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March 30, 2014

Cierra Burdick

Meighan Simmons

Holly Warlick


Maryland テや 73
Tennessee テや 62

HOLLY WARLICK:テつ I'm just sad that that was Meighan's last game, and we're going to miss her.テつ She's done a hell of a job for our program, and I know she's going to go on and do great things.テつ Got beat by a better basketball team today.

Q.テつ In the second half Meighan showed her will and her heart for the University of Tennessee.テつ What has it been like to play with Simmons this year and last year and the years you've been here?
CIERRA BURDICK:テつ I think Meg is a competitor.テつ She's going to compete every single time she steps in between those lines.テつ Meg just wants the best for the team.テつ She wants to win.テつ She's had a great career here we're definitely going to miss her.テつ She's going to go on and do some great things and represent the lady volume program.テつ In 10 or 15 years down the road, we're all going to have the opportunity to say that we played with Meighan Simmons.テつ Probably one of the best scorers to ever play the game, and we're going to miss her.

Q.テつ Cierra, you guys have played a lot of strong, physical teams in the SEC and you were able to prevail against them.テつ What was the difference against Maryland today which seemed to dominate inside, especially early?
CIERRA BURDICK:テつ They just out‑willed us.テつ They out‑muscled us.テつ Like Holly said, they were the better basketball team today.テつ I think our turnovers really hurt us.テつ You can't win the ballgame when you've got 20‑plus turnovers.テつ We couldn't get into a rhythm offensively and we weren't getting the stops that we needed defensively.テつ Give Maryland all the credit; they came out and played a heck of a ballgame, and they took away our strengths.

Q.テつ Meighan, as far as Alyssa Thomas is concerned, every time you guys cut it down there in the second half to eight or nine points she would come back with a big bucket.テつ What did you guys do to try to limit her today?
MEIGHAN SIMMONS:テつ First we had Cierra to face guard her, and later on in the game when she got to runs we tried to double‑team her.テつ Me and Cierra had said in an earlier media session that we have so much respect for her.テつ She's one of the top recruits as of right now to go to the WNBA.テつ She's worked really, really hard.テつ Really she outworked us and out‑muscled would us today.テつ Like I said, we have the utmost respect for her.

Q.テつ How painful is this loss?テつ I hate to mention it, about the Grind For Nine and the Final Four in Nashville, it's been a goal all season long.テつ Can you talk about that?
MEIGHAN SIMMONS:テつ It's always been a grind for us.テつ We've had a heck of a year, and any game where we were down we found a way to fight back and Maryland just had the extra oomph today.テつ They pushed through even harder.テつ We just didn't have it today.テつ It was always a grind for this year.テつ I mean, I think we showed that.テつ A lot of people realized exactly what we could do out there on the floor, and for the people that they have coming in, the freshmen who are coming in and the people who are returning, I would just say to any other team, just look out because I know when I leave here I know everybody else that's going to be coming back is going to be pushing twice as hard to get back in this position and maybe even get over that hump and get to the Elite 8 and get to the Final Four.テつ That's all I can really say about that.

Q.テつ Holly, deficits early have been a problem so much of the season.テつ I know finding the answer would have helped fix it today, but what was it you saw them doing today that they couldn't dig out of it this time?
HOLLY WARLICK:テつ Well, I thought we came out just nervous, a little scared for whatever reason.テつ We didn't have that fight‑back at the beginning, and then we got ourselves in a hole.テつ We're a get the ball inside team, and we couldn't find a way to get it inside.テつ It was physical, and we just couldn't, for one reason or the other, get the ball inside.テつ When you turn the ball over 22 times, you're not playing very well.テつ As this team has battled back all year, Maryland wasn't giving in.テつ We dug ourselves in a hole too deep.

Q.テつ With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, is there anything you would have done differently in terms of preparing your team for this game or strategy or approach or anything?
HOLLY WARLICK:テつ No, I thought we had a good game plan.テつ I mean, Dean did a great job scouting, and we wanted to mix it up.テつ We were going zone, going man, and we just didn't have the togetherness on the defensive end, whether it was trust, we gave too many lay‑ups.テつ We understood that they score in the transition.テつ We couldn't stop that.テつ We understood that they were great rebounders, we worked on that quite a bit, and we couldn't stop that.テつ You know, I don't know.テつ Looking back maybe play more zone, but I thought we had a good game plan, we just didn't stick to it.

Q.テつ In the first half when Maryland made their run, you elected not to use a time‑out.テつ Did you feel that this team could overcome that without you calling one, or take us through that for a little bit.
HOLLY WARLICK:テつ I obviously didn't feel the need to have a time‑out, so I didn't call one.テつ I don't have a‑‑ I didn't feel the need to call a time‑out.

Q.テつ You mentioned you thought the team was a little nervous and jittery.テつ You said the same thing about the Louisville game last year when you guys lost in the Elite 8.テつ Is that maybe a greater concern for you about the team than execution or Xs and Os or anything like that?
HOLLY WARLICK:テつ Well, I mean, think about it right now, probably yes.テつ All we can do is prepare them for what we need to do in the game and put them in situations where they know what they're defending and where we need to attack offensively.テつ I don't know, the last two times we've been in the tournament, we didn't get it done.テつ We lost to a very good basketball team today, very good.テつ Maybe we'll address that for the next season.

Q.テつ Will you assess the play of Jasmine Jones and Mercedes Russell today?テつ Jasmine came in in the second half and provided the spark, and obviously Mercedes's wing span played a big role today, as well?
HOLLY WARLICK:テつ Yeah, they're kids.テつ Jasmine just is an athlete who plays hard, and I was proud of her.テつ She did what we wanted to do.テつ We wanted to attack the basket, stop the clock and get to the free‑throw line, and I thought she did that.テつ Mercedes is going to be a great player for us.テつ She's getting stronger and better every day, great knowledge of the game, and I have so much confidence in her.テつ I mean, I thought she‑‑ she didn't score a whole lot, but she was a factor on the defensive end, which helped us get back into the game.

Q.テつ In the first half, Meighan put a whole lot of points on the board and she was your only double‑digit scorer in the first half but she was also shooting a business less than 25 percent, and I noticed that you sat her out for a while in the second half, and when she came back she seemed to be shooting way better.テつ Can you talk about the decision making there?
HOLLY WARLICK:テつ Well, we needed defensive stops, and we thought when we brought Meighan out that we would get‑‑ brought in our better defenders, and we needed stops.テつ That pretty much was plain and simple.テつ I think when Meighan sits and settles down a little bit, she shoots the ball a lot better.テつ So that was our thinking.
You know, we weren't hitting outside shots.テつ I mean, they were packing it in, they were taking away our middle‑‑ our inside game, so we needed to hit a couple outside shots, and we didn't.テつ And they were quick shooting the basketball.

Q.テつ In the second half the team got down by 16 points, but kept battling back, brought it to eight.テつ How proud are you of them just the way they battled back and against a team that had a player hitting nearly all her shots?
HOLLY WARLICK:テつ Well, this team is special to me.テつ I mean, they have committed since last year.テつ They don't give up.テつ They don't have that in them, so I think that's what makes it tough.テつ It makes it tough for us to go out this way.テつ Obviously all teams put in the time and effort; that should be a given.テつ But this team has been really close‑knit team and they'll take this pretty hard, as the staff and myself.
But we just get down and we keep fighting and we keep battling, and that's what our MO has been.テつ We've just had to prove our worth all year.テつ I don't know why we've had to prove our worth, but we have.テつ But I think this group has had a great season and a season to be proud of, and we're Tennessee, and we're not happy that we're not playing for a national championship.テつ That's in our DNA.
So we'll go back to work and we'll prepare for next year.

Q.テつ When you guys game planned for Alyssa and you saw I guess her being a lefty, do you game plan differently because of that because the way they shoot the ball is different than what you normally see?
HOLLY WARLICK:テつ Well, when we game planned we wanted to limit her touches, we wanted to force her right.テつ We wanted to keep her off the boards.テつ She did just about everything she wanted to do.テつ 13 rebounds, 33 points.テつ I thought she came up with big rebounds when they needed them.テつ We just didn't have an answer for her tonight, and I don't know why.テつ We just didn't step up and get it done.テつ She's just had a great night, and you understand why she's an All‑American.テつ She made great plays.

Q.テつ You guys had three tough, good games in the SEC Tournament against a really good team.テつ You think that maybe took a little out of this team and perhaps that's when you guys peaked, in that tournament?
HOLLY WARLICK:テつ You know, I thought it was going to prepare us for what we needed to get ready for in this tournament.テつ They were tough.テつ They were tough games.テつ The SEC is just a brutal conference.テつ It's tough to survive the regular season, and then you go into the tournament.テつ You know, I don't know.テつ We took off‑‑ I thought we took off days that I thought would help us.テつ We had some pretty hard practices.テつ We were in great shape.テつ We just didn't have it today.テつ We just didn't have it, and give Maryland credit; they came out, they played just an outstanding game.テつ They did whatever they needed to do to get the win today.

Q.テつ What's your advice to Meighan as she leaves the University of Tennessee?テつ You've been with her the last four years.
HOLLY WARLICK:テつ Yeah, get her degree, number one.テつ She's got to get her degree, which she'll do that in the spring.テつ Meighan works at her game, and I think she will be a very good professional in whatever level, whether it's the WNBA or overseas.テつ I think she's got a special gift, and that's to shoot the basketball.テつ Not too many people can do that, and she has tremendous speed.テつ Just continue to be a professional that she is and keep her head up.テつ I know today was tough for her, but she had a great career, and just continue that effort and her love for the game at the next level.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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