Kentucky-Tennessee Postgame Quotes

Feb. 15, 2015

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

(Opening Statement)
"Our first thought is that we really send out our prayers, best wishes to Isabelle Harrison. We know what that feels like, and it doesn't feel good when one of your players goes down like that. Obviously, it was bad enough that she didn't return to the game, so we're really thinking about her and will be praying for her and praying for the best."

"I just thought Tennessee played really hard today. I thought they played really smart. We just didn't play nearly good enough defense on a day where we just couldn't make shots. We just looked real uneven. I'm over there coaching, so it's a lot easier to see it coaching than playing, but I just thought we had so many chances to attack the rim today, and we just started out pretty passive. We need to do better, but I think everything in the game today, for us, are things we can correct, so we will just go back to Lexington and see if we can get better from this one. Tennessee played better, and they deserved to win."

(On Tennessee's second half aggressiveness)
"I thought they were very aggressive. Whenever they needed a crucial play and whenever our first-shot defense was good, they just would not be denied. If we put a body on them and it wasn't tough enough, they just came through us and got the board and made the play. I think they did a great job of rallying. That could not have been a comfortable situation to be in. It is just really hard when you see your friend and your teammate go down. I thought they stepped up big time. I thought Cierra Burdick was really tough. I thought Ariel Massengale was really, really tough. All of them--I thought [Jaime Nared] came in there and got a big offensive board. That was big there. I thought Tennessee played a really, really tough second half."

Kentucky Student-Athletes

Guard Jennifer O'Neill

(On becoming exhausted)
"No, I don't think we got run down. I don't think we had enough poise to execute and actually make sure we were getting the ball inside and start playing inside out instead of playing just on the perimeter."

Guard Makayla Epps

(On having a hangover from Thursday's 2OT win vs. Mississippi State)
"I don't think so, no. After that two-overtime game, my teammates were pumped. We were all exhausted--two overtimes is a lot of time to be playing basketball. We were excited to win. We knew we had another. Mississippi State gave us all they wanted on Thursday night. We knew coming into Tennessee today, they were going to give us all they wanted, and that is exactly what happened. I don't think it was just an aftermath of Thursday night. Like coach said, I just think we kind of got out-toughed down the stretch, and that is stuff that can be corrected."

Tennessee Head Coach Holly Warlick

(Opening statement)
"I thought it was a great win. We talked a lot before the game about survival and fight since it was the breast cancer game. We wanted to carry that mentality over to our team. We talked about if you're going to survive, you have to get down and fight and get your hands dirty. I am really proud our players and how they competed and fought. It was a great win for us. Everyone contributed. I am really excited about the win."

(On Isabelle Harrison's injury)
"She is being evaluated. I didn't have the chance to go back because I had to talk to the team. I honestly don't know."

(On Jordan Reynold's injury)
"She just got a little dizzy. She couldn't go, so we had to have people step up, and I thought that is what they did."

(​On the team stepping up after Harrison's injury)
"I think that shows the impact Isabelle has on this team. When someone goes down, you want to fight for them, and I think that is what we did. People stepped up, and we were playing for Izzy. You can fold right then, but they didn't. That is a sign of a great team. I am really proud of them for carrying it out and getting the job done."

(​On Ariel's performance)
"I told her before the game she would have a good game. She started off and didn't hit, but let me tell you what Ariel did today; she was a tremendous leader for us. When your shot isn't falling, you go in the tank, but she did not do that. She was a great leader and very vocal. She got the team where they needed to be. Honestly, I don't know what it is like to score 1,000 points, so I don't know that kind of pressure. I don't know if she felt any or not, but if I asked her, I guess she would probably be glad she got past that. I thought her threes energized us. Her threes are like when guys dunk the basketball. It gave us energy on the defensive end. When she scored, I thought we made some great stops. What broke the game open was our transition after getting stops. I just thought that helped break the game open for us."

(On being the tougher team)
"The lead was going back and forth. The opportunity at half time was totally my fault. I wanted us to press and we should not have been pressing. That was not a very good coaching move. It was going back and forth. They got the lead and we were just determined. I don't know if we were tougher. We pursued the basketball and we didn't let people take the ball out of our hands. I thought we panicked a little bit. They would press us. We had 22 turnovers. I thought for the most part, especially the second half, we really handled their pressure and took it at them. You've got to get stops. You've got to get stops and they're a good offensive team. They have three point shooters and you've got Harper who is super quick driving the basketball and Goss put up 40 or so points last game. You've got to get stops and I think that's what we did. We buckled down, hunkered down and got defensive stops. I just think that energized us. We have a drill that we do in practice called a persistence drill. We go for 45 seconds and you have to get stops up to 45 seconds and it's probably the hardest drill that we ever do. Very seldom do we win in persistence drill. It's just extremely tough and they talked a lot about the persistence drill."

(On who will step up given Isabelle Harrison's injury )
"I think Bashaara, what she does is going to have to be solid. I think Nia Moore's got to step up a little bit more. I thought Bashaara got good looks. I thought she worked to get the basketball. We want to play inside out. We want to give people the basketball but you can't do that unless your posts go to work inside and I think that with the physical play I thought Bashaara went to work and demanded the basketball. When she does that we're going to give her the ball."

(On Cierra Burdick)
"I thought she took a couple of quick shots. I thought she could've gotten the ball inside and you saw when she wouldn't hit from the outside she started driving the paint and getting easier looks for her. I think she was solid. Great from the free throw line. We've got to have her doing those type of things. I thought she got the ball to people, to Bashaara when she needed to. It was a big team effort and I thought Cierra did some really good things to help us win the basketball game."

(On Cierra Burdick becoming more of an inside player if needed)
"Yeah. We play her in the four. So it depends on who we're playing, what we need to do. When she's at the three we post her up quite a bit. One thing about Cierra I think is she's a multi-dimensional player. She can play inside, she can play out, she can bring up the basketball. I don't prefer for her to bring the basketball up but if need be she can. That's what I like about our team. You saw Bashaara bring the ball up today. We tried to post Jamie Nared up. We've got some kids that can play combinations of inside and out. It's up to us as coaches to be able to run something to get them the ball. Big team effort for us and the crowd was awesome. They were into it and that was Tennessee basketball at its best right there."​