Kentucky-Ole Miss Postgame Quotes

Feb. 4, 2010

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement ...

"That was a really good performance by our team tonight. I could not be more proud because that is a good basketball team that Ole Miss has. They have good players that fought really hard and I knew that it would be a real battle coming in and it was exactly that. There was a really good stretch there in the second half where we were able to put the game away and get some turnovers. It was a good night for the Wildcats. I am happy to win and really proud of our players."

On A'dia Mathies' performance ...

"A'dia is the definition of a difference maker. She made a tremendous impact on our team and I think that tonight is an indication of what she is capable of and I thought that she has been capable of a night like tonight for a long time. Not only did she have an impressive night offensively but I thought that she did a fantastic job guarding. She is a complete player and I am happy for her because she has really been working hard. She stays extra after practice to work on her three-point shooting and has been doing a great job for us. We are mighty glad that she is wearing a Kentucky uniform."

On if he is surprised at how much she has come along in her freshman season ...

"I think that she is definitely functioning at a high level and you have to have some confidence in yourself to do that. You have to have some level of comfort and confidence in what you are doing. She continues to get better and can be one of the best players in this league. You saw her capabilities tonight."

On Rebecca Gray's three-pointers in the second half that gave UK an overwhelming lead ...

"She was good and needed to bounce back after some subpar performances. We really tried to talk with her this week about her energy on defense in practice and she practiced better. She still needs to get better on her defense, but it was great to see her knock down some shots. Her three-pointers were very big in stretching the lead out. I was very happy with her tonight."

On Lydia Watkins and her lack of minutes tonight ...

"I am glad we were able to not play her for very many minutes tonight. She is the kind of kid that when she is hurting she is just not going to tell you. I could tell (she was injured) because yesterday she did not have a very good practice. Today, she was walking around gingerly in shoot around and I could sense early on that she was not full speed. She has some pains in her knees and in her back. It is not anything serious. I think that she could have functioned in the game but it was not anything serious that I am aware of. It was good that Brittany Henderson stepped up and we got some minutes out of A'dia Mathies at the four. Everyone stepped up and hopefully that will help Lydia. It has been a long season for her."

On if this team keeps surprising him ...

"I was particularly happy about this one because I thought that as we go forward and work through our schedule, that I am saying the same things to them. Before the game tonight, I told them that you cannot grow weary of doing the simple things, like keep working on defense and keep playing hard. I thought you saw tonight that we really pressured Ole Miss and made it difficult for them to get into their offense. I don't think it's the easiest thing for a team to do. I don't know if surprise is the right word, but I am really proud of them. The message could get boring but they don't seem bored out there at all, they seemed really energized. They have to understand what makes them successful and I thought they had a terrific practice on Tuesday and pretty good yesterday and tonight they were ready to go. They didn't finish the game great, but we had worked so hard and anytime you can get a win like this in the SEC you are happy."

Kentucky Players

#1 A'dia Mathies

On having a career-best game...

"It felt good. A lot of my shots were falling. I made some good plays. I think that helped out our team tonight. The more I come along the more my shots are falling which makes me feel more confident. I think that is helping us out a lot right now."

On being aggressive...

"I am trying to be more aggressive. Coach Mitchell has really tried to stress that to me. He tells me to attack and not be passive. That is what I am trying to do. I can be aggressive but I am a team player. If it is a pass or a shot that will help our team that's what I will do."

On guarding Bianca Thomas...

"I tried to chase her and stay with her the whole game. I knew she was capable of putting up big numbers because she is a great shooter. I tried to give her a hard time to make shots as much as I could."

#34 Victoria Dunlap

On teammate A'dia Mathies...

"I think she is playing great. She has really come a long way, being a freshman. Her intensity and ability to make plays is very impressive and helpful for our team."

On the keys to being a great team...

"I think we have good team chemistry. Our intensity on defense is outstanding. The fact that we can play together, let bad things happen, get it back on defense and still stay together as a team. We don't stay down on ourselves for missing a shot or making a turnover. We have the mentality that we are a team and we have to stay together."

On Coach Mitchell's pre-game advice...

"He says the same things in different ways. It is a good thing that he keeps repeating the same things to us. If he didn't we could be in a very different position right now. We would settle for how we played before SEC play and the teams we were beating then. He gets us in the right mentality. He preaches defense. That is how we win games."

On having offensive help from her teammates this season...

"It is a good feeling. It took pressure off of me to not have to score and make every basket. I can give it to my teammates and they will make baskets now, too."

On how good this team can be...

"I don't even know yet. We have good nights, but we also miss small things like layups and turning the ball over. It is mind-blowing to know how great we have played but that we can still get even better."

Ole Miss Head Coach Renee Ladner

On Kentucky's pressure defense...

"I felt their pressure affected us greatly. They affected our ability to take shots. We knew about the pressure, and I thought we were prepared. We have seven seniors and we start three at the present moment, and I thought we would be able to handle that a little bit better. I thought for the most part, our point guard Kayla Melson did a good job.

We go against practice players every day and they put that type of pressure on our kids every day. That's why I think Kayla Melson has gotten to the point of being a true point guard. We just aren't running on all cylinders. When we play well, we have four people scoring. Again, we knew the pressure would be there. We struggled getting the ball reversed tonight and that is a credit to Kentucky's pressure. But, it shouldn't happen with kids as quick as Shantell Black. She struggled a little bit tonight. She got into early foul trouble and the rest is history. We had possession after possession that we just did not do anything with. That is probably what is most disheartening to me. We played them evenly in the second half. It wasn't very pretty, but we figured if we could get into a slug fest with them and just hang on, we'd have a shot at the end."

On Kentucky's Southeastern Conference performance so far this season...

"I knew they returned a great nucleus of players. I knew (Kentucky) has not been healthy, they have those kids back and they are playing full throttle. (Matthew Mitchell) has a team of athletes. He has positions one through five and he has depth. They are doing an outstanding job here. They are recruiting good players. (A'dia Mathies) is for real. Not at all am I surprised."

On Bianca Thomas' play...

"Bianca had 17 points and I think she had five boards. I think everyone wants her to have a 42-point game every night. But, that's just not the case. She has been scouted and she has been guarded by two or three people. She is drawing a lot of attention and interest, and life has been tough as of late. We put a lot of stock in her game. That's what scouting does and they take away your best player. I didn't think she played well for us in the first half, and that affects everybody on the team. You are always looking to your best player. She came alive and I thought she played better in the second half."