Feb. 2, 2014
Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb
On Morgan Batey:
"I’ve talked to Morgan for the last two weeks about just getting back to doing her job. She knows what her job and her role is, and just getting re-focused. When she does that she all of a sudden becomes a star, doing the little things. I’m just really proud of how she was in foul trouble, but she didn’t let that take her out of her job. She was very intentional on what she was doing, in the first half she was in foul trouble and that can really take kids out of it. For her to be able to finish the game and not foul out was a big growth for her as opposed to games earlier in the season when she got in foul trouble and she ended up fouling out. The obvious is the free throws down the stretch, so I didn’t think I’d talk about the obvious."
On needing a win vs. wanting a win:
"We definitely needed this after Missouri, what’s hard is you play with your mind right now. You think, if we could’ve just beat Missouri then we could be 7-2 and be right there. But, if we beat Missouri, are we mad enough and do we want it badly enough to be A&M, so you can’t second guess, you can’t look back. You gotta play whoever you’re playing that day and you gotta act like you need every game, and we did need it. I thought Missouri, Thursday night, wanted it more than us, they needed it. That’s a really good way of putting it."
On team’s leadership today:
"Yeah, especially my two leaders. I keep saying we need a big three [players], and it doesn’t matter where that third one comes from, it needs to come from a post player and tonight it was Morgan. They kept our seniors in check, neither one of them really got off, and I feel like they did a good job of that. And yet, our seniors, and that’s what their teammates were telling them after the game, they continued to lead and they continued to help them and talk them, talk our role players into being more than role players and that’s why other people stepped up. They did a great job playing through their words and sticking to our game plan and getting everybody to stick to the game plan. I know I’ve been saying this all year, that they’ve been playing like seniors, but tonight they led like seniors without getting all the glory and making all the shots they normally do. They’ve come off two tough games, two teams that have played them very well, so it says a lot for their focus and how much they wanted this game."
On leadership of Foggie and Lister:
"Obviously, when you’re at home, you wanna just keep people not one point ahead of you, and that has really helped us in the past. [Foggie and Lister] gave me some keys at halftime, they’re really starting to own it which is why we were in a good place tonight. One of their keys was to play through their words and stick to the gameplan no matter what happens. At the time out, before I even went in there, they were talking to each other about sticking to our gameplan because they just made a run. A lot of times when another team makes that run or gets that lead, you start to panic and you start to take quick shots and you get away from who you are and what you do and we didn’t do that and that’s really good leadership and ownership of themselves because it came from them."
On Texas A&M C Karla Gilbert:
"They’re bigger than us. I think these players that are so big, and we’ve been struggling and we don’t have a lot of size, they get Marqu'es [Webb] in foul trouble and, after that, what do we do. Then they think ‘this is gonna be my day, I’m playing this tiny little team at Vanderbilt’ so they go to them more and they’re looking to score more and they’re very aggressive, and she was all night. We used a lot of fouls on her. We have depth in the post. We don’t have height, but we do have depth, and we used that."
On last-second miss by A&M:
"That last shot? Absolutely. I thought that shot was in, I was ‘like no this is not happening.’ It was the same way with the calls down the stretch, off the ball calls when you’re just playing defense that’s a rare situation. Nothing would have surprised me at that point. I think most of the last couple minutes I kept shaking my head thinking ‘this is not happening,’ but it happened, so I think it was our turn for it to go right, and it did."
On belief in her team:
"I feel like we were in two really close games, South Carolina and Missouri, one at home. The one on the road I didn’t feel like we were in it all game. I feel like we were very flat but, obviously, we still had a chance to win it down the stretch and we didn’t. So I felt like that, as the game went on, we had learned a lot. If we had learned, like I think we had in our preparation from the last two games, I think we took it to heart, we prepared differently, we learned from our mistakes, but we also moved on. If we did that, then tonight in a close game, I had the belief that we were gonna win and that it wasn’t gonna happen three times, because of our preparation. I think our mental toughness, that has been shown by our two seniors and the way they’re leading off the court and in practice, showed today."
Vanderbilt G Jasmine Lister
On Morgan Batey's game tonight:
"Clutch, down the stretch for sure. She hit huge jumpers, and 1’s, free throws, everything. She was just ready to play today. She wasn’t afraid of post players being almost a foot taller than her. She was almost fearless tonight, and I’m really proud of her. Glad to call her my teammate."
On the boost this game gives there confidence going forward:
"It was huge, especially going into a bye-week and Tennessee being our next opponent. We were definitely disappointed after the Missouri loss, and our focus was just to get it back and stay together as a team. And that’s what we did tonight, whether we got down or we were up by 5, we stayed together all game."
On missing time due to foul trouble tonight:
"I didn’t really make the smartest fouls down the stretch. But Jasmine Jenkins was ready to step up and play those minutes, and she handled it well. The rest of the team, like Morgan Batey, didn’t skip a beat without me. It’s definitely frustrating, but I don’t think it really hurt the team much tonight, because everyone was ready tonight."
On having played the most minutes in VU history:
"Honestly I think it’s a blessing, because not many people get the opportunity to get that much playing time. It’s a great honor to have, and it’s fun. I love being out there on the court my teammates, and I just really love my teammates. I love playing for Vanderbilt and this program."
On A&M’s tough shooting night outside the paint:
"I definitely think it was important for us to pack the paint and make them shoot outside shots. They got it inside a lot, but we needed to limit that. It was really important for us to do that because that’s where they score most of their points."
Vanderbilt G Morgan Batey
On coming back from early foul trouble tonight:
"I think the most important thing is to understand that fouls happen, and to come to the sideline and regroup. I talked to my teammates, my position coach, and keep cheering for my teammates. That really keeps me focused and with the game, so when I get the chance to get back out there we haven’t skipped a beat, because everyone else is stepping and making big plays too."
On how successful she was in today’s game:
"I don’t know, I just took what was given to me. I wasn’t really looking to attack, but I knew in certain plays that there were certain things that were going to be open. My teammates did a great job of hold seals and setting screens, and I was able to take advantage of that. I felt like it was all in the flow of the game really."
On her thought process during the game-winning free throws with 2 seconds remaining:
"I felt really confident stepping to the line. I’d been to the line a couple times before that so I thought “you’ve been making them all game, its just another free throw.” The preparation is there, we shoot free throws after every practice, ten in a row before we leave, so I knew I had the confidence to make them."
On the game plan against A&M’s size advantage in the post:
"Every SEC team we play has a size advantage over us, because we’re pretty small. We just have to be tough and know what we’re doing defensively. We try to limit touches because when they do get it, it’s easy to score because not only are they bigger, but they’re SEC players and they’re great players. It’s something we are going to keep working on this week, next week, and for the rest of the season."
On how close the final half-court shot was to going in:
"My heart definitely skipped a beat, just how close it was. I just knew we were still going to get the win though."
Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair
“I think you got to see a wonderful basketball game. Give Vanderbilt a lot of credit. They were not able to stop Karla. They did it with about three players in there, because the way our outside people played all we had was an inside game.
“We’ve got to become a smarter basketball team if we’re even going to think about winning the SEC. We had won four straight on the road with a couple good ones at LSU and Georgia. We thought coming in here this would be difficult—it’s always been difficult for me here, at Arkansas, wherever.
“Their advantage works really well. It’s a great venue with a great basketball town.
“I was proud of Karla. That’s a way a senior is supposed to play.
“We allowed a team to shoot fifty-five percent. On the last drive, yep, we fouled. She made the two free throws. Ballgame. Give her (Karla) credit for making the three point play on the other end.
“I’m very proud of my team, but my hair is getting to be gray. I’ve got to teach better for us to execute better. It doesn’t matter who has the most talented team. It’s about who plays within their framework of what they are trying to do... we’re an undisciplined team in crisis management time. Don’t you think I want my best three point shooter to be on the receiving end of a pass in with two seconds to go? That’s how far we have to go.”
On the use of Karla Gilbert:
“When your starters go 3-11, 1-7, 0-6, that’s a big time problem. What we were trying to do was the same thing Vanderbilt did. Drive the ball. That’s how you shoot 55% like they did in the second half. We were going to her much more than we wanted to at the start of this ballgame. We were firing blanks from the outside, and then your kids refuse to drive, you’ve got problems.”
“She (Karla) played behind two All-Americans for three years and she stuck around. This is why she’s special.
“Their two guns only scored 25, so we did our job, but they found a way to win. They found a way get to the free throw line.
“After the Duke game last night, Mike Krzyzewski said ‘my kids did everything they could upstairs and downstairs. I’ve got no complaints. ’ I have no complaint with my effort. I have complaints because my team is not playing up to their capability. That’s my complaint. I’m a teacher first, and I can’t handle a loss like that. ”
On SEC’s talent and interesting season finish:
“It just depends on if Tennessee brings their A game like they did against us. They haven’t brought their A game. If they can continue to bring their A game in big games, they have the most talent. The difference is, the rest of us are playing with a lot of heart.
“I don’t care about the Super Bowl. The game last night got me fired up as a coach. This game got me fired up to go back and teach a little better.”