Kentucky-Butler Postgame Quotes

Nov. 15, 2009

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement ...

"That was a very good game against a well coached team. I think Beth does just a great job with Butler and they fought extremely hard. We scheduled the game hoping that it would be a tough game that would test us and it certainly did. We are happy to come out of it with a victory."

On Victoria Dunlap's performance ...

"I am ecstatic that she is on our team instead of the other team. The effort that she puts into it is great. She has taken her responsibility of being the go-to player to a level that has exceeded my expectations. I wanted her to work into that role and she has done that. She has become a really special player through her effort and attitude. I still think that she can get better, which is the scary thing. She is a special young woman and scored a lot of points. She scored the most points than any other UK player in a long time."

On Dunlap's free-throw shooting ...

"In the past, with her free-throw shooting that would have been a 20-point night. With her free-throw shooting this year it is a 30-point night and that is a huge thing. She is stroking it great and is confident. It just transforms her offensive game because she gets fouled a lot and plays around the basket so much. I don't think that we can overstate the importance of her being a good free-throw shooter.

On Amani Franklin playing in the four spot ...

"We challenged her before the game. I was not pleased with her effort on the boards Friday. I told her that it was huge for our team to come out and have intensity on the boards and she did that. I told her at halftime that I was proud of that. She is up there around the rim and is super athletic around the basket. Now, we need to work on her layup shooting but just one thing at a time. We got the rebounding under control today so we will work on layups next time. I think that it is a comfortable position for her if she can maintain her momentum on the boards she can be a special player."

On Amber Smith and that big three-pointer she hit in the second half ...

"It was a key, key play. What I thought was a key play, and I just told the team this, was Brittany Henderson made a great hustle play on an offensive put back when we were struggling. I told them, `You never know what might excite you or spark you to a run.' It did and then Amber's three was huge. I thought that we were losing some confidence offensively and we just needed someone to put the ball in the basket. I thought Rebecca Grey's threes were big, too. Those were all outstanding plays."

On if he was anxious to see how the team responded when the game was tied in the second half ...

"Absolutely, because that is a totally different emotion that you are working through there and I wanted to see how we would respond. I knew that Butler was going to play us tough. I didn't have a doubt about that. I thought we responded well. We had one day to prepare for them and it is early in the season so we aren't where we need to be or where we will be at the end of the season, but the effort was there today again. To be able to come out of that 52-52 tie and make something happen was a huge win."

On the conditioning of the team ...

"It has gotten a lot better. I give a lot of credit to the players for coming in and working hard. We try to create an environment where we can construct practices where they can get into shape but they have really worked hard at it. Especially right now with Lydia (Watkins) out and Crystal (Riley) not eligible until mid-December our conditioning needs to be good and I am pleased with it."

Kentucky Player Quotes

#34, Victoria Dunlap, F

On if she has felt this good after a game before...

"Last time I probably felt like this was probably against Cincinnati. I hit two threes in that game and I was really excited so that's why it felt similar to today."

On how she will follow up today's performance ...

"I just have to keep working hard and looking for my teammates to get everyone involved and not lower the expectations we have."

On the turning point in the game when Rebecca Gray hit two three-pointers in a row...

"They were big. I think me attacking the rim opened up outside shots for them and we have to make those and be confident with them."

#25, Amani Franklin, F

On do she takes credit for Victoria Dunlap's success this year at the free-throw line...

"Yes, I am because we worked hard on it over the summer so I take full credit. I just told her to slow down and follow through. She was kind of pushing the ball and she just need to take her time and let it role of her fingers."

On if she was trying to answer Coach Mitchell's challenge to score and rebound more ...

"I'm just trying to get going because I am playing a different position this year. I just have to be patient. It will come to me when I need to put up points or rebound but it's just a matter of staying confident and staying in the flow."

On if she likes her new position at power forward ...

"It's not really weird for me because I've played it so much but I'm still trying to get used to it fully. It's just a different mentality, playing with your back to the basket more and posting up. It's more setting screens and crashing the boards and being ready to do all these things."

On if she was surprised by Victoria's numbers today...

"I'm not surprised. I can see her doing that because she's a great player. She could go out there and do that every night if she wanted to."

Butler Head Coach Beth Couture

Opening statement:

"I was really proud of our team, but we played a really good Kentucky team. Obviously everything goes around the post. Their post did a tremendous job and especially Dunlap. We knew she would probably get points. I'm proud of our team. I think we made runs. I think it would have been easy right there before the first half was over and even the beginning of the second half for this game to get out of hand. I'm proud of them."

When you got to 52 all, and there was 12-13 minutes left in the game, obviously your team was pretty confident at that point. Can you talk some about that?

"I think for us, Terra Burns (No. 12) needs to be in the game. She does a lot for us. She is our leader. She can do a lot for us. She can make good passes and get to the hole. I think we were feeling really confident with her in there and then when she picked up her fourth and fifth fouls. I feel like that kind of hurt us. I do feel like some of our young guards came in and picked it up there. We were confident, I felt like if we run our stuff we could get some shots, whether we hit them or not. We thought our kids did. We tried to mix our defenses up. You really try to double Dunlap, but she doesn't really just get on the block so it is hard to double her. She can cause problems because she faces up and can catch on the perimeter and do stuff, and then she is so dominate on the boards. We tried some of that, but we didn't get many opportunities. When we cut it to 52-52, I thought our kids responded."

You think if you could have grabbed that lead just once, maybe that would have changed things a little bit?

"Yeah, I think that if we could have grabbed the lead with this crowd that was here, and you had a great crowd, then you might put Kentucky on their heels a little bit. It never happened to where we could get them on their heels. And then Kentucky hit some big threes. We were kind of giving that shot to them all game, and then they hit two in a row. I knew we had to give up something, and we were helping in the paint and then they hit two back-to-back and I think that was probably the difference."

What do you take from a game like this?

"We have to learn from it. I feel like for us, we have to be more physical in our box outs. Will we see this every day? No. But still, if we can get in and be more physical in our box out we might get a call or a deflection. We have to take that, but we played some kids today that last year did not play. Chloe Hamilton didn't get a lot of minutes. Then we played some kids off the bench and some freshmen. We have to get in these situations to be able to teach. This game film will be a big teaching point for us. Now we can really try to work on our weaknesses, but you know how this game is. We will play again on Wednesday so there is not much we can do other than get ready for our next opponents. I think we can learn a lot from the tape. We loved playing in front of the crowd, it was a great blue crowd out there and it was a good experience for us."