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March 2, 2006

Melanie Balcomb

Cherish Stringfield

Carla Thomas


Q. Can you just talk about flow of the game; first half was very close then in the second half you blew it out. Talk about what was happening with your team over the course of it.
COACH MELANIE BALCOMB: Well, defense we changed at halftime. We really wanted to force them into turnovers since that's what they were struggling with and we pressured and trapped. In the second half we went to more of contained defense and said, we ain't pressuring, we ain't trapping. We're not going to get crazy because we get one steal, and for every one steal, they will get five layups uncontested. So we wanted to force them to shoot over us, and to rebound instead of rotating and giving them easy baskets.
We did a great job in making that adjustment and the defense changed the whole game.
Q. Can you talk about your two freshman Jennifer Risper nine assists, zero turnovers and Tina Wirth your leading scoring with 17 points.
COACH MELANIE BALCOMB: What's really nice about freshman is we don't expect a lot out of them, so there's not a lot of pressure on them. In the SEC tournament that's when everybody feels the pressure because their season could end, or that tournament could end.
As you saw Nicole Jules didn't have her best game and the freshman picked it up. They played freely. They were very excited to play in their first SEC tournament, and it showed. They just responded really well.
Q. Talk about the balance on your offense. You had four players with double figures.
COACH MELANIE BALCOMB: That's what we talked about after the game. That's what we always try to achieve. We really like to share the ball and have balance out there. What I like is, as you see, we had I think it was 32 assists and 35 baskets and that's pretty impressive. That means that we're sharing the basketball, taking good shots, creating shots for other people not ourselves. That's tough to guard. We don't rely on the same person every night, of the same people every night, or if someone was hurt, sick or in foul trouble we don't fall apart.
Not everybody is going to bring their best game every night. We are starting to develop as a team as different people stepping up each night, that's what I like.
Q. Nine three-pointers tonight, how much did that help you all as far as just opening things up?
COACH MELANIE BALCOMB: Well, I think one of the people sitting next to me, Cherish, she really stepped up to hit when we needed the threes that she took. They were big and she hit them when it was real close. Cherish got some looks and she made most of them. I think that really helped us.
It's funny, the two people sitting next to me are the two people I have said every day after the LSU game, when we worked the team harder, that these two people were the two who made a huge difference, changed, worked harder and made us a better team down the stretch. As you can see those are the two that made big plays today, and stepped up at big times because they had confidence, and they have earned that confidence.
Q. (Inaudible) tomorrow night's game?
COACH MELANIE BALCOMB: We just lost to Georgia, so we have a bad taste in our mouth about that game. We were very unpleased with our play and we just -- it's a game that all we can do, I think, in that game is help ourselves, you know. So in this tournament you're playing a great team and it helps yourself down the road. I mean, I think we can play free.
We have nothing to lose and everything to gain playing at Georgia.
Q. Cherish and Carla, can you talk about Coach's comments about the changes that you have made since the LSU game?
CARLA THOMAS: Making a difference and to make something happen in terms of what you're willing to put into the game and put into the team, and I think everyone stepped up a lot in that respect. I think that's why our defense is doing so much better. I guess that's how she feels about us personally. That's nice.
CHERISH STRINGFIELD: Just to add on what Carla said, she just asked us to work harder and took something that we willing to work hard at every day and work hard, and the next day pick another thing and eventually it will all come together. It just paid off.
Q. (Inaudible)?
CHERISH STRINGFIELD: There are times when I was wide open. When you are wide open, you call for the ball and stick it in the basket. That's what I did.
Q. Talk about that second half.
CHERISH STRINGFIELD: We came out in the second half. We had to be more energetic and bring it more in the defensive end. We did that by trying to make turnovers trying to create offense from our defense. I think we did that. And that was the turnaround in the game.

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