Kentucky-Arkansas Postgame Quotes

Jan. 21, 2010

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement ...

"It was a great win for us tonight and I thought that the players came out with outstanding energy and effort. They had excellent mental focus tonight. It is tough to play Arkansas because they throw a lot of different looks at you and you have to be in tune with what your responsibilities are. I am very proud of the team. We had a huge night on the boards and were plus-10 in the turnover category. That always means that you are going to have a good night. I am really proud of this victory."

On Coach Rich Brooks talking to the team before the game and what he said ...

"He said he wanted us to win. He told all the players that and said, `Go get them.' He gave us a pregame pep talk right there at half court and that was really special for our team to have Coach Brooks and Karen Brooks there at half court. They have meant so much to this university and have meant a great deal to our athletic department and our basketball team. I was just thrilled that we could have a big win with him and Karen here. It was a nice time for us out there tonight."

On this team staying focused on the task at hand although they entered the top 25 this week ...

"This collection of players really doesn't have any experience playing as a ranked team and I thought that they did a good job of staying really close to what our personality is and what we need to do to be successful. It was very tough and tenacious defense out there for us tonight. I thought that our first four minutes when it was 9-5 that you could see that we were in tune with what needed to happen. That was a good sign. We forced 22 turnovers and our defense was solid tonight."

On the contributions he has been getting from the bench ...

"I thought that Crystal was terrific in the first half she didn't play a great second half but man she was fantastic in the first half. The way that we were able to build our lead was transition offense and that is where depth and talent really helps you. We are a little bit deeper then we have been and have a little bit more talent. The players were very committed in the first half to running the floor and getting in transition. I was very happy to see that because that was one of the main points before the game that I asked them to do."

On if he noticed anything different about his team in their first game since being ranked ...

"I just thought that they handled it well. I thought they did what they need to do. They don't need to focus on the ranking. It is great for our program, but the team doesn't need to worry about that. They just need to understand what makes us go. I thought that they did a great job of understanding and executing that tonight."

On the crowd and the excitement the fans gave the team tonight ...

"It was a great crowd and we are building a really special home-court advantage here with big crowds and a lot of enthusiasm in the stands. It makes a big difference. I credit our team. They are really giving them something to come out and watch. There were some outstanding plays out there tonight. I am proud of our players for that. I want to really thank the fans though, because this game coming up on Sunday with Auburn is absolutely crucial. It is very critical for us to win that game Sunday. We need a big Sunday afternoon crowd to come out and help us win."

Kentucky Players

Victoria Dunlap #34, F

On her free throws ...

"I think it was just me staying positive. We shoot free throws all the time in practice and I know that I can make them. I had to stop tightening up and getting scared and just shoot the ball."

On her shooting improving after the half ...

"All of the coaches were telling me to control myself, relax and slow down and to take my time making shots. I was rushing my shots in the first half and I got a little bit frustrated towards the end of the first half. The coaches just kept telling me to stay positive and keep control of myself and I can make layups and I finally did."

On feeling more pressure playing as a ranked team ...

"I didn't feel any pressure. I actually forgot that we were ranked because I wasn't really thinking about it. There was no pressure. It was just another game for us."

Arkansas Head Coach Tom Collen

Opening statement...

"I want to give credit to Matthew Mitchell and his team. I think they are doing a great job. I think they were the team picked to finish 11th in the league this year and he has done an outstanding job motivating his kids to believe in their system. They play incredibly hard and I think they are worthy of their national ranking. I am happy to see another Southeastern Conference team ranked. That said, it was a frustrating night for us against them. As a staff I think we knew we were going to run into a team that was going to be very defensively aggressive. They were going to put a lot of pressure on us and I thought the thing we had to do was attack them off the dribble-drive. I thought we did that early. They fouled us a lot and when we did get to the line, we missed free throws. When we got layups, we missed layups. It got out of hand early. My team is too young right now. C'eira Ricketts is going to be a terrific point guard in this league. But, I put too much on her. I play her too many minutes and I ask her to do too many things. I ask her to create and get shots for her teammates. Sometimes I put her in position where she tries to ram the ball down everybody's throat and she ends up taking some shots she wouldn't have to take if I didn't feel like we had to play her. I think it's probably frustrating for her that I continually put her in that position. But, it's the position we are in right now. We have no backup point guard. Lyndsay Harris is a good player for us, but when I make her move to the point and handle the ball because C'eira gets fatigued, I think we struggle a little bit. She had 10 turnovers in the game and really that was the difference. We have got to get back to the drawing board. We are not as good as we need to be right now. We are talented enough, I just think we aren't playing great basketball right now."

On Kentucky's rebounding...

"The hard thing is (Lydia) Watkins and (Victoria) Dunlap. Those kids are just ultra aggressive. I'm going to go back and look at the tape where we had inside position on them and they literally jumped over the top of us and rebounded the ball out of our hands or deflected the ball and went and picked up the loose ball. I give Kentucky credit for that. They are not a big team and for them to rebound the basketball, is a lot of heart on their part. Obviously Dunlap is extremely athletic and I don't think there is any question, especially early when they built their lead on us, that they hurt us on the boards."

On Arkansas' play...

"I think C'eira was pretty fatigued, she turned it over and made some bad decisions. So, I put Lyndsy in and she had already turned the ball over and about half checked-out mentally because she doesn't want to be our backup point guard. She knows she has to be. When we started running her off screens, she panicked a little and threw the ball away. That is the tale of the story with this team so far. For 20 minutes we can play with anybody in the country. We almost beat Oklahoma and we played Georgia and LSU. We play everybody for 20 minutes, but we've never played a 40-minute game. That's something this team has to learn how to do and right now we are young and we need to get better."