Kentucky-Morehead State Postgame Quotes

Kentucky Women’s Basketball
#13/13 Kentucky vs. Morehead State
Postgame Quotes
Memorial Coliseum – Lexington, Ky.
Nov. 18, 2015


Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell


Opening Statement …
“Well, we are happy for the victory. It was short turnaround from the Arizona State game and I thought it was gonna be a tough game. Morehead State really battled in the first half. They were very aggressive and I thought they played harder than we did in the first half so I really challenged the team to come out in the second half and compete with a lot of intensity and I thought it got better in the second half. We have a long way to go but I’m happy to get the victory tonight, we just need to get back to work tomorrow and take advantage of some good practice time coming up here before Sunday.”
 
On Makayla Epps’ triple-double …
“Love that. I thought that it was important for her tonight to prove to herself how much her conditioning has improved. She went all 40 minutes and she needed to do that and understand that we might be in that position again where she has to play a really big role. It was a good night for her and she can play better, she will continue to get better. I thought that there were times in the game where all of us, not just Makayla but all of us, weren’t as mentally sharp as I would like them to be. But they’re a good, hard-working group and they will get better from this and it’s a big night for Epps, those are hard to come by, triple-doubles.”
 
On if he wants Makayla to find other people when things aren’t going well in the game …
“Yeah, I just thought that we had a tough time shooting the ball for a stretch there in the first half. She really was able to get people involved. I thought she played really unselfishly tonight, and all of them really worked hard. Thirty-two assists on 43 baskets is some good team basketball.”
 
On updates on Evelyn Akhator’s injury …
“Just a tweaked ankle, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s back at practice tomorrow, but I will keep everybody updated on that. It was not serious.”
 
On if it was planned to play Makayla for the full 40 minutes …
“When Kyvin (Goodin-Rogers) went out we didn’t have a lot of big subs and then Maci (Morris) got in foul trouble. I didn’t want to put it on Janee (Thompson) because she’s trying to work back and she’s looking good and doing a good job. Then Taylor (Murray) is just not there yet, so Makayla needed to carry the heavy load tonight because she can, she’s in fantastic shape and is a smart basketball player and she can do it. We may need her to do it again, but I did not go into the game with that plan. When Maci had her struggles with foul trouble I then shifted gears with that and wanted Makayla to know she could do it, and she did it and did a great job.”
 
On Alexis Jennings’ play …
“I think she bounced back and had a great second half. I didn’t think she played as hard as she needed to in the first half. I thought she was letting Morehead State out-scrap her for some loose basketballs. But she did a better job in the second half. She’s a good offensive player, especially when you get her close to the goal she can really score and she made a lot of shots and got on the boards and played a lot of defense in the second half.”
 

Kentucky Student-Athletes


#25 Makayla Epps, G, Jr.


On struggling to score it the first half but sticking with it and having a great game … 
“Janee Thompson has more confidence in me then I have in myself. It is all my teammates; they believe in me, they kept giving me the ball. You can’t get down on yourself, we’re only a 10-player team and we don’t have time for anyone hanging their head.”
 
On her triple-double performance …
“That’s crazy because now I’ve got one up on my dad. I’m going to text him because he is always on me, but I’m going to tell him ‘but you’ve never got a triple-double.’”
 
On the team having 32 assists …
“We trust in each other. This team probably trusts in each other more than any of the teams I’ve been on since I’ve been here. We all have faith in one another. Everybody is a facilitator.”
 

#3 Janee Thompson, PG, Sr.


On playing with both Taylor Murray and Makayla Epps at the same time …
“I love it. I absolutely love playing with Taylor and Makayla. I think it makes our jobs easier because the loads are spread between three people. It’s not just one person who has to carry that load of what a PG has to do. It’s really whoever gets the ball, that’s who pushes it.”
 
On Makayla saying Janee has more confidence in her than she does in herself …
“I try to talk to all of my teammates and I try to give them confidence and be there for them in any way I can as leader and as a senior and sometimes Makayla does need that as well as all of my teammates, so that is something that I try to give to them in any way I can.”
 
On her performance offensively …
“I had been getting a lot of open shots and I had been struggling with my jumper a little bit. But, Coach Mitchell, he pulled me aside and told me to stay confident. He told me to settle in and I’ll eventually start making them and that’s what happened.”
 

#35 Alexis Jennings, F, Soph.


On the team having 32 assists …
“We all genuinely care for each other and we just want to make each other better. If it takes giving up the ball from your own shot then that’s just what you have to do in order for someone else to be successful.”
 
On if people are sleeping on Kentucky …
“I feel like we are playing pretty well, but just like other teams we do have things that we need to work on in order for us to be that powerhouse. I think people are sleeping on us because we put in just as much work as anybody else in the country and if not maybe even more and I feel like we have a real shot at being contenders this year.”
 
On the team chemistry …
“The amount of adversity that we have had to face draws us a lot closer and it shows up on the court and at practice and in the way we act around each other.”
 

Morehead State Head Coach Greg Todd


On Morehead State’s performance …
“We tried to get up and down with Kentucky. We knew we had a lot of mismatches. We tried to play toe-to-toe with them, but they’re tough to do that against. They’re bigger, stronger, more athletic, but we didn’t really try to devise the game plan to stay close. We didn’t get out of their style and the way they were playing, and it got a little ugly. But give credit to Kentucky. I thought Kentucky did a really nice job of playing every possession and trying to stop us every possession. I felt like for a team that is in the top 20, they just did not take possessions off and you gotta give them credit.“
 
On Makayla Epps triple double …
“I watched their game on the coast, she just can really make plays when you need them. Tonight, didn’t really need her to score a lot of points, she still ends up with 21, 11 rebounds, 12 assists. She’s probably not top echelon athletically, but she just knows how to win. The kind of player I think any coach would love to have, and she’s, I would think in high school she would have been one of the top-10 high school players in the country. I think she’s on that level. I don’t know all of the top players as well, but I would have to think she’s in that discussion with one of the very elite players in the country.”
 
On what Morehead got out of this game and can learn from…
“I thought that we got some pretty good looks at the basket, part of it was their good defense. I think typically we would go better than 7-of-32 from 3-point range. We got some decent looks at the goal. I thought that was a positive. When we got back into a half-court defense and in playing five on five I thought we had some fair defensive possessions, but they are not a good matchup the way we are playing right now. Like I said we could have played closer if we could have changed things up to just try to stay closer, but we decided to play our brand of ball. Give Kentucky credit, I think they did a really great job, I thought they played extremely well tonight.”