Kentucky-Chattanooga Postgame Quotes

Nov. 22, 2009

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement ...

"We are guaranteed to play 30 games this season with our regular-season schedule and conference tournament and I guess you can't play 30 perfect games. Tonight was not one of our best but I am really proud of the team to come out with a victory on a night when things really weren't going our way. We had a lot to do with that, but Chattanooga just had a really good game plan and executed it well. They are always well coached and tonight was no different. They played an excellent game. It was hard fought and I am glad that we won."

On the team having to play without Victoria for much of the first half due to foul trouble ...

"I really like the energy that Brittany Henderson played with tonight. It was a terrific example of how she doesn't know exactly what it going on all the time because she is a freshman and is still learning, but her energy was great. I am a big believer in that the type of energy you have and are giving to your teammates is crucial. She was a person that came in and gave us some great energy. It is very frustrating for Victoria to have three of four people on her but at that time I thought it was necessary because I thought we were getting too fixated on trying to get her going and it probably ended up helping us offensively."

On A'dia Mathies' play ...

"I have said many times how talented she is and she is just a talented basketball player physically and mentally. At halftime, we tried to challenge her because I thought that she was letting mistakes bother her too much in the first half. I thought she was hanging her head a little bit and usually when that happens a freshman doesn't pull out of that too easily. She pulled out of it tonight and we would not be happy here at the end of the game if she didn't play the way that she did. She was terrific."

On the late run that gave the Wildcats the win ...

"It had to start with us. We were struggling offensively tonight and their game plan was good and that game plan works when shots aren't falling. If we would have come out hot it would have been different. We were down on ourselves at the time and I told them the only way we could get it going is through defensive intensity and making some plays and creating some positive energy through hustle. I think they (Chattanooga) went on a pretty good drought there to end the game and it was a good defensive stand to finish the game."

On Amber Smith ...

"She was the key and I thought that she got the crowd into it with her tenacity. She game (Tenisha) Townsend a really hard time. She looked really uncomfortable when Amber turned the heat up on the ball pressure. Amber can make a lot of things happen defensively and I thought that she really stepped it up there in what I call winning time. She really got it done. We were really encouraging them to start to be more intense defensively. It starts with her because she is on the ball and it creates confidence in her teammates because they see her giving that kind of effort and the rest of the team feeds off of that."

On what he told the team at halftime ...

"The one thing was that we were 3-0 and have won by big margins and I was concerned about this game. This team has practiced well and I thought that we weren't as sharp yesterday. I think that it is a tough process. You win games by large margins and maybe have a hard time in getting the focused the way that they should be. I just thought before the game we weren't mentally prepared. They had come out all three games and were mentally prepared and I gave them the benefit of the doubt. Clearly, a lot of our mistakes were mental in the first half. We just talked about that and coming out and giving our best effort and being enthusiastic and making some plays. I thought that we were going through the motions in the first half. I challenged them to get better."

Kentucky Player Quotes

Rebecca Gray, #23

On the Cat's defensive intensity...

"That is all we have been working on the last few weeks. We are trying to make it happen. We are trying to make a habit out of putting pressure on the ball. It really helped us because we were struggling to put points on the board. We had to go to our defense. Since we had been working on that it helped and we were able to get the lead."

On relishing opportunities to take big shots...

"I am just letting the game come to me as it wants to and if I see an opportunity I am going to take it. As soon as I let go of the ball on that three-point shot I knew it was good. I knew it was big for our team. It helped spark our defense, too and we just went from there."

On the differences from this year and last year...

"We are having fun. We go out there and play the way we know how to play. Coach Mitchell does not put too many rules on us he just tells us to play hard. He wants us to execute on offense and man-up on defense, the rest is up to us. That has allowed us to relax and play rather than worrying about making mistakes. I applaud Coach Mitchell for making the game fun for us and letting us enjoy it."

On tonight's game...

"We tried to work an inside-out game. Brittany Henderson stepped up big for our team. Any time you stop one of our players there are always going to be four more girls who can contribute. We are learning our roles on the court. The more experience we get and the more situations we are put in the better we will become."

UTC Coach Wes Moore Quotes

"This is a different team from what we have had in the past. We have some kids that don't bring quite the intensity to the game all the time that we like to see. It's disappointing, obviously. I'm sitting over there wondering who made this schedule because we have played some tough games. This was very similar to the Georgia game. We had a three-point lead at halftime and the turned up the heat. I thought Kentucky did a good job the last 10 minutes or so. They really turned it up and made it difficult for us to run our stuff and get the ball into the post. We didn't handle pressure very well. It's hard to simulate sometimes the kind of athleticism and pressure they can bring, but we have to do a better job trying to simulate it so we can play better during the game."

On getting up by nine points in the second half...

"Shanara (Hollingquest) really stepped up. We got her the ball, and made a good effort to go inside, and she did a great job like she usually does. I thought Kentucky the last 10 minutes swarmed her pretty hard. If it went in there, there was two or three people reaching and grabbing, and like I said even if we got it to her, it was hard to make the entry pass because they were applying so much pressure."

On using the Georgia game to help prepare them for Kentucky...

"Like I said, we basically had one practice, and then yesterday more of a preparation for this game. We need some time, and like I said, we are going to have to get in practice and try to simulate defensive pressure as best we can, and hopefully learn to handle a little bit better and not shy away from it, and attack instead."

On Kentucky rallying back from a nine-point deficit...

"I thought Kentucky with about 10 minutes left really turned up the heat, and made it tough for us to make entry passes and put a lot of pressure on the ball, and we didn't handle it very well."

On if he thought they struggled down low in the second half...

"That's what we are going to go to. We are going to Shanard Hollingquest. Then we will go from there, based on how the defense plays it. I thought they got a lot of people on her. A lot of people were able to double her, and it didn't help us too much down the stretch."

On how his team did against All-SEC forward Victoria Dunlap...

"I was pleased with that. We obviously wanted to make somebody else score, and she is an unbelievable player. She is from Tennessee, so we are familiar with her from her high school days, but I think she came in averaging 23.0 points and 15.0 rebounds, so she is an unbelievable player and we were fortunate to limit her looks to a certain point."

On if he was surprised by the play of A'dia Mathies...

"Not really. Again, when you are out recruiting you see these kids, and we knew she was a great player. Tough matchup, quickness, she can do a lot of things with the ball. Defensively she can do a lot of things to make it difficult, so I wasn't surprised. She's a great player."