Kentucky-Tennessee Postgame Quotes

Jan. 12, 2012

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Kentucky Head Coach Mathew Mitchell

Opening Statement…
“That was a great college basketball game. Two really tough teams went at it tonight and played hard. We have so much respect for Tennessee. They played such a tough game. I couldn’t be prouder of our players. They earned every bit of it. It went down to the last shot and we were able to come out on top. I have a lot of respect for Tennessee. They are very well coached, play hard, and I thought our players played extremely hard. It’s a really proud night to be a Kentucky Wildcat.”

On the last few seconds of the game…
“Tennessee did a great job. Our initial thought with 20-something seconds left was to run a couple high on-balls for A’dia (Mathies) and they trapped that and did a really good job so we called a timeout. To try and avoid anything we just went 1-4-flat, we haven’t done that much – as in, ever. We just couldn’t get a screen involved and A’dia had just taken us so far and brought us to that point so I thought we should put the ball in her hands to see what happens. She came through like the top caliber player that she is. I’m really, really proud of her. So, just 1-4-flat and went to the basket and put it in.”

On whether A’dia Mathies ever surprises him anymore…
“No, I was really, really happy that she played up to the level of the gifts God’s given her. She played up to her talent level tonight. She bounced back from a devastating run Tennessee put on us. We had complete control of the game and that was a devastating run. For a team to have the character to come back, even when it was not looking good, and win was great. A’dia (Mathies) really, really played well.

On what a win such as this can do for the confidence level of the team…
“You have to make certain that you understand what it is. It’s a win on a Thursday night in the Southeastern Conference. Emotionally, you have to understand it could’ve gone either way. It was not as it looked tonight and wouldn’t have been as bad had we have lost by one. You really have to keep it in perspective that it was a well-played, hard-fought game on our home court and we came out with a one-point win. There’s nothing for us to do but enjoy it tonight, but you really have to stay focused here. If we lose tonight and win at South Carolina, we are 4-1 in the conference, and if we win tonight and lose at South Carolina we are 4-1 in the conference. This is the grind of the SEC. It was an emotional night, of course, it was a tough, tough game, but you have to keep it in perspective here. We didn’t win anything here tonight except a Thursday night game in the SEC.”

On their best start to an SEC season in the history of UK women’s basketball…
“I’m very proud. I’m extremely proud of our players tonight. They played their tails off. They could not have played any harder, or with any greater effort, or with any greater resolve, or with any greater character to bounce back from disappointment tonight. I am extremely proud.”

On what he and Mickie DeMoss envisioned prior to tonight…
“I told her before the game, tonight would not have happened without her. She started it all, every ounce of it. You folks that have been covering it for a while know it was tough when we showed up. She taught me how to be a head coach and Mickie DeMoss had a big hand in building this program and I told her that before the game. So yes, tonight is what we envisioned. Kentucky – great fans, great crowd – playing against Tennessee and coming out on top. It was a great night.”

On the fearless play of A’dia Mathies…
“She has been very good in those situations and that’s why recruiting is so important. That was not a real genius coaching move right there. That was a great player making a big-time play. That’s the formula. That’s how Tennessee has won so many games over the years – players making great plays. We did a good day’s work when we signed A’dia Mathies. She really is a great player.”

On the boost they received from Keyla Snowden…
“When you win by one and anyone scores a bucket, you wouldn’t win that game without the person. I asked them before they came out of the locker room to come out swinging the first four minutes and then we would reset it for the next four minutes. We just wanted to work our way through the game like that. I thought she embodied the attitude we wanted more than anybody. I thought she fought tonight and did exactly what we asked her to. I am really, really proud of Keyla Snowden. She has taken a lot of grief from her coach over the years and she has stepped up big here in her final semester of her career. She was huge in the game tonight.”

On what Kentucky contributed to Tennessee’s comeback…
“We started missing shots. We got extremely tentative on offense. It’s really hard to beat Tennessee. It’s just really hard to beat them. There is that aura and that tradition and what they have earned I don’t know how else you knock it down but just winning games. I thought we got very tentative. Tennessee was fantastic in transition offense. We were just maybe playing not to lose instead of to win, and then Tennessee backed us against the wall like a great team does. They came out with haymaker after haymaker. Those were some great plays they made. It was a combination of some Tennessee players stepping up the last couple of minutes and some bad looking offense there in the last couple minutes.”

On his comments to Pat Summitt…
“I tell Pat before every game that I wouldn’t be out here without what she did. I tell her that every time. I told her that tonight. It’s true tonight and will be true every time we meet before a game. I told her I loved her and obviously thinking about her with what she’s going through. I really appreciate our fans tonight. They did exactly what first class people should do. They gave her a great ovation and that meant a lot to me. I appreciated our fans doing that. It was a great atmosphere tonight. I appreciate everyone buying tickets and filling the whole place up. It was awesome tonight. It was rockin’.”

On whether he thought the moon and stars aligned for A’dia Mathies’ desperate 3-point shot…
“For about two or three minutes then I thought they got out of whack again when Tennessee started throwing in shots. That was a huge play in the game. We have had plenty of them go against us so I was excited to get one on our side.”

On the whether Kentucky is getting closer to the bar Tennessee has set…
“We are getting closer but look at the series record. It is one-sided. We have a lot of work to do to even up that series. We are getting closer and that’s what we need to do. We need to work really hard and focus on making Kentucky basketball as outstanding as this place deserves.”

Kentucky Players

#1 A’dia Mathies, Jr., G

On her last shot of the game
“I saw an open lane. The previous play we tried to run some ball screens, and they trapped it. Coach (Mitchell) called a timeout and he gave a one-four flat. I just took a one-on-one approach, got past (Glory Johnson), I saw a couple trees, and I shot it and it went in.”

On her emotional response for the last shot …
“I was excited but then I looked up at the clock to see how much time was left. I was hoping it would buzz, but it had four or five seconds left. So, I tried to just get back on defense and make sure they didn’t get a quick shot to win the game.”

Her thoughts on the four-flat play call at the end …
“Actually, I was trying to request it because I knew they would try to trap and I would probably have to give the ball up, but I wanted the ball in my hands. (Coach Mitchell) said to go to a one-four flat and I knew that if I could just get past her, we would have a shot and it went in.”

On beating Tennessee …
“It was very exciting like Keyla (Snowden) said, I’ve never beaten them (Tennessee) during the three years that I’ve been here at Kentucky. To beat a top-tier team, even a great team like Tennessee, is great and especially as a SEC win. We need every single one.”

On making the and-one 3-point shot …
“I was very surprised, I just shot it, and I knew I was hit. I did not know if they were going to call it and the fact that they called it, and it went in, it was just a great moment. It was just one of those games.”

#4 Keyla Snowden, Sr., G

On the emotions and joy of winning such a big game …
“It feels great. Since I’ve been here, we have never beaten Tennessee when I’ve actually played, so I am ecstatic, and so excited for my teammates, coaches and this program.”

On the feeling of accumulating a 12-point lead, then Tennessee cutting into the lead …
“Basketball is a game of runs and we knew Tennessee was a good team so we knew they would fight until the buzzer went off. Coach (Mitchell) told us to keep being on the attack and keep bringing the energy and confidence we brought the rest of the game, and eventually our hard work would pay off.”

On her confidence in A’dia Mathies at the end of the game…
I have a lot of confidence in A’dia (Mathies). She is a great player and definitely a go-to player on this team. With the ball in her hands, I am confident she is going to make plays.”

On the national impact of this victory on the program…
“I think it gets people aware that Kentucky is out there and is coming to compete regardless of who we play whether it’s Tennessee, UConn, Stanford, it doesn’t matter who we play, we are coming out to win.”

Tennessee Associate Head Coach Holly Warlick

On A’dia Mathies’ last shot…
“It was a great player making a great play. We didn’t have an answer for her tonight so it didn’t start with the last shot. She was outstanding, my hat’s off to her.”

On the late second-half run…
“Our two scorers, Meighan (Simmons) and (She)Kinna (Stricklen), hit shots. They hadn’t hit a shot all night, they finally made two 3s and got us back in the game. I think our defense got us back in the game. I think Ariel (Massengale) hit a lay-up on an and-one play. We have to have our scorers step up and make plays and they didn’t do much tonight but did step up at the end when we needed them.”

On offensive struggles…
“We’ve been plagued by a lot of turnovers. I think the first half we turned the ball over too much. That’s one part of our game we have to get better at. When you turn the ball over your opportunities to make plays are limited. Credit Kentucky’s defense, they made us play fast at times and made us rush, with a combination of that and the tempo the game was being played, we were just playing too fast. We didn’t make plays and if we can cut down on our turnovers we will be a much better basketball team.”

On Kentucky’s second-chance baskets…
“I think they had too many second chance opportunities. I think we out-rebounded them but we just have to be a little more consistent on that end of the floor. When it went down to the stretch we limited their second chance opportunities. We have to be aware of that throughout the game.”

On Kentucky’s style of play…
“We’ve been pressed like that before. They’re aggressive full court and make you play fast. I thought once we settled down we handled their pressure well. We just didn’t make plays, we weren’t hitting shots. I think in the first half we missed five or six lay-ups. You can’t beat a great basketball team missing lay-ups.”

On first half struggles…
“They just weren’t making plays. They were missing open shots and not making plays. Simple as that.”

Tennessee Players

#25, Glory Johnson, F

On the play of A’dia Mathies…
“She hit some great shots and was the leader of her team. She was able to take over the majority of the game. Whenever Kentucky needed a score, they gave her the ball. That was basically their game plan and we didn’t guard it very well. (A’dia) Mathies did a great job of finishing her shots.”

On Mathies’ final shot…
“If we went with the scouting report, we would have pushed her left instead of right. Mathies did a great job of getting to the basket. We are not going to look at that one play though. We are going to look at the missed lay-ups, the missed free throws, the turnovers, and everything that had happened before that final shot because it should have never been a one-point ball game.”

On Kentucky’s ability to rebound the ball…
“We talked about their ability to rebound in our scouting report and how well their guards crash the boards. Their guards crashed the boards hard tonight, just like our coaches told us they would. Next time we have to make sure to put a body on somebody.”

#21, Vicki Baugh, F

On her performance tonight…
“I have a role on the team and I just need to be consistent. I can’t play well one game, and not another game, so tonight I just wanted to come in strong for my team regardless of what my role is. We just have to play a full-forty minutes together.”

On Mathies’ four-point play in the second half…
“I know I have a target on me because I need to learn to play without fouling. I wouldn’t call it the smartest play on my behalf, and I wish I could change it, but I can’t. She is just a smart player and forced a foul at the time.”