Kentucky-Arkansas Postgame Quotes

Jan. 5, 2012

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement …
“That is a fantastic victory tonight. I am so excited that we won that game. That is an extremely tough team for us to play against. Arkansas is a difficult team for us every year and they are well coached and have good players and that is a difficult game for us to play, especially after getting off to a great start and then it going south. (I was proud) they found the toughness to get back after that lull we were in. I am really, really pleased. That is a great victory for us.”

On A’dia Mathies being more aggressive offensively …
“I think she was much more aggressive and that is what we needed. She played a fantastic game and got us off to a great start. She was very aggressive, which is what I was looking for. She had a 2:1 assists to turnovers ratio with six assists and three turnovers that is exactly what we needed. I am really proud of her defense and thought she had a fantastic game.”

On Arkansas being able to throw over the UK defense and how they stopped it …
“We just called a timeout and we tried to talk about going back to defensive fundamentals and I am proud of the players for doing that because it was ugly there at the beginning of the half. It is tough to get a big lead and then for the last 10 minutes of the first half we had very little energy and they were making all the hustle plays that we were making in the beginning. The start of the second half they were making the hustle plays and we just talked about getting back to defensive fundamentals. The press was breaking down and they were just getting straight line drives out of the press. We just talked about making some hustle plays and some energy plays and I thought that Azia (Bishop) along with A’dia (Mathies) really sparked us with some offensive rebounds and that is the measure of aggressiveness. Offensive rebounding is very tough to do but when Azia got in the game she got five offensive rebounds. We only had four total in the first half and she had five in the second half. I really challenged them to do that at halftime. I really think we started hustling more and that is how we started our run.”

On Samarie Walker’s game …
“Samarie (Walker) didn’t have a good night defensively and if you can’t function in the game defensively it is hard to get on the floor. We were four guards all night and finally found two posts that would play in Brittany (Henderson) and Azia (Bishop) and they played well. Both of them had good games.”

On Azia Bishop’s 3-pointer …
“Azia is probably one of our top-three 3-point shooters if you just get them in a gym by themselves and let them shoot. Azia has had a difficult transition like a lot of young post players do. As far as me being surprised at that, I wasn’t surprised. She has been getting in the gym. When Azia Bishop plays the way she did in the second half then we are in for a real treat here. Azia Bishop is an extremely talented young woman and we need her to play the way she did in the second half.”

On Bernisha Pinkett’s game …
“Big-time game from Bernisha (Pinkett) tonight. I am really proud of her and we need her. She played four minutes with no aggressiveness at Florida and we struggled to win the game. We need Bernisha because when A’dia gets a little bit of a break, Bernisha can come in and pick her up and help us out. That is the Bernisha Pinkett we all saw have some success last year. We desperately need her to play that way. I am really proud of her and she worked really hard this week to try to get her game turned around.”

Kentucky Players

#1, A’dia Mathies, Jr., G

On being aggressive in this game…
“They (the c oaches) definitely stressed it all week. We talked about it before the game. I had to come out and be aggressive. I knew it would help my team if I came out there and was more aggressive.”

On stretching the lead…
“We just played a good game. We went up and then we went down and fought back, it just happened that we made more plays at the end. We kept a decent lead and I was proud of all my teammates for playing so hard.”

On if she was surprised at Azia (Bishop)’s 3 pointer…
“I wasn’t surprised, she has a great shot. She practices it and she is out there all day shooting.”

On changes in her 3-point shot from last year…
“I’m just being more confident in my shot. They’ve been talking to me about it and being more aggressive and so if they leave me open I am going to take the shot.”

#50, Azia Bishop, Fr., C

On scoring all her points in the second half…
“Coach just said at the beginning of the game to just work hard no matter when I get in the game. Whether I go in the game in the first half or second, just play hard and that’s what I did.”

On being productive in limited minutes…
“That’s kind of how the Duke game was, too. I didn’t really play that much in the first half and came in in the second half. I don’t know, maybe it’s just some kind of second-half thing.”

On if she notices a difference between conference and non-conference play…
“It’s a lot different. The pace is faster and it’s much more aggressive. There’s a difference. It’s all mental so I have to get it together.”

Arkansas Head Coach Tom Collen

Overall thoughts…
“I thought it was a hard fought game.  We come up here and play well every year.  We got off to a slow start, dug a hole early, but I’m pretty proud of the way our kinds fought back and took a lead at one point.  I think when you play in this venue, it’s like one of the few great venues in the country.  They’ve done such a great job with their fan support.  Kentucky is a team of runs, when they put a run on you and get it going their way, and the crowd gets into the game, it’s really hard to fight through.  We’ve got to learn to deal with that.  For the most part I feel like we didn’t quit.  To come in and play a top-10 team in the country on their floor and have a chance to win is a pretty good effort for us.”

On compensating for Sarah Watkins 0-for-13 shooting performance…
“I think it’s hard.  Sometimes I don’t know what to do with Sarah.  She’s obviously a talented young kid.  The shots she missed were point blank.  She’s a kid with a temperament that sometimes she’s her own worst enemy when she gets down on herself.  With a kid like her, and some of the other veterans that we got, you leave them in there, you ride with them and you think they’re going to pull out of it.  Clearly not getting a great effort out of her hurt.”

On handling the press…
“I thought we did okay at times.  We had a couple of stretches in the second half we let it get away from us.  Early in the game, probably the first six or eight minutes, it got away from us and then we settled down and did a good job of attacking it.  Everyone knows when you play Kentucky you’ve got to keep your turnovers down.  You don’t want them to get out on runs on you.  That’s the way they score, that’s the way they get the crowd in the game.  We went with an extra ball handler at times tonight and I thought they did a pretty good job.  So if you get three ball handlers in there, you’re smart with the ball, and you don’t give it to them too many times, then you have a chance.”

On Kentucky coming back after Arkansas took a lead in the second half…
“I think their pressure intensified.  It’s something that they do every day and it’s something we certainly can’t simulate in practice.  Trying to simulate that is tough.  I think it’s the idea that they sub so much, they wear you down and eventually they put one on you and you survive it, and they put one on you and you survive it, and then finally they put one on you and you succumb to it.  You have to take a lot of shots from them.  You have to get back up off the ground a lot of times in order to beat them in this arena.”

On Kentucky’s first half three-pointers…
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well and they shot lights out especially from the 3-point line.  Amazingly when we went to our zone, they didn’t shoot it as well.  They got most of their three’s against our man-to-man.  The two-three zone that we put in, I think we put it in yesterday in practice, so we’re not great at it yet.  As the game went on, they saw some gaps, and started getting the ball in the paint a little bit.”

On Azia Bishop’s second half three-pointer…
“I thought the biggest three was when number 50 stepped out and hit one.  I think we were still right there within five or six points.  I don’t know how many threes she’s made this year but I don’t think we had on the scouting report that she was a 3-point shooter.  When she drained that I thought it sucked the life out of us a little bit.”

Arkansas Players

#22, C’eira Ricketts, Sr., G

On the Kentucky pressure…
“They kept pressure on me even when I didn’t have the ball.  They wore me down a little bit, but I don’t think they wore me down as much as they wanted to.”

On playing so many games against A’dia Mathies in high school and college…
“We played against each other in high school and then come to college and play against each other it kind of feels like we’re in high school again.  A’dia is a great player.  When I play against her I take it as a challenge.  It’s like two little kids going at it.  That’s how I look at it.”