Kentucky-Alabama Postgame Quotes

Jan. 17, 2010

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement …

“That was a great win for our team. I am just really proud of our players to bounce back from a tough road loss and defend the home court playing really hard. There were really a lot of people that got involved today. I am extremely happy that our defensive intensity really picked up in the second half. That is what I am most proud of in this game. Any SEC win is a good one and this is certainly one that we are proud to have. We will keep working and try to get better as a team.”

On getting into foul trouble early in the second half and if he was concerned at all …

“It did, I thought that where Amber's energy was in the first half was where the teams energy needed to be. I was very concerned that we may drop a little bit with her on the bench. She is just playing really strong and tough and was able to come back in after she was out and make some strong contributions defensively. We started finally getting Alabama to turn the ball over and that was the blue print for success today. We wanted to get them to turn the ball over and we had a goal of 25 turnovers and 25 points off of that. If this stat sheet is right, then we got 25 turnovers and 31 points off turnovers. That was key for us. We talked about this so many times that it is a big stat for us in any game.”

On the balance scoring attack …

“The seniors were huge in this game. I am really proud of Lydia Watkins, because she was the only person on Thursday night that played with any type of consistent effort. It was wonderful for me as a coach to be able to have a senior to point to over Friday's and Saturday's preparation and say, ‘This is what you need to do.' That is big for our basketball team. She practiced so hard for two days that I was afraid that she may not be able to go today she had practiced so hard. She was just fantastic and I thought that she gave us a really steadying influence on the boards. She made layups a lot better today then she had, as well.

Amani, who I was very disappointed in Thursday, whenever you see her hit double-digits rebounding then you know that she is going to have a good day. It doesn't matter what the scoring is, if she rebounds it seems that the scoring follows. The two seniors were big today.”

On how pivotal protecting the home court is …

“We were able to get this one today and that is really important. It does not look like road wins are going to be easy to get in this league. Man, do we have a great home court advantage here. Our fans are so vocal and supportive and when they get excited they give us energy. Hopefully, this is going to be a tough place for people to come in and win. We know that we need to get every one of these that we can and winning at home is crucial.”

On the excitement in the program and the attendance figures continuing to grow …

“I have always thought that our marketing people work so hard here and get the word out and that is a real advantage that we have, but there is no better marketing tool then a team that is winning ballgames. People like to watch a 14-3 team more than a 3-14 team. That is just the way it is. I think that as we continue to play and hopefully win games the excitement will continue to build.”

Kentucky Players 

#24 Amber Smith

On playing with foul trouble…

“It changed my style a little bit. The coaches told me to back up a little bit, but I'm just aggressive. They said it was okay because I was playing with effort. When I get in foul trouble I try to back up and stay more contained.”

On dishing out a career-high nine assists…

It was very frustrating last game not having any assists. I was very hard on myself because of it. I wanted to attack off the dribble. Today I saw open teammates and they did a great job knocking down shots.”

On yesterday's tough practice…

“It was a rough practice. Coach Mitchell got after us individually and challenged us. I think everyone stepped up to the plate today. We came out in the second half with a lot of intensity. We settled down and played our defense well.”

On giving a team effort today…

“We are very hard to stop. Everyone was stepping up to the challenges that Coach Mitchell gave us. Amani (Franklin) and Lydia (Watkins) did so well on the offensive boards. When we are balanced we are very hard to stop and very hard to guard. If we bring that every game we can't be beat.”

#12 Lydia Watkins

On playing with passion this season…

This season means a lot to me because it is my last go around. It's SEC time right now which means I have to come out and go hard each game. I've been trying to do that.”

On yesterday's tough practice…

“It was the roughest practice since I've been here, especially before a game. That was the worst practice I've ever been a part of. We met the challenge. Coach Mitchell asked a lot of us yesterday but everybody stepped up and did their part today.”

On how the influence of the home crowd has grown over the years…

“When I first came here the crowd wasn't as large. In the last few years, as we have played better as a team, more and more people have shown up to support us and we really appreciate that.”

#25 Amani Franklin

On yesterday's tough practice…

It wasn't fun. It was intense. We focused on guarding a double penetration and rebounding. It was an intense practice.”

On showing what this team is made of after bouncing back from a tough loss…

“I think that after the South Carolina loss we knew that wasn't us or how we play. We bounced back and did a good job of containing the dribble. That's what we need to do the rest of the season to be successful.”

On the importance of a home court advantage…

“We put a lot of emphasis on protecting the home court. We always draw big crowds to our games. We love to come out and play hard for our fans. We are going to continue to do that.”

Alabama Head Coach Wendell Hudson

Opening Statement…

“I thought we started off with a pretty good game plan to play a zone. We kind of got what we wanted out of that, but Matthew (Mitchell) did a good job making a couple substitutions. They also made some three's that made the difference in the game. Early in the first half we couldn't make any baskets. I say that all the time about our team. It's not anything new. We struggle sometimes to get balls in the basket and that's what basketball is all about. But, I thought Kentucky did a very good job of causing us to have problems. It was probably our worst night as far as taking care of the basketball that we have had in a long time. We had 25 turnovers and that is way too many. Kentucky did a really good job.”

On the difference in the first and second halves…

“(Victoria Dunlap) did a very good job in the second half. We knew going into it, with a player like that, she wasn't going to play us bad. I thought the zone frustrated her early in the basketball game, but she did a good job. But, of course the people around her also did a good job of maybe having a little more patience. When you have a player like that, and the rest of the team plays well, it makes them better. We were concentrating so much on that, there were a lot of reasons there were open shots for everyone else.”

On the injury of Varisia Raffington…

“I don't want to speculate, but one of the Kentucky team doctors looked at it and his early prognosis is not very good.”

On Kentucky's defense…

“Kentucky is very tough. Sometimes the way we play depends on how we are playing at a particular time. But, their 2-2-1 zone hurt us a little bit, and we didn't come back to the ball. Our starting point guard who has played a lot of minutes for us was sitting on the bench with an ankle sprain. It's hard to face Kentucky's pressure when you put a combination of a lot of players who haven't seen that type of pressure on the floor.”

On Victoria Dunlap…

“She is a great player. There were times that we would guard her really well, and she would still jump up and make a shot. When you can create your own shot, get your shot off regardless, and you can jump over people, you have the chance to be pretty good. She is really a good player.”