did during the SEC Tournament. I think it was more us, I mean, they played really hard and hats off to them, and they had a great game plan and they made us force some shots. But once we got in our rhythm, and started playing together, it was better."


(On slowing down after a hot start)
"I think we went away from some of our defensive assignments and we might have gotten a little comfortable, but that just shows from not playing in two weeks. We've got to get back in our rhythm of having a sense of urgency for the full 40 minutes."

(On working with the height advantage)
"I definitely wanted to establish a presence on the inside early and a I guess I decided to get into the feel of it and I knew that people were looking towards me to get the offensive energy going and I took it upon myself to do that, but it also helped our defensive side as well and it got us going. Everyone was talking to each other and correcting one another and you saw that we were a different team."

(On if she noticed Coach Warlick being more active in the second half)
"I definitely noticed, Holly gets to stomping and yelling, it draws your attention, and that's just her and her care for us and for this team and her passion for the game. She trying to put it into us, so if we had any confusion, we looked towards her and she lets us know, so I think we really fed off of that."


(Opening Statement)
"Hats off to Tennessee, obviously they are a great program, one of the most successful programs in women's college basketball history. I thought they really ignited that run in the second half. I couldn't be more proud of my team and the way they competed. Fearless was a word that we kept using over and over this week. I am just so proud of their fight and their effort and their will to compete for each other and for our staff. I am just really excited for them to experience an atmosphere like this, and go toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the country. I am just happy I am going home with this group."

(On competing against Tennessee's height)
"I told them last night that we weren't going to grow six inches overnight and we just had to be who we were. I think going to Texas and playing the size that we faced against them and their front line, we felt that we had to go more to our five out offensively and just execute. Being at the mid-major and low-major level, I think you have to do something different offensively in order, when you get in these positions, to have a chance to compete against people who are bigger, stronger and faster. I thought our kids did that. They executed all year long, extremely well on the offensive end, we value the basketball. Just playing possession type basketball really allows us to stay in games against people that are bigger than we are."

(On being down by two at half)
"I think we had to take away their biggest threat to start. Obviously, Simmons and Carter are very efficient from the three-point line and that is a concern. But we felt like we just had to force them to be uncomfortable. I don't know if it was our movement or what but sometimes you just have to force people to make open shots. Sometimes when people are open, they had some open looks on the perimeter and didn't knock them down the first half. But we felt we just had to pack it in as much as possible and give them a different look. We had no chance to match up with them if we were going man-to-man, so we felt like, this is who we are, this is how we are going to have to attack them and really hope that they miss some shots. And then hope that they just don't dominate us on the boards. I think we were only down eight or nine on the boards at the half and I was pleased with that, especially, neither team shot it very well. I think they were shooting, 22 percent and we were shooting around 28, neither one of us were lighting it up too much. We just felt like we had to pack it in and force them to make the extra pass, run a little bit more clock. That is the other thing, playing the zone, it really kind of shortens the game for us. You can't just come down and make a quick shot. You have to move the ball around and try to make plays and that runs clock for us and works in our favor."

(On their shooting percentage today)
"I went in the locker room and told them I am not happy being down two, we should be up five. We felt like we got some great looks, we have two kids who shoot 40 percent from three and the third and fourth are hovering around 40. We shoot the ball well when we get our feet set and knock it down. I think some of it, to start off, was probably nerves. These kids were jacked up to play in this environment. When we settled down, I still think we got great looks, we just didn't knock them down today. Scott and I looked at each other at halftime and said we should be up. So that was a little disappointing. We just challenged our kids at halftime with that, get your hands and feet ready, you guys knock down shots every single day. Today is no different, they are just a little bigger than we are and there are a few more fans out there. But we felt like we got some good looks. The way we were scoring, it is just possession basketball, no one in the SEC runs a Princeton style offense and everything we do is based off our reads and how we are being guarded. I think we felt that we had to pull their bigs out and force them to guard us a little bit.

(On if the players expected Tennessee to be on them more on the perimeter)
"I am sure. Their length and athleticism affects that a little bit. I recall a number of open looks that we just didn't knock down. Their size affects things and you get bumped and pushed and you play over the course of 40 minutes, you are going to wear down a little bit and we just didn't knock them down today.

(On how today's game affects the program in the long run)
"Well it certainly won't hurt it. I think that number one, what it does for those kids in our locker room, it tells them when you believe in something and you buy into it, you can do a lot of good things. Where I think I challenged them was ok, you went toe to toe with them for a half, they make the run to start the second half and we knew it was coming. I should have probably called a time out a possession earlier, and that is on me. But now it is about challenging yourself and what areas can I improve on to help this team. It is obviously going to help us with recruiting. We just got a two hour commercial from ESPN2 showcasing our program and who we are. It just shows our kids that if we can continue to be tough, to compete and play for each other. As we build and get more depth and get more talent in there, those kids are two years removed from a six-win season. They haven't experienced a lot of winning. Our first year last year we had 12 wins. For them to get to 21 wins, to make an NCAA tournament, make a conference championship, it building confidence and winning breeds winning. That is the biggest thing. It is hard to team kids how to win and these young ladies are learning how to do that, that they can experience that and it is just going to springboard us into the future."

(On her Keisha Lee's height)
"I don't think I have ever actually measured her, but she is 4-11. Dead set. The kid is not five feet tall. What you guys don't realize probably is that we have three kids in our starting line up that did not have a single other division one offer other than us. They just knew their role and they compete really hard for us and we try to put them in a position to be successful. I wouldn't trade that little 4-11 point guard for anybody in the country. She knows that and she has been clutch for us in the two years that we have had her. I think to see her on a stage like this and compete and be able to do what she does I think is just going to help her confidence level even more."


(On competing against Tennessee)
"Tennessee is a great team and that 11-and-2 run, I guess we were a little nervous but after Coach called a timeout, we gathered and we were okay. We went out there and competed. Just did what we had to do."

(On their shooting today)
"We had some open shots, some good looks, we just didn't hit tonight. But their defense and their pressure, they pressured us. But we had some good looks. Just didn't knock down."

(On today's performance)
"We just came out, I mean, I am used to everyone being taller than me. We just came out and competed. My whole team, I just love this group of girls and we just fought and we never gave up. I wouldn't trade them for the world."


(On the team's mindset)
"I think our mindset was to come out here and compete and give it our all. To be just down two at halftime, it was a great feeling. Tennessee's run in the second half just deflated us and we just couldn't get back on them."

(On Tennessee's size)
"They give up a little size underneath so we just tried to pack it in on the bigs as much as possible since they are a little bigger than we are."

(On playing a number 1 seed)
"We just didn't try to focus so much on what other people thought was a mismatch, we just tried to come out and compete as much as possible."





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