On the energy that came from the bench during the game tonight… “That’s what makes us dangerous and fun to watch, that you have to scout everyone on our team. So, when everyone shows up, contributes, and is on, this is what it looks like. It takes the pressure off a certain few to feel like they must do it every single game. It also makes practice competitive because, in a way, you’re looking over your shoulder because you know there’s someone that can come in and be productive. So, it’s made for good chemistry and good practices. We’ve gotten better, and hopefully, it gives us the depth to make a deep run this year.”
On Maori Davenport playing tonight with the new SEC rules implemented… “I’m really glad the rule passed. There were a lot of programs, on the men’s and women’s side, who needed this rule to pass in order to get some of their student-athletes eligible. I think what’s important for us; to keep the main thing the main
thing, which is when Maori decided to transfer, we didn’t pursue a waiver for her. We agreed she needed a year to get stronger, learn our system, and then be ready for next year. That’s what Jenna [Staiti] and Mikayla [Coombs] did. They came in and were able to make immediate impacts, so Maori and I have had conversations as this has been coming down the pipe. Not a lot, because you don’t want to continue to put something on someone’s mind that might not happen, but enough to prep her in case it did and to also to say ‘Hey listen. If this rule passes, we’re going to keep our same focus which is to get you better every day. If there’s a game that you need to play in, you will. But our focus is to continue to follow the plan that we had in place for you.’ Obviously, she’s been really good for us to have in practice. She’s challenged our bigs, she’s a hard worker, and when we have to opportunity to reward her with playing time, we want to do that.”
On whether they expected Sarah Ashlee Barker’s immediate impact on the team as a first-year player…
“The simple answer is yes, we expected this from her immediately. We felt like she would have an immediate impact. Sarah Ashlee is someone who snuck up on a lot of people because she did not play summer ball the last two summers.
She was injured. Not severely, but just tweaked her knee a little bit and didn’t play her 11th-grade summer. She felt so good after that that she chose not to play her senior year either, so she’s the one who has been off the circuit for a while. I think she’s catching the attention of a lot of people, but it’s not a surprise to us. We are getting exactly what we thought we were going to get.”