Kentucky-Dayton Postgame Quotes

March 22, 2015

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Dayton Postgame Quotes

Dayton Head Coach, Jim Jabir

Opening statement...
"I want to congratulate Kentucky on a great season. They have a great team. I'm very proud of our guys. I knew that we'd see pressure and if we could handle the pressure that we'd have a chance to win.  To score 99 points on a team that prides itself on their defense, and they play as good defense as they do, that says a lot about our guys.  Couldn't be more proud.  We had so many contributors today. These three (on the podium), Jodie (Cornelie) goes and gets six blocked shots. Tiffany Johnson, who was sitting most of the game, comes in and hits four clutch free throws.  It was great.  Jenna Burdette showed up and did some great things.  Saicha Grant-Allen was sick yesterday, was taking IVs last night and this morning, and she gave us major contributions. I'm proud of our guys.  I'm happy for the University of Dayton, our coaches.  It's a great day to be a Flyer."

On how it feels to break through to the Sweet 16  ...
"When you make the NCAA Tournament six years in a row and you don't get out of the first weekend, and you start doubting yourself, and `what am I doing wrong' and `what can we do better'. Our team is very, very resilient. They really believed that we could win this game and we've worked really hard to put them in a place where mentally they believed they could. I really think that was the difference. I really do. They never faltered in the timeouts. We were down 10, and they knew we were going to win the game. I was just really proud of the way that we handled their pressure. We've grown as a program, our players have gotten better. The last time we played them, it was a 14-point game, and we had like 850 turnovers and I think we only had 24 today. So we got better, and we handled their pressure and that's why we were able to score 99. We were running away from them last time, this time, we took it to them."

On foul trouble during the game ...
"I think it speaks to the kids that come off the bench. Tiffany (Johnson) has played sparingly and she could have tanked it at any point. But she comes in and does some really good things for us, makes some huge foul shots. Saicha (Grant-Allen) comes in when Jodie (Cornelie) is in foul trouble and she does a great job, so you've got a lot of people contributing in a lot of ways. Amber says she loves this team. That the thing. In our locker room, we have the word family up above and I think that's our biggest strength, is we really love each other and we care about each other, and I think that's a big difference."

On how they broke down UK's press ...
"I think we had a hard time defending them for sure. I mean, we gave up 94 points. It was kind of a delicate thing because we could have spent six hours working on their press break, but I didn't want to scare the kids, so we spent six minutes putting in a couple of press breaks and we said, `Hey if they come here, you go there, and we look to reverse it here' and we did that fairly decently. We had some jitters, but for the most part, I didn't want to make a big deal out of it because I didn't want it to be in our heads, so we were kind of a matter-of-fact about it and I thought Kelley (Austria) and Jenna (Burdette) did a great job handling the ball against one and a half guys a lot. It's always nice to have a 6'4" kid (Ally Malott) in the middle of the floor and then Ally just goes in and attacks. So, that was good for us."

Dayton Student-Athlete Ally Malott

On if she thought she would need to score 28 …
“I didn’t know how many points I would have to put up, but whatever it takes. I just came out really aggressive and like Coach Jabir told me last game, he told me to be selfish. My teammates found me and I was lucky enough to knock down some open shots, but I think I laughed a couple of times on the floor. Every time we needed a bucket, somebody contributed and we got contributions from everyone. Everyone did their job, and I’m just really, really proud of this team.”

On breaking through to the Sweet 16 …
“It feels really, really good. We’ve been working towards this all year. We set this goal back after we lost last year. We worked in the offseason, and the preseason and all of these practices, the tough schedule that we’ve played this season to this point, and I think we all wanted it really bad. I think you could see that tonight in the way that we played.”

Dayton Student-Athlete Kelley Austria

On her thoughts to ice the game at the free throw line …
“Just to stay calm, it’s just another free throw, and to put it in.”

On if the free throws or press conference is tougher for her …
“Probably the press conference.”

Dayton Student-Athlete Amber Deane

On the success of the men’s and women’s team …
“Our campus is always crazy regardless of what’s going on, so this just adds to it. It’s exciting. Everyone is having fun, the weather is getting warmer, and if the men can pull out a win, which I definitely think they can, it should be great. I think it’s really, really cool for our university right now to represent Dayton. “

On breaking through to the Sweet 16 …
“It’s really exciting. I don’t know another word that can explain it. I’m just so glad that not only were we able to beat Kentucky, but to do it with this team is so awesome because we all love each other so much and we’ve worked so hard with each other. In this game, there were a lot of ups and downs, and in this season there were a lot of ups and downs and we stuck together. I kept telling Hoov (Andrea Hoover) Ally (Malott) and Tiffany (Johnson) that this wasn’t going to be their last game.”

Kentucky Postgame Quotes

Kentucky Head Coach, Matthew Mitchell

Opening statement ...
"First of all, I would like to thank everyone from the University of Kentucky and everyone from the NCAA that came in and was a part of putting this tournament on. It was really well-run and it was a first-class operation and we just thank everyone who had a hand in that. It was a great experience from that standpoint. I want to congratulate the University of Dayton, they just played so hard today, they wanted the game very badly, they played with great intensity, they had great resilience in the game. When they went down, they always found a way to fight back and they just played much harder than we did, and certainly down the stretch when it was time to win the game, they just played. I would congratulate them and wish them well as they move forward. It's a disappointing end to a really, really good season for us. The good part of the season, there are a lot of moments, a lot of great wins, a lot of great victories, a lot of happy times. But I think for me, just what we learned about our players and what Kentucky needs to stand for and what Kentucky needs to be, I feel really good about that I feel really good about how we will approach the future. A disappointing end to a season that I will always remember. And I'm real grateful to our seniors. They had a great career here and what they did for us down the stretch to help us know what we needed to know what we needed to do going forward I'll always remember."

On not coming out ready to play and focused ...
"I just thought yesterday was one of the best days we had from a focus standpoint and a preparation standpoint, the spirit the players were in when we talked about the gameplan, they were really focused in. I was really looking forward to the game today. Our practice was sharp yesterday, so I was looking forward to the game today. I wanted to find a way to beat a good Dayton team, because I wanted another week with this team. I really thought yesterday was what I was looking for from this team, and I thought if we could get another week of that, then we could really do something. It's just plagued us all year -- inconsistency at inopportune moments. I could really kind of tell it from the beginning. There's just certain things that you can notice from players and we just did not have the focus and the energy and the effort that we needed and we just gave them so many opportunities in their strength zone and they took advantage of it. We needed to play harder, sharper, and we needed to play more consistently throughout the game. We had a chance to stretch it to double-digits in the first half and we missed free throws, you know, we missed 14 free throws. You can always tell with our team. There are nights where you'll miss three or four and days like today when we'll miss 15. In the first half, we had a wide-open 3 to stretch it to 10, got the offensive rebound, had free throws to stretch it to nine, get a stop and then really have some great momentum going into halftime, but we let them come back and cut it to three. It's just things like that. We had a chance to stretch it to 10, the place is going crazy, everybody is fired up and we miss two free throws, let them get back going and we missed some layups at inopportune times. So, to me, we just weren't nearly sharp enough from a mental perspective to stop Dayton. If you let them drive the ball and don't stop them getting to the rim, they can really hurt you. (Ally) Mallot had a fantastic day and (Amber) Deane had a fantastic day. They just played up to their ability and their best and we just didn't ever seem like we had that fire in our belly to advance, and this particular team can't play that way. There is no in-between. We have to play really, really hard with maximum effort and greater effort than our opponent, or we get beat and that's what happened today."

On the suspension of Azia Bishop ...
"My role as the head coach is I have to set the standard. February 24 was the day, a Tuesday, when the seniors came to my house and said I was not doing a good enough job upholding the standard and I needed to be much more focused with our younger players and I told them, I appreciate that, but you can't come in here and tell me that and then not uphold the standards and so everybody was clear. Everybody needed to be in their rooms by 11 (o'clock) with nobody coming by and stopping by to see you and nobody on the floor, and I don't think that there was anything in Azia's mind but a lack of focus. She just lost focus at a real important time. She's not a bad person, she's a great person who I love a lot, but if I'm not going to uphold the standard - I don't know whether that lost the game for us or not. We'll never know. It's irrelevant to me. What I have to do is uphold the standard as their coach and I can tell you if she played, whether we won or lost the game, I think we would have lost a bunch in the future if I don't uphold the standard, so it's not what I wanted to be dealing with this morning, but it's what you have to deal with. I do the right thing, and I don't really think about that. We had more than enough talent on the floor to win. We could have won the game, and so how did it affect us, I don't know. I'll talk to the players and we'll see what it was. I hate that that was the way her career ended. I really wanted to get to next week because I know she feels terrible about the situation. I feel terrible about the situation. But if you're in my shoes, you must do the right thing or if you don't have integrity you don't really have a program. That's my thought on that situation."

Kentucky Student-Athlete Jen O'Neill

Regarding Dayton shooting 57 percent ...
"Coming into this game we were told that they were an unselfish team and they really look for their key players coming down the stretch and they were able to knock down shots."

Describe the difficulty of defending Dayton ...
"We just really needed to stop dribble penetration and we weren't getting it done.  They were able to penetrate and kick."

What's it going to be like knowing you're not going to pull on that Kentucky jersey again?
"Personally, it's tough for me just because I'm the one who really lost the game. I let her hit that 3-point shot. That's deflating to my team. We were on a little run and as a senior I can't make mistakes like that. Among a bunch of other mistakes I made that was a key moment in the game and should never happen."

Kentucky Student-Athlete Bria Goss

Regarding Dayton shooting 57 percent ...
 "They hit some really big shots down the stretch. They did a really good job distributing the ball and finding the open man and knocking them down when they needed to be counted."

Describe the difficulty of defending Dayton ...
"A lot of drives and kicks.  We were just too late on recovery in trying to help stop the drive and  just came up short."

Was there anything in the game that looked different from what you saw from Dayton on Friday...
"No, our coaches did a great job in getting us prepared.  It was up to us to buckle down and focus, focus for the full 40 minutes and not take plays off.  They are a great team and they executed really well but our coaches did a great job letting us know what was going to happen and what we were facing up against.  We just didn't take advantage of it."

What's it going to be like knowing you're not going to pull on that Kentucky jersey again?
"It's just going to be tough ... (long pause) Next question."