Kentucky-Louisville Postgame Quotes

Dec. 4, 2011

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement ...
“That was a great victory for our team today. Louisville is a tough, tough opponent and we had a lot of respect for them coming in. They were very difficult to prepare for and they are a very well-coached team. I am so proud of our players to put in the work to prepare and put themselves in position to earn a great win for our program today. I am really happy for our players.”

On the depth of the team and going 10-players deep in the game …
“We were hoping that our depth could be quality today. We were hoping that could be an advantage for us. I was extremely cautious, and worried if that is a better word, about their top players. Shoni (Schimmel) is an unbelievable player and I really felt that we had to make depth a factor today. We haven’t played in a game where we could really tell if we had quality depth or not, but today I think it paid off for us and we were able to make it work to our advantage.”

On Kentucky’s rebounding and second-chance points …
“Yeah, we have really tried to focus on becoming a great offensive rebounding team and we have the athletes to do it. We just have to focus on that and work really hard. That has to be, and we talked about it being, a sincere effort to offensive rebound today. You couldn’t act like you were going to the boards, you had to go in there and get some. That was a big thing for us. Louisville is a great defensive team and they just make it so hard on you to run anything that looks really fluid or good. They just do a great job of knowing your personnel and making it difficult on you. I didn’t think we played a very pretty offensive game today. But some of those offensive boards and put backs were big for us when Louisville was making it difficult on us to score.”

On A’dia Mathies performance and if she was more focused today …
“I think that A’dia was really focused today and she is a good player. That is clear to everybody in the building that she is a talented player. I don’t think there is any doubt that she sensed this was a big game and a big rivalry. She was tremendously focused and prepared well. I thought that she played a beautiful game, I really did.”

On Kentucky’s defensive effort …
“I thought it was good. I thought that we needed to try to do our very best to pressure Louisville as much as we could and try to wear them down. We tried to make someone other than Shoni (Schimmel) handle the ball. That was a really big emphasis in the game. I thought that our players did a good job with that. We played tough defense.”

On how Kentucky was able to limit Louisville’s 3-point shooting in the game …
“They are a really good team and the shots fell for us today. They got more open shots than I would have preferred, I can tell you that. Last year, they beat us really bad and a lot of their 3s went in and they did a great job of creating that. It is tough when (Shoni) Schimmel gets the ball and you double team her, but she can throw it all the way across the court under tremendous pressure. You are just going to give up some open shots. They are just a difficult team to play and a difficult team to prepare for. I am really, really proud of our players grinding out a tough victory.”

On the crowd at Memorial Coliseum …
“It was fantastic. You just can’t put into words how grateful I am to be at a place where people care and people come out and support us. It was a fantastic crowd and a fantastic basketball game for Kentucky. I am grateful for the fans that came out and hope we can get a big crowd out at Rupp for the Duke game.”

On what today’s game said about his team that he didn’t know before …
“I thought that our players had played very hard and we were clearly superior in all seven games. But you just don’t know until you go up against an opponent like this. I think that it showed us that we were able to get prepared and get ready for a tough opponent. It definitely helped that it was at home and we had all the help and support in the building. I still think that we have a ways to go and we need to work to get better. I am awful proud because I am telling you this was a miserable week for me because of the unknown. I just don’t like that. It is really, really difficult and I had no idea how the game was going to go. No one had played them with Shoni (Schimmel) and Monique (Reid) playing in the game so I just didn’t have a good feel for what might happened. I think that it showed that we could get ready for a big game. It is a great rivalry and we have a lot of respect for them.”

Kentucky Player Quotes

#1, A’dia Mathies, Jr., G

On playing against her hometown school…
Every game is a big game for us. We try to come out and play with a lot of intensity and effort every game.  This is a rivalry and we are just glad that we got the victory today.”

On how well she played…
“I think I played pretty good. Some of my shots were falling from the three-point line. I don’t even think I made a two pointer. I’m fortunate that those shots fell and that my teammates found me open.  I’m very, very grateful.”

On the amount of turnovers UK had and what needs to be done to prepare for Duke…
“Just take care of the ball. We knew we wanted to have a fast-paced game. It just showed how aggressive we were.  We weren’t going to stop pushing the ball and playing intense and when you do that you are going to have some turnovers. I think we will do a better job of taking care of the ball in the future.”

On having open looks from the three-point line…
“I think they played me to the drive because I am more of a driver than a shooter, but if you leave me open, I will take the shot. They fell tonight and I’m just happy they did.” 

#24, Amber Smith, Sr., PG

On the emotions for this game after last season’s defeat...
“Twenty-six points, I mean we just wanted to get payback. This was the next game on our schedule and we approached it with great preparation. I commend our coaches, we were definitely prepared to the tee. We had enough rest. We scheduled right to where we could prepare enough for Louisville because we knew how big this game was. It was definitely a payback game and we went out there and earned a victory.”

On how the team would perform against higher-level competition...
“It wasn't clear to the outside public, but we knew what we were capable of doing and how hard we work in practice. There was no doubt in our mind what we could do. We were just really prepared and we prepared for this one like any other. I just have great teammates and we show up. It doesn't matter what the competition is, we will show up.”

On how good this team can become...
“We can be really good. It's still early in the season so we are definitely going to get better. We are just excited about Thursday. We are going to start getting ready for Duke. We have a chance to be great, so I'm excited.” 

#31, Samantha Drake, So., F

On if they took the loss last year personally...
“Yeah, actually we took it very personal. Being rival teams here in the state of Kentucky, and Kentucky being a basketball state, having Louisville defeat us took a toll on us. We were ready for payback this year and that's what we came out and did.”

#13, Bria Goss, Fr., G

On her effort for loose balls…
Every minute that you are on the court, you want to give it your all because it could be your last.  It could be your last loose ball that you can get or the last point that you can get.  It comes naturally. I’m just playing hard that’s all.”

Louisville Head Coach Jeff Walz

Opening Statement…
“We gave up second-chance points. It was the difference in the game. We had stressed that coming into tonight’s game, the fact that we had to take care of the basketball, not give them a lot of plays off of turnovers, and limit the number of second-chance points. We had to rebound the basketball. I thought we did a decent job taking care of the ball but unfortunately we gave up way too many second-chance points.”

On how his team struggled with rebounding…
“You can’t win big games if you’re not going to rebound the basketball. That’s a mentality. You’ve got to have a little fight in you to go in and rebound the ball. Unfortunately, today we did not do a very good job of that and unfortunately we haven’t done a great job of that all season. We’ve won the battle of the boards in some games but we’ve given up way too many offensive boards this entire year.”

On the amount of unforced turnovers…
“We had talked about that. I’m not sure what it was in the first half with points off of turnovers. They had 19 to our 10. If you’re going to turn the basketball over, they need to be dead ball turnovers. A few of our turnovers led to some lay-ups for them. We were down 17 at the half and unfortunately, it should have been about eight to 10 that we were down going into the second half. They made some big shots. A’dia Mathies shot the ball extremely well. That’s part of it. They had some kids step up and make some threes, some that had not all season. If they continue to shoot the ball that well, they’ll be fun to watch.”

On what the team will take away from this game…
“We’ve just got to compete harder. It’s just a little discouraging compared to how hard we competed at Florida State against a very talented Florida State team. Then to come up here and not compete, it’s just amazing to me how many loose balls we didn’t even dive after. You’ve got to do that in games like this. Hopefully it’s a learning experience. We’ll watch film and break things down. There’s no moral victory in anything but the problem is with our kids, I tried to explain to them, that there was a 31-point difference in the second half and they continue to play the way they always play. You can’t dig yourself that big of a hole and expect to come back. We cut the lead to 12 or 13 twice and miss a wide open lay-up down the lane and then that turns into back-to-back threes. You just can’t do that.”

On how to fix the lack of competitiveness…
“Well, if we find that answer, you’d never have a team that wouldn’t play hard. That goes for every team like the football team, the volleyball team and the basketball team. I’ve have a hard time thinking there’s not a coach somewhere that said they’ve got to get their kids to compete harder.”

On what happened once the score was 40-30…
“They didn’t do anything differently. We gave up offensive rebounds. We cut it to 10 and then all of the sudden, we didn’t go to the glass. We had made a run there and I had told our kids, ‘If we can cut it to 10 but 10 minutes to go in the second half, it was going to be a ball game down to the wire.’ Because all of the sudden, the you’ll start making the threes. When you’re up 18 or 19, the basket is awfully big. But when it starts getting to where each shot matters, it starts to get a little tighter. Unfortunately for us, we never got to that point. We just made shots a little more difficult for them.”

On whether Kentucky’s team was more difficult to face this year vs. with Dunlap last year…
“No not really. Victoria [Dunlap] is a great player, she’s still playing extremely well. They go out there and play four guards most of the time. They like to go out and trap and press. It’s really a team that you play them the first time, and it’s like, ‘Okay, this is how hard they play.’ Then, if you get a second chance, you’re kind of prepared for it. But, they played extremely hard and the fortunate thing is that it’s not a home series every game. You’ve got to come out and try to be prepared from the start. I think it was a tale of two halves, too. After we saw how hard they were competing in the first half, we kind of picked some things up ourselves. Unfortunately, when you’re down by 17, you have to do more than that.”

Louisville Players

#23, Shoni Schimmel, G

On how the first half was frustrating …
“It was frustrating because we weren’t mentally prepared. Coach (Walz) had told us to come out mentally prepared and we just weren’t mentally prepared. We got out there and rebounded and that was tough on us and we were just trying to bounce back in the second half. In the first half, we dug ourselves in a hole we were just trying to come back in the second half

On not being able to get over the lead Kentucky created…
“That was difficult for us because they pushed the ball really quick and trying to get back there and set up our defense was probably our problem. They pushed the ball really well and they got back there and got some wide-open shots when everyone was scrambling around and that was tough for us.”

On how to fix the teams competiveness…
“It starts in practice, especially after this game, and just bringing more energy and effort. Coach (Walz) said you can’t really teach effort, or have people’s effort to come out and play, you just have to have that inside yourself. We just have to work on that in practice and see what everybody is about.”

#21, Bria Smith, G

On playing in Memorial Coliseum for the first time and playing in the series for the first time…
“Well, the crowd is definitely crazy. I just wish the game would have went a little better for us.”