Kentucky-Louisville Postgame Quotes

Dec. 20, 2009

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement ...

"I just left a really happy group of Wildcats in the locker room and I just couldn't be more pleased and proud of them. They absolutely earned a big victory today. They played with incredible enthusiasm, incredible energy and incredible effort. It was a really good day for our team and I am really happy for them. They worked extremely hard as a team. They may not be the best in the country, but they are a team that really tries their best every day. I am proud of them and it was a good win for us."

On breaking the streak against Louisville ...

"It is a good win. We had lost five in a row to them and we tried not to talk about that this week. This edition (the 2009-10 team) had never lost to them and they didn't need to carry the baggage of the previous five teams. We just needed to play our game. Clearly, it is a rivalry game and our players were so focused and determined all week and I felt good going into the game that they were going to give a great effort. I didn't know what the outcome was going to be, but certainly I was confident that they were going to give their very best for our program. That is a positive step for us."

On Kentucky's defense ...

"As we were preparing for the game we thought that they had the advantage with size and strength. Our plan was to try to take advantage of our speed, quickness and athleticism. Our team works very hard every day on defensive fundamentals and footwork and today we were able to get some good traps. It was tough on Louisville today. Our players did the best job all year of staying in a stance and staying in defensive position. Those things allowed us to turn them over. We knew, coming in, that we needed to create a lot of turnovers to be successful."

On what this win against Louisville means as far as letting him know that they can compete with anyone ...

"I have thought all season long, and I think that if a person was to come and watch us play (they would think the same thing), that it wasn't like we were playing bad teams and beating them by six or seven points. We have been in the right position on defense and we have given consistent energy. I was not concerned about making any type of statement today. Instead, I wanted to continue forward with being the type of basketball team that we need to be. We are happy as heck to win, because it is a rivalry game and I am just pleased with the player's effort. I am not for sure when people will think that we are good or if they do now. I am not concerned about that. There is a simple formula that we have to follow to be successful and that is what we will keep doing."

On if this is the best personnel that he has had to match that formula ...

"Yes, I think so. I think that is evident if you have watched the teams play. Our first two teams here, worked really hard and I am really proud of those players. Our team this year has a little different personality and that is because the players allow us to do that. Listen, to play the way that our players play, you have to work extremely hard not only in the gym (on gameday), but you have to work extremely hard every day fundamentally. I will tell you, if you want to come watch a team practice hard, our group gets after it every day in defensive fundamentals. Hopefully, that will continue to allow us to be successful. We have a long way to go, though."

On the best start in program history ...

"We are so happy to be 10-0. I am happy for the players. They just work so hard and the team that played today was prepared. They were prepared and had gotten themselves into a position to play well. We will try to make it 11-0 on Tuesday (vs. UT-Martin) and try to keep it going. Anytime that you do something that had never been done it is special. It is something that we will talk about more at a season wrap-up or something like that. I am happy for the players. I have never seen us, since I have been here, as focused and intent on getting the job done like we did this week. They put in the time and effort and it paid off today."

Kentucky Players 

#5, Carly Morrow

On the excitement of this win...

"We were just excited to get the win. We want to continue focusing on what we are doing which is playing good defense, pushing the ball in transition and playing together as a team. This is a good team win for us as well as for our program. This game builds confidence for us as we go in to our next games. We are trying to focus in on what we really do best. I think we did that today."

On being surprised about the large margin of victory...

" When we got up half way through the second half we knew we had to keep going. You never know what is going to happen at any time. The only thing on our mind was to keep pushing, turning turnovers into points, and making free throws. We did not shoot well on free throws today, so we need to focus in on that. It is a 40-minute game, but we came out on top and we were not surprised."

On having room for improvement...

"We have a lot of room for improvement. We missed a ton of layups and free throws today. That comes down to focus. There is a lot of room for improvement especially over Christmas break and that is what we are trying to work on the most."

#24, Amber Smith

On their defense in today's game...

"We got out there for 40 minutes, because we were not satisfied after the first 20 minutes when we forced over 20 turnovers. We went back out in the second half. Even though we started out kind of sluggish, we got back in to what we were doing which was being intense on the defensive end. That is how we got our lead. We stick with what we know best."

On being surprised about the large margin of victory...

" I was not surprised because of how hard we practiced. The word of the week was focus. Coach Mitchell gave us that word after our last game. He told us it was not about what Louisville was going to do but what we were going to do today. I love my teammates and I had all the confidence in them so I was not surprised by the outcome at all."

On Crystal Riley's play...

"I was not worried about her. She was a little nervous, but she was definitely happy to be out there. I did not think it was a let-down when she got in the game. I thought she came in and led the team. I was happy for her to be able to get on the court. It was nice to be able to get a break and have another true point guard. She did great and I think she will continue to do great."

On a 10-0 start to the season, the best in the program's history...

" It means a lot to our team. We do not want to dwell on it. Like Coach Mitchell always says, `We do not win a trophy for being 10-0." So, we are trying to improve and become 11-0. That is what we are trying to focus on now for our next game. It means a lot to this program and making our fans happy is what we want to do. The crowd today was great and very loud. We certainly appreciate everyone who came to today's game."

#34, Victoria Dunlap

On coming back from a concussion...

"It felt good to be out there with my teammates. It was weird after being away from practice for a few days, but I got back into the swing of things. I loved being able to run up and down the court with my teammates today."

On the importance of beating Louisville...

"It was very important. The seniors, Lydia Watkins and Amani Franklin, had never beaten Louisville since they have played here. We played for them today and for this program. We came out to show people how hard we play and how well we play defense. It felt good to beat Louisville because they are our rival, but it was just another win and we have to keep coming back out and playing hard every game."

On how good this team is...

"I think we are really good. We play great defense together. If people see how hard we play they will understand as well. We have a great confidence. That was one of the first things Coach Mitchell told us before the game. Since he has such confidence in us to play hard and use our defense, we have that same confidence."

Louisville Head Coach Jeff Walz

On the loss to Kentucky...

"We were absolutely terrible today. Since we lost our two point guards, we have been trying to find something to help us get the ball cross half court and make the next pass. When we watched (Kentucky) on film, we knew they were going to come out and pressure us. We prepared for it, but unfortunately we didn't handle it well. When you turn it over 38 times, it's pretty impressive. It's hard to do it much more."

On Louisville...

"We do two things very well right now, that's foul and turn the ball over. I think in fouls-per-game, we are second or third in the country. Not for the least, but for the most. We have got to find an answer for it and a lot of it is just want. You have just got to want to move your feet. You have got to want to defend. We have a lot of talent, but we have to get them to start playing at that next level. Last year we had two great seniors who helped our freshmen. Now, I've got freshman and sophomores who don't have that senior and junior to lean back on and say, this is how things are done."

On Kentucky...

"I'm really impressed because they are getting the ball to their best player. In the past two years, everybody was taking eight to 10 shots, and their best player wasn't getting it. Now Victoria Dunlap is demanding the ball and they are throwing it to her. It makes it easier for everybody else. You can't play her one-on-one, and she's as good as any post player we have played all year. She is fantastic. Then you have Amber Smith who has come into her own with Carly (Morrow). It's a very good junior class. (Amber Smith) runs that team. She gets the ball to the right people, she knows when to attack and she knows when to pull back."

Louisville Players

#11, Becky Burke

On the loss to Kentucky...

"It is frustrating, because we see how much talent we have in the locker room. I'm going to do anything I can for our team to win, but it's me too though. It's just really frustrating right now and we need to get it together soon.'