Nov. 2, 2013
Recap | Box Score | Howell's Gallery
Vanderbilt 103, North Alabama 50
Head Coach Melanie Balcomb
Overall impression on game:
I think the big thing was being ready to play. We played a lot of matchup in the first half, and I thought that holding them to 13 percent shooting was good. We played aggressively and held them to one shot and were very confident. In the second half we played man, and saw there was a little difference. We've focused and spent a lot of time on our matchup. With the injuries that we have, we knew we were going to have to play small and make our adjustments. When you start two freshmen, anything can happen. To start the game ready to go the way we did was impressive, especially starting two freshmen.
On her freshmen playing a great game:
They've played like that every day. They've earned it, they're relentless, they're confident, and they know what they're doing. Kylee [Smith], in the second half, I thought did the same things. She grew confident as the game went on. And again, with our injuries, Kylee has had to adjust and play in the post and that's the only difference [between Smith and the other two freshmen], that she's had to play out of position and the other two haven't, but all three have been ready to play.
On Rebekah Dahlman's defense:
What that intensity on defense does is it turns everybody up and if we can get everybody on that level and that page, I think that relentlessness that she provides, and that energy without showing any disappointment or fatigue, she is extremely driven and mentally tough, and physically tough. One of our goals is to get to the free-throw line more and we got there 33 times, but Becca took 16 of them, and that shows how aggressive she is.
On playing a four-guard lineup:
We've had to put Kylee at the 4, Morgan Batey at the 4, and there are times we've had to play them together at the 4 and the 5 so really all five of the players on the floor at the end of the first half were all guards, and we had five guards out there at one point. They are guards out of high school, but that doesn't mean that they can't play 4 or 5. They'll play with their backs to the basket 50 percent of the time. But all of our offense, 90 percent of what we do is with four guards on the perimeter and then that post is just interchangeable. She plays with her back to the basket half the time and then can also play the perimeter. You're going to see Marqu'es Webb with her back to the basket just as much as those other players. Obviously, you want to get Marqu'es Webb in the paint as much as possible. One of the things you saw from Marqu'es is her passing ability. It took one half to figure out that she may be the best passing post player we've ever had. It's at the point where she's so unselfish where we've had to get on her about shooting the basketball more, and that's a good problem to have.
We've got a lot of things to work on, this is a process. Obviously, we want to have that energy, that body language where we're just running the floor hard every possession, miss or make, wearing people down. I just think it's a mentality that you keep playing to your potential no matter what the score is. Our principles, offensively and defensively, we can get a lot better at.
On being nervous stepping onto the court:
Honestly, I was really nervous. I probably didn't show it but in my mind I was a little nervous just because hey, it was my first game.
On what she was focused on:
Honestly, I was focused on defense the most. Just getting used to the crowd being my first game, just getting used to the atmosphere.
On first time being out on the court as a senior:
It's really different because I have a little bit of a better leadership role on the team. I've always had someone to look up to on the court, another senior and now being one of the oldest people out there is just different because you are a leader and an example; you have to be vocal and it's just different.
On talented freshmen on the team:
Yes we do, it's a lot of fun playing with them and they push us because they're very tough kids. For seniors, they just push us to get better even in our last year. They didn't seem nervous, if you were nervous (Rebekah) I didn't notice it.
On pushing each other in practice:
Rebekah: Oh yeah, I mean we battle each other in practice.
Christiana: We joke a lot in practice because her defense is unbelievable and she pushes me as an offensive player. I like to joke with her and be like 'nah, freshie,' we have a lot of fun with it. But it shows when we play together because we're so comfortable with each other.
On highlight of game that is something you can look forward to seeing in the rest of the season:
I definitely think the balance of scoring, you can expect this year that we need everyone on the team. I think I was just really encouraged with the confidence from everyone defensively and offensively. You can expect to see a lot of players playing this year and a lot of contributions from more than just five or six people.
On what the team will be practicing on before the first regular season game:
Probably rebounding, and just more defense, you can always get better at defense. Not letting them score as many points in the second half as we did, just getting used to what they're doing and shut it down. So probably more defense and rebounding to get better at.
Rebekah: I agree with Foggie, defense and rebounding. I mean, we held them to 13 points in the first half, and I don't know what the final score was... 50, so they scored a lot in the second half. So I know we've got to guard more man, and defense is huge.
On playing 3-4 guards sometimes:
Yeah, it's definitely different than the years past because a lot of our post players can be guards if they really wanted to. Just getting used to how to play teams with a smaller lineup and a different lineup. But with that being said, it can really be good for us defensively because we're very quick and we can get a lot of steals out of that.
On noticing any differences due to the recent rule changes that can affect guards Christina:
We didn't notice it for us defensively because we have been working very hard in practice with those rule changes. We have really been enforcing not having our hands on the driver because they are going to call it but what we did notice in the game is it is an advantage for us offensively because we got to the foul line a lot more. And with aggressive guards like Rebekah, myself, and Jasmine, we can get those blocking calls out on the perimeter that add up to get us to the free-throw line earlier than normal."