Women's Basketball
Monday WBB press conferences

March 19, 2012



One day after each advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Vanderbilt and Duke met with the media on Monday to discuss Tuesday's matchup at Memorial Gym. The Commodores were first up to the podium at 11:20 a.m. and practiced immediately after their session with the media. Duke will have its media session at 1:30 p.m., which will be followed by a practice.

SECOND ROUND PRACTICE DAY PRESS CONFERENCE
#2 Duke vs. #7 Vanderbilt

VANDERBILT



HEAD COACH Melanie Balcomb

Opening statement...
"We are happy to be here, glad to be playing and glad to be home and we are looking forward to a really competitive game, it should be a really good matchup."

Does the layout of Memorial Gym change the way you has to coach ...
"No, not at all. I think I was a really good match for Vanderbilt. I had coached here when I was at Xavier the year before I took the job so I had been on the court and had known. I talk about how you can't be a real controlling coach on offense, and I am the offensive coordinator of or team, that's what I do.

I have to have point guards that I trust that watch film with me that I meet with every week, then I have to let them play. My example is that I am the coach and Jasmine Lister is my quarterback. I have had Dee Davis and Jence Rhoads and now I have Jasmine Lister. She is my quarterback. I am not the type of head coach that has the headset on and calls every play for them; they have to know what I want and make calls. Have to be able to let them make calls on their own on the other end of the floor especially. I teach them what to call and what plays to make, but then I let them make the calls. There are certain times and situations that I will call the play and tell Jas (Jasmine Lister), at a timeout or in key situations, but she calls the plays and knows what we want to run. So I have to have a really good relationship with her. She is our leader this year and is doing a great job with that... "

Coach, do you believe in Memorial Magic...
"Yeah, I totally believe in the magic just because we have been so successful here. We have tried to prepare our kids for three separate tournaments in the postseason. This is our first tournament, and we have compared it to our thanksgiving tournament. One of the things that I did when I got to Vanderbilt was to bring in a Top 25 team every season to our Thanksgiving tournament, and we have never lost in our Thanksgiving tournament. We have played those teams, Oklahoma in the final, California when they were in the top five in the country, we played Duke four years ago when they were in the top five in the country and we beat them in the final..."

On making it to the Sweet 16...
"Obviously, from a recruiting standpoint that is the first thing that you think of. We had a lot of recruits that were already committed to us in the gym last night that were sitting behind us. We had some up in the stands that we are recruiting and trying to get from a top 50 kid to a top 10 kid, and that is what we are trying to do here. We want to get that next level kid and get to a Final Four and get to that next level like a Notre Dame breaking through with a Skylar Diggins, look what it did for their program."

Talk about Duke's defense...
"Joanne's (P. McCallie) matchup, we played against it when she was at Michigan State the year they broke through and went to the Final Four and then she got the Duke job. We were the team that she beat in the Sweet 16. I am very familiar with it. I have coached against it. We think it's very similar but I think back then it was more aggressive and more of a matchup, and now it's bigger. She has different personnel and does different things with it. Now she uses the length like Tennessee and LSU did against us this year. She is a very, very good coach defensively in that matchup in particular."

VANDERBILT STUDENT-ATHLETES
Jasmine Lister, sophomore guard

On having a home court advantage...
" I hope the fans show up they're a plus for us. We try not to rely on the fans so much and rely on each other more."

On what it means to make the sweet sixteen...
"It would be a great accomplishment and great achievement."

On the challenges Duke presents...
"They are a great team all round. They are great defensively and great offensively. They move the ball down low to Elizabeth Williams and Chelsea Gray can take anyone one on one. We know they are a great team and we respect them, but don't fear them."

Stephanie Holzer, R-So., center
On having a home court advantage...
"We like to get that Memorial Madness going. We like to play at home and were comfortable here. We shoot on these rims everyday and to have our fans out there and our practice players out there. It gives us a little confidence boost especially when the game is tight. It gives you a little edge, but we do look to each other for momentum and to get each other going."

On what it means to make the Sweet 16...
"It would be awesome to make the Sweet 16. Ultimately our goal is to win a national title, but to get to the Sweet 16 is the next step. We have had a lot of turn over the last three years and its feels like a brand new team under coach. Being able to reach the sweet sixteen with a fresh new team and for my first time would be a great achievement."

On the challenges Duke presents...
"Like Jasmine said we respect our opponent, but we don't fear them. I like our chances and our odds if go out and execute our game plan. It's going to be a great, we know what they are going to do so we need to go out there and play."

On what SEC teams have a similar style to Duke...
"We watched some film this morning and I think the SEC overall prepares us well because the aggressiveness of our opponents. We also played a big team in Oklahoma in our tournament from the Big 12. We played Tennessee and all the teams that can get big and aggressive. We played their style of ball before."

DUKE



HEAD COACH JOANNE P. McCALLIE
Opening statement...
"We are excited, it was great to play. It is great to be in game two against another excellent opponent. It's amazing how good all of these opponents are at this time of year. We are really excited for this challenge. We played well, but we can play better in many spots. Most importantly we are just excited about game two and the opportunity we have in front of us."

On if she crosses paths with Vanderbilt on the recruiting trial...
"Sometimes, not lately, but sometimes. I think that both of us probably have a smaller pool that we look at. We don't look at as many student athletes, which is one of the tremendous benefits of coaching at a school like Duke or Vanderbilt. I think we probably have smaller pools that sometimes cross, but not that often."

Talk about Vanderbilt's offense...
"They are a high-powered scoring machine. They have terrific guards... their (guard) play is very solid. Number 10 (Christina Foggie) is obviously, the leading scorer in the SEC and what she has done and the kind of year she had is remarkable when you look at where she was last year to this year. I think that is an extraordinary jump. We cannot stop her, but you try to work very hard to make things more difficult, so that's a good place to start. Number 11 (guard Jasmine Lister) has the ball in her hands all the time, is very creative off of the bounce, and drives the transition when they decide to run. She is very difficult.

I am very impressed by 30 (Elan Brown) lately. I don't know why she is being left open so much, that would not be the design. She is a terrific shooter. In the post, I see the connection between 21 (Stephanie Holzer) and 34 (Tiffany Clarke). They have a high-low connection that is pretty clear and they do a great job of getting the ball into the high post and looking for each other. (Clarke) reminds me on of one of the players that played in our league. She is very heady and strong. They are a very nice team. They have all spots filled. I'm not sure that they have a weakness, maybe that they don't do 12 deep, but neither do we. I think they are an excellent team."

On the development of sophomore guard Chelsea Gray...
"Chelsea is at an interesting point in her development. To me, she is one of the top five point guards in the country, she is an All-American candidate as a sophomore, and she has that ability to just control the tempo of the game. When she is really on her game, she uses the dribble, but she uses her passing skills so well. I just think that she is one of the neatest guards to be watching given her age and given the experience that she has gained this year. Last year as a freshman, she had an injury. This year, she has really be able to play and demonstrate her ability and efficiency. If you saw her stat line from last night, there is just tremendous efficiency in her game and also a headiness that I don't think came out as much. There is a lot more that she can do in the open court and hopefully maybe we can create that opportunity.

On the challenge of playing as a #2 seed on the road...
"Nothing is fair in love and war I guess. This is women's basketball. I'm really not concerned where we play, or when we play, but just that we play and play some great basketball. We hosted last year and were sent two ranked teams as a high seed. We had Marist and Iowa State and I thought that was funny. We had one of the toughest first-second round things going. I guess what I'm saying is that it doesn't matter. The stories are old relative to what is fair and or not fair. I think if you live your life with that attitude you are not going to get too far and so for us it doesn't matter."

DUKE STUDENT-ATHLETES
Haley Peters, sophomore guard/forward
On playing in Memorial Gymnasium...
"I think it was not as different as you thought it would be. After playing in the first game it didn't feel any different it was just weird when you are checking in and out. It wasn't as much of an adjustment as we thought it would be. I think we did a good job as a team getting back to the bench at timeouts, and think were pretty comfortable with it now."

On Vanderbilt's strengths...
"We spent time talking about them this morning. They are a talented team like any team we would play right now. They have great guards that can create off the dribble and shot the three. They have a couple of really good post players who control the paint well and get on the glass. We're going to focus on some their stuff out on the court today. We need to be focused to play really strong on the defensive end especially."

On playing a team on their home court...
"I think our non-conference schedule was something that has helped us all year and will really help us. Because we have played against some really good schools and really good crowds so its something we should be used to and I think we are."

On any play experience against the Vanderbilt players...
"I was recruited by Vanderbilt and visited here a few times. I know Stephanie Holzer pretty well through playing with her in AAU for two or three years. It will be a fun matchup. I think she and E (Elizabeth Williams) will be going head to head for a lot of the game. She obviously a great player, she is strong and physical and rebounds really well. She puts herself in good position to score, to rebound and get put backs. I think (Elizabeth Williams') athleticism will help a lot, but it will be a challenge for us."

Chelsea Gray, sophomore guard
On the heat playing in Memorial Gymnasium...
" The heat is something that you are not going to get adjusted to and its something you have to be mentally prepared for. I feel good right now we iced a little bit after the game and we'll stretch before."

Shay Selby, sophomore
On the heat playing in Memorial Gymnasium...
"Our plan is to take in a lot of liquid and stay hydrated throughout the game."

On playing a team on their home court...
"I think we prepared for this during ACC play. There are a lot of tough colleges throughout the ACC and think we have adjusted to it throughout our season."


 

 

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