Nov. 4, 2013
Holly Warlick, Tennessee Head Coach
"It was nice to see us play against somebody besides ourselves and our practice guys. I think overall a very good performance by our team."
(On the expectations for Mercedes Russell)
"I thought Mercedes was, once she settled it, I think when she and Jordan went in they got a little winded and think that was nerves. Mercedes is an intelligent basketball player. I think after her nerves settled it kicked in and she just played basketball ball. She knows how to post, she is a great free throw shooter, I just think she plays the game really well. I have not had a chance to really talk to her, we haven't had individual meetings, we will have them this week. I think she understands the expectations for her here and she has never shyed away from it. She always wanted to come here. I think what is good is she is not on her own. I think Isabelle Harrison has helped Mercedes so much as far as how hard to practice, what is expected from her inside in the post plays. I give a lot of credit to Izzy for being a great leader inside."
"I thought out post rebounded well. I think our guards, I think Andraya and Jordan combined had 13 rebounds. We have worked really hard on the rebounding aspect of it. We do a rebounding drill everyday that includes both offense and defense. We didn't do a whole lot today. We didn't do a whole lot of our offenses and different defenses because we wanted to work on our basis stuff. We aren't going to shoot 100 percent so we have to make it a game out of it the rebounding part of it. When we can get second and third chance points, I think we shot 51 percent tonight, we are going to have the opportunity to shoot that, we better go to the boards and rebound."
(On the tempo of the game)
"I think so because we were trying to run it up their back, make or miss. I thought for the most part we did a really good job with that. That was our game plan and I think we stuck to it."
(On what she wanted to see from the team tonight)
"I wanted to see our conditioning aspect of it. I think once we got past the plain and our nerves, I thought we looked pretty good. We wanted to see different combinations on play, we could have gone with a big lineup with 3 posts, we could have gone all small guards. We didn't get to that. We set some goals and I was really proud of us with the rebounding aspect of it and for the most part our defensive play. We just have to adjust to what the officials are calling. We did a lot of hand-checking and we have to go back and really focus on playing position, getting in a stance and playing with our feet. I think at halftime we adjusted."
(On playing first two regular season games on the road)
"My first game on the road wasn't very good, so I hope it doesn't come out the way it did last year. I think it is two of our biggest teams that we are playing and they are both on the road and they are both one and two, first and second game of our schedule. It is going to be difficult for us. We have talked a lot about it and we have been practicing to playing both Middle Tennessee and North Carolina. It is what it is. I approved the schedule, so I can't blame anybody but myself. But it is okay. We need a test early and we are going to get it on the road and we will see what we are made of."
(On reminding the team of the losses early in the season last year)
"Not really. This team is totally different. They have a different attitude, they have a different work ethic. They have a togetherness about them that I haven't seen in a very long time here at Tennessee. So I think those things play a big part in our success and what we should expect on Friday night."
(On the goals for tonight's game)
"We just worked on us. That is what we talked about before we played. We worked on making sure we had perfect possessions, we talked a lot about offense, ball movement, playing inside out, getting the ball in and pushing the ball down the floor. And then defensively, getting stops, not getting fouls. I thought for us we didn't look at our opponent as the score, we just wanted to do some things that we had been working on. I thought we were successful doing it."
(On Mercedes Russell)
"I think probably what you didn't see with Mercedes tonight was she is a great passer. I thought when she first went in she was stepping away from the basket and facing up and then she realized her bread and butter is right there on the block. I think you saw a lot from her but she can handle the ball a little bit better and she is a lot better passer. She is going to be challenged a little bit more on the defensive end so she is going to have to play a little bit more position. I think as the game goes on and you see her get up and down. She sprints the floor, for a big kid she gets up and down the floor. When we are in practice and we are sprinting, she is finishing a second off of what our perimeter players run. She will get up and down the floor."
(On Bashaara Graves)
"I looked down and said, `Bashaara had 21 points?' That is her. She goes to work. She gets rebounds when we need them. She gets and ones when we need them. She gets stops. She is just a gritty kid and she is what being a Lady Vol is all about. She just goes about her business and gets it done. Then you look down and she is leading us. She just goes to work. She goes about her daily job."
(On Jasmine Jones sitting out tonight)
"It was for academic rules that she didn't abide by with the Lady Vols. Just one game tonight, she is good for Friday."
Jordan Reynolds, Tennessee Freshman Guard(On first collegiate basketball game)
"I was very nervous. I think I was more nervous than ever. They told me I had to bring the ball up, I have to shoot the ball. I was like okay, but once I got rolling, like she said, I got used to it, so that was cool."
(On new rules)
"Especially the beginning, the hand check, that was something really new to me. We got called for a lot of fouls on that and they were talking about freedom of movement and no hand check, no body-to-body involved with the person with the ball is moving, so that really stuck out to me, because now we can learn that we need to play with our feet and it will come a long way down the road, so that's something we're going to work on in practice."
"Absolutely. I think that if we pressure and move our feet the right way, then we could play awesome defense like we did today."
Andraya Carter, Tennessee Redshirt Freshman Guard(On being excited to be playing again)
"I don't know about most excited. We were all extremely excited. I just, I love playing for this team and I missed last season and I just really couldn't wait to be out there. I was nervous just like them, but once I got going, it's just so much fun. I just played aggressive and played hard and having my teammates out there with me, you can't really help but be excited."
(On team's athleticism)
"Definitely. I think this team's extremely athletic. We run, we like to push the ball. Jordan [Reynolds] here, Meighan [Simmons], me- we just like to push the ball. We're really athletic and that's really something the coaches are emphasizing to see- on offense and on defense."
(On exhibition games)
"I think the exhibition game- it's really just to work the kinks out and then in our locker room, we set goals for ourselves- hold them to this field goal percentage, limit them to this amount of turnovers and everything. If we don't reach those goals, we're disappointed in ourselves, so at halftime, we were looking at our goals, at the end of the game, we were looking at our goals, so it really is about us. We respect them and we were happy to play them, but we were worried about our games."
(On playing competitively)
"I think it's going to be a good thing for us. Towards the end of the season, no game is going to be easy and starting off week two- tough road games. We just have to get focused. We have to play hard. We're going to be in hostile environments, but I think that's good, because no part of this season is going to be easy, starting that right off the bat. We're going to get used to it."
(On Jordan Reynolds)
"It's so exciting. I think I can speak for the whole team to say we're so happy to have both of these freshmen with us and then talking about Jordan specifically- she's high energy, she's right there next to us, right there involved, she takes control, she takes the lead, and it's just fun. It's fun to play with players that love the game, that are passionate, that want to play hard and want to win and Jordan brings that every day in practice and in games."
Mercedes Russell, Tennessee Freshman Center(On first collegiate basketball game)
"At first, I was actually really nervous. I've never actually been this nervous before a game before tonight. I had butterflies in my stomach and everything just because I've never played in front of that many fans before, but once I got going, I think I was playing pretty well."
"I was very surprised actually. I usually don't get that nervous and last night it just hit me. I was freaking out."
(On high expectations coming to Tennessee)
"Usually it doesn't, but there was just a bunch of people tweeting me and texting me, and I think it kind of just got to me for the first time. I think that's a little bit why I was nervous."
Mike Mincey, Carson-Newman Head Coach(opening statement)
"Well I tell you Tennessee has a really good basketball team, I know that. The size and athleticism really gave us fits tonight, it gave us issues. I know they're picked fourth but they're actually better than I thought they were. I think like I said they have a really good chance of going on to win the national title in Nashville in April. With our team, I thought we fought hard but there's mismatches all over the floor. We struggled inside mightily, I think the point in the pain was sixty-eight and had fourty-nine points off turnovers, so we struggled their just because of the mismatches all over the place. Offensively, I would have liked to have seen us execute better; you know we turned it over thirty-two times at North Carolina Wednesday night, and we wanted to come in here tonight and improve on that but unfortunately we turned it over on more times than that with thirty-three on the evening. Im kind of disappointed there and we didn't really handle pressure like I would have liked. I mean at times we did okay, certainly in the second half they took the heat off a little bit and we were able to execute some of our stuff in the half court. This is one of those things were we know what the outcome is going to be when we come in here. We're just glad Tennessee allows us to come out here and let our players, especially these locals sitting before me, to play in this environment and Thompson Boiling Arena with the Lady Vols."
(on how Tennessee better than expectations)
"Well I know they're really good. They could have dominated us in a variety of ways. Mercedes Russell I watched her in the Final Four and All-American games and she was a lot better because she came to play tonight. She's 6'6 and our tallest player is 6'1, so we have nobody to guard her. Not only do they have her they have Burdick, Harrison, and they have all kinds of size. I thought they shot the ball well and I didn't really know about Reynolds. She shot the ball well and she was the one I really didn't know a whole lot about. They're just really solid and we just saw Carolina; they play real soon Tennessee and Carolina that's going to a really good ballhgame."
(on comparing Tennessee and North Carolina)
"They're both long and athletic. Tennessee's got the number one player in the country in Mercedes and they've got Diamond Shields at number two. This environment is a little different; Carolina's got a really good basketball team, I think they're picked 11th in the country and Tennessee at number four. You can kind of ask these players on what they think, but Tennessee may just have the upper hand.
(on UT/UNC similarities)
"The quicklness was similar and the aggressiveness underneath the basket was the same. If there's a loose ball, they're attacking and going for it. No matter if you're boxing out, they will try to find a way to get in there and snag it. So as a small person like most of us are, us boxing them out maybe pushing them back a couple of inches when they lean over and do a little tip to themselves. That's a difference between them, maybe a couple of shooters on the team where one team maybe a little bit quicker. That's going to be a great matchup and I'll be watching."
(on what was learned about team)
"Like I told them in the locker room, we're trying to evaluate our team during these dress rehearsals against Carolina and Tennessee to who can compete. I know if individually they can compete against North Carolina and certainly compete against Tennessee, then they can compete at our level in Division II basketball.
Katie Stubblefield, Carson-Newman Freshman Forward(on playing in TBA)
"To be honest, it was really scary at first because we go from playing North Carolina and I guess the environment is just really different. I don't know how many people were here but it was crazy. It was really fun and exciting because I grew up wanting to be a Lady Vol, and just being able to play was really cool.
(on cheering section)
"I think it was my high school team, I don't know. I didn't really look because I thought if I did, I would trip out. I think it was my high school teammates so it was really cool."
Jai Jai McLaughlin, Carson-Newman Sophomore Guard(on playing at TBA being a local)
"It was a lot of fun. I love coming out here because like she said, our families are out here so it's good to have our friends come out and watch us on a big stage. Just once during the season it's fun to come out here on a do it once big before the season starts, and then get back to where we are."
Tatum Burstrom, Carson-Newman Freshman Guard(on playing in Knoxville)
"It's a slow start. It's definitely not a comfidence builder at all but having your family and friends here is a good thing and a great experience we enjoy every time."
"I mean it was good I guess. I was hoping for more but we got other players that are stepping up and doing big things, so the more the merrier."