Kentucky-Chattanooga Postgame Quotes

March 19, 2009

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement ...
"I am extremely proud of our team tonight. They battled very hard against a reallygood team and we found a way to win. I am extremely happy. I thought that itwas a total effort, and everyone contributed and that makes it a special victory.I knew that everyone was going to have to tonight. Coming into this game I knewit was going to be tough and my hat goes off to Chattanooga because they neverquit and played right until the final seconds. It was a tough game but you arealways happy for a win and any postseason win is special."

On the surge to start the overtime ...
"That was big because we went in on the big downer with the three and that isa credit to our players. Some outstanding defensive play enabled us to do thatwith getting our hands on some steals and some loose balls and anticipating somepasses. We got a big play from Eleia (Roddy) coming out and getting that firstbucket in overtime and it got our momentum back. Anytime you can make a big runin overtime is helpful because it takes the wind out of the sails of the otherteam."

On what he told the team before overtime ...
"Chattanooga made a tremendous shot and we defended it well. The only thing thatcould have been better was that Brittany (Edelen) could have been closer, butshe (Ogan) made a big three with a hand in her face. You just have to regroupafter that. You can't get frustrated or down because the loser is going home.We started to talk about what we were going to do in overtime and didn't talkabout anything that had just transpired. We had five minutes for our basketballlives and we thought that we would get the tip and we started to talk about whatwe would do after that."

On the play of Victoria Dunlap ...
"She was tremendous tonight, just unbelievable. That offensive put-back theretowards the end was an unreal play because we were struggling mightily on offenseat that point. That is what big-time players do in crucial situations, they makebig-time plays. I am very proud of Victoria Dunlap tonight. She was everythingI wanted her to be."

On the play of Amber Smith and if she has returned to her old form...
"I said that on the bench during the game when she started to make some `oldAmber Smith plays.' I said that I thought that she was back. I think that itstarted before the SEC Tournament. We had a talk where she knew what she neededto do but it has been a tough season for her mentally to have some confidenceand believe in herself. We have done all we can as a coaching staff to try toinstill that in her. It is up to her though. She has had very good practicesleading up to this game. I am happy for her and we can be a team to be reckonwith if she continues to play that way."

Kentucky Players

PG, #24, So., Amber Smith

On if she is back to where she was before the knee injury last year ...
"I think that I am back physically, but mentally it is not coming as quick. Itfeels great to have a night like tonight and to help my team win, that is allI wanted to do. Whatever I had to do, I was going to do it."

On if a couple of days off helped their endurance tonight ...
"It felt really good and we were really pressuring in transition every chancewe got. We knew that we had the fresh legs in overtime and Coach Mitchell toldus to push it because we knew that they were tired. It really helped us out alot, but we could also slow it down some if we needed to."

On overtime and getting a big lead early ...
"It felt good. I said that overtime is our time and we are going to take over.Once we scored the first basket the momentum carried on and everybody got intoit and we went from there."

F, #34, So., Victoria Dunlap

On the mood in the huddle before overtime...
"We knew that we had some bad possessions in the last part of the game but weknew that we had to come back and build up our energy as a team. We knew howbad we did in a couple of those possessions and we had to come out and be strongand play hard."

On her play tonight ...
"After I started to hit shots I really started to feel it, but I knew that Eleiawas frustrated on the inside on getting fouled and not making some shots. I feltlike I had to step up for the team and it just sparked from there."

F, #25, Jr., Amani Franklin

On what was going through her mind when Kentucky gave up the 12-point lead ...
"Like Victoria said I think that we let up some. We had times where we let themmake easy baskets, especially in dribble penetration and I struggled on thattonight. We have to stick together and we were able to do that and win it."

Chattanooga Head Coach Wes Moore

On playing Kentucky in the WNIT...
"We have gone to the NCAA Tournament seven out of the last eight years, and itwas a concern if we would be motivated to play this game. Obviously, you areplaying Kentucky, who is a name and a great SEC opponent but that is not whatyou shoot for when you start the season. You do worry about who is ready to play."

On the loss to Kentucky...
"I'm really proud of our kids. We came up here about five years ago in the WNITand we fell down , and it snowballed on us. In fact, someone asked me if we quit.I did feel like the team quit. Before the game [today], I told them that I didn'tknow what was going to happen, but that we could compete and have a shot at this,but no matter what I didn't want to have that question asked again. I don't thinkanyone can ask that question tonight. We showed a lot of heart, because we felldown double digits on the road against an SEC team. It would have been easy tofold the tents and call it a year. We extended it to overtime, where anythingcan happen, but unfortunately it didn't. They were able to get inside on us,which we needed to try to force them to shoot from the perimeter. (Victoria)Dunlap is a great player and we are familiar with her, because she is from Tennessee.We tried to recruit her. (Amani) Franklin is from Atlanta, and we have two kidsfrom Redan High School, so we recruited her hard, too. Those were the kids thatwe knew coming in would be tough. We couldn't keep (Amber) Smith in front ofus. She took us off the dribble and created things all night long. That was disappointingas well."

On Kentucky's Victoria Dunlap...
"We let (Victoria) Dunlap bury us in there and get too deep. With her lengthand athleticism, if she gets it that deep, it's automatic. That is somethingwe needed to do a better job of, and we needed to get around her in the postif she tries to get that deep. She is a great player and her motor runs high.Matthew (Mitchell) has done a good job of exploiting her and using her in a waythat makes her hard to stop."

On UTC's injuries...
"It has been a tough year on us from an injury standpoint, and I know it hasbeen difficult on Kentucky, too. We lost five kids due to various medical reasonssince the beginning of the school year. It has been tough because at times wehave been down to eight players. It has been a challenge because you need toget better and work in practice, but at the same time, you can only get so muchout of them. I think they have big hearts, they kept battling and they representedus well. It hasn't been the greatest of years and it isn't what we are used toat UTC."

On losing seniors LaCondra Mason and Erin Ogan...
"We are going to miss those two. Erin Ogan had a great night and she had a bigthree at the end of regulation. We had a side bounce play setup to get a lookand then a high court play setup to get a look, and none of that was workingand Erin got it on her own. I give her credit for getting the big shot. We havefive kids sitting out there and we have three signees, so we are adding eightplayers. It will be nice next year, if we can stay healthy, to come to practiceand have it be competitive."