Kentucky-Bellarmine Exhibition Postgame Quotes

Nov. 10, 2009

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement …

“It was great to get out and play another opponent. We have been practicing a lot and have been trying to get prepared. There were some good things tonight, but I think there are some things that we still need to work on. One thing that I told the team was that I was pleased with the intensity we came out with tonight. That is one thing we talked about before the game was making certain that although this was an exhibition game, every opportunity we have to put on the jersey and play for Kentucky is special. I thought they played with some enthusiasm tonight and I loved the intensity. That will be key for the long term success of this team is for us to play with enthusiasm and intensity every night and we are happy to have this one under our belt and we anticipate a good game on Friday to kick the season off.”

On the offense …

“This game last year was a very close game and we beat them by three points. Bellarmine has a very good program and I think that Coach (David) Smith does a great job with their team and I was very interested to see how we would come out against them a year later. They have a different team and we certainly have a different team. I just didn't know exactly what to expect but we had great respect for them coming in and we tried to get prepared for this game and to come out and play well and with intensity. For the most part, I thought that we were able to get that done.”

“On offense, we just have more weapons right now. We cannot have the mindset that we have arrived or are clicking on all cylinders. I saw a lot of things execution wise that we can get better on, but when you have the ability to make shots and create some things on the bounce you are going to be tough. A'dia Mathies was able to do that tonight and make some tough plays around the goal and Rebecca Gray showed that she can do more than hit a three-point shot. She put the ball on the floor a little bit. Keyla Snowden made some plays as well. I really thought Victoria Dunlap set the tone for us. All of those things will need to happen for us to be a good offense team but it certainly beats what we did a year ago.”

On playing ten players and if he expects a very deep team rotation to trim down in the regular season …

“I don't think that it will. I am very concerned about Lydia Watkins going down. They are not sure, it may be a separated shoulder and if it is something like that it is a two-week injury. We just won't know till we X-ray her tomorrow. We have it iced down right now and will look at it tomorrow. She is so valuable and I thought that her intensity and defensive presence was really good for us. She is an experienced player and if she is out that will hurt us. I think that this year we will have to play most everybody that is available and hopefully have good fortune with health.”

On if the freshmen seemed nervous …

“I thought that the only nerves I saw were that Rebecca and Keyla missed a free throw early on. I blamed that on being nervous because they are really good shooters. I was pleased because we have been getting on Keyla about getting in the passing lanes and denying the basketball and I thought she did a good job of that. Rebecca got better defensively as the game went on. It is going to be important for them to settle in and get use to playing because you have seen how they can play and they are important to us.”

On if this team is becoming a faster team than what he thought it would …

“We worked mighty hard on that last spring. No one was happy with the results last season. I'm not trying to take anything away from that team because they overcame a lot of adversity given everything that they had, but we wanted to take a step forward as a program and team and we have worked hard on that through the spring and summer. That is a credit to our players because they are instrumental in the game and are having fun playing. When you make good plays and have good players and have some positive things happen you will see some of that. What I am interested in seeing is when adversity hits. That will be a better measure of how we are doing as a team. I like the character of the individuals on this team. They are all good kids.”

Kentucky Players

No. 34, junior, forward, Victoria Dunlap

On scoring a lot of points …

“It was a lot of fun to be out there scoring and making plays. It really was a great start to the season. Hopefully, we can keep it up and continue to play well to begin the season with a good game on Friday.”

On their defensive play …

“I think that our defense really reflects how we have been playing in practice. The coaches have been pushing us in practice to really be intense on the defensive end and I think that we did that tonight. We still have some things to work on but we did a better job tonight then we have done in years past.”

On the play of the others on the team and if it takes the pressure off of her and the other leaders …

“It really takes the pressure off of you, not that you can take a play off, but you know that everyone on the team will back you up.”

No. 23, sophomore, guard, Rebecca Gray

On the closeness of the team …

“We are all really close and have developed a great relationship on and off the court. We all want to win and know where the other one is on the floor and that has really led to us being able to make plays. It is a good feeling when you have a lot of players around you that can make plays.”

On the play of the others on the team and if it takes the pressure off of her and the other leaders …

“I think that we all are confident in ourselves and with each other. We know that we can knock down the shots and if we don't then someone else on the team will step up and help out. I think that it is a very balanced attack.”

No. 1, freshman, guard, A'dia Mathies

On if she was nervous at all for her first college game …

“I was a little nervous. I mean it was my first college game. I just tried to work hard and I knew that everything would be okay. I just wanted to play as hard as I could.”

Bellarmine Head Coach David Smith

On the loss to Kentucky…

“We had young players and two walk-ons on the floor playing a lot of minutes. Kentucky also had a lot of quickness and we didn't handle that well. We also had 34 turnovers, which hurt us a lot. I thought we shot the ball fairly well, but the poor free-throw shooting should not happen, no matter where you go. We learned that we need to come into a place and learn how to handle the pressure. Our players had a tough time facing the defense, because they would pick up their dribble and they would have nobody to go to, and they would get denied. We can't simulate that kind of strength in practice and it's hard to improve if you can't do that. This game was an eye-opener and we need to learn to handle defense much better. We played hard tonight and we tried to make it a battle, but it was not enough.”

On the rest of the season…

“We will have a couple of days to rest and recuperate, and to try to work on things. We had 34 turnovers and 22 were off steals, and we need to work on that. But, I thought our three-point game was good, we had a high free-throw percentage in the second half with 75 percent and we held our own rebounding. This was a learning experience because we had a senior, a freshman, and three sophomores start, with all freshmen off the bench. I told the team any weaknesses would be exposed tonight and I can see we have a lot of work. We'll get better because we have good young players. We'll practice hard and we'll keep working.”