Kentucky-Alabama A&M Postgame Quotes

Dec. 18, 2010

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement …
“Well, I am just very happy to get a win today after a long week of final exams and the players having to get through that. They did a good job. It was not the best week of practice or the most crisp week of practice that we have had but I was very pleased when we came out with good energy and was able to get control of the game early. That was good. I thought that our execution with some combinations was better than it had been in a long time and that is good that we made some progress in that area. We turned them over a bunch and that is something that we always need to do. It is a good win and we are happy to have it.”

On it being a physical game in the first half …
“I thought that it was a physical game. I think that Alabama A&M is well coached and a very resilient bunch. I thought that they kept playing hard and we had a pretty good sized margin there at one point in the second half. They just kept plugging and did a good job at the end of the game. At the beginning of the game, I thought that they were very physical and ready to come out and challenge us and we knew that they would be. They are a strong program.”

On Victoria Dunlap and Brittany Henderson getting frustrated with their physical play …
“I thought that they did a great job of double and triple teaming Victoria (Dunlap) and she is so aggressive around the rim that sometimes those shots fall. It was one of those days early on that they didn’t fall. But I was very pleased with her hustle. It is very easy to get down because your shot is not going down and she missed a lot of shots that she normally makes. I was very happy that Dunlap hung in there and kept plugging.”

On Brittany Henderson’s play and her hard work this offseason …
“I was very happy with Brittany Henderson today. I had a conversation with her before the game that I was not been pleased and did not think that she was playing up to her capabilities whatsoever over the last few weeks. I appreciate her response to that conversation this morning. I thought that she came out with the right kind of energy and Brittany is not the tallest and most athletic post player so she must play with a toughness and edge to her game; a hard-nosed attitude all the time or she is not going to be successful. I thought she showed all those qualities today and I was very happy with the game she turned in.”

On not letting Alabama A&M sneak back in the game …
“We had that 14-0 run there, I think, in the second four-minute segment that really put the game away. That group played with some energy and some effort and outscored us by 10 the rest of the way. We had to some different combinations trying to get some young kids some minutes and experience. I don’t know if this is unique to us but it just gets frustrating to come out that first four minutes when we have control of the game and we just seemed a little lackluster. That was much more like it the second four minutes to drop that 14-0 run and put the game out of reach. That was good and I thought that there was a lot of energy, turning them over in the press. That was good.”

On getting some younger girls some quality minutes in the game …
“We are trying to get our team ready each game. As far as we are concerned about the opponent, we are just trying to play the game at our very best. I think that when those young kids come in they need to do a better job of keeping their focus. That is some of their first minutes and some valuable minutes for them. They need to play at a very high level and not worry about the scoreboard. I thought that Alabama A&M was competing and they cut into that lead by 10 points. I don’t think that was us trying to let off the accelerator on purpose, they just took it to us with some of our combinations out there. We need to improve every chance we get and every time we get a chance to get some minutes we need to take advantage of those.”

On the team’s balance …
“We are so pleased with A’dia and Vic and how they took care of their roles and then people did their job better today. Keyla Snowden did hers, she needs to knock down open threes. Maegan Conwright was much better today with four assists and zero turnovers and good energy. Brittany Henderson came in there with some real blue-collar minutes and really playing hard. Four people in double figures is really good and I guess that is pretty much what we are going to have to look like if we are going to be successful this season.”

On not having a good week of practice and what he expected coming into this game …
“Well, I always try to balance final exam week. This was sort of their final exam of the week. They are here to play basketball and clearly they are here to go to school. We can’t just say that we don’t have a game on Saturday, we have to work our way through that and how to balance that. Now, having said that, you have to try to understand that everyone is human and that this week is stressful on them. I tried to go in with a very positive attitude this morning and tell them that we need to go out with effort and energy and win the game. I didn’t have the best feeling in the world about it because I have so much respect for Alabama A&M, which just beat Minnesota.”

Kentucky Players

#34 Victoria Dunlap Sr., F

On the team’s intensity to start the game…
“Just the way we had practiced all week showed that we really weren’t ready to go today. I thought we had a good morning at shootaround this morning and it was high energy. That gave us a better feeling as to what we were going to do in the first half. We came out and played as a team.”

On what the team learned from today…
“We learned today that no matter who we play, we have to come out ready to play. We have to be able to stay focused and make the little things happen. We can’t worry about what the other team is doing, we just have to worry about what we are doing. We have to make sure we have the mentality of playing good defense first.”

On the physicality of the game…
“Yeah, it was a little physical down there. There were a couple of times where I caught an elbow  or a couple of hip bumps. But, that’s the game. Sometimes you are going to have to play through it.”

On the frustrating moments of the game…
“Well, it was difficult. You are trying to produce for your team and you are getting hit at the same time and not getting certain calls. As a leader, I just have to stay focused and make sure I am focusing on my team and make sure I don’t let them down by not getting back on defense. It’s part of the game.”

#4 Keyla Snowden Jr., G

On the difficulty of managing finals and basketball…
“I think it’s a difficult week just because we are trying to finish up with school and trying to stay focused since we have games. I think practicing and keeping us in the flow of the game really helps us. We stay focused on our basketball games as well as our academics.”

On her performance and the points she scored…
“I feel that points don’t matter. It’s all about effort and the team. It doesn’t matter who scores. If Victoria scores, she gets the points, but we still contributed as a team, and that’s all we are looking for.”

On the importance of being a complete team…
“When teams scout us, they are of course going to key in on certain people, so if everyone else around the team steps up and takes the weight off of everyone else’s shoulders, then that makes us a more complete team.”

#20 Maegan Conwright Fr., G

On the leadership Victoria Dunlap shows…
“(Victoria Dunlap) is a leader on and off the court. I look at her at all times and I see what she does and I try to do what she does. She is a great player and a great leader for this team. She leads the teams really well. I want to be a leader one day, so I look at what she does.”

Alabama A&M Head Coach Altherias Warmley

On Kentucky’s play…
“We tried stopping in transition and passing forward. It didn’t matter. They are a strong team. They are stronger than us, they play with a lot more intensity than we did. We knew if we wanted to stay in the game we needed to do better.”

On the difference between Kentucky and Minnesota…
“Defensively, Kentucky is a different team than Minnesota. Kentucky put the pressure on us earlier than Minnesota. After we didn’t handle the pressure like we normally do, we didn’t respond the way we needed to.”

On the play of Whiquitta Tabor…
“She got frustrated early. She had seven turnovers at the half and that’s not typical of her. She is one who has an overall theme of being able to score from inside to outside, and get her teammates the ball. When she wasn’t able to do that early, I think that put a stop in her game. A lot of times your team goes as their leader goes. With her struggling early, it put more pressure on our freshmen who are still learning this level. I didn’t think we got contributions from our post players like we needed to.”