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March 2, 2017

Holly Warlick

Jordan Reynolds

Mercedes Russell

Greenville, South Carolina

Alabama, 72 - Tennessee, 64

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Tennessee.

Coach, start us off with an opening statement, please.

COACH WARLICK: Credit to Alabama. They were tougher than us today. They had a little bit of a stronger will. They just out-worked us and out-played us.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Mercedes, could you talk about No. 25's improved play. She had six blocks, double-figure scoring. I don't think she was that much of a factor in the first meeting this year.
MERCEDES RUSSELL: Yeah, she definitely played a lot more tonight. Her presence was noted. Like you said, she had six blocks. I think it was just us not attacking hard enough and shot faking when we got into her.

She also had two offensive rebounds which were key. In total they had 10, which really hurt us.

Q. Jordan, losing to Alabama two straight times in the regular season, you would think the team would come in here really ready to play, yet you looked lethargic from the outset. How do you explain that?
JORDAN REYNOLDS: I think we were just overlooking this team. We didn't think we had to come out here and play to the best of our ability because we came off a very good win.

I think we played lethargic from the beginning because we thought it could be a switch. It wasn't a switch. We came out and didn't play to the best of our ability.

Q. Mercedes, can you put into words how frustrating it is for this team to beat some of the teams you beat this year, then to bow out in the first round of the tournament.
MERCEDES RUSSELL: It's obviously very frustrating because our play is so up-and-down. Sometimes we play so good, then we come back against a team like Alabama. We think it's okay to not play our best. That really hurt us at times.

We've been high and low. We can't play like that.

Q. Mercedes, what is this team going to have to do to bounce back heading into the NCAA tournament?
MERCEDES RUSSELL: We're going to have to keep our heads high and move forward. Obviously we lost. This post-season for us is over.

We still have the tournament to look forward to. We're just going to have to continue to get better, practice every day, look ahead.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. You can return to the locker room.

We'll continue with questions for Coach Warlick.

Q. Holly, offensive rebounding was trouble for you today. You didn't get one until deep into the second quarter. Why has that been such a problem?
COACH WARLICK: I don't know why it was a problem today. We didn't shoot the ball well. I thought we got good looks. We were 16 for 51. Outside of not stopping people on defense, you're not going to win a lot of games.

I thought we got great looks. We didn't rebound the basketball. We talked about it quite a bit, but our effort just wasn't there on that aspect of the game.

Q. How impressed were you with Diamond's ability to play aggressive defense, even though she had three and four fouls late in the game?
COACH WARLICK: I mean, I wasn't very happy that she got three or four fouls, you know. We needed her on the floor. She can't put herself in that situation.

Yeah, I thought she did some good things. She can't put us in that position. She can't get into foul trouble. So, yeah.

Q. Holly, when your senior point guard talks about, We thought it was okay to come out here and not play our best against this team. That seems inexplicable. How can you even relate to that?
COACH WARLICK: Well, I didn't pick up on that. If she felt that way, that's not how the team was addressed. We had a lot of respect for Alabama because they beat us. We talked a lot about that.

I don't know why. I guess that's what she felt. But we prepared this team like we did any other team. Look, you don't advance unless you take care of the game at hand.

Our game plan was to do everything we needed to do to beat Alabama. We weren't saving ourselves. We weren't thinking about the next game as a staff. I don't know if Jordan was speaking for everyone.

We presented this game to where we needed to play our best to win. If that's the case, we got to change that mindset.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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