No. 5/6 Tennessee at South Carolina Postgame Quotes
Box Score |
Head Coach Dawn Staley
On the difference in the game
I think it just came down to us not hitting shots. I thought our defense was pretty good, and we made up for the rebounding difference by turning them over, so we got some of those possessions back. We just couldn't hit shots when we needed to hit shots. That's what it came down to.
On Tennessee's runs to close both halves
It's always big when you're playing against a team that can score in a lot of different ways. I thought for the most part defensively we did all we could do. We just weren't able to knock down shots. We got good shots at the basket, [but] we just didn't knock them down. Even through their runs, we did a good job maintaining. We just couldn't make shots.
On South Carolina's speed vs. Tennessee's height
We knew what our advantage would be, and we knew what our disadvantage would be. I didn't think we played fast enough some times. I was trying to get our players to push the ball down the floor and try to score before all their height could come into play. Their height bothered us, especially in the half court sets, but we still got shots at the basket. The game plan was executed. We just couldn't hit shots.
On Ieasia Walker's performance
She's been playing great basketball for us on both sides of the court. When someone scores almost half of your points, you want that person taking the shots. I don't think she forced a whole lot of shots. I like her effort, and I like what she gave us. We just need some others to hit some timely shots.
On the performance of Courtney Newton
Courtney got the start because cerebrally she understands what we're doing. She fights, and she plays hard on both sides of the basketball. You can tell her what you want from her and she goes out and does it exactly. There are no surprises with Courtney.
Ieasia Walker So. Guard
On Tennessee's height advantage
They got a lot of offensive rebounds, and they converted on them. We also fouled a lot, and they hit a lot of free throws too. So those were the two biggest problems for us.
Tennessee Head Coach Pat Summitt
Obviously anytime you can go on the road and get a win is very important to us. But how we played tonight was not the `Tennessee way.' I will tell you that South Carolina had a lot to do with it. I think they did a great job with their defensive intensity, pushing the ball up and down the floor, and getting inside on us. Not one of our better efforts as a basketball team. [South Carolina] scored 25 points off of turnovers. We were very careless, loose with the ball. We have something to work on when we go back to Knoxville before we get ready to go to Auburn. Also, they had 36 paint points, and that's huge. We had a hard time slowing them down and keeping them out of the paint. This is a pretty good blue print for what we need to get better at. I will say Meighan [Simmons] has been a great addition as a freshman and obviously hasn't typically played like a freshman. I think because of her experience at her high school she had to do a lot of things. Now she's learning to manage a game and getting a lot better at that. We're just glad she's here at Tennessee.
On rebounding and physical size
When you have [Shekinna] Stricklen with 16 boards that's huge for us. That's not a typical outing, game-in and game-out. But they challenged her to get on the boards. Glory Johnson has to be a lot better on the glass. That's one of the missing pieces and, again, we need better rebounding from our guards.
On Tennessee's run at the end of the first half
That was an important turn for us. Just to be able to go in and get a little bit of space, not as much as we hoped. But obviously to go in and score those points wasn't easy. South Carolina played really tough. They defend. They really got after us. I thought our ball security was not always what it needed to be. This was a great SEC matchup for us.
I thought [South Carolina] really did a good job, and then I thought we had loose handles and maybe tried to do a little bit too much. That's when we settled down and played better together as a team.
On South Carolina's ability to get to the rim
They were just pushing tempo, and they were just running the ball right up our backs. It's probably - in terms of the teams we played this year - they probably were in the top two of a team that's going to push on everything. You have to turn and defend. But when they get you on your heels, that's the hard part about it. They just ran and ran and ran after us. That being said, I thought we adjusted, but it took us a while to adjust. You can see it on tape and that's one thing. But when you get on the court then you understand the pace of the game is pretty intense.
Meighan Simmons Freshman Guard
On second half adjustment
First half I didn't come out like I expected to. I just came out a little bit slow. It must have been that my mind wasn't there. Second half, my teammates were just encouraging and telling me, "Hey, we need you to pick up your game and speed the tempo up a little bit." There were times when I was going a little bit too fast. After a while I made the adjustment, started getting my teammates involved, and I think that's when more opportunities started to show up.
On calming down during South Carolina's late run
It was just everybody coming together and just saying no matter what, we just have to go out there and play hard. But with me, I thrive in situations like that because it makes me want to go hard and makes me want to pick my game up and try to get my teammates involved, try to get them at the same pace I am; just continue to move forward no matter what the score comes down to.