Kentucky-Auburn Postgame Quotes

Jan. 24, 2010

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement ...

"That was another terrific defensive effort by our team. I am very proud of that. This league is so tough and I think that Auburn has a really good team. Our ability to put pressure on them today and get them to turn the ball over was the difference in the game. It takes a lot of energy and effort not just from one player but the whole team and we had great contributions from all 10 players today. I am proud of that. It doesn't get any easier for us, we need to stay focused and humble and hungry. We have to keep working."

On the first half ...

"It was a good first half. It was a very good first 16 or 17 minutes. I thought that we dropped a little bit right at the end of the first half, but the first 15 or 16 minutes were fantastic. We need to play that way every time we have a chance. I never felt like the game was in hand until very late in the game. We need to keep plugging and do what we can to take care of mistakes. We need to see if we can get better, but the first half was good."

On his team playing a full 40 minutes...

"There is not a lot of difference in those two teams by my estimation. I think that they have very good players. We were on the home court today and did a good job. We have to play with maximum intensity. We found out what happens if we don't at South Carolina. I would agree that when we play hard, we have a chance in each game. I am not saying that we are real powerful or anything but we will have a chance if we give that kind of effort."

On scoring 42 points in the paint ...

"I think that was big. We tried to focus before the game of having discipline on the finish today. We need to get our shoulders square and hips low and play on balance. Those were the things that we tried to do and I thought that we made layups a little bit better today. I thought a couple of those jumpers in the second half when we were struggling were huge. Amani (Franklin) hit one that really got us going. She and Lydia finished off the game good in the paint."

On the stretch where Auburn had cut the lead and then UK went on a run to put the game out of reach ...

"That was the turning point. They had the ability to make some three pointers and if they bang those in it is a really close ballgame. This team has shown the ability to create turnovers and there were none bigger then that span."

On the bench and the depth of this team ...

"It is very important for us (to have a deep bench.) I thought they allowed us to create the kind of tempo we wanted in the first half to make it difficult on Auburn. The bench knows what they're job is and they practice hard every day. They are talented players and we have strong contributions from them every game. You look at the stat sheet and nobody really jumps out at you and as a coach that makes you proud that players are that committed defensively."

On A'dia Mathies' in the first half ...

"That is what she has to do. She is extremely talented and I thought that her aggressiveness set a great tone for our team. I said this before the game in my radio interview that the scary thing about her is that she has a lot of room to grow as a basketball player and she will just keep getting better and better."

Kentucly Players

#1, A'dia Mathies

On her mentality coming into the game...

Coach Mitchell told me during today's shoot around that he wanted me to not only look at passes but to attack from the beginning. I tried to do that. My shots started falling so it must have helped. That is how I came into the game with a spark."

On the balance of this team...

"I think we are a good team. We can have starters and bench players that come in and contribute to the team. I think that says a lot about how hard we work and what we are trying to do here at Kentucky."

On the defense intensity...

"I have never had to play defense like this before. It has been different than high school. Now that I am a guard my defense has been refocused and I am trying to work on that role."

On compliments from Mel Fortner about this year's Kentucky team...

"That speaks to the hard work that we put in as a part of this team. We have a lot of talented players on our team. The fact that we can go out and play as a team says a lot about us, especially now being a top 25 team."

#24, Amber Smith

On making big plays to sustain the game...

" We try to give it all we have on the floor. Coach Mitchell promises he will give us a sub if we go hard for four minutes at a time. We play hard for each other because we love our teammates and our coaches."

On the turning point of the game...

"I thought it was when the crowd starting getting excited and we worked to get three quick steals because they were chipping away at our lead. We are trying to not be the team we have been in the past. We just wanted to keep the lead. Lydia Watkins came up with some great plays and the crowd set the momentum."

On so many alumni being present at today's game...

"It's great to see so many players come back. I got to see some of the girls that I have played with come back to support us. That made this a significant game to us."

#12, Lydia Watkins

On this year's team...

" I think we put in a lot of hard work in the off season. I think every night we have to go out and bring our best game. If you look at the statistics it is obvious that everyone came out and contributed to our win."

On big plays to turn the game around and continue the lead...

"I was definitely excited. The first half I struggled but the second half we came out and we had to bring it. Coach Mitchell told us in the huddle that the game wasn't over and we had to go out and play hard. We try to take the game four minutes at a time. We tried to bring it as hard as we could."

On playing to prove the deserving of a ranking...

"It is SEC play. Every game is going to be a challenge. We have to go out and meet the challenge. Just because we are ranked does not mean we can relax and come out and take teams for granted. If each and every player is not playing hard it will be a struggle for us. We try to play hard and do what Coach Mitchell asks of us and that is why we are ranked right now."

Auburn Head Coach Nell Fortner

Opening statement...

"Kentucky played great pressure defense. They do a great job of taking you out of what you want to do and Matthew (Mitchell) has done a tremendous job with this program. I thought Kentucky was in control the whole time and it was their day today."

On the competition in the Southeastern Conference...

"I don't think anybody can beat anybody. Tennessee, I know they lost the other night, but the road is a tough place to play, but I think Tennessee is the best team in the league. I think everybody else is fighting. You have another level of teams and they are fighting for second. I think Tennessee is the team to beat."

On Auburn's KeKe Carrier...

"Not many people can do a whole lot with KeKe. Her size is unlike any other player playing this year in the country. But, KeKe pretty much guards herself, because she was 1-of-7 or 1-of-8 in the second half. I thought she had good looks. She had uncontested looks and didn't hit them. A lot of nights were like today and she guarded herself. She is a pretty formidable post player."

On Kentucky's defense and Amber Smith...

"It is good. They have a bunch of athletes on the floor. They are quick, fast and physical. I think they get great leadership out of the point guard. Amber Smith is playing so confidently and she has great energy. Her team goes how she goes, and that's what you want your team to do. You want your team following your point guard. She is outstanding. It made a difference in their team. With another year of experience, she is playing well."

On the rise of Kentucky women's basketball...

"They went to the NCAA Tournament in 2006, but I think this team might be better than that team, even though they don't have that big post player (Sarah Elliott). This team plays so much harder and with a lot energy in their defense. The defensive presence that they have is really good."