Lady Vols field questions at first press conference in Louisville
Louisville, Ky. —
Diamond DeShields, Mercedes Russell
Tennessee Lady Volunteers
Q. I realize you're all emerged in the tournament right now, but you don't have much time
before this draft, this WNBA draft and declaring. Have you had any time in the season to
weigh the pros and cons of turning pro early?
MERCEDES RUSSELL: That's not something I'm worried about at the moment. I'm just worried
about the tournament at the time. That's something I'll think about after the season.
DIAMOND DeSHIELDS: It's definitely a decision that's looming over both of our heads. But
like Mercedes said, it's something we try not to put too much thought into. We're committed to
being in Knoxville with Coach Warlick, and the rest of our teammates and currently where we
are in Louisville right now, and focused on Dayton. That's all I'm thinking about.
Q. You talk about Dayton. Do you want to go into preparation for that?
MERCEDES RUSSELL: From watching film, they're definitely a solid team. They've won their
conference championship. They've got some pretty good shooters on their team. They have good
posts that can score around the basket, and step out and shoot the threes. So just all around,
they've got good scorers. Then on the defensive end, they really get after you.
DIAMOND DeSHIELDS: Yeah, I mean, most important thing for us is just to respect all of our
opponents here. Being in this tournament, there's no team here that can't be beat. So that's the
first thing for us. The year we've had has been full of lots of ups and downs. We don't want to
repeat that cycle. We want to stay on top of our game and get to a good place so that we can
compete deep in the tournament. But, Dayton, they're a great team, just like Mercedes said, and
we understand that and respect that. We've prepared for that.
Q. Mercedes, do you like playing against taller post players, or would you prefer to be
shooting over somebody that's five or six inches shorter than you are?
MERCEDES RUSSELL: Yeah, I would say I enjoy playing against shot blockers. I know
Dayton has a couple of posts, 6'5", 6'3" that like to block shots, and I think that's always a fun,
Q. Diamond, you talk about competing and playing this time of the year. The whole season
culminates with this, right? So all that hard work, I mean, is this the fun part? Is it all fun?
Are there times when it's not fun?
DIAMOND DeSHIELDS: I mean, when you lose, you know, it's not fun when you lose. But,
yeah, this is why you come to college. This is why you play. This is why we're all here - for
March, to compete for that trophy. So, yeah, it's a lot of fun just being here with you guys and
with each other, and all the fans that come on the road with us and support us. This is definitely a
fun time for us.
Q. Mercedes, your take on it?
MERCEDES RUSSELL: Yeah, same what she said.
Q. Diamond, you've been playing in the SEC regular season and tournament, you're really
familiar with those teams. They're familiar with you. Do you kind of like going into playing
a team that doesn't know that much about you and how you play?
DIAMOND DeSHIELDS: Well, I mean, you hope that they don't know a lot about you, but I
mean, they wouldn't be here if they came into games that unprepared. I'm sure they've scouted us
and know our personnel very well. Like we said, it's all about respect moving forward. We
respect their players. We respect their coaching staff. They may not have seen us before, but they
know what we're capable of and they know what we've got and likewise. We know what they're
capable of, we know what they've got. Not overlooking anything or anybody.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach.
Q. Dayton had a kind of an unusual start to the season with a coaching change right before
the season. As a coach, can you relate to the challenge that presented where you would
come in with the season just very close at hand and not much time for preparation? Can
you relate to that?
COACH WARLICK: Well, absolutely. I know Jim Jabir real well, and it is a challenge. It's a
challenge, but it's something that I think that anybody would look forward to, to run their own
program. So as you feel a little nervous about taking over, you're also excited. I think that's the
same situation that I went through. And I know Coach Green has done a great job and got an
opportunity, and has really stepped up and taken advantage of it.
Q. Looking not at the coach but at their players now, who stands out to you? Who could
give you fits?
COACH WARLICK: Well, they're very well-coached. Their guards can shoot the three and also
penetrate so that, as a team, poses a difficult assignment for anyone defensively. They're a great
rebounding team, so I just think they've covered all aspects of a winning team.
They're smart, they're intelligent. They run a system, and they do it very well. So it will be a
challenge for us to limit their threes. Keep them in front of us. Keep them off the boards. Just all
those things that make a competitive basketball team, and I think that's what Dayton is.
Q. Is there any team you played during the regular season or in the SEC Tournament that
reminds you of Dayton, similarities in size or style of play?
COACH WARLICK: Maybe Missouri. A little bit of Missouri. Except maybe not take their bigs
out so far away from the basket. But I think they're patient. I think they shoot the three ball like
Missouri. Probably that would be the team that comes to mind right now.
Q. Do teams now -- I realize similarities in size, style of play, but when you're playing a
team now, do you pretty much know how they're going to play you defensively? That
they've looked at the film and they see what your strengths and weaknesses are?
COACH WARLICK: I think so. I think coaches do their homework. I think we watch a lot of
tape, lot of film, and see how they've guarded certain teams a certain way. I think there can be a
tendency that you put in something new or do something different because it's postseason. But it
boils down to players making plays and understanding what you want, what your coach wants.
So I don't expect them to do a lot of things different. We're not going to do a lot of things
We've tweaked a couple things on our offense, on our defense. We're going to go with what's
successful for us, and I'm sure Dayton would concur as well. There is a reason why they're here
and we're here. But your players have to make plays. We can tell them to do certain things in the
game but the ball's in their court by the time the game starts.