Kentucky-Rice Postgame Quotes

Kentucky Quotes 


Head Coach Matthew Mitchell


On overall performance in the game…
“Well great night in Memorial Coliseum. Great to get the season started, great crowd, great atmosphere. Wanted to thank all the fans for coming out. I thought Rice really played hard. Really played with some toughness, gave us some real opportunities to search for some toughness and played really hard. I congratulate them and I think they’ll have a real tough team this year. I was so proud of our team, we knew that tonight was going to be a difficult night in terms of numbers. We weren’t at full strength and played a lot of inexperienced players and I was very proud to come out with a victory. So many good things in the game and so many opportunities to learn and get better. I think that this team will continue to get better and will really have to focus in and work hard tomorrow and try to get ready to go on the road for a great opportunity at Arizona State. They will be a tough opponent.”

On Makayla Epps’ availability…
“She is in a concussion protocol now. She has progressed to the point where she can see how she tolerates contact in practice tomorrow. She has worked through a non-contact workout and now the next step is a contact practice. If she gets through tomorrow’s practice with no symptoms and game day practice Sunday morning and nothing derails her, she would be available. Her suspension is complete and really proud of the progress she has made as a person. She’s really grown a lot and she has a great opportunity to have a great junior season. We are hopeful that she will feel good tomorrow and be available Sunday. It would be a big boost for us.”

On things that need work as season progresses….
“Well what I love so much about our team is that almost all of the mistakes are through inexperience and it’s not because they’re not trying hard and not listening. It’s literally things you can look at and think they probably won’t do as much in a month from now and a year from now. It’s just a really a coachable group, it’s a real hungry group to get better. They get down a little bit, they get frustrated with themselves but they’re very resilient right now and we’re going to need that because they’re just going to make a lot of mistakes.”

On Maci Morris’ play … 
“She is a good player. She is a tough kid. She has a great attitude. She’s very resilient. She does not hang her head. She got physically dominated there, she lost a little bit there. I thought the game got off to a really fluid start for her and probably lulled her into a sense that this was going to be easy. Rice I thought bowed up and started making it a really physically challenging game. She just got dominated there on some toughness plays through her youth and inexperience. I challenged her at halftime, she turned the ball over four times in the first time and only one time in the second half. She is just a tough kid mentally and it’s another example. She’ll get stronger, she has already gotten stronger since she has been here. She’ll figure out how to play. She is a really mentally tough kid and I thought she had a really good night.”

On Evelyn Akhator’s play…
“I saw her in the hallway, she was disappointed. She wanted to get 20 rebounds but she only got 17. We got to work on that, we got to get her rebounding a little better so she can get to 20 rebounds in a game. I don’t think she was joking. I think she was really upset she didn’t get 20 rebounds. You can see it, how explosive she is and when she goes up for the ball. There isn’t a lot of people that can get it from her. She is really strong and she’s just motivated to rebound and those people are few and far between. Just ferocious and you don’t have to challenge them. She did a nice job. She’ll get better, she had four early turnovers because Rice just did a nice job. I don’t think Rice wanted us to score at the rim and Rice was really well coached and we were uneven and rushed and panicked and didn’t always go real smooth for us tonight. But I thought she ended up with some really great moments in the game and she’ll get better. You could see tonight, we were a little antsy, we were really keyed up for the game, we struggled with our execution at times. Our defense really cranked up and made some runs for us. We’re going to rely on our defense here for a while but I love the offensive capability that we have on this team and they are so hungry to learn. I think they’ll end up being a really good offensive team.”

On Evelyn’s ability to shoot the 3…
“She’s worked really hard on her shot since she has gotten here. It’s incredible how much she has improved. She is just a worker. She works really hard. I don’t know if she’s completely comfortable with that range right now. That was the result of a really poor offensive possession. She just got stuck and her teammates had a breakdown but I had gone over to sit down and pout a little bit because the offensive possession was so bad. She made the 3 she ruined my chance to pout. I had to get happy and laugh. Epps was fired up. Everybody was high-fiving after she made the 3 so I had to improve my attitude after she made the 3. Evelyn can be whatever she wants to be because she has a great attitude. She has an incredible work ethic and if she wants to become a good 3 point shooter. I would imagine whatever she puts her mind to she’ll do. She’s really improved her range since she got on campus this summer. She’s a good player.”

Kentucky Student-Athletes


#4 Maci Morris, G


On being a starter in her first game as a Wildcat…
“Being from Kentucky, I was just enjoying the moment. I knew how much it meant to my family and I wanted to give it my all and have fun at the same time.”
 
On Evelyn Akhator being hard on herself…
“We know E (Evelyn) and how athletic she is so it’s awesome that she sets a goal like that for herself.”
 
On if the team was too amped up heading into the first game of the year …
“We were definitely hyped for the game and excited to see how we would do as a team.”
 

#13 Evelyn Akhator, F/C


On not achieving her personal goal of 20 rebounds…
“I was not kidding, that is my goal. My goal is to have five rebounds every quarter so I was kind of disappointed.”
 
On tonight’s performance…
“At first I was nervous because I did not play well during the Union game, but after praying about it I felt confident. My teammates and coaches, especially Coach Mitchell encouraged me to believe in myself.”
 
On what the team learned from tonight’s performance …
“Well, I learned that when the defense is rushing us we have to calm down because it creates a lot of turnovers. It is our ball at that time so we have to just control the game.”

Rice Quotes

 

Head Coach Tina Langley 


Opening statement ….
“Very good Kentucky team we played today, and we’re excited for the opportunity. This team has been talking a lot about getting on the court together, and figuring out who we are and what we need to get better at. Playing one of the best teams in the country, there’s really no better way to figure out what you need to get better at. And so, we really appreciate the opportunity, and hats off to Kentucky for a great game.”

On the slow start …
“I was really proud of how we started defensively, and I felt like the intensity we had defensively would slowly transition over to the offensive end. But I think you did see a little bit of nerves on our end. It’s a new team, new system, everything is brand new to them, so it’s a pretty good challenge to come to Kentucky and play your first time together. But proud of the way we came out defensively.” 

On Taylor Murray’s performance ….
“Taylor Murray’s a fantastic player. I had the opportunity to see her play many times during my time at Maryland. She’s an incredible athlete, hard worker, super fast as you can tell, great defender and an even better person. So I’m glad to see her doing well.”

On her first game as a head coach…
“It was fun. It’s great to be able to coach with these girls .They’ve been working incredibly hard. It’s neat to be able to get out there and just teach and to continue to get better as a team together for myself, our staff and our team.”