Kentucky-Southern Miss Postgame Quotes

Nov. 19, 2011

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

“It was a good win for us and a good game for us. I was really happy to get that victory. That was an up-tempo game and I thought Southern Mississippi really took it to us and provided us with some opportunities to really have to play some good basketball to win that game. I am very happy for the team; it is a tough stretch we are going through right now. There is not a lot of time to practice, so we had to figure a way to grind it out. I am really, really, happy with that win.”

On if this is the kind of game the team needs now, challenge wise…
“I think so. I think that helps us tremendously. It is just a different set of emotions you have to work through. There are probably some nerves there that some kids have when it is a tight game. Clearly, we haven’t had that this year. I thought it was a great game for us. I thought we had some fantastic responses when Southern Mississippi had some momentum. We were able to respond and it is a good sign for us. When we have a little more time and maybe we can practice and get some more repetitions it might look prettier for us, but right now, we just have to get wins and that was a good one for us.”

On how the team responded in the last five minutes…
“I thought they were pretty good. I will have to go back and look at all of them. We just haven’t had enough time to work on them. It is just the fact we are able to make enough plays and keep enough poise. They just haven’t gotten as many reps as they should have in late-game situations and that is my responsibly in practice. I have enough veterans that have been through enough right now that we feel pretty comfortable with some of the things. I was really happy there because we cut it down to nine or seven and had some more breakdowns. However, we can’t get back to the basket and score which is really troubling. I am just so happy today to get this win.”

On Azia Bishop’s ability…
“She has a tremendous amount of ability.  She has unbelievable potential. We are just looking for her to continue to develop. It is always tough for a freshman post player to develop so there are plenty of things for her to work on but I am really excited about her future. We just want her to play with more intensity. The game is moving fast out there and she scored an important basket for us and I made the point to her in the time-out that she sort of took a victory lap. She went down to turn around to guard, and someone ran by her and shot a layup and her two points were negated by her lack of intensity. It is just a process for her and I know she will learn from this game today but I am really excited for what her possibilities are as a player.”

On how the team attacked the zone defense…
“The first half was tough. It was poor and we can’t seem to see the openings in the zone. I am not sure if it is a product of not enough repetitions. We actually took our time in practice to try and get better in that. I thought they made some okay adjustments in the second half and clearly they scored a bunch of points. We were able to make enough plays. The zone offense needs to get better and I think with all these teams playing a zone, we will have plenty of opportunities to do that.”

On Bernisha Pinkett not playing in today’s game…
“Bernisha Pinkett was late to a meeting this morning and really put her teammates in a bind because we needed her today. Our team has to know that one, we are spending thousands of dollars on their scholarships and how we operate the program and it is a precious opportunity every time you get to play. We are just not going to act like it is not important. Especially on a game day and you don’t show up ready to play and excited about your opportunity to play. I think it is very disrespectful to Kentucky and disrespectful to this basketball program. We just have to make sure she knows. Listen, Bernisha Pinket is a really good kid but just made a bad mistake this morning and she has paid for it today. Luckily we didn’t loose and she can learn from it and I know she can bounce back and do well, but that was the issue today. We are shooting for no suspensions on Wednesday. We are going to try and break the suspension string, if we can, but it is looking tough right now.”

Kentucky Players

#1 A’dia Mathies, Junior, G

On achieving 1,000 career points …
“I am just very fortunate to have the opportunity to play here. I am just really happy about it. You have to give a lot of credit to my teammates. They do a lot for me so it is thrilling.”

#24 Amber Smith, Senior, PG

On how she is feeling …
“I am feeling pretty good. I am just trying to get in game shape and help my teammates out there, staying out there more, and giving them the energy that this team needs. I am feeling good, and I am just glad we got the win.’

On if she is almost in game shape …
“I am defiantly getting closer. I am feeling good. I feel like every game I am taking steps forward to getting back into game shape. It feels good.”

#32 Kastine Evans, Sophomore, G

On her overall thoughts of the game and the quick start …
“I think we really came out really strong. We may have kind of let down there, but that just happens in different games and in different situations. I thought we handled it pretty well and we were able to end the first half strong. I think we just didn’t let go of that energy in the second half after that.”

Southern Mississippi Head Coach Joy Lee-McNelis

On the game today…
“They (Kentucky) were bigger. Their guards probably weigh 30 pounds more than my guards do individually. They’re stronger. They’re bigger in every facet of the body. They’re more aggressive. But it has to come down to something that is below, and this is your heart. I was very proud of what our team was able to do today. We fought hard. If people from home had seen us today compared to what they’ve seen the first two ball games, they would have said, ‘Where did this team come from?’ I thought we were a totally different team today. Another analogy I would use is that yesterday in practice we had to run a sprint because of being lazy. Rather than just running the sprint the first time and making it, we had to run eight before we made it. On the eighth one we made it, but not on the first. That’s exactly what happened in this ball game to start the game.”

On UK starting the game on a 12-0 run…
“We didn’t come out of the starting block. We had the jitters. We were scared. But, we regained that momentum and we played with poise. What we were trying to do on our bench is play four-minute games. We won three of the final four minute games in that first half. I thought our team played very well and with a tremendous amount of heart. I think there were things that you have to give Kentucky credit for. Number one, we played them zone because we felt like that would be the only way, physically, that we could guard them. But, Kentucky hammered that ball in and took advantage of the size and that’s where we struggled. They got the ball in the center of that paint. If they missed it, they were so strong that they just annihilated the offensive glass. We didn’t put our bodies on them. We didn’t have our guards to go down and double like we had planned to do so you have to give Kentucky credit there. You have to give them credit to where they really came up and put pressure on us and forced us into too many turnovers. I think that we started the game and had a bunch of turnovers, then we got composure, then we started the second half and we were composed. But, when we got tired, that’s when we got lackadaisical with the ball. That’s when we missed the easy shots. That’s when we let our head get a little wacky. We forgot about our heart and went to our head and let that mind control us.”

On the positives she can take away from today’s game…
“We saw some people like Sedreka Plummer, who stepped up and played huge tonight. That is a big plus. The other big plus is that we had four players in double figures. The other plus is they didn’t kill us on the glass. They killed us on the offensive glass but they didn’t kill us as a whole on the glass. We shot the ball 50 percent from the floor. That is huge for us. Yeah, they took a whole lot more shots than we did but if we would have made the bunny shots we missed, my goodness. It would have been a much closer ball game. I felt like it was a much closer ball game than what the final score ended up being. But again, Kentucky wore us down. They are a great basketball team. They are very well coached. They’ve got some All-Americans that are injured, they’ve got All-Americans on their team. You’ve got to give them all the respect because they are very good. They’re very, very good. I’m just proud of how our team came in and really fought. They really fought hard.”