Postgame Quotes: #3 UT 89, Pepperdine 57

Nov. 13, 2011

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(About today's game)
"As a coaching staff, we expected a little bit more out of our team in this game. For a veteran team, I thought we had some opening game jitters. We didn't start strong and kind of faded off and just didn't do what we needed to do. Then we got it together a little bit. We've got to learn from today's game and apply it on Tuesday night. We've got to start out stronger...put the pedal to the metal and keep it there. You look at the box, see the score, and think it was a blow-out, and it wasn't that kind of game at all."

(on the number of turnovers)
"I was not happy at all with 11 turnovers in each half and 22 total for the game. Not happy at all. We gave away 18 points to Pepperdine off of our turnovers. That really got my attention."

(on Glory Johnson)
"Obviously, I thought Glory did a great job on the boards today, and I was really pleased with that. She is finishing at the rim better. "

(on how many players we are playing)
"I liked the fact that we got good minutes across the board today. But how many people do we want to play efficiently? We'll look at the tape and see how and where we need to shorten our bench."

(on Shekinna Stricklen)
"She started out and did some good things but her shooting (5-13) was not typical of her today. She's usually a lot more efficient than she was today."

(on the freshmen)
"The freshmen looked a little bit like freshmen today. You could see they had a lot of nervous energy. That's not uncommon. It's a different feeling when the game counts for real. Hopefully, they'll be ready for Tuesday night after they get a chance to look at some tape."

(on Isabelle Harrison)
"Izzy had a great ratio today with eight boards in 13 minutes. I thought she did a really nice job around the glass."

(Looking ahead)
"We've got a big challenge ahead of us playing Miami on Tuesday night. They looked very polished in their opening game. I can tell you, we are going to learn a lot about us in that game. We have to go into the game with great preparation and focus.

"Our defense has to improve a great deal in two days. We had good board play today but it is going to be critical on both ends of the floor against Miami."

(Opening Statement)
"I thought today we played in spurts. We came out in the second half and shot the ball really, really well, but I'm really disappointed in our one-on-one defense. We put a lot of time in on that, and we just weren't very good. We turned the ball over 22 times, and if you turn the ball over 22 times, you're going to have a hard time winning the basketball game. But let's keep it all in perspective: we won the game. We're proud of our players for finishing, but we've got to get better. We've got to get a whole heck of a lot better before Tuesday."

(on the team's energy after halftime)
"We ran the ball, we pushed it, we got layups. In the first half, we were jump shooting the basketball and trying to throw the basketball inside, and it was not there. I think their game plan was a very good game plan: they took away our inside game. To have the shooters we do, we weren't looking for our shot as much, I think in the first half, but we pushed the ball a little bit more (in the second half) and got layups. That tends to make this team get a little energy. Stealing it. Pushing it. Shooting layups.

"The message was `go and take care of the basketball.' We had 11 turnovers the first half. We can't have 11 turnovers in the first half."

(on Glory Johnson's performance)
"I thought they were keying on Glory, so I thought she did a very good job of composing herself, and then she was getting rebounds and put-backs. That's what Glory does. She keeps her composure and takes easy shots, shots that Glory can make. That's a great thing for Glory, and that's her game. I thought she was poised, played very good defense, and Glory, I thought, had a real good game tonight."

(on Pepperdine's defensive plan)
"They had a great game plan. They were trapping us, double teaming the basketball, taking away our inside game. They were making us do things we usually don't. We usually get the ball inside, and we couldn't get the ball inside the first half. It was a great game plan. They're a very well-coached team. They're not big, they may not be as strong, but they followed their game plan, and I thought they did an excellent job."

(on defensive stops in halfcourt during the first half)
"My expectation is a lot better than what we had in the first half and the second half. We gave up too many one-on-one drives. They just missed some shots. They had some open looks they should have knocked down. I think our defense has to get so much better, especially when Miami comes to town on Tuesday. You talk about quick. They're quick on quick. Those are some things that need to get better, and we'll get back to work tomorrow on our one-on-one play and taking care of the basketball."

(on freshmen debuts)
"(Ariel) Massengale was just an exceptional point guard. She runs the show, and when she's in, we seem to have a little calmness to us. I think Cierra (Burdick) and Izzy (Harrison) did not have one of their best games, but they did make things happen. This is really their first big-time college basketball game, and I thought at times they played in spurts. They played well and then they got a little physical and got pushed around a little bit, but that's okay. They'll get there."

(on bench production, particularly Meighan Simmons)
"We really wanted to emphasize Meighan's defense and told her that she was going to be coming off the bench to see how her defense could develop. I thought Meighan's defense -- especially in the first half -- was very good. I think she got the message. We need her in the basketball game, especially for her quickness and scoring ability, but we don't want Meighan to be a liability on the defensive end, and I don't think she was tonight. I though Bri (Briana Bass) and her ball pressure in the first half set the tone for what we need to do all the time. I think both those two young ladies had a good night on the defensive end."

(on whether Tennessee would schedule Pepperdine in future seasons)
"Absolutely. They made us work. You watch the game and nothing came easy for us. For a team to force us to 22 turnovers, absolutely. Very well-coached team.

(on halftime conversation)
"Something we talked about at halftime was having that constant high energy at all times, and we just got committed to that. We came out and fired."

(on how the bench played)
"Being consistent is something that we, as a team, have tried to focus on this year. When we get out there, just being ready to go out there and play hard. It's just consistency."

(on whether this was a good opener)
"Absolutely. It was a great opener for us because they were very physical. We just have to step our game up and be more physical and just play Tennessee basketball."

(on the surge after halftime)
"Once we came out at halftime, we just all were saying that we needed to be committed to playing with high energy and just, as a team, having each other's back and just knowing that if you put pressure on the ball, that your teammates will have your back. We kind of flowed together, because we need to thrive off of defense and that will carry over to our offense. That's what happened at the beginning of the second half."

(on dealing with game-to-game expectations)
"I just try to stay ready when my number is called. With the team, I encourage my teammates and when I'm on the bench, I stay ready. That's all I can do, is stay ready."

(on the emphasis of defense)
"We just need to be consistent with our defense. We were like a roller coaster in this game. One possession, we played really good defense, and the next possession, our defense didn't rotate or anything. One person would be playing really hard on defense, and everybody would be kind of slacking off. We can't have that when we play teams like Miami and Baylor and Stanford and UCLA. We have to be consistent. "

(on playing Sunday and Tuesday)
"I think it's just a mental thing. We automatically have to switch gears. Today is pretty much over. The game is over. Now we have to worry about our next opponent. And tomorrow, when we come to practice, we have to be mentally ready. Our bodies might be tired, but we have to fight through it and be resilient. One of the adversities we're going to have to face going from one game to another is being able to make that switch and being able to play to our fullest potential."

(on Glory and Meighan being quiet in exhibition games and not in season opener)
"I can't speak for Glory, but with me, in the exhibitions, I was rushing things. I wasn't calm. I wasn't letting the game come to me. I prayed to God and told him, `Just give me that confidence back. Allow me to be able to play the game that I love and be able to let it come to me.' I think tonight, I really did let the game come to me. There were a few shots where I felt like I rushed it, but at the same time, I made other shots to help the team."

(on freshmen)
"Ariel is indescribable. I feel like she came in mentally ready and physically ready. Anything you could kick towards her she was ready for. She has that hungry freshman mentality. And besides that, Izzy and Cierra always bring energy and they're always excited to come out and play."

(on being quiet in the exhibition)
"I think when you have people like Taber Spani, Alicia Manning, and Shekinna Stricklen, hitting all types of shots, it's a fair game. When you need help or you want to get it inside the paint, that's up to me and Vicki Baugh to handle the pressure and score points. So, when the guards kick it in, we have to finish. When we kick it back out to the guards, they have to finish. It depends on which game. You don't want to score 30 points a game and be selfish. We want to share the ball."

(on finding room)
"It was pretty tough, not only finding room when you have the ball, but also trying to pull the rebound down and secure the rebound down the floor. Just being strong no matter what happens and getting it out to the guard is something we, as posts, have to do."

(on Briana coming off the bench)
"You have to love Bri's style of play. Defensively, she was a monster. You don't expect something like that from someone with her size. And when she comes out and plays defense like that and hits shots like that, what else could you ask for from someone like Bri? She's so little, but she packs a punch."

(on start of second half)
"I think one thing that we tried to focus on was to forget about scoring, forget about forcing shots and to just work on our defense and rebounding. Everything else will come easy. Start communicating with each other and you know, get back on D. Focus on keeping your hands up and everything else will come."

(opening remarks)
"First and foremost, we are grateful for the opportunity to come in here and play such a great program. Obviously, to coach against Coach Summitt is just a delight and honor. We leave here, obviously first half was probably a better half for us, but we leave here with a great experience that I think sets the table for us for the rest of the season. Again, a great opportunity for us, and I think we will learn a lot from this."

(on what she hoped to learn from this game against the Lady Vols)
"We've got four seniors that I'm just really proud of to come in here with. We have very high goals and expectations for ourselves for the season, and I think that when we have those goals, you have to play the best in order to see where you stack up. I think there's a lot of confidence that we leave here with. We turned them over 22 times; that's who we are. That's why we're (second) in the nation (turnover margin in 2010-11). We took care of the ball fairly well. We didn't shoot well. We didn't shoot our free throws well, and I think that those are things you can correct. They out-rebounded us, but I think a lot of that was on the defensive boards because we didn't shoot well. I think that there's a lot of good things that we learned that we will take into the rest of the season. The fact is that the standard has been set. When you play against a team like this, of this caliber, you establish what your standard is, and I think that our kids understand that they can play at this level and continue to improve and do things well and consistently throughout the game good things can happen."

(on what happened during the beginning of the second half)
"Yeah. I think it was quick shots. We just started taking too many quick shots, too many threes. We weren't attacking. I thought that we did a great job when we were in our half court, and they were in their player defense. We did a good job of attacking the basket, so they went zone. I just think we got a little too anxious. Quick shots create an imbalance which hurt us in transition, and that's where they got all their threes."

(on how this game came about, a player on Pepperdine's roster from the Tennessee area)
"Yes...that is no longer with us, so... (laughter) What we try to do is go home to each of our players. We have a lot of kids that are from out of state. This was a game we wanted to play for her. Again, I think it was meant to be. Again, you talk about the many lessons that are learned, but there's a lot of confidence that we draw from this game. I think was more important for us than anything else."

(on whether she's surprised that the UT coaches are upset about the outcome)
"No. I think their standards are high, and so are ours. We're upset because we didn't make our free throws. We're a better free throw shooting team. I'm upset that we didn't execute and attack the zone, so I think all coaches, particularly the first game of the season, there's a lot to be learned, and there's a lot of areas to improve, and so I would expect her to be upset as I am upset. There were several victories won here. We didn't win the battle, but we had a lot of victories. It doesn't mean that I'm content with where we are or satisfied with one or two stats that we outplayed them. We're a better team. We didn't play as well as we could in some of those areas, and so (I'm) upset, not pleased, and we'll work on it."

(on what you take away from this game)
"We have five male practice players who we go against and battle with every day, and so our mentality was if we can go hard against them, we can go hard against anybody."

(on Pepperdine's offense against Tennessee's defense)
"I feel like we attacked them fairly well, but I also think, like coach said, that we settled for a lot of outside shots."





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