Jan. 3, 2013
Box Score |
Auburn vs. Arkansas
January 3, 2013
Auburn head coach Terri Williams- Flournoy
"I'm very proud of my young ladies. It was very tough for them to come into their first SEC game against Arkansas. Once again, all you hear are the memories of them getting beat by 30 last year at Arkansas. Mentally, you know you're better. You know you're playing better. You're a better team, but still, you still have those little ghosts in the corners yelling, `We beat you! We beat you!' I thought our girls did a really good job of setting the tone right away for the game. On the run that we went on, I think the more that they let our press work, the more that they get into it. I thought they just did a really good job."
On Arkansas head coach Tom Collen saying he thought Auburn looked like an NCAA Tournament team and how big of a win she feels like it is for perception...
"Well that was very nice of Tom. It's a big win. I'm going to try to downplay it as much as possible because it's the first game of the SEC. It's not the win it all and be done. It's our first game of the SEC. What does this game do for us? What does this win do for us? It gives us confidence that we need going into the tough SEC play. It gives us the ability to understand if we press, if we do this, if we do that, this will work, and this will help us to get wins. As far as being an NCAA team and looking like one, I don't know. I don't know what one really looks like. I think right now we have a lot of things clicking. Like I said before, each and every night it's been different kids. I thought Hasina (Muhammad) had just an OK night. Peyton (Davis) comes in and rebounds for us. (Tyrese Tanner) steps in and does defensive work for us. On any given night, I guess that's a team that can help you win even when you're so-called star player isn't playing that well."
On if she had to instill a new attitude in the team when she took the job...
"I don't know if it was a lot different. I got the job in April, so there wasn't anything I could really do with them. Once we started practice, everything was so new to them. We changed the whole philosophy of how we play versus how they played last year. I don't really know how they were. I didn't really care because we were going to play the way I wanted to play. Everybody says they're buying into it. They're not buying into it. They didn't have a choice. They're doing what they're supposed to be doing."
On if she thought it was a physical game...
"I don't know. I'll be the first to tell you, we are not a physical team. If somebody was to go in the locker room right now and tell our girls that they were physical, our girls would bust out laughing as much as we call them soft in practice. I think it was your typical SEC-type game. We're both pressing teams. As you could see, it was a very pressing and defensive team. The score was 19-20 at halftime. That reminds me of our games against Rutgers where one time it was 15-14 at the half. When you have two defensive teams going at it, it's usually going to be pretty physical. It's going to sometimes be ugly. It's always going to be a tough matchup offensively. Are we physical? No. Do I want us to be? Yes. Obviously (Coach Collen) missed (Quistelle Williams) jumping on the backs of our kids as we're ducking out of the way, so I don't know."
On if she felt like the team passed the test for its SEC opener...
"They kind of did because you see the press working against a lot of our nonconference opponents, and you think it's good. We're forcing turnovers, but now will it work against a team that's really good? It should because nothing changes. As we go on, people are going to have better press offenses. A lot of people are going to throw that long skip pass and make Blanche (Alverson) and Peyton (Davis) play a little bit better on the back line, but we'll switch up and go to another defense, and it will be fine."
On if they're seeing a lot of skip passes...
"We are starting to see a lot of that. When you have a taller and bigger point guard, we'll see it a little bit more. When we have shorter point guards, it's hard for them to see over (Tyrese Tanner). (Calli Berna) was a pretty big point guard that could see over the top, and then she had (Quistelle Williams) in the back with her, but that's OK. We're used to that. We also know what to do out of that, as well.
Najat Ouardad, Sr., G
On her steal that led to Auburn retaking the lead late in the game and needing to make a play...
"Coach always tells us every time when we make a defensive stop to make sure that we convert every steal and that every possession is important. I felt like the fact that we converted offensively pushed us offensively to make sure we get them."
On if she felt like it was a physical game...
"Yes, especially me at the point, I had to handle the pressure at the point and make sure that I handled the ball and everything, but I'm really proud of my team how they fought physically the whole game."
Tyrese Tanner, Jr., G
On if the team is thinking about potentially making it to the NCAA Tournament...
"Oh yeah. Everybody that's been on the team hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament. We want to strive this year for our seniors and then for everybody else to get to that tournament this year since we haven't been in a long time. We're striving for it."
On getting a lot of points in transition in the second half...
"Our Coach has always said convert from their turnovers to our points. Just like me being the top of the press and having (Najat Ouardad) and Hasina (Muhammad) on the side doing ball pressure, making them turn the ball over, and then since I'm at the top, I'm the first one back on offense anyway so they just launched me the ball, and I scored."
Arkansas Head Coach Tom Collin
"For those of you who have been covering the SEC for a while, this was just a typical SEC game: 50 - 47 slug fest, low scoring. It was a tough game for us. I don't think we underestimated Auburn, I liked them when I saw them on tape. I know they had great length and I knew they were going to come out and zone us and put pressure on us and make us make decisions. And at times I thought we handled that fine and then we had spurts where we didn't. We told them at the beginning of the game, we told them at halftime, the key to the game - you don't want to turn it over against them, but you can't turn it over in the front of their press because they convert those to layups. When they really spurted out on us a couple of times, we turned it over right up at the top and they just went down and scored layups and they got some momentum on us. I give them credit; they're a pretty good basketball team. I hope this win over us gets them noticed. I look at them, and I know it's too early to say this, but I think they're a NCAA-type of team. I think if they play as hard as what they played against us tonight, they're going to win enough games to probably find themselves back in that hunt."
"I think what she's done is she's given them new life. I know that they haven't been in the tournament for two or three years. The coaching change, I think for them, and I love Nell to death; she did a great job with them, I think. But, it's a fresh face. It's somebody that can come in and say, `Listen, I've been there, this is where this program needs to be.' And so, when you have a coaching change, and then you get off to a good start and you win in the preseason, and you establish a little bit of momentum and a little bit of confidence, then I think there's going to be a great belief factor there. I think that's the biggest thing is she's probably got them believing that if they play a certain way and a certain style, then they can get to the NCAA Tournament."
"I'm disappointed that we didn't deal with it better. I think they were a lot more physical than I thought they were, looking on tape. Now I don't know whether or not all of a sudden they got physical tonight or whether or not I couldn't see that physicality in the other games. But, I thought this was just a brutally, physical game. I don't think we probably got the best end of that. Now, we need to be more physical. And I think we need to respond to that better. But, I think throughout the course of the game, I don't think we responded enough to it. We were always back fighting on our heels instead of being the aggressor. You got to give them credit for that. If they play like this, they're way more physical than what they look on tape. If that's all it was, they're a lot more physical."