Kentucky-Texas A&M Postgame Quotes

March 10, 2013

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Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell and players Bria Goss and A'dia Mathies

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell and student-athletes A'dia Mathies and Bria Goss. We'll take an opening comment from Coach Mitchell.

COACH MITCHELL: Well, we were excited that we were able to make the finals today. Give thanks to God for giving us the strength and the talent to get to this day. We're very disappointed that we lost, but we were beaten by a very good basketball team, a very hungry basketball team. Texas A&M had strong desire to be the champions, and that's why they are cutting the nets down as we speak.

All the credit in the world goes to those kids. They really played hard, a lot harder than we did. They compete d with a championship effort. You have to give them a tremendous amount of credit.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the student-athletes.

Q. A'dia, things didn't turn out the way you hoped today. What do you think you could have done different looking back?

A'dia Mathies: I think we had too many players out there with loose balls. They at the free-throw line, they don't rebound over and over and over again. We can't let that happen too many times. That's unacceptable.

Q. Could you talk about the difficulty in trying to keep Bone from getting the ball or keeping her away from the basket.

A'dia Mathies: Bone is a big player. I think our posts did an okay job of trying to push off the block.

It was up to us guards and other posts to swarm her today. She got a lot of deep positions and easy buckets.

Q. You ladies still have a ton to play for in the NCAA tournament. The disappointment you're feeling right now, the emotion of not winning something. Your gut reaction, please.

Bria Goss: I mean, when you want something really bad, you come up short, the pain is there. But I'm just going to use this pain as motivation to get better for the tournament because we got a lot more basketball to play. We're just going to use this game as a learning tool and try to move forward from it.

A'dia Mathies: It's just disappointing because we know we had the capabilities to win this game and should have won this game.

We didn't come out there and play for 40 minutes like we should have. We are going to use this game to move forward because we not gonna let this game define our season. We going to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

Q. You haven't had a whole lot of time to sit and think about the game as a whole. What can you take away from this game that will make you learn and be ready for the NCAA tournament?

Bria Goss: Just to come out when you're on the floor, don't take any second for granted, play like it's your last game, like it's the last opportunity you have. We just gave away an opportunity.

A'dia Mathies: We need to be sharper and focused throughout the whole game. We can't have no lapses. We need to make every four-minute segment like our last. We didn't do that tonight, but we're definitely going to do that moving forward.

Q. A'dia, early to midway through the second half, you were settling for a lot of jump shots. Was that something that their defense was giving you or you settling for those shots?

A'dia Mathies: I don't think anybody's going to take a forced shot. If we open, we going to shoot the jump shot, look for our posts in on the inside. If we open, we going to take jump shots.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you. We'll continue with questions for Coach Mitchell.

Q. As much as you respect this league and as good of a job you have done, forgetting about the game, just curious of your gut right now and your emotions.

COACH MITCHELL: Yeah, it's just a tremendous tournament. It is one of the toughest things I think to do in sports, is to win three games in three days, or four games in four days, if you're fortunate enough to advance that far, and play at a really high level.

That's why I have so much respect for Texas A&M. They played some really tough games to get here. They played much tougher than us.

We're just disappointed. We've been here three out of the last four years, haven't been able to get a victory. It's very, very disappointing.

Q. What was your analysis of your halfcourt offense, the shot selection today?

COACH MITCHELL: Well, it was poor. That is coaching. There's no other way around it. We could not get a bucket. Our post players are not at a point where they can get on the post and score. That is a credit to Texas A&M's defense. But I should have done a better job at this point in time in the season of being better able to manufacture some offense. I feel really badly about that. We thought we had some chances, and we just could not capitalize.

So I thought the halfcourt offense was not where it needed to be on a day where we got a lot of open shots and they didn't go down. You're going to have days like that. You must be able to go inside and get something off the backboard, and we just weren't able to do that.

Q. Your depth had been such a strength the last two days. It looked like that would be an advantage. Did you think your players looked tired in the second half?

COACH MITCHELL: I was just so optimistic coming into the game, I was so proud of our team for putting themselves in the position that I thought we were in. I thought that we were capable of really, really pushing the pace today and playing really tough. That never materialized.

As a coach, you just feel really bad that you're not able to get your team prepared for a big moment like this. So I feel awful that we didn't get the job done today.

I don't know if we seemed tired. I just thought that we didn't seem very tough. That's disappointing.

Q. You have a week to regroup. What do you focus on for this week before heading into the tournament?

COACH MITCHELL: Well, we have lost four games now against SEC competition, five games overall. Second game of the season we were just out-matched for that game. The other four that we lost, you saw, us I thought, not play with the kind of desire and the kind of toughness that you've seen the rest of the season.

So a large majority of the season we've been really good and really tough. I think what I'll try to do is figure out the best way to get our team in a position to be ready to play in the NCAA tournament.

If I can affect the toughness, bring that out of them, great. If it's what we have, I have to figure out on a day like today, I need to do a better job of being able to help them, get some baskets.

We're going into the paint, we're at the rim. It's real, real physical. We just can't get the ball in the basket. I think I'll be working on that the next week or so.

Q. When Bone is playing as well as she did in the second half, does that give them a lot of advantage in the halfcourt offense?

COACH MITCHELL: Yeah, you really have to have a good team effort to guard her. We did that very effectively in College Station. We didn't today. Again, it's very disappointing to get this close and not be able to win.

But if you let her get that close to the rim, she's going to have a big day on you. She certainly did.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you very much.

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