SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT
March 8, 2013Eastern Indiana Sports
Tennessee – 82
Florida – 73
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick, student?athletes Meighan Simmons and Cierra Burdick. We'll take an opening comment from the coach.
COACH WARLICK: Hard?fought game. It's survive and advance. These young ladies found a way to win. We played in spurts. We got to go back and defend the ball a whole lot better.
Proud of their effort and to finish the game with a win.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the student?athletes.
Q. Meighan, going back to Sunday's game, you really looked rushed against Kentucky. When you came out today, you pushed the tempo and really that gave you that advantage. Could you contrast the difference in those two games.
MEIGHAN SIMMONS: It was a major difference I think.
COACH WARLICK: We came out a lot more hungry this game. We had a lot of high energy from the coaches on down.
We started off, you know, a little slow, but after a while we picked it up and played each four?minute segments, made sure we did the little things out there on the floor. That kind of gave us an advantage and pushing the tempo, like you said, made sure we played Tennessee basketball. When we do that, the game goes good for us and it's a great game for all of us.
Q. Cierra, talk about the team's performance.
CIERRA BURDICK: I think on the offensive end, we're just talented. We've got a bunch of people that can score the basketball. That's one of our strong points as a team.
So if we just continue to share the basketball the way we are, I think we'll be successful down the line. We've got to continue to pick it up on defense, because offense is not our problem, it's the defensive end.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for coach Warlick.
Q. Was that a point of emphasis, to come out and force the tempo?
COACH WARLICK: It was. We wanted to push the ball in a make or miss. We wanted a fast?tempo game. I thought we set the tone early. I thought Florida did a great job of adjusting. They went to a zone.
We wanted to stack on the offensive end and I thought for the most part the first part of the game, we did.
But we've got to go back to the drawing board. We got to get down and defend some people. We're not going to always out?score people. We've got to make defense our priority.
I thought the first 10 minutes we set the tone and then we just get comfortable. We get a lead and we get comfortable. We've got to have that killer instinct in us and finish the game the way we start the game.
Q. Holly, you want to force the fast tempo, your team seems to play well offensively when it does that, yet you have to balance that with your lack of depth playing three games in three days possibly. How do you do that?
COACH WARLICK: Well, Florida is a great basketball team. They're physical. They're athletic. Amanda does a great job. I would have liked to have played more people. But I just didn't see the opportunity to do that.
Yeah, it comes to strategy now. Are we going to have legs to push the game we want to play the next game and the next game? We just got to dig deep. We're not going to go away from our game plan. Got to use probably more time?outs and more strategic plans.
Pushing the ball in a fast tempo is what got us there. We can't go away from that now. I thought towards the end, we almost backed off too early. But it worked out.
But, yeah, we're going to have to really be strategic in what we do in time?outs and get people some minutes.
It was a hard?fought game, and I knew it would be. Florida is competitive and they're trying to get in the tournament. They're a tough opponent to play. We knew that from the get?go.
Q. That's what was puzzling about the Kentucky game in that you do like to play fast tempo and they wanted to play fast tempo as well. You guys just looked rushed instead of fast. How do you explain that?
COACH WARLICK: Well, we weren't very good (laughter). I don't know what else to say. We were bad. We regrouped. It was not a good game for us. You can't win a game if you turn the ball over 31, 32 times. I lost count after 25. 31, there you go.
We went back and I think we learned from that. I think for the most part today, I don't know how many turnovers we ended up with, but first half we had six I think. This team is young. We're going to continue to learn. But we weren't ready. We came off a big game against Texas A&M. You go into a hostile environment against Kentucky. We were not ready for that.
I think as long as we learn from it and it's a teaching point and a teaching moment, then I'll take that. So I think it got us refocused. I'm not real sure if we would have beat Kentucky there, if we would have had the focus we had today against a very good Florida team.
We're always living in the moment and learning from how we can get better. As a coach, we want to make sure, our staff make sure, that we continue to get these kids better. We got to get better before tomorrow. We got to get a better mental game and get some rest.
Whichever team we play, it's going to be physical, up and down. It's part of this tournament. It's part of most of how the teams in the SEC play. It's up and down. It's physical. It's fast. Everybody has to do that.
You got to play back?to?backs to get the job done. We just got to suck it up and figure out what we need to do to get it done.
Q. Because of that, might you stress rest more while you're down here? Are you talking to the players about that? Are they listening?
COACH WARLICK: The biggest thing that we do for these kids is we snatch their cell phones. They got to rest. They can't get on the phone, stay up late.
They know we're going to get them rest. We get them off their feet, make sure they're in their rooms. After this, we're going to go and take ice baths, everybody has to get in an ice bath. Not the coaches, thank goodness (laughter).
We're doing what I think we need to do to make sure that they get rest because that's what it's all about. You get past this game, you survive and advance. So now we're advancing. Now our focus is on one of these two teams. Rest is going to be huge for us because of our lack of depth.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
COACH WARLICK: Thank you.