Nov. 28, 2012
Tennessee Head Coach Holly Warlick
(Opening statement) "I think it was two teams going at it and it went back and forth. And obviously, we got down early, but I like the way we battled, the way we stayed in the game and came back. I kept telling our players it was all about defense and getting stops. It wasn't about the offense. We've got to get stops and the defense well generate our offense for us. I thought we did that. We got stops, we got rebounds. It was a great effort by both teams. I was proud of our team for not giving up and down by 11, we could have just thrown in the towel, but they battled, played hard. And I think you're seeing Kamiko Williams at her best right now. She put (together) two games, back to back, and I was extremely proud of her and proud of our whole team for just getting a win."
(On Williams sparking the Lady Vols late) "Well, I think today Kamiko was the most consistent at guarding the basketball. You're seeing the result of her having great practices and being focused and being into practice. The result is she's playing really well in the games. She's got a lot of confidence right now, and we're doing our best to keep that confidence in her."
(On being emotional on the bench, more than usual) "I was frustrated with our players. You know, I thought we could have been playing a lot better, and I'm just emotional. I think I got a little too emotional, and I calmed down. I just think we were not doing what we needed to do, and we needed to somehow get back in the game. ... We do a drill in practice. It's called a persistence drill. It's a defensive drill where the players can't get off for 45 seconds. There's more to it than that, but it's an extremely tough drill. One day we ran it for 45 minutes. We just kept going in the huddle saying this is our persistence drill. We've got to get stops. We've got to get stops. I thought that was key for us. Once I calmed down and started realizing we needed to use the persistence drill, I was OK."
(On Andraya Carter's condition) "I think they're going to evaluate her tomorrow. She just tweaked her shoulder a little bit."
(On Jasmine Phillips not on the bench) "She violated some team rules."
(On if it is a one-game suspension) "Do not know yet."
(On the worry the Lady Vols would not pull off the win) "It was a little nerve-racking. We would make a great stop and we would come down by one and then we would turn the ball over, then they would get a jump ball, but I think we were trying to get it back so quickly and we wanted to settle down and use the clock and make them have to play defense. I think once we finally got over that hump we got a little more energy. I could feel the tension when we could not go ahead. We battled and I was proud of them for finishing."
(On the similarities between this game with MTSU and the UTC game) "I think it is a sign of growth. I think Middle Tennessee is an outstanding basketball team. They are very well coached and they pushed us to the limit and made us do some things we probably have not had to do this year. I was proud of our players for not giving up. We could have thrown in the towel being eleven down and we battled. That is the sign of a solid basketball team; when you do not give up and you battle and we were not concerned being down eleven. All we were saying was that we needed stops. I think UTC prepared us for this game tonight."
(On Kamiko Williams recent efforts on the court) "I just think Kamiko we have found a balance with her. I said this after the last game that Jolette and Kyra have done a great job with her as far as mentoring her and getting her on track and focused through practice. I think she has done just that. I think you are seeing a result of how hard she is working in practice. Having her take practice seriously, getting in better shape, she is now in better condition I think. Last year towards the end of the stretch I do not think she would have hung in there and played the defense she would have gotten tired, but now she is getting in better shape and understanding that we do need her as a vital and important part of this basketball team."
(On how tonight preped the team for the upcoming schedule) "I think it is going to prepare us for Sunday. We will go back and watch the tape. Any time your back is up against the wall you have to battle, you'll find kids who will want to fight. I love it. Regardless of our shots falling or not falling, I keep saying this, but we have high energy. and we compete. When we do those things great things happen for this basketball team. That is what we need to continue to do. We have great athletes but we have to put it all together and we have to make sure we compete on every possession."
Tennessee Sophomore PG Ariel Massengale
(On fighting for a win) "Just cramping up. Tonight was a great team for us. Everyone stepped up when we needed to. We had a couple people go down. Kamiko came in and played great, and she gave us the ball pressure. The individual effort on the defensive end helped get the win."
(On difference between MTSU and Chattanooga games) "The fight. We've had a couple tough practices lately. Coach keeps reminding us not to back down. No team is just going to give us a `w.' We have to go out there and take it. Through our practices, everything we do is for this moment right here. It just a matter of going out and making the preseason and work worth it."
Tennessee Senior G Kamiko Williams
(On motivation from teammates) "I most definitely need their motivation. They keep me energized. I thought the difference tonight was coach (Kyra) Elzy. She was just in my ear the whole time just telling me to play defense like I know I can. We just have this little inside thing going, and she just got me pumped up. When my teammates tell me they need me, I'm just going to go out and do it for them."
(On taking a charge) "I think I got more excited because we were just doing a charge drill in practice not too long ago, and I don't really know how to take charges. It was probably the first time I've ever taken a charge, so I got excited."
Tennessee Junior G Meighan Simmons
(On her defensive improvement) "The coaches have been in my ear about defense and making sure my defense fuels my offense, not the other way around. That is just something I've been trying to focus on. Why not keep working at something that I know I can be even better at?"
(On the victory in overtime) "I would say it's a tough win, but I would also say it's a test for our future and who we face later on. Not to think ahead, but it's a test to see where our mentality is. When adversity gets you, what are we going to do? Are we going to keep our backs against the wall or fight back? I think we found our second wind in overtime and responded to the adversity."
(On teammate Kamiko Williams) "We all know what Kamiko can do, sometimes I thinks Kamiko forgets what kind of player she is. Some of these things she can do, offensively or defensively, she is an amazing team player. I admire how she played today. She gave her all and was the Energizer Bunny out there tonight. That only pushes everyone else to play that much harder."
Middle Tennessee Head Coach Rick Insell
"We've got a pretty good basketball team, and we're experienced. We felt like we could play with Tennessee and two good teams out there battling, and that's about all you can say. Both teams battled. Neither team gave an inch. We made some smart plays from both sides, didn't handle the pressure at the point as well as I'd like. I'm awful proud of our basketball program right now. Credit Tennessee too; they did a good job."
(On the impact of the early injury to KeKe Stewart)
"KeKe's been playing as good as anybody we've got, playing like she was in high school, and she was an All-American in high school. This is the first time that we really got some great play out of her, and then when she went down hurt, that took a lot of our strength away inside. KeKe's one of our best shooters."
(On Kamiko Williams' play, inconsistent at times)
"I wish she'd been a little more inconsistent tonight. She came in, and her length and her strength just overtook (Shanice) Cason, and then she stepped up when they needed that three and hit it. That was big; that was her big play, but she's a senior, and that's what seniors are supposed to do."
Middle Tennessee Senior F Icelyn Elie
(On how the team felt when Tennessee tied the game late, went into overtime) "I think the biggest thing for us was coming together. Normally, we haven't been coming together as a team and bringing each other up and keeping each other up was a big part of this game tonight."
(On this year's game being nice compared to last year's rout of Middle Tennessee by UT)
"I definitely think so. It was a big motivational thing tonight more than anything looking back from last year's game and bringing it over to this year's game. I think we did a pretty good job of overcoming that."
(On her game-tying 3-pointer late in regulation)
"First of all I was very comfortable with my team and also with myself. It was a big part of the game where we needed that. I just felt like it was my time to step up and make something happen."
Middle Tennessee Junior F Ebony Rowe
(On how the team felt when Tennessee tied the game late, went into overtime)
"I think from the beginning we said it was going to be a game for ups and downs. We knew they were going to make a run, and we were going to make a run. More than anything we just wanted to stay together as a team, and even when they did take that lead, we were still confident that we would win the ballgame. We knew that we had a lot of people like Ice (Elie) that could step up and just make those big-time plays like she did, so once she hit that shot, the momentum swung back in our favor."