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Watch: Kellie Harper Talks Keyen Green, Auburn and More on Tuesday

Tennessee Lady Vols head.coach Kellie Harper addressed the media to discuss her team's status on Tuesday ahead of Thursday's matchup with Auburn. Watch below.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– Lady Vols head coach Kellie Harper met with the media on Tuesday ahead of Thursday's road matchup with Auburn. 

Below is Harper's entire transcript from the availability where she declared Keyen Green out for the season with a torn ACL, and a video of her press conference is above. 

On what she knows about Auburn…
"Well I know that they are going to be tough, they're going to be feisty, and they are going to be excited to have a top-five team coming in their building. They've got good athletes. They are going to try to get after you, defensively, and going to try to get to the basket offensively. It's another game we'll have to play. You have to go and take care of business every single night or you just don't go home happy."

On the target on Tennessee's back…
"What I am trying to do is to approach it, to try to relieve that target a little bit for our team. We try to keep finding ways to nag at them to get better, try to keep coaching them, trying to keep asking for more. So, they know we aren't just sitting back and relaxing with where we are at, and I think if we can continue that attitude and that mindset it takes a little bit off their plate. I have felt this way every year that I have been here, I think that whenever you put on that jersey and are at Tennessee, you have that target on your back. I have thought that the entire time I have been here. It is different now, though, obviously with our record and where we are standing."

On Tamari being on the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Watch List
"Well, specifically, talking about her defense, our whole defensive package is built around her and what we are doing we rely on her. She cleans up a lot of mistakes, and she alters offensive game plans before the game starts. We know that people change what they do and when they are doing because of Tamari, her presence and her play."

On Tess Darby and Keyen Green injury status…
"Good news is Tess is back in practice today, the bad news is Keyen did tear her ACL and we are without her the rest of the year. It is a gut punch to our team. I hate it for Keyen. She has meant so much to this team, and she will continue to be a great leader for us but it will just be in a different role."

On possibility of Green returning for another season…
"As of right now, I don't think that is a possibility due to the NCAA rules."

On advantage of Auburn playing a COVID make-up game on Tuesday…
"You know, I don't think anybody wants to play three games in seven days at this point. We will catch them a couple days after. For them, I think it could be an advantage if they play well on Tuesday, but their turn-around time is quick. It is unfortunate for them that they have that, but we aren't looking like they have a big advantage over us."

On whether Rae Burrell will remaining in the starting lineup at Auburn…
"I honestly have not even thought about that yet. So, you know, Rae came in and did what she needed to do. Having her out there on the court is good for us. Having Tess back out there on the court will be good for us. We need all of our options. Without Keyen out there, we are going to need to get creative on what we are going to do and what our lineups are going to look like."

On Jordan Horston's five blocks vs. Georgia…
"You know, I think she is a player that when she gets one or blocks one, she wants to grab another somewhere. She has pretty good timing, and I think for her, very similar to Tamari (just in a different position), she has great length and good athleticism. It puts her in a good position to be able to block shots. She's played pretty well on the ball. Her defense has been pretty good. She keeps people in front of her, and if someone gets an angle she is tall enough and athletic enough to recover and get a blocked shot."

On whether Horston is the team's emotional leader…
"Maybe. I hadn't thought about that. Jordan gives her teammates confidence because she makes plays, I think, and it's not just she has to score to make those plays. She can get somebody open. She can block a shot. She can grab a rebound. Because she makes so many plays, they gain confidence from her throughout the game, throughout the play. It's not just one thing. But also, I think, you know, she's so competitive, I think they draw from that as well. We've got a lot of players out there that are playing with great competitiveness, and I think our emotion level has been pretty steady thus far - not too high, not too low. I think that's been good for us. So, if she is our emotional leader, we want to keep her as steady as possible because I think that's a happy place for our team."

On playing a lot of close games in the non-conference…
"Well, I think it's the close games that we've played early in the season that have already helped us. I think you gain confidence from all those experiences, and you can always build on those. You know our team, because of those situations, we've not panicked, and I think our team has been able to play through adversity. I think they played strong and played with confidence in a lot of games that may not have been going our way the whole game. And to be able to shift the momentum in the second half or shift the momentum at some point during the game, that's not easy to do. And our team's done it multiple times, and I think a lot of that has to do with just the confidence we've had throughout the season."

On how they can continue to grow despite the success and praise…
"Well, we just watched film from Georgia, and you're not going to say so because you guys pick up the stat sheet, but I think we can do a better job rebounding. I know, I know, I know right? I think we can be a little bit better offensively with our efficiency, and maybe a little more consistent there. I think defensively we can do a better job avoiding screens. So, there are definitely ways, if our players begin to think they have arrived and they figured it all out, we will make sure to show them where we can still grow. And I think that's been such a positive for this team. They have not let all of this go to their head; they have really locked in everyday to try to get better. And our film sessions have been really good for that. We talk about what's good, but we also talk about "oh this is not going to work in a month." So, that's a way that we learn."

On getting a number one seed…
"Well, the way I'm looking at it, if we did get that - is that we've continued to play well at the end of the season. That's what I'm worried about. Really, and the numbers are great, don't get me wrong. You want to be ranked high. You want to have those opportunities. Definitely want to host. Just so many of those things. But when you start talking about the NCAA Tournament, you start talking about 1vs4, or whomever you're going to play, whatever number you are. To me it's more about the match-up. Is that going to be a good match-up for your team? And, what we're trying to do right now is play through all these different match-ups, find a way to be positive and find a way to be productive against every opponent, because when it counts, when it matters in the NCAA Tournament, you have to figure it out or you go home. And hopefully we're building our resume to do that."

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