March 23, 2013
First Round · Vanderbilt vs. Saint Joseph's
Gampel Pavilion · Storrs, Conn.
Saturday, March 23
Melanie Balcomb, Vanderbilt Head Coach
"It was ugly, but I think the first round, first game usually is. I think everybody played hard, both teams worked extremely hard on both ends of the floor. I just think the shooting percentages were down because both teams played very good defense and were very prepared. In the end we made some clutch baskets, as well as stopping them from getting any kind of three from (Erin) Shields. I think that was really important."
Can you single out a few plays by your team that you thought were key?
"It was Heather Bowe when she made that drive, then Jasmine [Lister] when she made that drive at the end. I also think Jasmine's two threes when we came inside then went back out were big. Jasmine has been very good under pressure, the last two year's especially, and has taken those big shots. When they stopped our offense and we were scrambling and I was in a position both times of thinking about calling a timeout and re-setting the shot clock. It just felt like that once we had it spread out, they really hugged up and we would be able to get something better off the attack. On the defensive end I thought we were solid all night, the important part was getting the ball back on rebounding and crashing the boards. I thought it was key getting those big boards down the stretch for us made a big difference."
Before the season started would you have guessed that freshmen would have played so much in this game?
"No. We thought it was going to be a totally different team with a lot of players back and improved. Playing defense and rebounding has been winning a lot of games for us and we have a very young team. I had some freshmen on the floor that weren't running any of the offenses right. In an NCAA game they were all of the sudden panicking and it was really nice to have them on the court for next year. Hopefully, next game, we will do better."
On the team's mentality:
"I thought it was really important. What they talked about after the game was how they stayed together. When they made their run down the stretch, our team stayed together. They never started pointing fingers or getting on each other and they are best when they stick together and support each other. They don't like to call each other out. We feel your body language has to start from our leadership as a staff. Our bench was really supportive. I thought we just came together and supported each other and didn't get negative."
Jasmine Lister, Vanderbilt Guard
What was going through your mind down the stretch of the game?
"I know at that point the game was going really fast and everybody was scrambling everywhere. So we needed to regroup together and we didn't push the ball as hard down the court. Heather (Bowe) made a big basket when the game was tied, 50-50. She gave us the lead and that was important."
What kind of confidence do you bring into the second round matchup on Monday?
"I'm looking forward to the game now, whoever we play, because we are now adjusted to the hoops, adjusted to the court. Whoever we play next round deserves to be in the next round. It is going to be a very intense game, so we are just looking forward to playing that game and doing what we need to do. We still haven't played our best basketball yet. The first game is always the hardest because you have the nerves and the jitters. Now that we are more composed we are really looking forward to the next game."
Tiffany Clarke, Vanderbilt Forward
On taking the game over in its conclusion:
"Our game plan is to always work the ball inside out. It wasn't like we had planned to go in and work the ball only inside, it was just to continue our offense inside, or kick it back out outside. I think that we made a focus on keeping the ball inside, just as we made a focus on executing our offense better."