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Kentucky-Alabama Postgame Quotes




Jan. 23, 2014

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement ...
“You have to congratulate Alabama for playing really hard tonight. I thought their team really fought hard and as we let the game extend and they were able to stay in the game all night long. We just never could get enough separation. I thought we had maybe the momentum turned when we got it to an eight-point lead but they fought back hard and you have to give them credit for winning. Clearly we are struggling right now and need to find some way to right the ship and get back headed in the right direction. We need to get that way fast.”

On the team’s shooting from the field ...
“You just have to find some way to get in there and get tougher around the basket. There is a lot of traffic down there and you just have to find a way to make some buckets. You have to credit Alabama for playing hard and they really devoted a lot of people into the paint to stop us. We did, we had plenty of opportunities to make layups tonight and we didn’t. It is disappointing.”

On the team’s free throw shooting and if he will change the team’s routine ...
“We have been working hard on free throws because we have been so inconsistent with it. What you think about there is trying to get some repetition and trying to mix it up with game-like reps that we have tried to do and also just some repetition so they can get comfortable with their routine and build some confidence. We are not transferring that from practice to the game right now.”

On if he has ever been as frustrated with things he cannot control ...
“We needed to find some way to win the game and I just thought that if we could have done that no matter what was going on in the game, if you could just find some kind of energy to make some plays and get some stops. Clearly our offense wasn’t very good tonight, but still thought we could have played better defensively and worked harder there. It was just a tough, tough night for us. When we have played our best we have been able to hold our own at the 3-point stripe and make five or six of those in a game. If you could have gotten that to happen tonight you would have been OK. It is a tough go right now and there is just no other thing to do but to go back to work and fight your way out of it.”

On Samarie Walker fouling out late in the game ...
“Yeah, she was our most consistent performer tonight and really she made layups around the basket and had poise around the basket. She did a really good job there on the boards and was limited with her fouls. I wish she would not have fouled so much it could have made a big difference in the game. She certainly wasn’t the reason we didn’t play well.”

On calling for the team to have poise and if they are lacking poise ...
“I don’t know that we have been consistent with it. I just think that tonight we let a six-point lead feel like a 60-point lead. We just really could not get any kind of positive energy going for us. I just think the team has such great expectations on it and they are just not handling it really well right now. I am not doing a good job of helping them handle it. We have to find some way to fight back from this loss.”

On not trapping on the last play of the game ...
“It was a bad decision on my part, just plain and simple. Just a bad decision. It is just so dumb to do something like that when you have clearly been successful and they have not handled it well. But you go back to conventional wisdom of we are just going to match up here now and we were sort of desperate and needed to catch up. So now, you just feel like you can get one stop and we couldn’t. I really, really went against my gut there and that was a huge mistake because anybody watching the game knows we should have stayed in that defense because they were really, really struggling with that. That one is 100 percent on me and just a really, really bad coaching mistake.”

On where the team goes from here ...
“You just come back and practice really hard tomorrow and you get into one-game season mode and find a way to beat Arkansas. Listen, you can spend hours and hours running things through your head and trying to figure this out and that out and there is a bottom line. We will look at the film and there will be a lot of reasons why we lost the game. We will have to get back in here tomorrow and give them a good plan and find people that want to work hard and execute the plan on Sunday and just go win a game Sunday. Listen, we are 3-3 and that is not where anybody wanted to be after six games, but it is not 0-6 and it is certainly not time to start folding the tent up and saying the season is over. We just have to go back and win a game on Sunday and see if we can get that done. There is nowhere to go or nowhere to hide or no magic pill that we can take. We just need to come in and practice really hard tomorrow and practice really hard on Saturday and as a coach I have to find the right combination of people that will go in there and hustle on Sunday and battle our way towards a victory. That is pretty simple question there. We just have to go back to work and find a way to win on Sunday.”

On if the biggest difference between the team’s win at Alabama and the loss tonight was hustle ...
“Yeah, I thought that in Tuscaloosa we really hustled hard and we were able to score 82 points and able to put some pressure on them and sort of get some separation and get them down. We just couldn’t do that tonight. Defensively, we are just really struggling to set a tone with tempo and we played much faster and more energetic down there. They scored less points tonight, we were much more sharp and in-tune and hustled together a lot more. But our psyche was totally different at that point in time and pour psyche has taken a hit and you can’t stay down in that and keep talking about it. You just have to find a way to battle back and get a victory.”

On if he is trying to find players that are hustling and battling ...
“You just look at the tape tonight and see who practices hard tomorrow and Saturday. It is always an issue of who is going to play hard and that is your job as a coach is to make sure that you are doing a good job of setting a tone and having people really hustle.”

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#3 Janee Thompson, So., PG

On the biggest difference between the 20-point win at Alabama vs. tonight...
“I think that Alabama just came out ready to play. I really think they came out with a sense of urgency and they wanted to win that game really bad and that showed. I think that was the biggest difference for me in what I saw between the last game and us playing them tonight.”

On how to improve after the loss...
“Practice is the only place we can go. All we can do is just get back and practice and keep working hard. Try to come together and figure it out in practice.”

On taking the eight-point lead in the second half for granted...
“I don’t think we took anything for granted but I do think that we lost some mental focus and they were able to capitalize off of that offensively. We had some turnovers in that stretch and they created offense off of that.”

#23 Samarie Walker, Sr., F

On what the difference in the game was ...
“Alabama came out and wanted it a lot more. That showed more so down the stretch when we needed to get buckets and we needed to get stops.”

On struggling offensively to score ...
“We just had an off night. Their defense wasn’t doing anything differently than what we’ve seen before. I think we just had a really off night tonight.”

On if effort is an issue and how to correct those issues ...
“I don’t think there is an effort issue. I think everybody has their off days. Again, we have to get back in practice and find a good combination of people and win the game.”

Alabama Head Coach Kristy Curry

Opening Statement ...
“I am really proud of our ladies tonight. We were really fortunate to make a few plays down the stretch. Missed a bunch of free throws and turned (the ball) over, but I loved the way our kids stuck together. It’s definitely a learning process for us right now.”

On Shafontaye Myers not playing ...
“Disciplinary reasons.”

On Daisha Simmons playing in place of Myers ...
“I think it’s been a little bit of an adjustment for her. Your best player has to be your hardest worker. She is really learning to do that. She has to want the ball at critical times. I thought Daisha really grew tonight in that aspect. She wanted to take the last shot. It was a pretty smart shot down the stretch. She had a great angle. Another growth point for us is the way we played today.”

On holding her head in her hands on the last free throw ...
“We work on special situations daily in practice--down one, up one, special situations on the sidelines, press break. We feel like we prepare for those situations. They don’t always go the way you want. We work in pressure situations on free throws. We were 4-of-4 at the half and missed 10 in the second half. That’s an area we need to grow and get better in. Probably more just sending up a prayer there on that last free throw more than anything.”

On the differences between this game and the team’s last meeting in Tuscaloosa...
“I think the biggest thing today was defensively we contested shots better. I think they were 5-for-5 the first half in Tuscaloosa. We just weren’t very active. We had our hands down. Today I thought, defensively, we were forcing them to hit contested shots. That’s an area that we continue to try and grow in as well. We need to be consistent.”

On what the locker room was like after the game ...
“A lot of tears. They worked so hard. You’ve had those moments where it’s been a transition for them. You want to win every day. We are not going to settle for anything less than that, work ethic-wise. Consistency and all the things we are asking them to do have been an adjustment. I’m just proud for them. It’s what we expect as a staff. It’s all we know as a staff. Again, just happy for our kids. It’s definitely a step in the right direction. We can’t have one out of five (or) one out of four. Feel good for a day. Feel really good thinking about Ole Miss three games later. We can’t do that. We’ve got to grow up and realize at 12:01 we’ve got to let this go and refocus. So consistency in everything we do has got to get better. Sunday will be important for us. Let’s back this up.”


 

 

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