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Everything Kellie Harper Said Following Win Over Tennessee Tech

The Tennessee Lady Vols head coach Kellie Harper met with the media after Tennessee's 28-point win over the Golden Eagles. Everything Harper said following the win is below.

Opening Statement…
"We're really, really excited about the win. I thought our team did a nice job of making adjustments throughout the game. Obviously, we gave up too many points, in my opinion, in the first quarter. Their game plan was to try to pull us out. We were over-helping and had to make some adjustments. And I thought our team actually responded well to those adjustments. Took us another quarter to kind of feel good about it, but I thought the third quarter we held their scoring down to five, and I think it's because we guarded better, guarded on the ball better, and I was proud of that. You know, we're able to put points on the board in a lot of different ways, and that's a good sign."

On how critical Alexus was tonight…

"Well, I think you know, at a time there, especially early on, we were struggling a little bit. She was able to be the consistent player for us on the offensive end, and let me tell you, she loves that jump shot. I mean, loves that jump shot. And when she gets lift, when she has good legs under and gets lift, she shoots a really good percentage. We've seen it in practice a lot, seen it in some drills and here last day or two noticed that when… she and I actually talked about it, and I said, 'Just get it up and it's going in.' And you know, she's one that when she makes one, she'll make three more."

On Tess Darby's improvement throughout the season…
"Tess is doing what we felt like she could do for us. You know, we've seen it the whole summer and fall that she can really knock down shots. It makes things easier for everyone else when you've got someone out there that can stretch the defense and, I'm happy for our team, because it makes our offense smoother and easier. But I'm also really happy for her. She's doing what she needs to do for us, and I'm proud of her."

On obstacles the offense still faces…
"I still think we can be better, more efficient. Obviously, you pick up stat sheets, and it's easy to pull out the turnovers. You know, we have to eliminate the turnovers for no reason, the just-the-hand-it-to-the other-team turnovers. We've got to eliminate those. I still think we've got to… we may still have to manufacture some points somewhere, maybe we get to get to the free-throw line a little bit more. Maybe we need to try and find some more scores in transition. So, there's still concerns there. I don't think after a couple games of decent offense that we've arrived, so we will continue to work on it. We'll continue to add and tweak things as we go through the season as well, and we're still going to show some things to our team about better offensive efficiency."

On Alexus Dye's impact on the team...

"Well, I think she gave us a great score. I think she's usually really good defensively, and she's been really good on the boards. She's very aggressive offensively, and I think those things matter. I think she compliments some of our other players really well. We can move her around a little bit a little bit inside and a little bit outside. I think she's a big part of what we're doing. She has pretty good poise, and I think her poise comes from that experience that you're talking about. You know, she's been through a lot, she's seen a lot. Even though she's a first year Tennessee Lady Vol, she's a very experienced college basketball player."

On Tamari Key's play...
"I'm so proud of her. I think consistency is the word for her. She's really showing a lot of maturity. She's showing a lot of competence right now, and those things are leading to that consistency. You know, she wants the ball, and she feels good about what she can do with the basketball. She feels good about board playing. I think that the one thing I'd say is that she is continuing to grow. She's got all the tools. She's continuing to grow mentally, and continuing to be an experienced basketball player on the court. And I think we're seeing that. It's just fun to watch."

On the adjustments made in the second half...
"What we had to do was with our guards. I thought in the first half we were relying on help too much so we were over helping and not getting deflections and they were able to find open players. In the second half, we did a much better job guarding one-on-one, taking away help or the need for help. I thought that was the difference.

On finals week with basketball…
"I think it's really important that we try to balance our players' time. Right now, we're going into finals. We're pretty good. We're going to have to have some people grind it out. We've got a chance to have a pretty good (team) GPA. So, my challenge to them, is to really buckle down and work hard in this next week. Oh, yeah, but we play, too. So, what we're going to do is make tomorrow an off day. They are thrilled about the off day. There's no travel on this off day. There's no practice, there's no class. Some of them will have study sessions. Some of them will have some rehab, but it is a true off day. I think they deserve it. They really earned this one. Hopefully, it can help take off some stress academically and get their bodies recovered athletically. Then, we'll get back out on the court on Friday for a practice and travel on Saturday. You know, we'll travel, make sure they get some study hall on the travel next week. We'll have probably a couple days off during finals, a little bit more than normal during finals week. We try to make sure that they have ample opportunity to study and take care of their coursework in this last week."

On Karoline Striplin

"Karoline gives us great energy when she comes in the game. I thought, offensively, she did a really good job of posting-up, looking for the ball. She always wants the ball. She's one of the best post-up players that we have on the team. She's still learning to play with the size that sometimes our opponents give us. Tonight, she was a little on positive side versus Tennessee Tech. Just getting her some good experience, I think is important to us. Defensively, she's not had to guard perimeter players like she had to tonight, so that was a good challenge for her. So, I'm proud of her. She's a fighter and comes in with positive energy every single day. She's also one of the most determined kids I've ever coached. I've said this in the fall, and I will still say it again - she's one that is just going to figure out the problem at hand. She's going to work through something until she gets it right. So, she's going to be good; she's going to be really good for us."

On three-point shooting…
"Well, I think we've got to take good threes. You know, we're probably not going to be a team that needs to take 25 threes a game. It's just not going to be who we are. That's ok. We need to be able to knock some down for sure. So, we've got to be able to find good open threes in rhythm, and we have to take those sometimes. Even taking them in rhythm, that gives you a better opportunity to rebound your misses. So, it would be nice to be able to put a few more on there, but I don't think that we want to overhaul what we're doing."

To watch Harper's post-game media availability, watch the video above. 

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