Jan. 15, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Head Coach Holly Warlick chatted with the media on the Southeastern Conference's Women's Basketball Coaches Teleconference on Wednesday. Below is a transcript of Warlick's portion of the teleconference.
HEAD COACH Holly Warlick
(Opening comments on the team)
"We have hit a little lull right now but have gone back to practice. Practicing hard, trying to get better, I'm sure as everybody else is. And enjoying practice and hopefully practice will carry over to the game."
(On the mental side of coaching)
"Well you know Mike, I think it's gotten hard for me to understand what the kids think, especially during a game. I think that's what you're talking about, our kids and I'll answer the other part. I think the more they get to watch tape, the more as I've learned and the more that they're involved with the scouting, the more they're involved with the preparation I think for us helps them get a little more mentally prepared. They've got to understand they're given a scouting report where they're given information like a cheat sheet on a test, and how you're going to take that, carry that over and use that in an exam. We have not done a very good job the last couple of games of taking what we prepared and what are expectations are and putting it to a game situation. We've got to get better at that."
(On the development of Ariel Massengale and her experience with USA Basketball)
"Well Sean I think it's been a big part of her. I think you take a kid that has been starting her whole career, that's had great success, made the USA team and played behind Odyssey Sims. We know what kind of production Odyssey has and not that she wasn't a team player, but she had to learn to come off the bench and she had to learn to come and bring instant help. She didn't get as many minutes as she has throughout her career so I think it made her appreciate the value of team, the value of people coming off the bench and having to carry the load of maintaining what's going on, on the court. I think it's just made her appreciate the game and made her work a little harder at developing her game. She's been a great leader for us and I think that experience from this summer has helped develop her into so much more a better leader."
(On the SEC losses and defending on the perimeter)
"That's something we've been working on. Our last four games have been about us. I think if you just watch one segment, our defending penetration on the perimeter has been lacking. I think it's put us in some really bad situations where you have to rotate your defense or when you penetrate down the middle there's no help so I think it's a huge part of what we've got to get better at. We work on it every day and we've got to continue to do that. I've got to change some things up, too. If somebody keeps beating us on the penetration we've got to change up too. It's kind of crazy Michelle. We guard guys in practice, we're stopping them dribbling down the middle and doing all this like we can do this and we get in the game almost like we're on freeze play here, like `oh my gosh, I don't want to do this. I may get a foul.' I've got to get to the point where how we can carry over the practice aspect to the game aspect because we're doing a not very good job of defending any type of penetration."
(On a struggling offense's influence on the defensive side)
"Well, Michelle, if you watch us, if we hit a couple of shots, we can step on somebody in defense. If we miss a couple of shots, we can be slow getting back and those types of things. I think our offense, at times, can dictate our defense, but a sign of a great team is just to have the confidence on both ends of the floor. It's a team sport, and we've just tried to make sure that this program is built on defense and rebounding. The games that we have played and lost, we've done a poor job of defending penetration and giving up really crucial offensive rebounds. Then, you look at our offensive end, and if we can stay focused on the offensive end, our kids love the offensive end. If you look back and if we hit some layups and free throws, we still should have won the game, but we'd lose our focus, it appears to me. We've missed some crucial layups, easy layups. Then, we'd get to the line, and we're not shooting well from the line. If it (defense) is so offensive driven, step up and hit a free throw. Complete a layup. I don't know if it's that they just lose their composure or feel a little pressure. I think it's a combination of both."
(On the depth in the SEC thus far)
"Well, I've said all along, and I said this last year, the SEC is, I feel, the strongest conference out there. This year it shows. You look at all the teams in the Top 20 or Top 25, you look at how good our teams have been doing outside the conference and we've done well. Then we get in here, and it's just a physical, athletic conference. It's very tough to win on the road. You can't get games on the road in this business. I'm concerned about going to Mississippi State and playing on their home court. They're in the SEC below us, but that does not even enter my mind. I just look at how teams play, how many games have come down to last-second shots or down to the wire, and I think we have a legitimate thing to say about how this is a tough conference."
(On Jim Foster nearing his 800th win and Warlick's games against him)
"Well, first of all, Jim is coming on 800. He's old. Tell him that he's been in it too long. But I think it's an unbelievable accomplishment. Regardless of when you start, you are doing something right. I think wherever Jim has been, he's proven that he's a winner. We've always had big-time recruiting battles, when he was at Vanderbilt and when he was at Ohio State. It seemed like they were always in our region, and it always went down to the wire. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, what he does, how he coaches, and how he gets his kids prepared for how he plays within the system, within his team and the talent on the team. I'm not surprised. Everywhere he's gone, he's won. He's done it in a very impressive manner. Congratulations. I'm just glad he isn't getting that 800th win against me."