Kentucky-Sam Houston State Postgame Quotes

Nov. 25, 2011

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening statement …
“Well, I want to compliment Sam Houston State because they really gave a great effort tonight and I thought that they were extremely well coached. They really played hard and I just thought that they gave great effort tonight. We did not play our best and we have a lot that we need to work on.”

On the play of Samantha Drake
“I think Sam has a lot of ability and a lot of talent. I thought that she really battled on the boards tonight but I would really like to see her finish around the basket with some contact and kind of go up through people. That was really the only area that I was displeased with her. She gave a good effort and was very, very productive. We tried to emphasis the offensive boards and as you can see she did a good job there. Good stats for her tonight.”

On if missed layups are contagious …
“It is just so deflating. It is just so incredibly deflating. I think those would allow us to stay energized because we are asking those kids to play awfully hard so we need the fans and the crowd going and our players to make the simple plays to lift us up a little bit. That was very frustrating tonight and we shot it poorly.”

On different players stepping up and scoring  …
“Yeah, that is good. That is something that is going to be beneficial for us I think. We have some offensive weapons, but we are not shooting the ball well right now. I believe we are a better shooting team than what we are showing. I thought that we created some good open looks tonight, but we just didn’t make a lot of them. Keyla (Snowden) bounced back and I was really happy with that. She was the person that kind of stepped in and filled that gap tonight.”

On if shooting woes are normal for one of his teams because of the focus they put on defense …
“Well, I think that could be part of it. We have been working awfully hard on our offense the last few days so I think that is getting better. Not a lot of time, I guess, for them to get in the gym and get shots up and I think that once we maybe have a little bit clearer focus on our free time and can get in the gym on our own and workout our shots and groove out shots a little bit we will be in good shape. We have good shooters like Bernisha Pinkett, who is not a 1-for-7 shooter. That is holding our offense back right now. I actually think the offense is better as far as creating open looks, we are just missing so many layups around the basket. I mean, 83 shots, that’s incredible that we had that many attempts. But 35 percent isn’t very good.”

On Keyla Snowden starting off slow but starting to find her shot as the season progresses …
“The preseason is very demanding physically and for whatever reason maybe Keyla has a tough time with that part of it. I just think that she might even get a little fresher as the season goes a long because the practices aren’t as long or quite as physical. Maybe that is it. That is a guess on my part. I am not really sure. That is possible. It sounds good, doesn’t it?”

On Keyla Snowden getting lost in the shuffle sometimes with UK having so many guards …
“She doesn’t need to get lost in the shuffle. She and I spoke yesterday. I will get on to her about her defense and she will let that deflate her. She and I talked yesterday because we need her bad. She is a senior, veteran, a talented weapon out there. I thought that Sam Houston State did a fantastic job clogging up the middle and confusing us in the zone. Her being able to pop out there and hit some 3-pointers is a really, really important part of our team. She is a huge weapon. I don’t think that she will get lost in the shuffle because she is a big piece of what we are doing.”

On Keyla Snowden being more aggressive taking the ball to the basket …
“Yeah, I think tonight especially because they did such a great job of matching up our numbers on the perimeter and then we were sort of passive and passing the ball around and didn’t do a good job. We were talking to all of them about driving, but Keyla has worked extremely hard since she has got here four years ago to become a complete basketball player and I am proud of the progress she has made with her game.”

On A’dia Mathies’ impact in the game even when she isn’t putting up big points …
“I was so happy with A’dia’s play. She had six steals and she is making things happen on the floor and her presence is good. I thought that we all were a little flat tonight and I didn’t think A’dia played her best. But she is having a good season. She had a really bad, just miserable night shooting. I thought that all of us weren’t quite ourselves and we need to correct that in a hurry. We are all based on energy and we cant afford to have any drop in that.”

Kentucky Players

#4 Keyla Snowden, G, Senior

On if she gets lost in the shuffle because UK has so many guards …
“Being a senior, I want to be out there for my team. But whatever role Coach (Matthew) Mitchell wants me to do I want to do to the best of my ability.”

On what she and Coach Matthew Mitchell talked about earlier this week in their meeting …
“Pretty much that I needed to work on my confidence. Like you said, sometimes I can get lost in the shuffle with so many guards. For me, I think my confidence has been down but definitely having a good shooting night helps with that. Being in the gym also helps your confidence and those are the things that I am working with.”

On how much Samantha Drake’s play inside open things up for the shooters …
“Definitely, whenever there is a big post presence inside it really opens things up for the guards on the outside. I thought that Sam did a great job tonight.”

On if her game gets better as the season goes along …
“Personally, I try not to take things for granted. If I don’t play as well in a previous game, I try to work harder for the next game.”

On having good team chemistry when playing such an aggressive style on defense …
“It is very important because when we go up and trap, if people don’t roll up it kind of makes us all look silly because they will get a wide open pass in the middle and then it’s a 3-on-2 break. It is very important to have good chemistry, especially on the defensive end. We have to be able to talk and communicate.”

#31, Samantha Drake, C, Sophomore

On her play tonight …
“I think that I played pretty well, along with our team. I thought that we did a good job tonight. In the post, we need to work on finishing a little better around the basket because we didn’t finish to our abilities. Other than that, I think that we are going to be ready for the season but we have to keep playing hard and keep hustling.”

On why the team is not finishing better around the basket …
“I think that we are just not being strong enough. We actually work on the post-game inside in practice where we are going through pads and the coaches are pounding on us with pads and telling us to be strong. In the game, I don’t think we focus on that much and I think that is the thing that we have to keep working on so that it because natural and a habit.”

On having good team chemistry when playing such an aggressive style on defense …
“Yeah, I think that it is very important because we have to know and rely on each other to let everyone know that we have each others back and that everyone will be there for one another. If someone makes a mistake we will be there to pick them up and correct it next time on the court.”

Sam Houston State Head Coach Brenda Welch-Nichols

Opening statement…
“I am very excited about my team. When we came in here we hadn’t played a very good second half against Vanderbilt so our focus was to play two complete halves. These games are to prepare us for our conference; that is the purpose of playing up. We knew that they had held everyone under 50 points so our goal was to break that. We were trying to get them to turn the ball over but that didn’t work to our advantage. We’re proud that we got 41 rebounds against a big Southeastern Conference team, that’s good for a Southland team like us. I tell you, we accomplished every goal that we set before we came in here. We wanted more than three kids in double figures and we got it. Our goal wasn’t really to rebound; basically we ran a 1-1-1-1-1, get back transition. We had one person rebounding and everybody else getting back so that they couldn’t transition on us.”

On goals coming in to the game…
“We always come in with the goal of winning. We also know that these are games that we use to prepare ourselves and they are guaranteed money games. We know that they are 14th in the country and we challenge our girls to win but we play six guaranteed games in a year to support our budget so our girls know from the get-go that we are playing Texas, TCU, Kentucky or Kansas so we set goals that we know if we come in and accomplish them then nothing is taken away from our players. If they come in and accomplish their goals then they aren’t leaving with their heads down. When you are in a program like we are where we have to play money games, you are playing against teams that bottom line, if we win its great but if we lose we want to make sure we learn something.”

On preparation for this game…
“We started right after the Vanderbilt game and put in our 1-1-1-1-1 defense. Our kids are young and sometimes young is to your advantage because if you tell them something they are very “froggy” to do it. So right after we told them what we were going to do they were fine with it. Tonight we started one senior, two juniors, a sophomore and a freshman and then we are very limited on the bench, subbing in a freshman and a sophomore. When you are playing with youth it can help you or hurt you and everyone knows freshmen are only good when they become sophomores.”