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NCAA Postgame Quotes: #2 Tennessee 68, #10 Creighton 52

March 25, 2013

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Holly Warlick, Tennessee Head Coach

(Opening comments)
"I'm obviously excited for our team and these two seniors who just had a really awesome game on their last game here in Thompson-Boling Arena. Creighton's just a very well coached, very good team. They're never out of the game. I'm proud of our finish and how hard we fought back. We're really excited to be moving on."

(On the focus on defense paying off tonight)
"Our goal tonight, and they're going to get threes, was to limit them to five threes. I didn't want, if they hit a three, for us to drop our shoulders. Because they're going to hit threes. I looked down and they had four threes, and that's huge for us. Because all year long, we haven't defended the three ball very well. I'm very proud of our effort. I thought our key was to play one-on-one. You have to lock your player up. You have to defend one-on-one. We didn't want to have to help a lot. When we helped, we gave up an open-look three. We made some adjustments in our defense, and everyone bought into it. It could have been one of our better overall defensive games of the year when we needed it. I'm proud of our effort. We didn't finish our defense with a boxout. We gave up 17 offensive rebounds. I know the ball was long, but we talked about that. If there's one part of our game that could've gotten better, it's boxing out."

(On making adjustments)
"We're a really on-the-ball, help-sighted team. We didn't help a lot. We limited our help and wanted to make sure it's one-on-one, and you have to make stops. If you don't they're going to get a two. I'd rather give a two up than a three. We limited our help. We stayed outside the paint and stayed on the three-point shooter when they brought the ball out. That was our primary thing for us tonight. And when we started switching, they took advantage and went inside and got Meighan inside and then Massengale, so we couldn't go with that game plan. We had to stay on our players. It was one-on-one."

(On the early second half run)
"We didn't want them to get in any rhythm on their three-point shooting. We talked a lot about 20 minutes. 20 minutes of finishing a game. We did some things that I thought we could have gotten better on defensively. We were holding the basketball a lot offensively. We talked about moving the basketball and making them play defense. We talked about moving the basketball so they had to play defense. I thought we were taking quick looks and quick shots in the first half. I think, obviously, our second half we got down and played better defense than the first half. We talked about finishing the game for 20 minutes and how we'd feel coming back in the locker room."

(On the 3-point performance)
"I thought it was huge. I thought we took great threes. We didn't force it. We took threes when we were open. It was one of the smartest that we've done shooting the three ball. And I thought Massengale and Meighan, two of their shots I thought went in and would be key, but they bounced out. I thought we had big threes when we needed them. That made us separate from Creighton. They were huge tonight."

(On peaking at the right time)
"I thought it was a great team effort. I keep talking about our team and how great we are and how important everybody is to this basketball team. I thought we got better tonight on the defensive end, and we have to keep doing that. You have to continue to get better. We have to cut down on our turnovers. There's so much more we can do and get better at. I think Izzy is getting back into the flow of things. It's all about combinations and who we play and their style. If we just keep learning and being disciplined. I thought tonight, for the most part, we were so disciplined on the defensive end, and we haven't been in the past. If we do those things, and we're disciplined on the offensive end, we're a very good basketball team."

(On defense first instead of off the offense)
"It was key tonight. You could see what Creighton did to us in the first half. They were packing it in; we weren't getting good looks. We were quick shooting, but we went down and got stops. It's huge for us. We're going to build on this. We got our hands on a lot of balls. Whether we got a turnover or not, we got our hands on a lot of balls. I was very proud of us because we didn't give them open looks. That was key: Don't give them open looks. If they're going to hit a three, we have to be in their way. We focused on that yesterday and today in the shootaround. That was our focus. It was one of the best defensive efforts we've had all year. And we needed it."

(On Kamiko's offensive output in the first half)
"It seems like this year, when we've struggled offensively, she comes up with big baskets. I thought tonight she hit big baskets. Driving to the basket, fading away, using the glass...she's just athletic. And when you give the opportunity to an athlete to perform, she does it. In that case, there's no rules for her. That's what's great about her. She can make a play. That has nothing to do with coaching. It's just everything to do with athletic ability and her using her athletic ability to do more. She kept us in the game. She kept us ahead and got ahead. At the beginning of the year, she played three minutes and wanted out. And she doesn't want out now. We're giving her breathers, but she's getting in shape and playing the basketball she needs to play. And playing the basketball we need her to play to win."

(On whether this would have been more difficult had they not lost to Mizzou)
"No question. We've struggled with the three-ball, and I think we've spoken a lot this year about the Missouri game for two reasons. One-not showing up to play. You can't take any team lightly. And two-they shoot the three-ball very well. We had no say in that game. We grew up a lot. We learned a lot. We grew as a team. Had we not gone through that, we would've thought it was no big deal. And it was a big deal. We came back and had a two-hour meeting at six in the morning, and I thought it was powerful. If you can learn from your losses, they're ok. I think if we would have won, I don't think we would have had the same result."

Kamiko Williams, Tennessee Senior Guard

(On what the challenge was for their defense against the Creighton offense)
"Just guarding shooters. I mean getting out there keeping a hand up at all times, staying in a stance. Because they like to pump fake, they get you in the air and then they like to swing the ball, penetrate, and kick. So just one-on-one "D" and staying in a stance the whole time, and we just stressed that after the last game. We just went out there and executed."

(On being the spark for the Lady Vols in the first half)
"The coaches and my teammates, they stress that I can do a lot for this team and they stay on me. They just encourage me to go out there and go play. I just did what I had to do for the team really. I didn't think about myself. My teammates found me in the right spots. You know, Cierra (Burdick) set a good screen coming off our drag and Ariel (Massengale) and Jasmine Jones, you know, they found me down low. So, I mean, my teammates just passed me the ball at the right place at the right time and I just finished it."

Taber Spani, Tennessee Senior Forward

(On Kamiko Williams being the spark for the Lady Vols in the first half)
"I think Kamiko's energy, on the defensive end especially, her getting four steals and just kind of some big key momentum plays in the first half when we really needed them. That was really big for us and I think for her to convert and just be that defensive presence. And then like she said, she did a great job of attacking, getting to the paint on the offensive end. That was really huge for us. So I think her focus and her overall just intensity; and she wants to win, and I think that's really rubbing off onto everyone else."

(On how bight the Lady Vols' performance from behind the arc was)
"It was big because we knew that they were going to double down on our bigs. Bashaara and Izzy did a great job and then they'd kick it out and find our shooters, and we knocked down shots when we needed to. I think a lot of it was just our focus on the defensive end to get stops and to get our transition game going and it kind of opened everything else up for us on the offensive end and for us guards on the perimeter."

(On their performance in their final game at TBA)
"It's special. TBA has been very good to both of us. Tennessee has meant a lot to our fans and we want to get to leave everything out on the court and for Holly, it being her first year, to get her to a Sweet 16 and to lead these young women to a Sweet 16 appearance. We just wanted to go out and leave everything out on the court for our fans because we really want to show that we appreciate everything they have done for us and it was a fun night to do that."

Jim Flanery, Creighton Head Coach

(Opening remarks)
"Well, defensively I thought they won the game at that end of the floor, thirteen steals and eight of them in the first half. I told our team that we had ten turnovers at half which is too many, but the too many was eight of those ten were steals, and the transition points were ten to zero. Instead of being down six at half if we just had four steals and still had ten turnovers, we're probably even. That was big, and then they got hot from the three during that one stretch and just created the separation. I thought we really fought to get back within I think nine. They're just defensively they pushed us out, and we just couldn't put enough good possessions together to get consistently good looks. They're a really good team. It was a great experience for our players.

"I felt like through large stretches of the game we played well enough to be competitive but certainly the separation went from probably four to 15ish where Simmons hit the three and Massengale hit the three and one other one I think. That made it pretty tough, and like I said we fought back and just weren't good enough offensively. They got six made threes on ten shots, and we got four made threes on 22. We knew we'd have to make some threes, and certainly we didn't get the quality looks from the three that we normally do, but we probably needed a few more of those to bounce in. Congratulations to Tennessee. They're a really good team. We're proud of our team and the season that we've had, the way that our players have pushed our program forward, and hopefully we're building toward even better things."

(On shooting too quickly because of Tennessee's defense)
"Yes. Our goal was to really try to lift them up. We use the phrase, "Use their pressure against them." We try to expand the floor, cut higher, give you more driving lanes, get a back screen out of that. We felt like that we wanted to kind of elongate possessions to take advantage of what we do well which is screen, cut and play more motion offense. I thought there were times where we did that. Ally hit it: they speed you up because they're longer. It's not just athleticism; it's length. Our decision making wasn't what it needed to me. I think that as Ally said the ability to replicate that in one day is difficult. ... The other thing is basically having it be a road game. I think kids get sped up even more when the crowd gets into it. That became a little bit of an issue."

(On having a number of threes in mind to have to make to win)
"Eight or night is what I thought we would need to make. When we play a team that's going to be difficult to score inside, I think eight or nine is a reasonable target. I knew they were going to be well prepared to take away the three line. We still feel like we can move it well enough and we have enough shooters and enough depth to play against their kids."

(On what he gave credit to the close halftime score)
"Experience and balance and depth. We've prided ourselves on that. ... I felt like we could play with Tennessee; I really did. Right before halftime we got the basket to cut it to six which I thought was big because they had run it from two to eight there in the last two minutes, and you never want to go in with that much negative momentum. I felt like getting that last basket might help. I just think we're a sound team that has enough weapons that we're not reliant on one or two players. That's helped us be a good road team. When you go on the road, and you're counting on one or two players to play well every night, I think you're not going to be as good of a road team. We have more players who can step up in road-game situations."

Ally Jensen, Creighton Senior Guard

(On the biggest challenge of Tennessee's defense)
"Yeah, I think we're just not used to seeing athleticism in all five positions. Usually in our league against the teams we play more often that we usually like have a release player like or a post player someone that we can kind of play through them, but Tennessee they're super athletic at all five positions. That's something that we struggled with a little bit. We got a little lackadaisical with the ball. I know myself in particular just got dead in situations where you can't against a team like Tennessee, so I think a lot of it was their athleticism, but definitely some of it was us and just not being smart."

(On preparing for Tennessee's defensive style)
"I mean we knew that was the style of defense that they were going to play, and that was definitely one of the things we were worried about, and we talked about. You can't prepare for that really in two days. I'm sure back home we could've had practice boys come in or something like that, but there's no way to replicate that in such a quick turnaround, but we were definitely aware of it and focused on that. We just weren't able to capitalize on it tonight."

(On Tennessee's second half scoring run)
"Turnovers just like in the first half. They just got threes out of it versus their layups in the first half."

(On the three-point shots not falling)
"Obviously when shots aren't falling, it gets frustrating. At halftime we still very much believed that we were in the game. Obviously we addressed the turnovers and the rebounding and wanted to make adjustments at halftime, really lock in on that. We believed that if we could rebound and not turn the ball over that we could win the game. I think we did a better job of rebounding in the second half, but obviously those turnovers were still there, and they capitalized."

McKenzie Fujan, Creighton Junior Guard

(On what changed about her 3-point shooting tonight)
"I think that especially because Syracuse plays zone. There were just a lot more open shots. Like you were talking about before (Tennessee's) just a little bit more athletic, a little bit longer. It's kind of hard to get good looks when they're kind of more up in your face like that. I mean coming off a game like that everyone knows that you just made six threes. It's kind of easier to get up and recognize that."
 

 

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