Vanderbilt-Arizona State postgame quotes

March 22, 2014

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Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb
(opening comments)
"It was a tough game physically. Arizona State really came out aggressive. That's what they do. They took away a lot of our looks on offense and made us go fast, and by the time we adjusted and slowed down we had trouble finishing layups, making free throws. In the second half, when we did make our runs, we then couldn't get the stops that we needed at the end of possessions. It was almost like our runs wore us out trying to get back."

"I think the way Arizona States rotates in player after player, wears on you as well as the last second three-point shots that go in. It gets in your gut. I'm really proud of the fight and the comeback, the runs, but the things we could control, making free throws, missing layups, we didn't control them.

"I give credit to Arizona State. I thought they played a very well-balanced game. They executed their game plan for 40 minutes and stuck with it and beat us. They were the better team today."

(on free-throw shooting)
"I knew were going to foul us. That's what they do. They play a lot of people and have a lot of fouls available. We wanted to attack them because you have to. They either attack you or you attack them. We wanted to put the ball on the floor and attack. We had the ability and athleticism to do that against them. When you don't make free throws it's hard on you emotionally. We've practiced hard for the last two weeks but also worked a lot on our free throws since February. It's been an issue for us all season. We're a better basketball team if we made our free throws."

(on Arizona State shooting)
"I think we have a tendency to relax on defense. When your pressured and work hard to get open every time down the floor, you end up paying for it on defense. We guarded them well sometimes way deep into the shot clock. We had our hands down and acted like they weren't about to shoot with the shot clock running down. You can't have your hands down on a three-point shooter. We gave up too many open threes, and they didn't give up any to ours. I knew we were in trouble when that happened."

(on Arizona State answering Vanderbilt runs)
"It grinded on us all game. It certainly did me and I'm sure it was even more so for our players out on the court. It wears you out. I told our players to relax at halftime. It was everything we could control. It's a lot more mental than it was physical."

(on importance of the game for the younger players)
"We're very young at the four and five positions. To have Marqu'es play so well and to actually be the go-to player for us was great. That was actually the best performances that I've had by a freshman in an NCAA Tournament game and I told her that. Kristin Gaffney who hasn't played in three years but has been back for a couple of games, was able to be the best four on the floor. She played strong and tough and she has a great knowledge for the game. The rest of our young players getting this experience is important, but we've inconsistent because of our inexperience in the post."

(on the senior guards' legacy)
"This was probably their toughest year. They kept our streak going of getting to the NCAA Tournament. They've grown a lot and bought into everything. (Christina) Foggie had those concussions her freshman year but ended up leading the SEC in scoring two straight seasons. That says a lot about her. Jasmine (Lister) is just an overachiever who worked her butt off and led this team. There are so many positives that those two have left with us as part of their legacy. There couldn't be any better ambassadors for our program. That's what we talked about in the locker room."

Senior guard Christina Foggie
(motivation and runs)
"As coach said earlier, when we made our runs we had to keep our mentality together, talk and communicate. I think that's all it was."

"When she hits those threes, especially back-to-back, it does cut our momentum. so I think we just needed to communicate better, especially during our run to continue that momentum."

(Runs and emotion)
"Emotionally, it deflates you a little bit but there's not enough time to really dwell on it. You have to really just fix it right then and there and continue on. But as I said, a big three like that can really cut your momentum."

"I think the biggest thing that Jasmine shows is passion and having fun with the game. We've had that since day one together and it's only grown. I think what people should remember is how much we love the game and love playing together."

Senior guard Jasmine Lister
Definitely our work ethic and hard work. The chemistry we both had together continued to grow. I'd like people to remember that and how well two people can play together. I feel like just getting people to buy into the coaches system and getting people to play together and having fun playing basketball."

Freshman forward Marqu'es Webb
(what seniors meant to her)
"I think for me especially it was an honor to have played just a year with them. They are a great example of what success looks like. They work so hard on and off the floor to be the people they are, let alone the players. It was an honor to just have watched them and played with them. I have learned so much, I think my basketball IQ has increased, they made me a better player and a better person. I hope I can be half the leader and half the player they are by my senior year. It was a blast being able to play with them."

(Offensive gameplan)
"All year long everybody has been telling me to shoot the ball more and to stop passing, when I am one-on-one. They had trust and belief in me the whole season. and they helped me keep my trust in myself as far as scoring goes.

"We had two weeks of great practice, and coach and my teammates have pushed me. I just think the preparation leading up to this game helped my teammates find me in good position."

Arizona State Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne
"I just want to continue to thank UT and NCAA Tournament committee, because this has been enjoyable so far. I'm just really proud of our team."

"I think different people had to step for us. Obviously, we might have liked to give Promise (Amukamara) a little more of a blow. I didn't really want to take her out. She probably needed it. She is a high-motor kid. When we're playing like we played today, we feed off each other. This is the team that won 20 out of 25 games. We continued to step up and feed off each other. When we weren't winning they kind of did the opposite; so they did a great job of setting up."

"Well it has off set everything all year long. This is a young team. This team has virtually no tournament experience. We were not expected by anybody to do anything outside of conference. That is not traditionally who we are we, we usually play to compete in championships and in the NCAA tournament. This is what we've done all year long is we have been able to score well. And it has off set turn overs. The break was great. Lili was very generous. We said "you're shooting" but they wanted to. They knew that how we were winning.

"Really nothing surprised me. This is a team I coached for most of the season. I was more surprised by the team down the stretch of the season. I think they played really well. In our best games we would get that lead and give it right back. Maybe from youth or being over aggressive. Today we did a fairly good job. Not sure if it was five or six that Vanderbilt kind of cut to in that last six or seven minutes."

"When we beat Cal, we has some other good win sin our conference play. That's how we played. We got back to what we were doing in our better games."

"You know what, the second game of the year we went to USD, and they're a pretty good team who won 22 games but we lost. We sat back and said `Listen we can't let the pressure not take away pleasure, no one expects anything from us so let's just relax and play and go for it." So it was just reminding ourselves of that through the season. Now, going the entire season ranked, with a massive target on our back and getting everybody's best effort. We kind of got away from that. But I feel like we got that back today, where nothing bothers us and were just going to keep playing."

"Yeah, I think overall for the season. Two-thirds of our team are underclassmen and for our veteran players really adopted the idea of "Let's Keep Going".

"Shutting down Foggie and Lister was a huge part of our game plan. We wanted to limit their good looks and their touches. Promise really came out the first half, and she was on it for most of it. She did a great job. We were just shadowing her. We didn't want to give her open threes and her backcourt cuts. Lili and Age and Thomas and Davis did a great job trading off on Lister. That is a good thing for us. If anyone knows our program we're usually a great defensive team. This team hadn't been so consistent with our defense. So that was a huge victory today, and that was a huge win that we locked in on our key players because we kind of joked that were not that great at taking the key players. They usually get their average against us is what I am trying to say. But we are able to score and we win anyway so I thought we got better; we improved on that today because, again, Vanderbilt is a great team, great program."

Junior guard Katie Hempen
"Honestly, [Coach] Charli [Thorne] and I had a talk a couple weeks ago saying, "Katie, just shoot the ball" and that's what I've been doing. I've been moving better off the ball and that's helped me a lot. Sophie did a great job seeing everybody and a great job passing and just catch and shoot. That's all I'm thinking right now."

(On the lift after big 3s in the first half)
"We take every play possession by possession and our motto is next play. So, we don't really notice the lulls when we play. I mean, we do, but emotionally, for our excitement [level], we don't. We know it, we need to get a score, we need to make a stop, we understand that concept. But, when it comes to if they score, it doesn't affect us. We know what we need to do, go back down again on the other side and score again and make another defensive stop."

(On depth of the team)
"I think it makes us work harder. Because if we get tired, and we pull on our jersey saying we need a sub, we know that the next person coming in is going to do the exact same thing that we did. I think that gives us confidence to go out and do the best that we can do."

Freshman forward Sophie Brunner
(So many #21 jerseys in the stands)
"I think I have 12 family members and the rest are really close family friends."

(How many people here for her)
"My ticket list was around 60. They came because they didn't have the opportunity to come down to Arizona. They don't just love me, they love our whole team."

(On how the inside and outside games complemented each other)
"I just knew that if they collapsed on the outside shooters, the inside would be open. [Coaches] really emphasized at halftime to look vertical, to look down the middle and the guards did a really good job of seeing me.

(Defensive efforts against Webb)
[Webb's] obviously a really good player. I knew that I had to be in front of her the whole game, which I wasn't doing the first or the second half. I adjusted down the stretch and really tried to get in front of her, but my team had my back on the lobs and stuff.

Sophomore guard Elisha Davis
(on stepping in for injured player Adrianne Thomas)
"It felt great because Adrianne Thomas is a very, very good player and to be able to fill her spot. I just felt like I needed to be able to what [Thomas] does, which is put pressure on defense, run the team and my coach just said, "be confident and be ready."

(On whether she was nervous)
"Yesterday I would say I was nervous but not a bad nervous. It was just like, "the team needs you, whatever the team needs you to do, that's what you'll do. If I have to sit all season in order to win, then that's my thing. Starting is not really a thing that I pay attention to or really focus on, it's just whatever my coaches or my teammates need me to do."

(On shooting 62%)
"From day one when we learned we had the chance to get into the NCAA tournament, during individual and team offense, all we did was shoot. If practice started at 11, everyone would be in at 10:30 shooting. We shot before [practice] we shot during, we shot after. Everybody emphasized the importance. We would even do just 30-minute shooting workouts, take a break and then have practice. So all of the emphasis that our coaches put on shooting; we make stops and we hit shots. That's our motto."



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