Kentucky-Union Postgame Quotes

Kentucky Women’s Basketball Postgame Quotes
Kentucky vs. Union University [EXH] 
Memorial Coliseum – Lexington, Ky.
Nov. 8, 2015 


Kentucky Quotes 


Head Coach Matthew Mitchell


Opening statement …
“Well it’s exciting to see the team get out there and really do some things well that we have been emphasizing in practice. We have a long way to go as a team, but I feel really good about their effort, attitude and energy. Like I just told them, we have a lot of improving we need to do between now and Friday, but one thing that I’m not concerned about with this team as of today’s performance is their effort and their attitude. All the mistakes we made I believe can be corrected because we are coachable right now and that is where we have to stay. We just really have to stay very coachable and work extremely hard this week to make more improvement. But we got better this past week and saw some great things out there today. This was a great opportunity. I thought Union did a great job, that was a very difficult scheme for us to guard. They were playing four guards all day and we hadn’t really progressed to that point defensively. They did a great job on the 3-point line and made a bunch of those but we were really trying to build our defense from the basket out and we just hadn’t worked a lot on those flare screens that were getting us and we had some different lineups in transitions that were hurting us getting matched up, but those are things that we can correct. I’m happy with the effort today.”

On seeing Janee Thompson back on the court …
“My mind has been on her so much since last January 11th, she has had so many hurdles to clear from that tough injury. Today was a mental hurdle, we had a couple of scrimmages that weren’t open to the public and it’s different when people are in Memorial and it’s sort of for real today. Another mental hurdle so I was so excited to see her run out there and to see her perform well. She will get so much better, she’s got some improvements to make but I thought she performed very well. She’s a little sore there at the end of the game, that’s a lot of minute for her, but I thought she did very well.”

On his concern with Janee this year …
“She has a piece of metal in her leg and that’s just hard to adjust to. Some days it feels different than others so it will just be a process for her. Courtney Jones and all of our medical staff have done an amazing job with Janee, and Janee has done an amazing job, she is just doing everything she can to take care of herself. It’ll just be working her way back from a real major injury. I don’t have any concerns more than normal, I mean you’re concerned about all your players and hope they stay healthy and try to have an environment of health. That goes for everybody, but I think we are on track with her and in a really good spot. People just need to understand that early on she will be a bit uneven at times because it feels better some days than others. Janee, like all of us, are just a work in progress. This is a different year for us, a different situation that we are in, but it’s just been a fun week. They have gotten better and I think we saw some positive things out there today.”

On the mental adjustment of having three players depart from the program …
“I really credit the players for being resilient. That’s one of the things that we want this team to embrace is having that quality of resilience as a team. We had staff meeting this week and a team meeting where we talked about the importance of the people inside the building, and what we are doing and what we are saying to each other and how we interact. When you have an unusual 20 days and you have three people depart from the program, that is not normal. It doesn’t happen often and so from what I could gather is that there was some negativity outside the building about what the problem was. We just had to make sure that we didn’t let anything negative happen inside the building. The players have just done a fantastic job with that. It’s been a fun week this past week because they’ve worked hard this past week and they’ve improved. I think we had one hand-check foul today, and you can’t believe how hard we’ve worked on playing defense with discipline. For them to show up today and play defense without using their hands, that is so exciting to me. That shows you that they have the ability to take in coaching and then take it to the floor. We will need to get better, there is no doubt, but the last week has been a great week for us and I think we will see some positive things for our team.

On Alexis Jennings’ improvements in the offseason …
“The first thing for Alexis was that I asked her to improve her attitude. Not that she was a bad kid or caused any trouble, but I wanted her to be more positive as a person. Sometimes people take that and don’t do much with it, but over the summer she was engaging with people more and you could tell she just had a better presence about her, her attitude has gotten better, and her work ethic in terms of her getting in better shape. At this point last year she just couldn’t play through fatigue, or it would hit much earlier. So she’s done a great job at getting in better condition. She has worked real hard on her game and so defensively she has made a lot of progress and is taking a lot of pride in that early on. She needs to continue to do that because she needs to get better defensively. She has matured another year older and has listened to some of the things we asked her to do. She has a bright future, all of them do, me included, we just have to have a great attitude every day and understand that we need everybody to rally and stick together to seek improvement. Our effort and our attitude need to be good and both of those have been good for Alexis Jennings.”

On Makayla Epps’ injury …
“She took an elbow to the nose during Friday’s practice. She is in the concussion protocol right now. She was going to be on the bench today, but it’s better for her to rest for the last couple days. We feel like she is progressing well and we hope she can get back into practice this week. She has done a great job and has one more step to complete in order to put the suspension behind her. She has really done a great job, so she will hopefully be on the bench with us Friday night, but we feel like she can bounce back from this.”

On the performance of the newcomers during the scrimmage …
“They are extremely coachable, very hard workers, and you can show them a piece of film and they respond. Right after you show them a piece of film or mention something to them in practice, they immediately try to correct it. They have high basketball IQ and great energy. Some of the prettiest plays we had today involved freshman. They have a lot of room for improvement. I thought that Maci (Morris), Batouly (Camara), and Taylor (Murray) all had great moments, but they are freshmen so they need to get stronger, faster, and more well-conditioned. They battle every day to try and get better and I am really pumped to see what they can become. They are three good people.”

On how he feels about his post players going into this season vs. other years …
“I have been more comfortable going into other seasons because we knew more about what we had from a historical perspective. We don’t have much of that this year and we have a lot of unknowns. As a coach we aren’t exactly sure what people are going to be able to do when the games start. But I’m not uncomfortable with how hard they work and what their potential is. We just have to do a good job of coaching them and bringing that out. I think you will see them get better and better down in the post. A person like Evelyn Akhator has a sprained hand, so she isn’t one hundred percent, and she is just trying to make an adjustment with what is going on, so you will see her get better and better. They will have to think and process things, but we definitely have some talent down in the post and we just need to get better.”

#3 Janee Thompson, G


On what it was like to play well in the game …
“It felt great. It felt good to hear the crowd in Memorial Coliseum again, and it just felt good to be back on the court with my teammates.”

On if she felt normal and natural (after her leg injury last year) or if it was a struggle  …
“No, it wasn’t a struggle at all. It felt good. It was good to get that game under my belt and start getting that rhythm back. I’m just super excited to be back on the court, and I can’t thank God enough.”

On her initial thoughts on getting back into playing after the injury…
“Well, I mean, I had some nerves because it’s been so long. But it felt good. Everything felt normal. I mean, I’ve been playing for all my life, pretty much. So everything pretty much came back to me easily, and it was just basketball. It was fun to be playing again and fun to be playing alongside my teammates, who are super supportive of me.”

On if there was any particular play where she felt she was back …
“No, I think once the ball was tipped and maybe about 30 seconds into it my nerves kind of settled a little bit and it was just another game like it always is.”

On an aggressive play with Evelyn Akhator and if it is nice to have so many post options…
“Definitely, Evelyn is a supreme talent and she’s so athletic. I mean, sometimes I can take risks with her. And I think that play was sort of a tight one though that I tried to squeeze and she pretty much saved me and made a good play, because I thought she also got fouled. So it’s good to see her out there, and I’m glad the fans can finally see what she’s all about.”

On if she feels like she’s pushing the ball to the posts more…
”Yeah, I think we’ve always had a pretty good post presence. But I think now Alexis has grown up, Alyssa (Rice) will be coming back, and Evelyn and Batouly, they’ve all worked so hard in the summertime.  The newcomers have worked extremely hard, so they’re ready for the type of level of competition that they’re going see in the future. So I think the group we have is exciting.”

On if she feels like the team still has the chance to be one of the better teams in the country, considering all the newcomers and changes…
“Yeah, I think we can be one of the best teams in the country. I think we’ve got the pieces to do it as long as we continue to work hard and work in practice, and keep improving and growing as a team. We’ve got a lot to work on and today was good to see where we were.  But I think if we keep improving with every practice, we’ll definitely be where we want to be by the end of the season.”

On her concerns with having to play a lot of minutes if the team is short-handed…
“I mean, that’s a part of it. You know, we are thin right now. But Coach makes sure that we all have one sub. Especially with the way we play. We try to go all out for as long as we can and then that next player will come in. But I think in the future we’ll have Makayla (Epps) back at the guard spot, we’ll have Alyssa back healthy, and we’ll be golden. We’ll be the team that we’re trying to be.”

#35 Alexis Jennings, F/C


On if it was different to see Janee in a game after having her sidelined for so long …
“No, I wouldn’t say it’s different. You know, she works very hard in practice, so I just knew she was going to come out here and give her best. And she had a great game.”

On if she was happy to see the results of her hard work in the offseason paying off…
“Yeah, I would say it’s a great feeling. You know, seeing where I was last year, I feel like I’ve made a complete U-turn. I feel better, I move faster, I’m more confident and, you know, I’m just glad to be back.”

#24 Taylor Murray, G


On her first experience being on the court at Kentucky …
“I was nervous at first, but once the game started to go I was ready to pick up the speed. And it’s just basketball to me.”

On what part of her game she can use to contribute to the team immediately…
“Yes, defense and just pushing the ball. We can run, so it’s good just to have an open teammate running and you can just hit them with a quick pass.”

Union Quotes 


Head Coach Mark Campbell


Opening Statement …
“Just really thankful to the University of Kentucky for allowing us to come and have an exhibition. I’ve been to a lot of places over the last 17 years and he (Coach Mitchell) was by far the most hospitable head coach I’ve ever dealt with. And so, more than anything else, the things that really matter, he was really good at today. This last week we’ve been at LSU. We played last night and drove to Lexington last night. We got here at about 2:30 in the morning. One of the things that we like to do is kind of see where we are character wise. So we want to be in the most difficult situations early so that we can prepare for being in them late. So I was really proud of our kids today, we really competed. It was a section in the first quarter that I felt like where we felt a little overwhelmed, and from that point on until maybe the last two minutes I thought we really competed, and it really makes me look forward to the year because I already know where we are character wise. ”

On the high amount of 3s made ….
“We led D-II in 3s last year but we certainly don’t make 17 a game. I think you might would’ve seen that on SportsCenter if we were averaging 17 a game. But today we couldn’t score inside against them, it was really impossible. We have a lot to work on that they’ve exposed in the last two games. I was really proud of the fact that they only got 12 offensive rebounds, They did shoot 57% but for them to only get 12 offensive rebounds at least meant we were trying to give an effort to get contact on people. But that is the strength of our team, it has been for 17 years.”

On the pace of play ….
“We were getting four back in the fourth quarter and they were still scoring in transition. It’s obvious God makes some people a little bit more athletic than others. And so, as a coach, it makes me really celebrate the fact that God does make people that can do that. It’s so amazing, some of the things athletically Kentucky’s players can do. For that reason, I thought it was a cool thing. We cannot stop the ball early because Thompson’s going to go right by us and create more. And so we have to get back and it creates momentum, and it’s really hard to stop them with momentum and angle.”