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Tennessee Press Conference Transcript (3/21/14)

March 21, 2014


Holly Warlick, Tennessee Head Coach

(On players dealing with pressure)
"I do. I think this year, the expectation to them, especially when we got into the season, was not high for them. I think going into the SEC tournament, I thought we played real loose because we didn't win the regular season, and like they said, they had a little chip on their shoulder. When you have something to prove, you're a little bit looser and you're not thinking about the outcome so much as you're living in the present in how you're playing and how you're performing. I do, I think they're a little looser. They have great leadership. They have some very good togetherness and something I think a Tennessee team has not had in a while. That's not a disrespect of the past. It's just a great feel with this team and each other and the coaching staff.

(On Meighan Simmons)
"I just want to make sure Meighan [Simmons] knows she doesn't have to do everything and I think she does. Just rely on your team and your coaching staff to help you. I think she- Meighan [Simmons] is just a competitor. She is a competitor. You all know she is a volume shooter, but Meighan [Simmons] has developed her game to be a passer, to be a decent defender, so I'm going to try and get her to focus on those other things and then let her offense just come as it will. I don't feel, in the past, I think I've felt a little bit of Meighan's [Simmons] anxiety. I don't feel that this year. I just don't feel it. I don't feel it now. I think she's, the team has embraced her and understands her competitiveness and her wanting to will this team to win and she has a lot of pressure on her because she's the lone senior. I think Meighan [Simmons] will relax and hopefully have a great tournament."

(On NCAA tournament competitiveness)
"Absolutely. Like I said earlier, I didn't realize we were 40-0. That doesn't put any pressure on us at all. I just see- this team has been so good about focusing one game at a time. We have not brought up statistics and we don't pay a lot of attention, we just look at our opponent and have a tremendous respect for the opponent that we're playing. If they're in the tournament, they had to do something outstanding or do something right to get here. We lost the first round to Ball State and we had the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. There's no way possible that we're going to overlook a team, not as long as I'm here and we have memory of how that felt. We don't take any team lightly. Don't look ahead. There's no need to look ahead because you have to take care of the game at hand."

(On having a break between tournaments)
"We have rested up and I promise you that the team is ready to play. They do not like having practice time for the past two weeks. They want to get the games to start immediately. I think they are at a good place. We have been very focused at practice and have taken some much needed rest from the SEC Tournament, which was really grueling for us. But I think they are at a good place. I think they see themselves as the underdog. That's where we like to be, that's how we have been all year. It has carried over our season to the post-season."

(On Ariel Massengale)
"Ariel is how Ariel feels. It is day-to-day and I have not spoken to her today. But I will be probably 99.9% sure that she will not play this weekend."

Isabelle Harrison, Tennessee Junior Center

(On confidence after SEC Tournament)
"It has given us a lot of confidence. We definitely needed that to give us a boost of energy and everything. I think we are really focused going into this tournament and we realize what we need to do and take care of business like we did in Duluth."

Cierra Burdick, Tennessee Junior Forward

(On how the team wants to start the tournament)
"I think we are eager to make a statement in the first four minutes of the game. We want to come out and play Lady Vol basketball for a full 40 minutes. I think it is important that we start this tournament off playing the way we know how to play, so it carries on into our future games. Right now we are just taking it one game at a time. Focusing one day at a time and one practice at a time. We are just going to come out and play our game and play our basketball."

(On never losing a tournament game at TBA)
"We are aware of that now. I don't think we are paying it much mind. I guess it is a great statistic for you all, but we are just focused on coming out and playing our game. We leave the statistics and the records for you all and we just come out and try to focus on us 11 players and 4 coaches. We try to be the best us that we can be. The W will follow in return."

Meighan Simmons, Tennessee Senior Guard

(On this year feeling different)
"I think the only difference is the fact that this is my last time, that's the only difference. Everything else just feels the same. It is kind of a big routine. Just trying to get to the NCAA Tournament, being able to be a number one seed and be back on top. We are still the underdogs in our eyes. We still have a chip on our shoulder and we are playing as if we are the underdogs. We just have to come out and play hard like Cierra (Burdick) said, and make a statement those first 4 minutes. Then try to get a W and take it one game at a time."

 

 

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