Kentucky-Colorado Postgame Quotes

Kentucky Women’s Basketball
#13/13 Kentucky vs. Colorado
Postgame Quotes
Memorial Coliseum – Lexington, Ky.
Nov. 22, 2015


Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell


Opening Statement … 
“I was really proud of our team and their commitment to preparation for this game. They’ve really worked extremely hard over the last three days. It was a lot of fun to coach them and to watch them work so hard. Coming in to the game we really wanted to get something out of it. I wanted them to reap some benefit for their great preparation for the game, and I thought they did. We spent a lot of time on our offense the last three days and I think it was the best that we’ve executed in a very long time. I’m really happy with the victory. I thought Colorado was extremely tough and after they got behind a large deficit, I thought they really battled and we had a hard time guarding them in the second half, but it was a good win for this time of the year. We need to get better, clearly need to get better, but it is a fun team to coach.”

On Janee Thompson … 
“I think she continues to feel better. She feels better every day. She’s shooting the ball better than anybody on the team right now, so I really asked her in this game to go more off the ball. It was a big adjustment for our team. Teams are really worried about us scoring at the rim and Colorado wisely packed in the lane. She is shooting the ball great so I them yesterday, when we penetrate and whoever were kicking to, we need to be kicking to her because she is shooting the ball so great. She is showing up big in so many ways, leadership, basketball, intelligence, hustle, giving great effort so I’m happy for her.”

On Janee Thompson going above and beyond in rehab to make sure she was ready for the season … 
“There is no doubt about it. We had a couple talks about how important she was to the team and how much her responsibility level was. So attacking rehab and doing everything that she could was not only good for her, but it was really good for our team and it was necessary for her to do that.”

On the team having 70 percent of their makes assisted … 
“We just really tried to work on our poise and our timing. Sometimes when you play at a frantic pace it’s hard to slow down. We tried our best to mix as much defensive work and preparation and I thought the first half we got them out of there style and they had to start running things we wouldn’t normally see them run because we took them out of their base offense. We spent more time offensively the past three days just understanding how important it is to execute.”

On question marks entering the season about 3-point shooting and if those have been answered so far this season … 
“Janee and Maci (Morris) (are performing well from 3) and then (Makayla) Epps continues to work on her shot and Taylor (Murray) banged one in. Kyvin (Goodin-Rogers) coming out of high school I thought one of her elite skills was shooting and she is doing that well right now. We have had some shots go down and I just want to make sure we are taking really good ones, that we’re not rushing or having panic attacks. We will keep working at it. These kids work extremely hard.”

On the team’s offensive performance …
“Everything we worked on over the last three days, there was only one concept we didn’t get too. It’s important that we try to get five players on the court that can score somewhere on the floor so you have to make sure you’re where you’re supposed to be. It was a good offensive day, 48 percent from the field, lot of assists, good foul shooting, good 3-point shooting. I think that’s what we will need to be a well-rounded team.”

On the team improving defensively …
“It’s got to get better and they really gave us some problems but what I have noticed with this team is that whatever you spend time on, they’re going to get done and you’re going to get results because they’re going to do what you ask them to do.”

Kentucky Student-Athletes


#3 Janee Thompson, G


On feeling more comfortable …
“Yes, I think we all do. With each game we get under our belt, we get a little better. With every practice we have, we get a little better. Our practices are really translating over to the games. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re slowly progressing every day. It’s been really good for us.”

On rehab and how to get back to where she was …
“Just getting back on the court in general (has been my focus). It was tough for me to sit out and yell (last year). When I was rehabbing all I thought about was when I was going to be able to get back on the court and how I would play. With every game I’m getting a little more comfortable.” 

On this team …
“I do think they’re (this team) extremely coachable. We have a lot of new faces and they’re so willing to do whatever it is he (Coach Mitchell) asks of them. And that’s everyone on the team (willing to do whatever is asked). If we have a focus, if he (Coach Mitchell) sets a focus for the week or that day, practice or game, we’ve really been able to lock in and focus on that. We take it into the games, it’s been really good. It’s good to see how much we’ve progressed so far.”

On not thinking about her injury and playing like she always has …
“I never really think about my injury, which is a blessing because I couldn’t even imagine how I would play if I did. I’m just out there having fun with my teammates and trying to do the best I can.”  

On the difference between previous years and this year’s offense …
“I think us being comfortable and understanding what it is that we’re trying to get out of the plays (is different). I think everybody in general has a great understanding of what we’re trying to get accomplished on the court. We’re not just out there running plays to get to a spot. We know what it is we’re trying to get out of each piece of the play. It’s amazing to see that come from practice and actually do what we do in practice in the games. We don’t panic and get frantic.” 

#4 Maci Morris, G


On her performance …
“It was a good performance, probably not my best performance. We got the win so that’s what really matters.”

On knowing UK is defensive team but coaches focusing on offense lately …
“(It’s been a surprise) a little but not really because the girls are great defensively already. They can still improve but offensively he’s (Coach Mitchell) putting in plays and wants us to be effective on offense that way we can run the plays and if it does breakdown we can go into another set real smooth, transition and score off that.”

Colorado Head Coach Linda Lappe


General...
“We wouldn’t have needed a perfect effort by any stretch of the imagination (in order to win). I didn’t think we competed in the first half at all. It was our first real big test and first road game. When you put those two things together we looked a little bit scared coming out of the gates, really until halftime. I do like how our team responded at halftime though. We had a different look in our eye. We had a different aggressiveness. We were playing together. I questioned how well we were playing together in the first half. We looked like a bunch of individuals out there if you weren’t on the bench and in the second half we came together and that’s what our strength is. Individually, we are good, but we’re not good enough to beat Kentucky. As a collective unit, we have a lot more talent together. What we got out of it was that we have to defend. We have to get better defensively. We have to be able to get stops and also make those second and third plays, whether that’s a scramble situation or whether that’s a loose basketball. We make the first play up really well and then the ball is on the floor and they (Kentucky) score it. I bet they scored 20 points on situations like that and really that’s the different in the game.”

On the second half…
“I’m still getting to know our team. They were different to start this game than they have been in any other game. You didn’t know if that was extreme focus or doubt, a little bit scared. I think being able to switch that a little bit earlier will be key and we have to understand we are a good basketball team and we can compete with anybody when we’re in that competitive mindset, but we need everybody. I thought we had three players that came out to play in that first half and then in the second half, we had all nine that did their job and did a great job. We just have to make sure everybody is ready to go in a game like this.”
                                              
On Kennedy Leonard…
“I think she was a huge difference maker in the second half. Our team went and she went. She really struggled in the first half, was very tentative, not aggressive offensively, but in the second half she played a lot better, offensively. Defensively, still has some work to do, but offensively she ran our team. She got us into the offense. Every time we executed the offense we got a great shot on the floor, because they are shots we are able to practice all the time, so she was able to do that much better in the second half. She just had a much different demeanor, an aggressiveness, had a confidence and that’s who she is so I was disappointed not to see that in the first half. My expectation now is that she has that. I’ll give her half- being a freshman. We expect a lot out of her, but now I think going forward she’ll be in a much better position to lead the team from the get-go.”

On Zoe Beard-Fails…
“Zoe had a heck of a game. I think she had the best game I’ve seen her play in a Buffalo uniform. She was being aggressive, she was boxing out, she was doing her job, she was playing with fire and she was finishing around the rim. She was a force down low, that’s why it was kind of a bummer she was hit in the eye. She’s tough, she’ll recover. She broke her nose last year maybe around this time, so she has her one injury and we’ll get her back and she’ll be ready to go.”

Colorado Student-Athletes


#50 Jamee Swan, F


On the team’s fight despite the end result …
“Yeah, I think we figured out what our flaws are and what we need to fix to become a top caliber team. We didn’t come out with the fire that we wanted, but as the game went we lost our fear of the other team and decided to just play Colorado basketball. I think we learned that we can’t be scared when we go in to play tough opponents.” 

On what the team needs to work on …
“Oh, transition defense. The teams that we have played before this were decent in transition offense, but this team by far was the best and they ran us down the court and we had lapses and didn’t get stops and didn’t have our hands up on shooters and couldn’t guard people we were supposed to guard. We thought we were doing well defensively last game and I think everybody got a big head about it and thought we were doing great and would be a little cocky for lack of a better word and we learned that we have to be strong through everything. Nothing will ever come easy and we have to work and be humble about things.” 

On the team and her getting in a better groove in the second half offensive …
“Yeah, there really wasn’t any set play like, ‘Hey, OK we need to get the ball to Jamee.’ It was just kind of that we were all working together and I happened to be open and whatever was wrong got fixed and it started to go in and I am going to credit that to my teammates because without them telling me that I need to be positive and let the first-half go I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did the rest of the game. So it was definitely that my teammates really pushed me through and I was thankful for that.”

On freshman guard Kennedy Leonard …
“Kennedy brings huge things to the game for us. She gets the ball to where it needs to be and she sees the court and has a great basketball IQ. She plays defense and she is just huge for us right now. I am so glad that she can come out and be there for us when our team is as little as we are and as young as we are.”