March 22, 2013
2013 NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Gampel Pavilion · Storrs, Connecticut
Friday, March 22
PRACTICE DAY QUOTES - #8 seed VANDERBILT
Melanie Balcomb, Vanderbilt Head Coach:
On the injuries your team suffered this season to major players:
"I think everybody has to deal with a little adversity through their season, for me it was difficult to have Stephanie Holzer go down. I am a believer of a point, a post, a shooter and great role players. I lost our post first, our starting center, and Christina Foggie was down against Florida State and games like that. She was down early but came back, then got hurt again. Kady Schrann was a starter and then went down and stayed down. It kind of changed everything because we lost our center, then we lost our shooter, and we had to make our point our shooter. We looked at the freshman and we needed more from them; as they've grown we have grown down the stretch of the season.
Does Saint Joseph's do anything different from the days you coached Xavier and played them?
"Not a lot different. Saint Joseph's is all hard work, they're just tough. Tough, scrappy, smart, well coached, pretty much what you get from mid-level teams that get into the tournament. It is how my Xavier team used to be. I've talked to my players about that you've got work just as hard as if you are playing Texas A&M when you are playing Saint Joseph's. This is an 8/9 game and anybody can win, so we have to make sure they are prepared for the fight and the battle that they are about to be in."
When you come back to Gampel following the loss in 1999 with Xavier, what goes through your mind?
"Obviously, there are signature wins in your career and signature losses. That was one of my signature losses. I reflect back on it a lot and I didn't have to walk back into the arena, but when I did, that was the first thing I thought of was that game and being in here. You see the Pavilion on TV all of the time, but it doesn't look like it looked to me in here. The biggest thing I remember is how we were treated by the UConn fans. It is very similar now that I am in the SEC against Tennessee and they are very good women's basketball fans...period. My point guard who missed the shot was on the floor crying, and I looked up, as we walked off UConn fans stood up and cheered for us. As I walked out, that is the last memory I have and that will always be in my mind. We had every opportunity to win that game and we lost it. We were appreciated by those fans. I got hundreds of e-mails from them saying that it was one of the best games that was ever played there. It was very rewarding to be appreciated by a fan base who appreciates women's basketball."
Tiffany Clark, Vanderbilt Forward:
On overcoming major injuries this season:
"I think our team has done a really good job fighting through our injuries. The injury bug definitely hit us hard this year, but I think the injuries helped us to come together more as a team to play good basketball. It stinks to have all the injuries that we did, but we were able to grow from it. A lot of people wrote us off because of our injuries, but we didn't write ourselves off, and that's the most important thing."
On how the SEC has prepared this team:
"I think the SEC is definitely one of the more physical and defensive conferences out there. A lot of SEC teams were top-25 teams this year, so it definitely prepares us for NCAA play. It helps us by giving us physical and mental toughness because we have to play at such a high caliber every day."
On if the team had to create a new style of play after the injuries:
"I don't think we had to reinvent our style, I just think everyone had to do their job better. For example, if you're a rebounder, you needed to rebound more. If you were a defensive player, you had to get more stops. If you were a shooter you had to shoot more. I don't think we focused so much on changing how we play, it was more so doing our jobs better than we were doing before."
On Saint. Joseph's team:
"Saint Joseph's is a really good team. They won their conference championship so they're a good collective team. To compete with them we are going to have to compete as a team and play good defense."
Jasmine Lister, Vanderbilt Guard:
On if the team is starting to gel:
"I think we definitely are. Coach talked to us about this the other day. In the beginning of the year we were just going through practice, but now we're actually getting things done efficiently and playing well together. We're on a mission now."
On what the expectations are for this team:
"I don't think anyone really expects us to do anything in this tournament, but the way we've been practicing the last couple of weeks makes us believe we will go far. We expect to surprise a lot of people."
On what their mission is:
"Our mission is definitely to get past the first round. If UConn is our next opponent we just want to play our best game because we haven't done that yet. I think our mission is to get to our best game and peak."
On Christina Foggie coming back from a knee injury:
"Foggie has always been a strong player. After she had to do her knee rehab she was able to bounce right back. It was like she was never even gone. I think now that she's become more comfortable, she already knows she's going to have a great tournament. It's going to be great for our team to have her back."
On having success against Saint Joseph's:
"We're going to have to play their personnel really well and know who we're guarding all the time."