Kentucky-Auburn Postgame Quotes

Kentucky Women’s Basketball
#9/9 Kentucky vs. Auburn
Postgame Quotes
Memorial Coliseum – Lexington, Ky.
Jan. 17, 2016


Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell


Opening Statement …
“Well we are thrilled with the victory. Auburn is a very tough team and they are well-coached and they played very hard. They really confuse you on defense and they had us confused in the first half, so I was very proud of our team for hanging in there defensively and playing, then listening and being able to make some adjustments at halftime that really helped us attack a tough Auburn team. So a great victory and we are just still trying to grow as a basketball team and get better, and it’s great that we can win along the way. We will just try to pile up as many as we can get, and see if we can continue to improve.”
 
On how the second half was different than the first …
“Well we made an offensive correction on how to attack the zone and the players did a really nice job of listening and the coaches did a really good job of getting together, we just tried to put our heads together and make is as simple as we could. We just started getting the ball more to the baseline and flattening out the zone and were able to get some skip passes and then to the other baseline, so it was just the way we attacked and made an adjustment there which helped our players get in better position. I think once we didn’t do ourselves too many favors there in the first half, we were just kind of going into the teeth of their defense and they had a really strong defense, we were attacking it. You have to attack that zone; you can’t be passive in it. They play really hard and they fly around so I’m proud of our players.”
 
On Taylor Murray’s performance today …
“Her mom has to move down here. It was great to have her in the gym today because Taylor (Murray) really did a good job. She has not had great stats but she was such a huge contributor defensively for us in the first few conference games and you can see that she has a next level speed that is unlike most people that are on the floor and that’s a great weapon for us. Six steals today was just so huge in a game like that, where possessions were so precious and not a lot of points were being scored, and I’m really proud of her. In the first Auburn game she got real rattled and didn’t pay attention to the little things in her footwork. But she really stepped in and we were up two with great footwork she drained that three. It was a big time performance. We would not be as successful as we were today without her contribution.”
 
On how Murray’s role has changed since the beginning of the season …
“I think all of our freshmen were in the position where they were going to have to compete for minutes, there was going to be some competition there. But now there’s not as much with all of the departures and so they have to stay motivated by trying to do their best and pay attention to detail because there is still competition but our team does look as good if they don’t play well and play hard and get better. All three freshmen have done a great job so far and they are just building and growing together and learning some hard lessons you learn in this league. Maci (Morris) has had some rough times against Auburn. Those have not been good games for her, but to her credit she came in and turned her attitude around and got some great defensive stops today. So all three of the freshmen are contributing in a major way and we need them to be this year.

On what was said to Makayla Epps and Janee Thompson at the half to make them change their play…
“Well, I told Makayla to stop passing the ball in transition. I think it’s in her effort to take care of the ball and I give credit to Auburn and how their defense is designed. It’s designed to confuse you and slow you down. There were two things she was not attacking in transition. When we got stops, she was dribbling the ball about ten feet over half court then passing it to somebody else. She needed to keep the ball and get to the rim like she did on that beautiful play or draw someone so she could ditch it to someone else. She was the giving the ball up too early in transition. I told her she needs to be more aggressive. We were able to get her to the baseline and I told her if it came down to reversal she really needed the attack. Her first bucket in the first half was on the baseline and she attacked with a runner. She did a good job and she was coachable during halftime and she wanted to win. She had some deflections on defense. On a day that was really really ugly and a basketball game was not a thing of beauty. She played real hard and found a way to help her team win. I’m real proud of her performance.”
 
On how the team used the earlier loss to Auburn as motivation…
“We are just not a mature basketball team with a lot of experience. We are just trying to learn and get better. We can’t honestly focus on our opponent except what we need to do to beat them. We can’t waste a lot of energy on getting fired up on getting revenge at beating them because they beat us before. We just have so much going on right now from the standpoint of trying to keep our heads above water and win games. Thursday night’s game was so emotional. They put so much into that game. We were there in the fourth quarter with a chance to win with an inexperienced team. I think they were disappointed about that, and then they have to turn back around and try to beat a team in a completely different way. All of this is taxing and taking a toll on inexperienced players. We are really focused on day-to-day. We are focused on helping our younger players improve. I really thought we showed signs of improvement in the second half to make an adjustment. They took it and saw some results. Today was the day of growth and I’m really proud. As ugly as it was and as bad as the numbers looked it was still a win. We attacked a different way and it’s probably how we are going to be guarded in the future and we figured something out.”

Kentucky Student-Athletes


#25 Makayla Epps, G


On Taylor Murray’s performance…
“I told the team jokingly, ‘If she (Murray) plays like this every game, and her mom came down, so I said her mom is going to have to come every game.’ She played really big and I don’t know if it was mom, or just that she stepped up big for us when other people were lacking in other areas. I’m very grateful that she did. She played a great basketball game.”
 
On what the team has learned since the loss to Auburn two weeks ago …
“We tried to put that game behind us. We learned from it. You know, going down there, 26 turnovers against the press, a couple of the guards had five each. That’s not something we wanted to reminisce on a lot, but we knew that we did it. Since two weeks ago, we’ve been working and progressing towards what Kentucky has to do to beat teams and that’s what we did tonight.”
 
On Auburn’s strong defense…
“It’s just the press. It slows you down. I think we did a really good job handling the press itself better than we did two weeks ago. And then we got sped up a little bit in the half court with some unforced turnovers, like a walk, a couple of bad passes here and there. But I feel like we handled the press itself much more. Like I said, Auburn just executes that press really well and it gives us fits.”
 

#24 Taylor Murray, PG


On her big performance…
“I felt like I was just there to help my teammates in any way, shape or form. I was just being there whenever they needed me, I guess. If they needed me to dribble and pass it out, or take open shots, I was just there. Mainly it was just defense for me and just getting stops for my teammates so we can score on offense.”
 
On her mom being in the stands…
“I was just trying to play basketball and be there for my teammates. My mom can only come once in a while since we live really far, so it was good for her to be in this atmosphere.”
Auburn Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy
 
On holding Kentucky to its lowest point total of the season…
“It’s our defense. That is just who we are. When you talk about our culture and what we stand for, it’s just what we do. That has definitely been the case and that is what we live by.”
 
On Taylor Murray’s performance…
“They’re live ball turnovers. She had six steals. Again, they’re live ball turnovers where she runs down and lays it up. She’s quick enough to do that. Once again, it goes back to those 21 turnovers in order for us to win a tough game right in at Kentucky. You can’t turn the ball over 21 times.”
 
On Auburn’s defensive pressure giving Kentucky problems…
“I think just the way that we play. We box in the guards a little bit. We try to take away the angles a little bit more. They attacked it a few times but I can’t really say what specifically right now what it is we’re trying to take away. I thought we could have done a better job of trapping them a little bit more.”

Auburn Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy

 
On holding Kentucky to its lowest point total of the season…
“It’s our defense. That is just who we are. When you talk about our culture and what we stand for, it’s just what we do. That has definitely been the case and that is what we live by.”
 
On Taylor Murray’s performance…
“They’re live ball turnovers. She had six steals. Again, they’re live ball turnovers where she runs down and lays it up. She’s quick enough to do that. Once again, it goes back to those 21 turnovers in order for us to win a tough game right in at Kentucky. You can’t turn the ball over 21 times.”
 
On Auburn’s defensive pressure giving Kentucky problems…
“I think just the way that we play. We box in the guards a little bit. We try to take away the angles a little bit more. They attacked it a few times but I can’t really say what specifically right now what it is we’re trying to take away. I thought we could have done a better job of trapping them a little bit more.”