Kentucky-Mississippi State Postgame Quotes

Jan. 8, 2012

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement …
“That was an outstanding performance by our team today. I really commend them for a great day of hustle and good execution. I was really, really proud of that effort. It was outstanding.”

On setting the school record for 3-pointers made …
“We had our four people that I think can really make them at a high level and they did that today, A’dia (Mathies), Bria (Goss), Bernisha (Pinkett) and Keyla (Snowden). The thing that I was most happy about was that they were all in the flow of team basketball and came from good execution. Because we hustled in transition offense that was a big, big emphasis before the game and in preparation was to try to create some opportunities in transition offense. We had some 3s out of transition and some 3s out of half-court execution. That was obviously an outstanding shooting day for us.”

On if he is pleased with what he is getting out of his post players …
“I thought they had a good day. The thing that we have tried to stress with them is if they would do a good job of posting inside, particularly in transition offense, if they will run to the rim a lot of times that makes the defense get away with the lane and that creates opportunities for us. Although they didn’t have big numbers scoring, I think they played better today.”

On getting 40 points off turnovers …
“Yeah, that’s a big thing for us. I thought that Mississippi State really hurt with the loss of (Porsha) Porter. She is an outstanding basketball player and I thought that them being one player down on the perimeter really tilted the advantage to our favor. But you still have to go out and hustle and you still have to do the things necessary to create the turnovers. I thought that it was our best day in a long, long time in running the floor and finishing on the other end with good hustle plays.”

On Samarie Walker’s defense …
“I thought that she had a better day. She had a better two days of practice. I think the Arkansas game hopefully motivated her some. I think so many times young players are so caught up in their identity being rooted on the offensive end and she hustled much better and played with much more effort in practice and I thought that showed today. She is going to get there. She is just still rusty and missed some shots around the rim that she will make. You can see some rebounds and blocks and some athletic plays, you can see she has a lot of ability she just needs to practice well defensively and she will be huge factor on our team when she can get up to speed defensively.”

On if it is good to be playing this well with Tennessee coming to town Thursday …
“Yeah, I think it is just important. It was our first Sunday and our first Thursday and then you go do it again and to me, I don’t know if other coaches feel this way, but I have so much respect for the league that you can’t ever look ahead. I am very happy we played well today and now we will set our sights on Tennessee who is clearly the best team we have faced so far in the conference. It should be a great game and a tough game and we will have to prepare really hard and play really hard and hopefully it will be a great game.”

On Amber Smith’s shooting …
“She (Amber Smith) had some open looks today and they didn’t go down. What is so great about our team right now is that you aren’t under pressure for one person to do something, other than A’dia Mathies needing to lead us in field goal attempts, everybody else can kind of let the game come to them. I thought that Amber had some tremendous looks and there at the end she made a play that looked reminiscent to what she has done in years past. She really turned the jets on. I thought she had a good performance and the shots will fall. She won’t go 0-for-7 much. No concern there.”

On the team being so consistent effort wise …
“You see a day like today, there is a lot that goes into it. They don’t just show up and say, ‘Hey we are going to do it.’ There is a lot of time and it’s a lot of tough practices and a lot of correction in practices, if it is not going well they have to do it again. I just really have a lot of admiration for our players after a performance like that. The last two days of practice we got with it and got after it and we needed to. We needed to shore up some things defensively. The effort was outstanding. Today was the kind of day that we envision having. The depth was quality today, people were in tune and it was a good performance. I am really proud of our players.”

On his 100th win at Kentucky …
“I’m just that I am glad I am still here. I am really happy to be here and hopefully they will keep me around for a while and hopefully we can win 100 more. That would be great. I am just so grateful to be the coach here, you just can’t imagine. In my mind, it is the most wonderful place in the country to coach basketball. Really, really grateful for all the effort. There has been a lot of people work a lot of long hours and a lot of kids play hard and gone through a lot of practices to get there. I don’t think much about it other than really grateful.”

On the depth of the rotation now that the team is in SEC play …
“Really happy with that and we got back to Kentucky basketball with a big turnover margin today. That was the first time in a long time that we took care of the basketball. Plus 17 on the turnover margin, that is Kentucky basketball. That is what we need.”

Kentucky Players

#4 Keyla Snowden, Sr., G

On setting the school record for made 3-pointers …
“We didn’t even know it. We all have been working really hard getting up extra shots. It is good to see that pay off.”

On not looking ahead to the showdown with Tennessee …
“We talk about it, but now that it is the next game on our schedule, we are going to focus in on it. Before this game, we were focused on Mississippi State, and that is it.”

On how coach Matthew Mitchell reacted to the win …
“When we play good, he (Coach Mitchell) comes into the locker room cheering for us. I think that helps us for the next game because we want that feeling after every game.”

#1 A’dia Mathies, Jr., G

On how this team is playing …
“I think everyone just came out and played aggressive. Everyone had confidence today and did a good job of playing their role. It was an all-around good game.”

On how it feels to break the school record for made 3-pointers …
“It feels pretty good. Everybody was hitting and it felt really good. Like Keyla (Snowden) said, everyone is getting up shots before and after practice and in their spare time. I think it showed tonight.”

On if this team is playing their best basketball heading into the Tennessee game …
“I think we are playing pretty good basketball, but we have a lot of room for improvement, from the post to the guards. Keyla (Snowden) touched on drives, posting up hard, but I think we are playing pretty good right now.”

#10 Bernisha Pinkett, So., G

On what it is like when all things are clicking for this team …
“It’s pretty good. It kind of reminded me of practice because everyone was playing really hard. When things like that it is just a sign of success of the things that we have been working on.”

Head Coach Sharon Fanning-Otis

Opening statement…
“Kentucky plays awfully hard and I think you have to give them the credit, that’s why they are ranked where they are and that’s why they have been successful. I don’t think we are as bad of a basketball team as we showed today. I don’t know that Porsha (Porter) is good for 40-something points but she certainly jump-starts us from a defensive standpoint. The last five games she has been our leading scorer and rebounder. A lot of people got experience today, four freshmen got some experience. There is only one player on our team, other than (Catina) Bett, who played here, that has played on this court before. That’s tough when you experience a team that plays as hard as they do. I’m proud for them that they work like they do and hopefully we can learn from that. You have to defend. They shot 41 percent and 37 percent and of course they knocked the 3s down. You can’t get lost defensively. Whether we were in our matchup or getting lost defensively, we can’t give away layups. This gives us an opportunity to grow and learn. It’s very disappointing and embarrassing but we have another game on Thursday and hopefully we’ll have everybody in the rotation. This will help us win a ball game down the road.”

On Porsha Porter not playing…
“When we played LSU she had a 102-103 fever. She went to the doctor Saturday morning and he said, ‘you need to stay here,’ so I didn’t know until yesterday morning that she wouldn’t be coming with us. Hopefully she’ll be back with us at practice on Tuesday.”

On Kentucky’s outside shooting…
“I’ve watched a bunch of games and you have to know matchups. When we were contesting them in man then they didn’t make as many but when we weren’t matched up then they had some good looks. We knew they were going to have four people out there in the smaller lineup that could shoot the three. Sometimes when you make some and catch fire it snow balls from there. That’s what you want from a team, to be able to rally and play hard together and have fun and that’s what they did today. This league is awfully competitive. They hit their shots and hopefully next time we play them they won’t hit as many.”