Kentucky-Albany Postgame Quotes

Kentucky Women’s Basketball Postgame Quotes
No. 19 Kentucky vs. Albany 
Memorial Coliseum – Lexington, Ky.
Nov. 12, 2016


Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell


Opening statement …
“Well, we really proud of our team, proud of our players. This was a good win for us. Albany made it hard on us. We haven’t spent a lot of time on zone offense and I was really proud of our players staying the course and grinding out a really tough game. It’s been a tough 24 hours after that tough, hard-fought victory over a good Miami team. To come back and be able to earn a victory was just awesome. I am so proud of our team for how we performed this weekend and we will do nothing but get better from here. Great couple of days and really looking forward to what we can become as a team.”

On if he is worried about outside shooting …
“No, I thought tonight was going to be a real challenge for us to bounce back and some of the kids played some really tough, long minutes last night and I thought we wanted to try and get the ball inside tonight because I wasn’t exactly sure where our legs would be this time of year and just proud we were able to gut it out. They laid it on the line last night, I mean they gave everything they had and for them to turn around here and have this performance tonight was great. Tonight will not be the best we play, and we will learn from that – but to be able to grind it out and get a victory, I’m really proud of them and really happy with this win.”

On why it was important to play the style he played tonight …
“We needed to get the ball inside because we felt like we had some advantages inside with Evelyn (Akhator) and Alyssa (Rice). I was real proud of the team.”

On his rebounding concerns out of the zone …
“I thought we needed it to get the two wins. It will get better. We didn’t rebound well out of it tonight, but that’s a credit to Albany. We had no film on Albany and really had no idea what they were going to run. We had to adjust on the fly and they were running an action that was really distorting the zone and the kids were hustling, but we were out of rebounding position almost all night long. We need to clean that up, but I think it’s going to be a great defense for us. The kids hustle and make plays. We will have to keep working on it. We get a couple of days here before we play our next game and we are going to try and see if we can improve our zone defense. It helped us this weekend.”

On the resiliency of winning after a tough game last night …
“It was great. It was really good after that tough one last night where so many people played high-volume minutes. It was great. Maci (Morris) was the rock out there tonight and was really the player we couldn’t have done without. She played 33 minutes and everyone else was under 30. That was great after last night. It was good to get 10 players in there and it was good to get a victory. Proud of the team.”

On the improved free-throw shooting …
“I think that last night was just one of those nights where it’s going be the exception, not the normal. I think we are a good free-throw shooting team. Kids work hard, spend a lot of time on it and that was a great development for us tonight. To score 21 points at the free throw line was big for us.”

On the character of his team to play tough after a tough game last night …
“I thought that our players had high character, but it’s until you get into an environment like last night and have to bounce back tonight and play against a really tough team. That makes you feel like you have a very high-character team that has a willingness to win. We are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination – we have flaws – but man they are fun to coach. They have great attitudes, a great work ethic, but I am so proud of them. They are a great, great group of people and I think we found out we have some explosiveness on offense and feel like that we can probably switch defenses with this team and have some success. This was a great weekend for this team and we learned a lot in two games. We are looking forward to getting back to work this week.” 

On the evaluation of Evelyn Akhator’s career-best performance tonight …
“She just was very patient tonight, and I thought we finally got into some rhythm and slowed down and I just thought she made some great decisions. She had zero turnovers. That’s huge for her. With that many touches – a year ago – she would have had two or three traveling violations and she was so poised with the ball and really made some explosive plays. She made her free throws, she was 8-for-8 which is huge for her because she gets fouled a lot. She has worked hard on her game, improved and told me before the game that she was going to have a good night. I’m really proud of her. She is a great, great player and person. We needed her tonight. I think that’s the kind of team that we will have. We’ll just have to find ways to win games. Nobody on this team cares who gets the credit. The only thing people care about is winning. It’s a fun team to coach.”

On Alyssa Rice’s night …
“She had a good night. She really played hard, thought she was aggressive, thought she was at the right place at the right time. It was a good night for her.”

UK Student-Athletes


#13 Evelyn Akhator, F


On knowing she would have a big game…
“It is just felling. I told them that my fouls really got me last night and when they took me out I was devastated and I said ‘they don’t want me to be great.’ Just kidding. But it fit with my teammates feeding me the ball. Last night Epps told me she doesn’t care how many times I get the ball or if I shoot the ball 30 times. She just wants me to go and so I just have to be there for my teammate when things aren’t going well.”

On being perfect at the free throw line…
“Well, it is something I have been working on. I had a bad free throw season last season. I think I was fifty percent and I needed to do much better and so I just need to go. My coaches keep telling me I just need to be calm and love the ball. That is what I did. I just fell in love with the ball.”

On being tough to get rebounds in the paint…
“Well, it’s definitely going to be worked on and it is tough to get inside. It wasn’t something we were expecting at all. I mean, we had to find the way to rebound the ball when things aren’t going right. I know Rice, she was going and going and Taylor and Epps. Everybody was going and we just have to sink in and rebound the ball and find a way to get the ball.”

#45 Alyssa Rice, C


On being tough to get rebounds in the paint…
“I know we have to work. We haven’t worked a lot on zone or going against the zone and that effects how you box out because you are not necessarily going to be responsible for one person the whole time and it changes in the zone. So, I think they did a good job of crashing the board and that is something that we are going to work on in the future definitely and we will get better at that as the season goes on. We will find out how to box out responsibly at least.”

On getting the kinks out against Miami…
“Well, I dislocated my finger last night so that shook me up a little bit and just getting back into the routine after that. But, it was definitely helpful to get back in the swing of things and being consistent and not having to sit out and get back into the game and stuff like that. So, just being able to get into the flow of the game really helps a lot.”

Albany Head Coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee


Opening Statement …
“We didn’t shoot the ball well. (Evelyn) Akhator really took it to us, out-muscled us. Our game plan was to not let her do that. So, I’m not happy with how we didn’t stick to our game plan. I thought that we guarded the 3-point line pretty well tonight. I think we could’ve pushed tempo a little better than what we did. I think we kind of, with having two freshmen point guards, played to the tempo of UK as opposed to playing our tempo. Definitely disappointed with the way we shot the ball. I’m happy with the way we performed on the boards. I thought we really worked hard crashing the boards. I liked the fact that we took some charges, but again, it was a little bit of a disappointing game for us.”

On playing against Kentucky’s style of play…
“I don’t know that that was their style of game, because defensively they packed it in with the two-three. And I don’t know if that’s been their M.O. I believe they get out, deny, one pass away pretty hard, get a lot of ball pressure and hard edge on the screens. So, they didn’t really play their style and that was a pretty good move on their part because we did not shoot the ball well.”

On what went well for Evelyn Akhator…
“She put the ball down with her left hand. We were really jumping to her right hand because of the past. Last year, that’s really where she wanted to go and she’s done a spectacular job developing her game. You can tell she’s put some time in working to have counter plays to her life. So, I thought she did a nice job man-handling us inside.”

On their upcoming game against Miami tomorrow…
“They’re very athletic. They have guards that aren’t just one-dimensional. They’re filled with some guards that can both shoot the 3 and drive. So, that’s going to really challenge us offensively.”