Kentucky-Mississippi Valley State Postgame Quotes

Jan. 1, 2010

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement ...

"It is good to bring in the New Year with a win and we were happy to be able to get this one tonight. The players played hard in the second half and I thought that we were able to overcome a sluggish first half and did some good things in the second half. I am happy that we have finished out the non-conference portion of our schedule with a win. Now, the tough stuff starts and Southeastern Conference play lies ahead. We are excited to undertake that and see where we can go with this team."

On to what he attributes the sluggishness in the first half ...

"It is hard to say, it is just hard to say. We have been working awfully hard and we have had some great games this season from an energy standpoint. Tonight, the first half was not where we wanted it to be, but to the players credit, they got that turned around. If I knew exactly why it happens then I could prevent it, but it just was a tough start for us. I was happy we turned it around though."

On if he issued a challenge to the team at halftime ...

"I did. We have had so many good moments from an energy standpoint. I am talking about the effort that they have given and playing with enthusiasm. It was a not fire and brimstone kind of speech. Everybody in the room recognized that we were not playing up to the standard that the team has set. This team has set the standard with what they have done. I don't have to get in there and scream and yell, but that doesn't mean that I won't at some point in the season. I didn't tonight. I just told them that it wasn't up to the standard that they themselves had set. Amber and Victoria are both under the weather tonight and not feeling great. Clearly, they felt well enough to do what they did in the second half. We just had to shake off some of those things that got in our way that we use for excuses. I think that we eliminated them in the second half."

On the second half ...

"Tonight, we had advantages at every position athletically, so in those games what we try to do is take advantage of that. We want to create a style of play that scores a lot of points and forces a lot of turnovers. It is not going to be exactly that way every night, but the mindset needs to be that. If we are not playing a team where we don't have an advantage at every position, our mind set still needs to be aggressive. That is why we stay in the press. Now, it goes from game-to-game as far as what you are trying to do. But we are just trying to establish an aggressive mindset and I was proud that we were able to do that in the second half."

Kentucky Players

#1 A'dia Mathies

On the defensive intensity...

" I tried to play aggressive. That is what Coach [Mitchell] told us to do. Our defense links straight to our offense. Being aggressive, playing hard and putting forth a good effort is what we tried to come out and do."

On Coach Mitchell's goals for her...

"He doesn't do that often, but I think it gave me more confidence for tonight's game. I was able to be more aggressive than I usually am. If I missed a shot he told me to keep my head up and keep playing. I think that helped me a lot tonight."

#34 Victoria Dunlap

On the difference between the first and second half of play...

" Coach got on us at halftime about our rebounding. In the first half we did not do as well as we needed to. At halftime coach told us we needed to come out and play Kentucky basketball which meant we needed to do better on defense. Once we did that, we got better in the second half. Everyone was being more aggressive. We were looking to score more and we came out with a different mentality."

On coming out slow in the first half...

"It is hard to say what the cause was. Obviously, we did not want to come out slow like we did tonight. There are moments when you don't bring it all at first. It is one of those things that doesn't need to happen often, or ever, actually."

Mississippi Valley State Head Coach Nate Kilbert

Opening statement ...

"We wanted to make it a sloppy game. This is probably, since I have been at Mississippi Valley State the best team Kentucky has had. I think the difference between the last time we played them is they're a lot quicker and didn't have the big girls they had before and run a lot more. That's something we want to do too, but I think we did a better job of just handling their pressure. They picked us up full court the entire ball game and we did a horrible job in second half handling it. The game was so close the first half because we attacked them a little more and didn't turn the ball over. Our point guard needs to get in better shape for us because she should have controlled the game better than she did."

On your tough non-conference schedule coming into this game...

"We really do it to get our budget up for our own league and at the same time help us get better and that's what we're trying to do. We just want to get better every game. You might not believe this, but this is probably one of the better games we've played in regards to energy and our big girls inside, if we cut down on our turnovers."

On is it hard to focus playing a game on New Year's Day...

"It's extremely difficult. I think being away from family was the biggest part to overcome and stay focused. Apart from our two older players, we're all freshman and sophomores and it's hard to keep them focused away from home and their loved ones. As we head into conference play we're starting to get a lot better focus, to be honest it was terrible early on. Kentucky was our problem tonight because their fours and fives could run with our girls down low and they pressured us relentlessly. It had nothing to do with our focus because I think tonight our focus was as good as it's been since Christmas."

On Kentucky's defensive pressure ...

"I think they just wore us down. They just kept pressuring us and pressuring us and we thought we'd throw a couple long ones and try to get them out of it, but they just kept coming. Their press is awesome. It goes back to our point (guard) and she just needs to get in better shape. I've seen her go up against better pressure then tonight and she did better out of it. We had to depend on Brown who really isn't a true point guard. She's more of a two and she had 12 turnovers. Any time you put the ball in her hands that much she's going to have trouble especially against a team like Kentucky who is very quick, agile and their IQ of basketball is great. "