Dec. 2, 2012
Tennessee Head Coach Holly Warlick(Opening statement)
"It was awesome. It was a great team effort. We talked about playing as a team before the game, and you can look on the stats and understand it was a team effort. We had several people score in double figures. We had 21 assists. So when you have 21 assists, you're sharing the basketball. I'm proud of the team. I thought they're defensive effort was outstanding, holding North Carolina to 57 points. Overall, I'm extremely pleased."
(On success rebounding against a tall North Carolina team)
(On if pace of the game helped Meighan Simmons' scoring night)
"Whatever she ate, drank, did last night, she's got to do that again every game. (laughs) I'm going to make sure of it. The pace, I knew it was going to be an up and down game. I know they were athletic getting up and down the floor, but that's our game too. When Meighan gets out, she's the quickest player with the basketball than I've seen in my career. I've never seen someone as fast with the basketball. When she shoots the three ball the way she does and when you're a penetrator who's quick to the basket, it's difficult to defend. When she gets down the floor and puts herself in a position like she did tonight, she puts up points. She's a scorer. When she gets on a roll, she's a little streaky so you hope she hits her first couple of baskets."
(On if this is a good game to gauge progress)
"What I love about this group, we're getting better. We're focused on practice. We're getting better. An example tonight is Izzy (Harrison) got a block and went down and shot the layup on the other end. That's just effort and heart. And that's just staying on her and us running up and down the floor. That right there I thought was an example of this team and when we play together and the heart we have, that play exemplified what our program should be about."
(On how team had many individual good days before the two-week break)
"I love that Taber (Spani) got in, and she needed to get in a rhythm. She hit big shots, and I don't think she took a bad shot. I hated that Andraya (Carter) hurt her shoulder again, but I think the next two weeks will be good for her to get some rest and get rehab in and get ready to go."
(On Andraya Carter)
"I think for Andrea, it's going to be still getting in conditioning, running the floor and make sure she doesn't have contact."
(On transformation of Isabelle Harrison)
"I had several conversations with Izzie last year. She was playing behind Glory Johnson, All-American and Vicki Baugh. She struggled last year doing that, but I will tell you this, I think I realized, this year, I was speaking in Nash and I called Izzie up and she said `Well, I'm going to be there as soon as I get through working out with my brother.' So year before that, or any time last year, she would not have taken it on her own to go work out. I thought, this summer, Izzie made a commitment to get better. You're seeing the results of her playing and learning behind an All-American last year and then going to work in the summer, and you're seeing the result. The thing, last year, you saw Izzie. She played in spurts and she was not in good shape. The times when she would not play hard, is because of fatigue. I think now, this year, we've made her fight through fatigue and practices. I mean, she's had some pretty tough practices. I think us making her, forcing her to understand this is the tempo we're going to play. I think now she gets it."
(On Ariel Massengale)
"Ariel had three points, but it's just the intangibles that she and I have. We just have a good connection. We talk about what we should run. I want her to give me suggestions, because she's on the floor. That's what Pat used to allow me to do, give suggestions. Whether the head coach takes them or not is another thing. I think she understands the game and she's really become a great leader for us. I don't think if you know Ariel, would she want to go 0-4, no, but I think her leadership role and the 7-6 assist is huge for her. I just love how she's playing, I love how she's being a general out on the floor and she needs to continue to be a great leader for us."
(On the next couple of weeks)
"I think this next couple of weeks, we keep it short and we go maybe an hour and a half, two hours. We want to make sure we don't lose our conditioning. We're going to fine tune our defense a little bit. We have some things to correct as far as defending concepts and tweaking our offense a little, but just making sure they stay fresh and sharp and they enjoy coming into practice. When they get to dread coming into practice, then you're not going to get anything done, so we're going to keep it as short and sweet as we can."
Sophomore C Isabelle Harrison
(On bruise under right eye) "[I got it] just playing defense against a big girl and I caught an elbow in the eye. But if that's what it takes, I'll take it."
(On Meighan's start to the game) "It gave us the lead that we needed, and then we kept picking up on defense. It was a good way to open."
(On going against a 6'6" center) "I've been waiting for this kind of height, actually. It improves my game to go against a post that size, and it gets me more experience."
(On a win before a two-week break) It's always good to end on a win, especially because it puts our coaches in a good mood going to practice. We're just going to take it as it is and keep practicing. There are more opponents that we have to face and there's some good competition, so we just need to keep moving forward."
Senior G/F Taber Spani
(On difference between this game and MTSU) "I think our intensity was a lot better. In the future, we want to get to a point where we stay consistent for every game. Middle Tennessee was a mini wake-up call, and I think our intensity and energy wasn't as consistent as we wanted it to be. Right from the get go, everyone who started came in with intensity and energy. I think that's the difference between us playing a game like this and playing Middle Tennessee or Chattanooga."
(On Meighan's effort and 1,000th point) "It's great. Obviously, Meighan is an amazing player and an amazing scorer, so when she is taking great shots and was on fire is great for her, but it helps everybody. It helps our posts; it helps our guards. When they have to start to key so much on her, it opens it up for everyone else. In the second half, you could see that. For her to go off like she did, we're so proud of her, and she works so hard in practice. It's huge."
(On this being an affirmation of their style) "Absolutely. We're a North Carolina type of team; they've always been push-push-push, and we're trying to be that. We've established that these first seven games. It was huge; it was a great confidence builder. It told us we can go up against a team that is like ourselves-very athletic and up-tempo-and do what we did against them. They're a very good team and very talented, it says a lot for our performance."
(On Izzy's development) "Izzy has grown tremendously. It's not like she wasn't doing amazing things for us last year; her athleticism has always been there. You talk to Vicki, Glory, and all those guys, and they knew last year that she was going to be a beast. It was a matter of playing behind seniors and worked hard. She put in her time during the offseason and this is her time to not only do her thing, but now also be the leader of these younger posts. She's really taken them under her wing. The way she played today, against a big girl... The presence to know defensively that we have a shot-blocker gives us more confidence to get up and pressure people and not worry if, "I get beat this one time, Izzy's got my back." Obviously, her rebounding and offensive game speak for themselves. She's obviously put in the time."
(On rebounding) "It was definitely something that Holly stressed at the beginning of halftime. We were keeping them off the board. When we were scouting them, we understood that they were averaging around 17.3 offensive rebounds per game. We knew that they went hard. We knew it was going to be a huge challenge for us, and we won by +14, so that's huge for us. Pat and Holly's philosophy always has been and always will be defensive boards. I think that showed with holding them to 54 points and winning the rebounding war."
Junior G Meighan Simmons
(On speed enhancing her game) "I think it did because there was an expectation that North Carolina was going to beat us, and we took that to heart and went out there. I wanted to go out there and help my teammates out with rebounds and getting assists. I wanted to continue and push the tempo and playing as hard as I could and making sure I did what the coaches told me. I think the tougher teams that we play, the better we play. I think we have to continue to play like this from here on out."
(On how soon she could tell that this was Her Game) "To be honest, I give the credit to God. I woke up this morning and was in a different mindset. I wanted to go out and play my hardest, because I knew what was coming at me. I got up this morning and prayed. Today, I just let the game come to me, and when I do that, a lot of things come to me in a manner that I'm not expecting. I need to continue to play that way and continue to play under control. I have to stay focused and stay within the system of University of Tennessee basketball."
NORTH CAROLINA QUOTES
North Carolina Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell(Opening remarks)
"I'm disappointed we didn't make a better showing tonight, but it's early. I saw some good things. This young lady's (Xylina) going to be quite a player as you can tell, a lot like her dad. She's only a freshman. We didn't start well. I think four of our first five possessions we had turnovers, and we didn't start out good. It's early; we're not going to slow down. We're just going to get better. As we move along, we'll be a much better team as we keep playing. Tennessee played a great game. They couldn't have shot probably much better than they did."
(On her impression of Isabelle Harrison)
"She played really well. I mean 8-for-12 and 11 rebounds: a double-double. She was tough in there. They were extremely physical, but that's okay. We like it like that."
(On if Tierra Ruffin-Pratt's injury was to the back of her head)
"Yeah. She didn't show symptoms until halftime. That's why we wouldn't let her go back in. But, you're right. She hit her head."
(On Meighan Simmons' 33 points, career-high scoring)
"That was her career high wasn't it? Good shooting cures a multitude of sins, and they were shooting the lights out. Of course we weren't defending them very well. Believe it or not our defense was first or second in the ACC until tonight because we had held some really good teams to really, really low percentages in our previous games, but of course we didn't do that tonight. We usually play a whole, whole lot better defense."
(On how different it was not seeing Pat Summitt on the sideline)
"Well, it was. I saw her right when we were having the National Anthem. I went over that way and blew her a kiss. It's very different to not see Pat there, but Holly's doing a great job. She's got a great staff."
(On Tennessee's rebounding success in the first half)
"I'll tell you what it was. We were in a lot of traps and rotation situations, and so we didn't have a box-out assignment, and they were crashing the boards. We didn't have a designated person. Second half we weren't gambling, and the rotations weren't as bad, so that's why it was better in the second half."
North Carolina Freshman F Xylina McDaniel(On if the up-and-down fast tempo of this game is the style North Carolina likes)
"It is. So far we haven't played a team that plays like us that likes to play fast. It just opened our eyes. We need to work on it a little more."
(On if this was a fun game for her to play against another freshman Bashaara Graves)
"I had a good time because I like the physical play."
(On Tennessee's rebounding success in the first half)
"They were just crashing the boards. They send four in to rebound and one back, and we're really not used to teams doing that, but that's no excuse."