Kentucky-Hampton Postgame Quotes

March 20, 2011

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement
“I’m so proud of our players for finding a way to beat a very tough Hampton team. I can’t say enough about Hampton. What a great opponent. They were well coached and they had a great game plan that they executed well. They really gave us a tough, tough contest today. My hat is off to Hampton, but I am extremely proud of the Kentucky team for finding a way to win this game and I’m really happy to be advancing in the tournament.”

On Brittany Henderson’s play in overtime
“Those were big buckets that she made. The way the game was unfolding in regulation at the end, both teams were struggling to score and I just thought us being able to get out to the lead in overtime and  get a little momentum on our side was important. I thought we were a little down coming to the bench at the end of regulation, so I was very pleased to see that play. I thought Victoria (Dunlap) slowed down and was able to find her (Henderson) at the goal for one of those plays so that was a good job by Victoria to help out her team. Brittany was tough today. It was just that kind of day where everybody had to play, had to step up. That is an interesting stat sheet you’re looking at from a scoring perspective. A lot of kids scored today and it took just about all of them. Good job by Brittany, but I’m really happy that our team was able to win today.”

On Kentucky’s strategy to deny Jericka Jenkins the ball late in the game
“Well, we were trying to do that all day. She’s just such a good player and I thought we were inconsistent with that during the game. When we executed that, it was very effective and when we weren’t able to execute that, she clearly exposed us a little bit. Our idea was to try to wear her down a bit, but there’s 43 minutes and I just couldn’t tell that she was worn down. It was an amazing performance by that young woman and she is a very good player. Every chance that we had and that we actually executed that benefited our team because they’re clearly better when the ball is in her hands.”

On Maegan Conwright’s play down the stretch and an injury update on her
“That was an unbelievable performance by Maegan Conwright. She played point guard and post in this game and she was prepared to play on the wing. It’s just incredible for our team to have a player like her that is so versatile. We didn’t get a very good performance out of A’dia today. I think her timing really suffered. She’s been off for two weeks and I just think that she’ll be much better on Monday. For Conwright to step up—I mean that left-handed shot she made when we hadn’t scored in I don’t know how long—I mean that was a big, big bucket. It was a gutsy play. She manufactured something there. I’ve been very, very tough on Maegan Conwright this year. She has not had a smooth road this season as far as what she’s gotten from her head coach. I’m sitting here tonight really proud of her and I think she was one of the big keys in this game. There is not an update on her injury. I thought I heard someone say that maybe she thought she strained her groin. She looked like she battled through it pretty well—we’ll see what happens.”

On his talk with Maegan Conwright yesterday in practice
“I pulled her aside because we didn’t know for sure about A’dia Mathies. A’dia is not 100 percent. I just told Maegan that we need Crystal Riley to fill her role as the spark of the bench, as an energy player. I needed to know if Maegan was ready—mentally if she could handle it. I believed she could, but Maegan has to make that decision and she responded great. She’s been more focused during this week—some of her trouble is that she lacks focus—but she’s been very focused and determined and to steer the ship into the harbor there in those five minutes was incredible. It was incredible what she did in overtime. I thought our team lacked poise for most of the game and it was kind of remarkable how when it came time where we really had to buckle down—I thought the last shot at the end that Keyla Snowden had demonstrated tremendous poise. I thought that was a good look. So, Maegan was unbelievable and able to keep her poise and our team did—so she responded to me pulling her aside yesterday.”

On what Keyla Snowden did in the first half and what it means for the team to have had others step up when A’dia Mathies and Victoria Dunlap didn’t necessarily play their best
“Well Keyla I think had half of our points at halftime. She makes us a different team. When teams let her have a little room it is a dangerous thing for them, because she’s such a good shooter. I thought so many players were playing in such a rush and just not playing well and from a mental standpoint, I thought Keyla bailed us out there. She had a tremendous first half. Keyla was really talking and trying to be a leader and never got down and it was a great performance by her. She’s really matured into not only a good player, but a good leader for us.”

Kentucky Player Quotes

Victoria Dunlap on her block at the end of regulation play
“On the offense I knew I had turned the ball over, but my mindset was just making sure we got a stop and not let them get anything easy. I just saw her going up for a shot and I just tried to go and contest it and I got a hand on it.”

Keyla Snowden on the team’s three pointers
“I think that our game plan is to look inside and work with our posts and our guards. We try to pass it in and try to move and get some open shots on the outside. I think that worked for us earlier in the first half.”

Victoria Dunlap on the difficulty of making shots in the game
“I think starting with Hampton and their pressure defense, they were working a lot of traps and ducking in on me and trying to make me either pick the ball up or throw it back out to my teammates. They did a good job of making me decide and making me become a little hesitant on what I was doing on the offensive end and that kind of got to me, so I was rushing a lot of shots. So, it was them and what they were doing to me and then me not mentally focusing in.”

Victoria Dunlap on her foul trouble
“With the first foul that I got, I was a little hesitant on the plays that I was trying to make for my team. I knew I had one early foul and I didn’t want to get another early foul, which I ended up getting later in the first half. I think it just kind of changed the mindset of the game.”

Keyla Snowden and Victoria Dunlap on A’dia fouling out of the game and their response
Victoria Dunlap:
“I wasn’t nervous. I mean, A’dia is a great player and a great asset to our team, but we had enough people on our bench and enough people to step in today. Like Megan Conwright, I think she got hurt in the end, but she definitely played hard and was fighting through whatever she had going. I think she did great doing that, and the rest of the people that stepped up too.”
Keyla Snowden:
“I agree with what Victoria is saying. I think that our team being as deep as we are, we all stepped up to the challenge and coach has been pushing us in practice to get ready for tough games like this. I think that everybody stepped up and did their part.”

Keyla Snowden on the mindset of playing Hampton
“I’ve heard of Hampton before, but I think that they came out and played really, really aggressive and their defense really got them going. I think that that shows their team has a lot of heart, because they were able to match our intensity and that’s what we try to bring out when we play opponents. They were able to match that, so I give a lot of credit to Hampton and their defensive intensity.”

Victoria on playing Hampton and whether they surprised her in anyway
“Coach had told us that they were going to be a really aggressive team. I had never played them before but I had heard of Hampton before. I just knew that Coach told us they were going to be an aggressive team. Any team coming into the tournament is not going to sit there and let somebody just beat you. They are going to fight and play hard and that’s definitely what they did; they showed up and came ready to play and they fought to the end.”

Victoria Dunlap on winning
“I’m just happy that we won.  It wasn’t easy and you can’t just expect to go out there and win games. You have to fight and play hard. I’m happy that we made it through the first round, but also excited to keep playing on in this tournament, it’s going to be really exciting.”

Hampton Head Coach David Six

Opening Statement
“If you are a basketball fan, you saw everything that you wanted to see in a game today, it was a tremendous game. You saw two great teams going at each other and unfortunately for us we came out on the short end tonight. I’m proud of the team and what they did. As I’ve said before we did not come here looking to be a bump on somebody’s schedule, we came here to play at a high level and I thought we did that today.”

Can you take us through the last sequence in the game and what you were thinking?
“They did a good job on denying Jenkins the ball and it ended up in Perry’s hands. We tried to run a play, but Kentucky played good defense and it just didn’t work out.”

During the last possession of regulation you had a chance to run the clock down a little bit more. Was that the shot you were looking for or were you telling the players to take the first opportunity they saw?
“I want to say that Jenkins took that shot and she’s won more games for me than she’s lost, so I trusted her judgment, she took the opportunity that she thought she saw and that was it.”

In the last possession of overtime you had a chance to tie it and they were pressuring your perimeter players, run through that last play
“The play was made to get the ball to Jenkins and Kentucky dealt with her, so we got the ball to Perry and perhaps I didn’t communicate in the timeout what we had to do but she’s not familiar with handling the ball out there all the time. I don’t want to take anything away from Kentucky; however, we tried to do something and they did a good job of taking it away.”

Can you comment on your teams effort, they never gave up, they didn’t quite pull away with the upset, but they got as close as you can get
“We’ve had a formula at Hampton since I’ve been here and that involves three things: you have to play defense at a high level, you have to rebound–I know that at the end of the first half we were outrebounding them–and you have to manage the ball. If we do those three things we don’t care what the name on the jersey says, you will be able to compete if you execute the plan. I thought we did that tonight, Kentucky has a great program, but so do we, we’re on the rise and we’ll be back”

Hampton Player Quotes

The team handled the ball very well throughout the game, what did Kentucky do to take the ball out of your hands late in the game?
Jericka Jenkins
“They were denying hard the whole game; they were making somebody else bring the ball up and that made running the offense more difficult.”

What was it like on your bench late in regulation when it seemed like you had the ball in your hands with an opportunity to take the lead?

Choicetta McMillian
“Emotions were running very high, we wanted to win the game and for us to have been the first HBC (Historically Black College) to make it past the first round would have been tremendous for us. Overall, the bench was in it and we wanted the win.”