Kentucky-Jacksonville State Postgame Quotes

Nov. 15, 2011

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement …
“I want to complement our team on a good effort today. They really hustled and played hard and tried to give their best today. I was appreciative of that. That was something that we were really trying to focus on today - hustling and playing Kentucky basketball, which is being really aggressive, playing tough defensively, creating turnovers and playing with effort and energy. I think we did that and I was proud of the team.”

On Kentucky’s team defense and if this is his best defensive team he has had …
“Well, this team just has so much ability athletically with their quickness and strength. They have all the tools to be a really good defensive team. I think they certainly have the tools to be the best we have ever had. What remains to be seen is if they day- in and day-out embrace the fundamentals it takes to do that throughout the course of the season. They certainly have a chance to be the best defensive team. We try to tell them that and emphasis that to them. I hope they will embrace that and work hard to become that because they could be.”

On creating 48 turnovers and breaking the school record …
“It’s about trying to hustle for 40 minutes. We could have been satisfied with creating 30 turnovers, which is a staggering amount. What I was trying to do was to get them to play 40 minutes of hustle and aggressive basketball. That is an awful lot of turnovers for a team to have and for a defense to create. I was happy that we tried to play our best today.”

On if 30 turnovers is staggering than what is 48 turnovers …
“I don’t know. I only have a four-year degree and I was lucky to get that. I am not for sure what it would be. In a Division I game, 25 is a lot of turnovers and 30 is a lot. It just means they hustled and worked extremely hard.”

On creating so many turnovers, yet having only 15 team fouls …
“That was good. That was something that we talked about out of the Morehead game. When you hustle and try to put the pressure on that team, then you are trying to have a cumulative effect. You are trying to make them play, play after play after play. When you foul, that just negates all that hustle that you have had and gives the team a chance to reset and get going and catch their breathe. It is very important when you are a pressure-defense team to limit fouls because it really takes away from all that hustle you have had. That was a key part to having success on defense.”

On the team being a very physically strong team this season …
“One thing that you have to be able to do is play low and in a stance because we are asking you to stay in front of the ball and we are also asking you to read the play in front of you and make very quick movements. So you are leaving one player to go guard another player. Being strong in your legs and having endurance to be able to play that way for 40 minutes is important. Your physical conditioning in this style of play is very important. That is why when you see an effort like today you respect that. You don’t just run up on gameday and say, ‘Hey, we are going to play hard.’ They have really put a lot of time, effort and preparation. We have the best strength coach I have ever seen and worked with, Stephanie Tracy-Simmons. She is just phenomenal. All of the things that go into it make it difficult to do so I am proud when the team is able to have a day like this. Physical strength and endurance is important in this style of play.”

On the team being able to sustain the effort for 40 minutes …
“We had a very lackluster start on Friday and we really talked about the start today. When the margin gets large, I think it is everyone’s tendency to relax and say, ‘Hey, I think the outcome is determined.’ We were just really encouraging them that we weren’t worried about the outcome but we just wanted to play our best today. I am glad that we got close to that. With eight minutes left they could have easily taken down their intensity and we would have still won the game, but we didn’t want them to do that. I am proud of them for sustaining the efforts. That is probably the thing that I am happiest about today.”

On Crystal Riley being in a boot and not playing …
“That happened here in the last day or two. It is a stress reaction. We haven’t seen a fracture yet so that is good news. She has had some issues before so we are trying to be ultra-conscious. We have her in a boot and are just trying to get that injury to calm down. We have not determined a return for her. She is day-to-day and we will just have to see when we can get her back.”

On the team’s depth …
“That is a good thing to have. What we have to have is good depth practicing well every day. That is really how you develop it. We could sit up here and look at the numbers today and say, ‘Hey you have a bunch of good players.’ The thing is can this group of players and this team really practice well and develop? That is the only way to develop depth is to be a really good practice team. I need to get our freshman post players and sophomore post players to practice a little bit better and stay a little bit more in tune. If we can get our post players to come around and really hustle then I thing we do have a deep team. Today, I started a four-guard lineup. I don’t really know exactly how we will be but there is certainly a possibility to be a deep team. As a coach, I am just going to work hard on keeping them focused every single day in practice. If we do that, this team can be very deep.”

On going 40 minutes of full-court press with this team …
“Yeah, I would like to. I would really like to get out to fast start and never let the pressure up. As we get into the SEC play, obviously that becomes more difficult. But that is the goal and that is why we were playing so hard today until the final buzzer to develop that mentality."

Kentucky Players

#1, A'dia Mathies, G

On forcing 48 turnovers and what word she would use…
“Insane. I mean that's a lot of turnovers. We did a good job of trapping and rotating and having pressure on defense all game, and it showed.”

On having an elementary school crowd for the game…
“That was a lot of fun. They were just out there cheering, I'm sure half of them didn't know what they were cheering for, but to have someone yelling out there is really encouraging and it makes us play harder.”

On not slowing down for the entire game…
“That's the only way we practice, so that's the only way we know how to play really. Coach (Mitchell) keeps new bodies coming in so we are always fresh. It's never like you can be tired.”

#10, Bernisha Pinkett, G

On missing the first free throw to get the team to 100 points…
“I was pretty nervous, the kids actually made me kind of nervous. I just tried to focus in on the second one and we've worked on free throws so much during practice, so I went back to practice mode and knocked it down.”

On if it is fun playing full speed all game…
“Yeah, it's fun because you work hard all practice and before you prepare for the game and you work hard all week. When you finally get in the game and you are getting steals and turnovers, it's fun because your hard work is paying off.”

Jacksonville State Head Coach Annetta Watts

On the how the pressure from UK “suffocated” Jacksonville State…
“Absolutely it did but you’ve got to come to compete. We didn’t come to compete. Until this 15 decides they’re going to change their attitude and play the way they’re coached, they’re going to get in trouble like this. They quit. They gave up. You can’t quit. You can’t give up. That’s why we schedule these games, to make you better down the road. I never could find five that wanted to go out there and go as hard as they can go. Forty-eight turnovers? Come on. [UK is] 18th in the nation. They’re pretty darn good but 48 turnovers? No. That’s laying down. We had a good meeting in there just now. We’ll see some changes, I believe.”

On whether the Jacksonville met the goals they made prior to the game…
“No, we didn’t meet any of them. The coach bought into them a lot more than the players did, I think. We go back to work. They got to feel today what I’m always harping on them about. Pressuring the ball, pressuring the ball, pressuring the ball. They got to feel it today. That’s a good learning lesson for them. ‘Now you understand what I’m trying to get you to do.’ At 52 years old, it’s hard for me to get out there and show them. Now they get it. They understand and say, ‘Oh, that’s what pressure on the ball means.’ Also, the soft passes. We talk about that. But, I challenge my team, ‘What are you doing to be sure that tomorrow, you’re better than you are today? What are you doing? Are you in the gym handling the ball when they take it away from you? What are you doing to get better? I’ve asked you to shoot 100 free throws every day. Are you doing that?’ It doesn’t look like we were doing that. We were 4-for-10. ‘What are you doing to make this team better? Don’t point fingers at other people. Everybody today had the opportunity to play. What are you doing to get better for LeMoyne-Owen [College] on Thursday night?’ Because that’s where we’re going now.”

On how practice will be for the team tomorrow…
“Practice tomorrow will be pretty intense. They know that. But, practice has been intense and right now we’re playing more intense in practice. The games, right now, are scaring us. I’m hoping it’s because of who the two first competitors have been. Although, we showed a little bit of fear against Emory. Maybe that’s just the age of the team. I’ve got to convince them that they better be more scared of me than they are of the other teams.”