March 22, 2009

Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb:

Opening Statement
"I thought the difference in this game was in the second half when we picked up the tempo. We pressed and then we got in the open court a little bit. Got some offense off of our defense. As well as they started to press us a little bit and we got in the open court. I thought it was really a key time in the second half was picking up the tempo. Over all I think the big thing was defensively we held them to a 28 percent field goal percentage. Keeping them off the offensive boards was the other difference in our strength today."

Can you talk about the defensive effort your team put out today?
"I think the biggest adjustment was made at halftime, I wasn't happy about our defense at halftime, that's all we talked about was our defensive rebounding. They were shooting 44 percent from three-point at halftime and had six offensive rebounds, and those six offensive rebounds they kicked out for threes. We were in there switching man and we did not communicate and they had three wide open threes. So we talked about shutting down the threes and if you see in the second half we made that adjustment and we did not give up one three the entire second half. I think that made a big difference being able to shut down the way they were scoring. They hadn't scored as well inside and we talked about that. "

"Tina did a good job in the post and then we switched and our guards were on them. We felt our guards did a good job and our posts helped them. And then the second half the only way they really scored was taking us off the dribble and we didn't feel like that was their strength. Like I said earlier, we decided to press more and put more pressure on the ball and 3/4 court to try and create more tempo. So, we didn't just shut them down on defense, but that helped our offense, it got us better looks on offense because they were doing a great job defensively as well."

Marsh had made 25 free throws in a row, what happened with Marsh tonight?
"I don't know what went wrong, she has also been very hot from three and didn't shoot the ball well from three or the free-throw line. But, I can't take Merideth off the court, and that's what I talked to her about was her leadership skills, she's like having another coach on the floor, she defends very smart, very well. So, I thought she let the game come to her and she didn't try to force things and hopefully we'll get her some better looks as well as knocking down free throws next game."


Vanderbilt Players:

Jennifer Risper
Christina Wirth

You come out with a four guard line-up and they throw a 6'4 center out there - your team mate Christina drew that assignment a lot. What was it like from your perspective seeing the that she did on their post?

Jennifer: "I thought Tina (Christina) did a really good job. She was 3-11 and she is one of their go to players. I think Tina just played solid defense and challenged her shots and tried to rebound. I thought she did a really good job on her tonight

What does that do for the rest of the team when you see that center just kind of butting down like that?

Jennifer: "It gives us confidence. As soon as we grab that rebound we go and we can get into one of our strengths, which is transitions. It is definitely a good thing to have post stops and Tina (Christina) did a good job of that tonight. Good job Tina

You played a lot of minutes the last several games. How was it to kind of come out of a game and get to watch and get to see your teammates plays?

Christina: "It felt good. I was really happy a lot of girls did get to play in this game. I thought our bench did amazing. We talked about how sometimes there are games where not very many people get to get in, but it is always a team effort from one to 13 for us. Those are the girls who are preparing us every day in practice. They do an amazing job. I'm just happy that we got to get them in the game. I thought they stepped up and did an amazing job.

Can you talk about the first half of the first half where they were a lot of missed shots and the score was close? Can you just tell what was going on at that time?

Christina: "I think we were just trying to get started. We haven't played a game in two weeks so I think practice is different than games. It was just taking us a little bit to kind of get into a rhythm. I think when they came out we were just trying to force things a little bit and we just needed to take a second to see what they were giving us and we needed to just start play a little bit smarter. I think we expected that a little bit, but the thing that kept us in the game even when our shots weren't falling was that we were hustling and playing defense. Eventually our shots are going to fall.

In the second half you had a, 8-0 run just over 2:30 minutes, you hit back-to-back threes. Is there something about playing in Albuquerque?

Christina: "I like Albuquerque. No, but I mean I'm a shooter and for one of them Jen (Jennifer) set me up great and just screened for me. I think the other one was another great screen on the play that we had called so I think that it was just reads and knowing what they were giving us and calling the right plays and executing them. I got some pretty good looks and my teammates found me when I was open so I was happy to be able to knock them down.

Can you talk a little bit about the defense you played tonight, especially in your match up tonight when you were playing the post?

Christina: "You know they switched a lot. We knew that a lot of their players were similar in terms of that they're good shooter, they like to put the ball on the floor and pull up so we were switching a lot. A lot of the time I tried to pick up their big post players because I'm the biggest player on the floor. I thought the team did a great job of communicating and when we did need to switch I thought our smaller players did a great job of trying to fight in the post and when we could we would switch back. You know as much as people talk about us being a small team and `o gosh it's going to be hard for you guys at the post', I think it creates mismatches for the other team. It's tough when you have a player like Jen (Jennifer) Risper who is a great defender and quick and strong and just taking it to your dribble the whole time- I think that is tough for opposing teams. We're just taking out strength and trying to work with them.

You came out of the game for a short time early on. What happened? Did you get hit in the nose?

Jennifer: "Actually I've just been blowing my nose a lot and I didn't get hit, I just got a bloody nose from the altitude probably and it's dry. So that is all for that but I was excited to get back in. Just an old fashioned bloody nose.