Dec. 11, 2011
Tulane Head Coach Lisa Stockton
Overall thoughts on the game
"It was a tale of two halves. I was very disappointed in how we came out. I thought we came out without a lot of energy and not a lot of focus, and Southern came out ready to play. They were on fire, they shot well the whole game and they did some very good things. I give them a lot of credit on that. In the second half, it was a different team. We were much more intense. We had a lot more leadership in the second half. It's difficult to tell your team to press for 20 minutes, and that's what we had to do to get back in the game."
On her challenging junior guard Olivia Grayson at halftime
"I did. I probably have never gotten on Turtle that hard. We depend on her for a lot. She had a lot of turnovers at the half. With a young team, the upperclassmen really have to set the tone and she did. I really believe she's one of the best players in our league and she has to be that every night and show it every night. That's really what I challenged her to do."
On what the team showed her by rallying from behind
"I think we've got guts and we've got `it'. We can win close games. You look at LSU and you look at games that we've been able to finish. We've got that quality. We've just got to make sure that we play for 40 minutes and put ourselves in a position to win at the end."
On if she knew the team would have games like this with so many freshmen on the roster
"I was hoping it wouldn't. But again, Kaplan hit some big shots and had some steals. I've coached here a long time, and this is always our most difficult times to play with exams and papers and things coming due. It's always been difficult to keep them focused, and with this many young players it definitely is. If we can take that first half and learned some really big lessons from it, it'll be worth it. I was really disappointed in how we showed up tonight."
On the lessons learned as a team in this game
"I think it's fear none, respect all. We put ourselves in a position where we won't sneak up on anybody. We've beaten some good opponents and I think people are going to show up to play against us. We've got to be ready to be that team every night. The lesson, especially for our younger players, is it's hard to turn it on and off. We subbed everybody in that first half were looking for somebody to give it to us, and the whole team affected the whole team. In the second half, I was really encouraging the bench to get involved because the crowd wasn't - and I don't blame them. The bench needed to give energy, the kids needed to give energy and the staff needed to give energy. We had to control our destiny and I'm really happy that our kids responded. We knew in those first four minutes (of the second half) that we could win this game. That was my challenge to them. In those first four minutes, I'm going to know whether or not we have a chance. We came to the bench and we cut it to eight at the 16-minute mark. That's pretty impressive, from 17 to eight in the first four minutes."
On the performance of Brett Benzio, especially after Tulane took the lead
"Brett's always a presence on the boards. Defensively, she had a couple of blocks in there. She and Tiffany Dale had some blocks in there that were huge. Again, that's what you want your senior to do. I think Brett's game is the best it's been since she's been at Tulane. She's scoring. She's rebounding. She's more vocal. I'm really happy with the way she's playing and she came through."
Senior Center Brett Benzio
Overall thoughts on the game
"With so many freshmen that have never been in a situation before where they have to balance so many different things at one time, it's a lot of distractions to come out and play with. As upperclassmen, we should have stepped up a little more and carry them a little bit better, especially in this game. I'll take that fall. I'm the only senior. I've been in this situation many times before. I think we just need to help a little bit more in these situations."
On when the team realized it came out flat and how it responded
"It was one of those things that you realize it really early, and it didn't exactly help. We had to wait 20 for minutes to go by before we could actually turn it around. I'm just happy that we were able to come out in the second half and came out pretty much playing the basketball that we're used to. We were hungry for the ball and ready to do what we had to do."
On Southern having an answer for Tulane early on
"We just knew that if we played our kind of basketball, we could pull back that deficit. Just knowing that in your mind and knowing that you played an entire half, we're only down 17 and we played like absolute dirt, and that we could get exponentially better because we've seen ourselves play well before."
On what the team takes from this game
"I said it after the game. I was like, `Guys, that could have gone two ways after halftime. You guys were willing to put in that extra effort. Everyone is tired but you all were ready to put in the extra effort in the second half to not only win the game but just to catch up.' We weren't even close to starting over again. We had to make up those points. I told them, `The next time, you've got to be ready at all times.'"
Junior Guard Olivia Grayson
On what the team takes away from this game
"It shows the amount of toughness that we have and the amount of heart that we play with. We didn't come out at the beginning of the game playing like we know how and with that intensity. Our defense wasn't there. They were scoring at will, we weren't scoring, we were turning the ball over and we just weren't focused. This is the time of year where you lose your focus a little bit. Having so many freshmen and us upperclassmen not leading by example then, you're going to have a game like this were you come out flat and get caught by surprise by a good team."
On the difference in the two halves
"Coach called me out at halftime and I didn't like it so I stepped up in the second half. We just refocused. We didn't play not to turn over the ball. I just played my game and played relaxed."
On if she knew the team's press defense would work as well as it did in the second half
"We knew that we could pressure them because they don't really have that many ball handlers. Their guards are really posts. We knew that our presses would work. We had success with that last year against them, so we knew going into the game that we could press them. We were down 17 at the half but we had no choice but to press, get up there, get some steals and get some easy baskets."