Kentucky-Tennessee Postgame Quotes

Jan. 29, 2015

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement…
Tough game to lose and Tennessee made enough plays and played hard in the second half. But we didn’t play great defense in the second half and so we got beat. It’s a tough one to lose.”

On the closing seconds of the game…
“Yea, just, um, we had one call there that we thought we could get, with no timeout. We weren’t able to get that ball in bounds. Tennessee did a good job knocking it out of bounds. And (after) we called time out and then we did get a shot on the second opportunity, and even got a shot on the third opportunity, and we just didn’t make either one.”

On games like this defining the series with Tennessee…
“Yea, well it's a tough matchup and both teams want to win. It’s an important game and I wish we could’ve won it.”

On if has any takeaways moving forward…
“You know, they had the same issues facing us, no matter the result of this game. I mean, really, we just have so many things that we need to get better at doing. So, if the last shot had gone in, and we won by one, we’d just be feeling better about just tonight, but we’d have to wake up tomorrow and do the same things we’re going to do. We just aren’t very good team with recognition in offense. They switched on us all night and it was mismatch after mismatch and we just can’t do those things. We were very, very poorly coached in that area. So I have to do a better job on that. We allowed them to play a defense that you don’t have to work very hard if you make people pay and they were able to turn us over 19 times with a switching defense and so that’s an issue we have to address. We have to tighten up our defense and there are just so many things that we have to do. We have to continue to battle on the boards. No matter the outcomes of a game like tonight, we have a long road ahead obviously for improvement. I’m really optimistic that the players will continue to improve. But, I don’t know how you take a positive out of tonight. You have a chance to win in your building and you just don't find a way to win. We won’t feel good about that.”

Kentucky Student-Athlete Quotes

#25 Makayla Epps, G

On her reaction when the clock hit zero…
“It was more like a ‘dang’. A ‘shoot’ type moment losing by one. I’d probably rather lose by 25 than one because 25 you have no chance and one, you’re right there but here on out I feel like we are getting better. I see it in everybody and every day in practice. We can see it in the film sessions we’re getting better. Coach Mitchell is working us hard. Tomorrow at practice we’re going to look at this film, see the little things that we could have done right and progress on them and get ready for Sunday against Georgia.”

On Tennessee trying to close the game and hitting those big shots…
“Mainly at halftime coach had talked to me separately away from the team about keeping my confidence up because in the first half I don’t think I hit the rim one time. It was real discouraging for a second, but then he said keep plugging the shots will fall and in the second half they did. He has started getting me up every morning at 8 and shooting on the gun like 300, 400 shots before class of mid-range jumpers and 3-pointers. Last game, I went 1-for-5 on the 3 on Sunday and I have shot like 700 shots since then. Then I went 3-for-3 tonight, so it is working and all props go to him on that and I just have to keep working in the gym because it’s going to be plenty more big shots to hit for me and my teammates.”

#25 Alexis Jennings, F

On playing against Tennessee’s frontcourt …
“I feel like I tried to do the best I could tonight and at the end of the day, Coach wants us to have effort and energy and I felt that I gave all that I could this game. Unfortunately, we came up short.”

On what happened on her shot at the end of the game …
“I’m not really sure what happened but I tried to go up as strong as I could and unfortunately, I couldn’t finish.”

#13 Bria Goss, G

On what she was thinking the final 16 seconds of the game…
“It’s not over until it’s over. We had a lot of opportunities to put the ball in the basket but we came up a little short.”

On what it means to play against Tennessee …
“Going in you’re thinking everything is going to be a battle, everything is going to be a war. Nothing is going to be given to you in this game.”

On Makayla Epps in the last few minutes of the game …
“We all have roles on the team and (Makayla) Epps knew her role tonight. If she was hot, we were going to keep feeding her the ball.  Just like if anybody was hot, we were going to give them the ball.”    

Tennessee Head Coach Holly Warlick

Opening statement …
“Just really, really, obviously proud of our young ladies for getting the win. I thought it was a great basketball game and two athletic teams. We’re just excited that we got a win on the road against a very good Kentucky team.”

On her thoughts as a coach during game …
“I was not very calm. You know, it boils down to getting stops. The time we were up here before, they hit a shot to win the game. We just put Izzy (Isabelle Harrison) on the ball, and we were switching and didn’t want anybody to get underneath us, and we gave them three chances. We can’t give them that many chances. Proud of us getting the ball and, obviously, a stop. We went man-to-man today. We went to a 3-2 zone, a 2-3 zone. We just wanted to mix it up, and it would be good for a while, and then they’d figure out how to break it, and we would change. Just excited that we got the win.”

On Isabelle Harrison being open …
“I don’t think they got tired. They get after you, and we’ve been going against so many people sagging and having three, four people in the lane hanging on Izzy, and I thought they played it straight up. One thing about Izzy is she works before she gets the ball, and I thought she did a great job of that tonight and didn’t get frustrated. I think she had, what, three fouls? She got a couple early, and we had to take her out, but I thought she was solid. I just thought she did the work before the ball got to her, and she was open, and we figured out how to get the ball to her.”

On the rivalry and the games being clos e…
“Well, yeah, I mean, they’ve been close. They beat us last. They beat us at our place. We hadn’t won up here in a long time. I think we’re both familiar with each other. I think we have similar type teams. We both obviously – defense is a priority for us and rebounding. I thought the rebounding was 39-38, and pride ourselves a lot on getting second-chance points, and we gave up too many second-chance points for them tonight. It’s just a hard-fought game. (Makayla) Epps was phenomenal today. She was outstanding. We didn’t have an answer for her at times. She scored 23 and I thought she was a great leader for them. We had people step up as well, so it’s about people making plays. It was a game of runs. We talked about that at half. We just kind of weathered the storm.”

On Jamie Nared’s play…
“She was huge for us. I told Jaime after the game that she’s at a point of no return. She can’t go back to being casual and being a freshman. I thought she battled today. She drove to the basket hard. She got three steals. That’s the Jaime Nared that we’ve seen play, that we know can play. We just don’t treat her like a freshman. She’s got to come up and be a part of this team, and I thought she was really, really solid for us…played 12 minutes and gave us some breathers. I thought she did some great, great things for us tonight. That’s what we need from her.”

On defense giving Isabelle Harrison an advantage …
“I think so. We worked a lot this week of our practice guys getting up against us, pressing us, making us play a hurried offense. We talked about getting pressed, and we got out of it. Don’t pull back and run an offense, just attack, and I think that’s what we did. You know, like I said, Izzy did the work before the ball got there. We were able to get her the ball because I think at times throughout the year Izzy’s open, and we haven’t been able to get her the ball, and I thought today we got her the ball. They would front, and we lobbed a couple of passes in and had 22 turnovers, but I thought our passes to Izzy were pretty solid.”

On the significance of win against a top-10 team on the road …
“You know, we didn’t talk about that. We just talked about our game against Kentucky. Obviously, we did, so we don’t have to talk about that anymore. We just focused on Kentucky and what they do, and how they play. That was our main concern. We don’t focus on our ranking or other people’s ranking. We just try to go out and play the way we need to play. Monkey off our back, yes, but we approached it that it was a solid Kentucky team, that we hadn’t won up here in a while. We needed to do some things, and we came off with the win.”

Tennessee Student-Athlete Quotes

#11 Isabelle Harrison, F

On her teammates helping get her the ball ...
"I think they were just so focused on the other players and everyone that was out there was hitting their shots, so I just tried to get to the open spots and they were able to see me, so they had good court vision."

On reaching the 1,000-point mark ...
"I'm just blessed that I was able to get to 1,000 points. I wouldn't be in this position if it weren't for my teammates. They help me through so many tough times, so I'm glad they were here to be with me during this moment."

On this monumental win ...
"This win over Kentucky is amazing. We went so many days without a road win against a top-10 team, so it's just exhilarating right now. We were a lot more open during the first half. Kentucky's defense is nonstop and I think the longer we went, everyone was starting to get gassed up. We applied more pressure to make the passes."

#14 Andraya Carter, G

On the last 13 seconds…
“I was definitely nervous but we just had to get down and get stops. We always talk about how defense is such a big part of this team and the main thing that we focus on. I thought about different drills that we do in practice, drills were all we do is play defense.”

On Kentucky’s perimeter defensive pressure…
“It’s tough. Their guards put so much pressure on us, so it’s really hard to run set plays because they’ll run, jump and trap just trying to get you out of your sets. We have a lot of sets for our post so really at that point, you just have to play basketball, you have to attack, you have to dish, and you have to find the open man.” 

#11 Cierra Burdick, F

On breaking UT’s road-losing streak against top-10 teams…
“It’s about time. It’s been a struggle on the road for us against top-10 teams and I think this is making a huge statement for how hard we work and the heart that we have.”

On the last play of the game…
“I know myself I was saying we have laid our hat on defense all season. This is the position we wanted to be in, there was no doubt in my mind we weren’t going to win that game. When we walked on that court with 40 minutes to play, I knew we were going to win that game.”