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Postgame Quotes: Lady Vols 90, Alcorn State 37

Nov. 25, 2012

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Tennessee Head Coach Holly Warlick
(Opening statement)

"It's going to be difficult to follow Miss (Kamiko) Williams. I'm sure she had a lot to say to you all. (laughs) We were sluggish in the first half, and we played inspired the second half. I was excited for Kamiko. I thought she played the way she's capable of playing. I think she played hard, she played smart. She was inspired. She's had some great practices, and I was just really excited for her and proud of her to have a chance to put a complete game together.

"Our defense held Alcorn State to 22 percent (shooting). That's the best we've done thus far, but we can get better. We can always get better. We shot the ball, I think, well, but in the second half, we shot a lot of layups. That's what we're trying to do, to run an offense to score quickly and score in transition.

"It was a good win for us. I was excited for Tonya Edwards to come back. I think she's got an outstanding team. They play hard. I told her that after the game. They play hard and they'll do great in their conference.

"Overall, I'm pleased but there's always things we can go back and work on, and there is a big list of things we can work on the next two days in practice."

(On Kamiko Williams' performance)
"I think it's confidence for her. As a staff, we've tried everything throughout her career. We've been tough on her. We've been easy on her. And I think we've come to the conclusion that we have to have a little bit of a balance now when coaching her. We can't stay on her all the time because she takes everything really personal, so I think you've got to get on her but you've got to show her a little love as well. I think Jolette (Law) and Kyra (Elzy) have done a great job with Kamiko in meeting with her and getting her head right and getting prepared for games and those types of things. They worked really hard with her and she's responding, and she's been responding to all of us."

(On six players finishing in double figures scoring)
"That means we're sharing the basketball and playing together, and we're not relying on one person. I love it. I would say I think our offense is a little ahead of our defense, but we work more on our defense so I don't know what kind of coaching I've been doing. We're putting them in position to score and get good looks. I thought at times we haven't given them good looks. It's been tough shot in the pass. We're putting them in position to get good looks and scoring off our defense. That's what I want. Second half, all we cared about was scoring in transition and just spreading the floor and playing together. I thought in the second half we settled down and did that."

(On UT turnovers during the game)
"I think Cierra (Burdick) struggled a little bit taking care of the ball. I've never seen Cierra dribble the ball off her foot in her entire career. But yeah, that's a concern with us. We've got to take care of the ball. We don't value the basketball at times as much as we should, especially in transition and in the breaks. I thought we had good looks but we had a lot of turnovers in transition. We've got to cut those down because the teams we're getting ready to play will totally capitalize off those."

(On improvement of Jasmine Jones and Nia Moore)
"It was great to see. I got a little concerned. Jasmine fouls and then immediately fouls again. I have got to make a decision if she fouls to get her out. I was worried about her but once she settles down you can see her athletic ability. She has a beauty jump shot and plays hard. That is what I love about her and why I want to keep her in the game. Nia has the best hands of a post player that we have seen in a long time. You can throw anything to her and she catches it. Nia got some valuable minutes. Nia has had two great practices so she got rewarded with playing time. She has really worked hard in practice and getting better."

(On taking Tonya Edwards over to see Pat Summitt before the game)
"Tonya wanted to know where Coach Summitt was. She was going to go across the floor and couldn't see her. Tonya Edwards has helped build this program, tradition and wanted to help Pat with wins. She was anxious to see her. I thought it was important that I took her over there to make sure she saw Pat. I have a lot of respect for Tonya and what she is doing. She will get her team turned around. She loves this program and actually I think she is coming by practice tomorrow to watch us. I thought it was important for Tonya to get the chance to speak to Pat and visit with her. I wanted to make sure she did that. I wouldn't walk too many people over to see Coach Summitt."

(On Taber Spani)
"Taber needed to get on track. She hadn't shot the ball well and she has put in a lot of extra time. Taber is a scorer so she is going to keep shooting. I think at the Georgia Tech and Miami game she gets really down on herself if she misses her first couple of shot. We are trying to get her to stay positive. She has a beautiful shot, stay positive and just remember that they next one is going in. She has really put in the time since the Miami game to get shots. Taber is all about confidence. She just has to make sure that she understands that we know that she can shoot the basketball and we want her to keep shooting. I think today she got settled in, hit her first shot and then it just started."

(On Meighan Simmons)
"Meighan Simmons is one of our best defenders when Meighan wants to play. She is aggressive, she is fast. I thought Meighan came out and got after the basketball and did what I know Meighan can do. She does that and her offense goes. She is one of the quickest players I have ever seen with the basketball. She goes 100 miles per hour to the basket and doesn't change her speed to score. As Meighan had a great offense day today, I think she equally has a great defensive day. I am just proud of her. She played with a lot of heart on the defensive end. That is what we have been trying to get her to do. Don't worry about your offense, let's start on the defensive end and that will allow you to come and help you get easy buckets on the offensive end. When she is scoring and playing defense, she is a special player, a special young lady."

TENNESSEE PLAYERS
Taber Spani
(On her good game)
"Oh, it was great. Obviously, I've had a rough few games just with my shot and I've been trying to get back in rhythm, so it was nice to feel it going."

(On Kamiko Williams' defense)
"It's so important. Everyone always says we need Kamiko (Williams), but you can see out there as to why we need her. Her energy, too. She made three plays back to back to back, she had an offensive rebound and put it back, then she tipped the ball and then she got a block and an assist and that's just the explosiveness that she has. We're really proud of her and we're excited because she'll build on this, so it's great."

(On her first double-figure game in a while)
"Honestly, I think for this team I just need to shoot well and I haven't been, so I've been pretty frustrated with that, so it was nice. I look more at percentages and I see that I shot a pretty good percentage, so that was good."

(On all players scoring)
"When we get into tougher games, we're going to have to have more go-to people, people that we can rely on for scoring, but if we can build that up right now... Everyone on this team is capable of scoring 20 a night, just depending on the defense and what they want to take away, so it was just great to see. Especially our freshmen, they played great. That's really important for them to get their confidence."

(On some players leaving for Thanksgiving)
"It was vital. We needed to come back and have a great statement game. Obviously, our first half was very sub-par, so to come back in the second half with great energy and finish the way we did was needed."

Kamiko Williams
(On her defense)
"Honestly, it's just being in shape. I've always struggled with fatigue and suicides and the amount of running we do in practice is starting to pay off. Defense has always been an emphasis for me, since my freshman year, they've wanted me to be a defensive stopper. I'm just trying to take it as a challenge and pick it up full-court this year because that's what they're looking for."

(On having 34 turnovers)
"34 turnovers is a lot of turnovers, but at the same time, we had 19, so we just need to take care of the ball more and continue to make the other team have more turnovers."

(On her 3-play run)
"Honestly, I've always been more of a reaction player. I just got the ball, got it back, I saw Meighan (Simmons) running and I just threw it. She just happened to be there and I left her to have to go get it. A lot of things that I do are just off of reaction, just things I do and it just happens. I don't really think much about the play, I just let things go the way it is."

Meighan Simmons
(On her defense)
"It has [been an emphasis] and it's something I've been trying to work on as much as I can. Holly and Coach Elzy have been on me like crazy on my defense. I think it just brings a bit of it to the rest of the team because if we can get the ball to everyone else then it makes an easier steal. I think that's just the biggest thing for me is to focus on my defense and making sure I'm doing what I can to help the team."

(On Williams' 3-play run)
"There is so much that (Kamiko Williams) can bring to the table and I think sometimes she doesn't even realize it. We see it, everybody else sees it and it's something that we expect from her all the time. When she does it, it gets everybody else involved and it brings out the best in everyone. That's something that we're going to need from her when we play Middle Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas, Baylor and Stanford, we're going to need her no matter what. I think that if she just comes into practice every day and comes in ready and continues to get in shape, I feel like everything will fall right into place."

(On freshman forward Jasmine Jones)
"With Jasmine (Jones), she's a mental giant and that's something that she's learned even from today. Like today when she got her early fouls, she remembered from the last game, she said, "I don't want to focus on getting other fouls, I just want to block her and play," so that's just little things you have to remember. You have to be disciplined. I was telling her this, but then I got my fourth foul and I sat out the rest of the game, so I just wanted to be encouraging to her and tell her that things will get better, you just have to fix your mistakes, but she really did do an excellent job and she really bounced back today, so I was very proud of her."

(On having 6 players in double figures)
"You can (try to have it), but that's team basketball. With our assist to turnover ratio, that right there says it all. In the beginning, we didn't have that many assists - we had more turnovers than assists and something about us is that we've learned to play together. We've learned to know each other's strengths and weaknesses and we've learned to go out there play with each other and lift each other up when we're down and just stick together like the coaches always tell us what adversity is."

Alcorn State Head Coach Tonya Edwards
(Opening remarks)
"It's always good to be home. You never want to take a whooping at home, but it's great to be back home. It was tough. Coming in we already knew that they were going to turn it up, apply a tremendous amount of pressure on our ball handlers and play 94 feet. We seem to have trouble handling the ball 94 feet. We gave up quite a few turnovers, and that's a tribute to Tennessee's defense and not picking up in transition. It hurt us: not getting back, picking up and players missing assignments. We definitely have our hands full, but I thought Holly and the crew did a wonderful job of exploiting our weaknesses and pushing the ball up the floor and really applying pressure on the ball."

Alcorn State Senior F Renelle Richmond
(On if it meant a lot for her Head Coach to come back home)
"Most definitely. It's all good coming back. You want for your coach to come back to where she first and foremost learned everything, the whole aspect of basketball. From a player-to-coach relationship, that's an important part of basketball. You could tell she was happy to come back."

(On fighting, battling, giving effort in this game)
"I thought we gave effort. We could've given a lot more effort. I thought we could've capitalized on a lot of things better. I think that this was a big learning experience, and we'll grow and move forward from this."

(On what the team can take from this game)
"Just what it's really like to compete against a Top 25 team like Coach said a team that's been ranked for decades now and see how hard they play at all times on both ends of the floor, offense and defense."

 

 

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