Kentucky-Appalachian State Postgame Quotes

Nov. 14, 2014

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening statement …
“It is great to be back in Memorial Coliseum to start another season. The crowd was great and the players started the game with a lot of excitement. You were able to see that we have the opportunity to really have an explosive team and have a chance to become a very good team. You have to start somewhere and we got started tonight.

“I really want to compliment Appalachian State. Those kids fought real hard. They were well coached; they were not intimidated and played real hard. They tested us tonight. That was good for us. We needed it.

“Nothing but good things are coming out of this game. We will have a fantastic opportunity to learn and progress. Good start for us.”

On improving on ball security after surrendering 21 turnovers …
“That is really with no work vs. the 1-3-1 zone. We knew they might show that and we just had to prioritize our foundation as a team. It is difficult to spend time on a 1-3-1. We will get much better at attacking the 1-3-1 zone. We can get better at that in two days just by telling the players where to go. A lot of that is going to improve. I do think you see a tendency for this team to share the ball. They understand that they’ve got to play together and make the extra pass. I just about lost my mind when they were too unselfish and Makayla Epps threw that behind-the-back bounce pass for a turnover. That is a little too generous and a little too much sharing of the basketball. They are a team that understands that we have to move the basketball and help each other score and that is a good sign for us. This can be a really good offensive team.”

On the explosiveness of UK’s offense with seven players in double digits …
“Offensively we certainly have some weapons. We are going to try and put pressure on you and try to run the basketball back at you. We have some times in the game where it is a bit disjointed and we turned the ball over tonight but again some of that is on me from a preparation standpoint and not knowing exactly where to go with the ball against the zone. Some of it is on the players. We really try to stress throwing passes that we make in practice, that is a big emphasis for us, and if you go back and look at an overwhelming majority of our turnovers it is going to be a pass that we haven’t practiced, or a breakdown in discipline.

“To be a championship team, offensively we need to shoot the ball well, around 45 or 50 percent. And you have to have your turnovers somewhere south of 15. You just can’t turn the ball over much more than 15 (times) and be a championship level basketball team. We did it one year, we turned it over about 16 (times) but we forced 27 a game. There you just can’t turn the ball over much more than 15 times a game and expect to be a championship basketball team. That is something we will have to address and I think we can. This can be a good passing team and a low turnover team. There are a lot of weapons out there. They are in great shape and they can run and that bodes well for our offense.”

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#0 Jennifer O’Neill, PG, SR

On the team’s ability to share the ball …
“It’s a sign of our chemistry. It shows that we enjoy playing with each other. Nobody on the team is selfish so that’s why I think everybody gets a touch of the ball.”

On the team being characterized as “explosive”…
“It’s the beginning of the season, so once we get further into the season we will see how much potential we really have. For the most part I feel like a lot of the team came out to play. Linnae (Harper) did a good job of coming out to play. Like I said before I believe in my team, and I love my team. I do think we have the potential we just have to fulfil it.”

On UK’s perimeter defense…
“We have to do better with our dribble penetration. We have to do better pressuring the ball. We have to do better with segments when we have the offense pick up the ball, because now that’s an opportunity for us to pressure and cause more turnovers. Overall I feel like we play hard, we work hard.”

On preparing to play Baylor…
“It’s still early in the season, but I think our preparation doesn’t come from games it comes from practice. We have two days before we play Baylor and I feel like we will be prepared.”

#5 Kyvin Goodin-Rogers, F, SO

On getting off to a strong start…
“It was really special, I’m just glad to be back with my teammates from sitting out last year. They support me through everything. Coming back to the first game I trusted them so I knew I was going to be okay.”

#15 Linnae Harper, G, SO
On the team having 24 assists…
“In practice we focus on our passing, and making the right pass. Not rushing. Having patience. So in the games and in practice we really work on passing. I think that’s what’s going to separate our teams from others during the season.”

On changing her attitude this season …
“Last year was just really a learning experience for me. It was just a huge adjustment. Now that I have some type of experience when I’m in the game and in practice I know how to adjust and stay positive and keep going.”

Appalachian State Head Coach Angel Elderkin

Opening Statement …
“I was really pleased with our effort and toughness. I thought Kentucky came out and threw that first punch, and we could have crumbled but we did not. We stayed together and fought to the end. I thought our effort and competitive spirit was there. I was overall pleased with the way our team competed.”

On what she thought about Kentucky…
“The way Kentucky shot the 3 ball, being familiar with Kentucky, they haven’t shot it statistically that well. They did a great job even though they were 9-22. When they can get that many points from the arc, it helps. I told our players going in to this game that this is the best backcourt they are going to face this season. Their speed, their style, and their tempo is what we are trying to instill into our basketball team. Being able to face it was really a good experience for our squad.”

On Maryah Sydnor’s performance…
“I thought that she brought a competitive spirit to our team that she has been bringing to practice. I am so happy that she could come on this stage and environment and perform the way she did. She is a special player and is going to be a big part of our success this season.”

On how Kentucky adjusted…
“In the first half, when Maryah was getting the touches, good things were happening. Matthew (Mitchell) came out with his team in the second half and they turned up the defensive pressure. She couldn’t make a clean cut. They were really committed to disrupting her. They had multiple defenders on her. I thought they did a really nice job of bringing the heat and it wore us out. At the six-minute mark, you could see the fatigue set in and I think that had a lot to do with Kentucky’s pressure.”

On how to prepare for Kentucky’s pressure…
“We had two days of practice where we had our scout guys (available) and we had six guys out there. They worked really hard. Even when you get males you still can’t simulate it. You try to tell your team what it is going to be like when you get here. We had the fight song playing and we tried to simulate that stuff, but when you get here against the athletes of Kentucky, it hones on what we were talking about. I also think that our team is in the locker room and feeling good about the way we competed. They know that if they can rip and get by Bria Goss that they can rip and get by my next opponent. This game can only help us moving forward. We had three players in the backcourt to simulate pressure and until we got to the five on five. Being at LSU and Tennessee, the two coaches that I had the privilege of working under also did that.”