On not being under the radar... "We are excited about what's going on in our program; we've been excited. There has been some fixation on some of our early exits from the tournament, but we have been very excited about this team for a very long time. For good reason as well, we have good players. If this team can stay healthy I think we have a chance to have the best team we have ever had. Good health to our main guys will be very critical."
On how to keep the players from reading everything that has been written about them... "What we try and do is create our own expectations for our team. What the media and other people say about us is meaningless, what we have to do is perform. We can't just perform in the NCAA tournament; we have to perform all season long. We have established our own expectations and those will be what we try to abide by and adhere to. We won't get caught up in what other people say and what other people think. We appreciate that people respect our program, but that doesn't make us have a good team. "
Do you think that the SEC is a strong basketball conference? "It's funny that three or four years ago I was being asked if I thought the league was down and now I won't have to hear that question here today. I would say our league is as strong and healthy as it has been in the 12 to 13 years I have been in it. That will be reflected all season long because I think our league is going to very good."
On senior leadership... We have a lot of seniors and that can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing. It can be a bad thing if they give into the temptation of thinking about themselves. I have absolutely no concerns about having any negativity to having a lot of seniors playing. I think it will be the best thing for our team because our guys are committed and they have been committed for a long time. They understand and talk about our team agenda and not an individual agenda. My team really gets it, as much as any team that I have ever coached. They are poised to do things we have not done yet. They deserve to have that happen to them because of their work ethic. They have meant a lot to our program."
Thoughts on small team... "I think it's a good thing as long as we can stay healthy. It can be a lot of fun. The team is very close, on board, and very focused. They know they can be called on at any time."
On moving 3 point line back... "As far as our program and our kids, I don't notice a difference. It allows us to spread the floor a little bit more and let the post players work. I don't think it's taken kids and not made them 3-point shooters."
On team improvement from last year... "They have improved individually in every area. Returning players worked extremely hard in the off season; they're all better. They made a bigger commitment on improving their own individual games, and if every kid is a better basketball player than they were last year then we are going to be a better team."
On leadership... "Our leadership is really strong. We have a lot more vocal leadership this year."
On freshman class... "I'm excited about the freshman. They all can handle pass and shoot. I'm excited about our guard play, the abilities they have, and what they can bring to the table."
"We as a team feel good. The practices have been tough but we're pulling through. Coach Stallings has done a great job of holding us accountable for our actions and we've had a lot of leaders step up and work hard in practice. We are working hard for this year."
On entering the season ranked in the top 10 nationally... "It is definitely different and something we're not used to. Just being apart of something like this and to be so highly ranked is very special."
On having veterans returning this season... "We are more mature and everything feels a lot better (having returning veterans). Everybody has come in and worked hard in the off-season and prepared well for the upcoming season. We're trying to make sure it is a memorable one."
On growth as a player... "I have matured a lot since my freshman year. I have definitely learned a lot, and I feel like I am more experienced. I am able to grasp concepts better and take criticism. The maturity level has definitely increased. There was a point in the SEC Championship last year when I turned it on, and everything just clicked. I put in all this hard work, and I'm no longer a freshman so I can't use that excuse anymore. I'm hoping to carry that over from last season."
On the freshman... "Our freshman are hard workers, and they will be a major part of our team. They're working hard and are filling the spots that we lost."
On fellow teammate Clair Watkins... "She can grab rebounds and use her height. She is going to be a much needed help in the post play."
On 3-point line moving back... "It opens the floor up and gives more room and spacing."