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Kentucky-LSU Postgame Quotes




Feb. 2, 2014

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement ...
“Great victory for us today. Really proud of the players, they did a lot of work between Friday afternoon when we met up for practice and this afternoon at Noon for the tip. They really worked hard and did a lot of soul searching and changed their attitude from Thursday night and that is not easy to do. Significant victory for us over a very, very good basketball team so I am really proud about this one.”

On the intensity of the team and winning 50-50 balls today ...
“Yeah, that is what I am so proud of and that is just an attitude change. The players really understanding how important that is and when we have suffered defeats we haven’t had that. It is really important that we come up with 50-50 balls and that means that we are hustling. We have really just talked about how we did things was going to be more important than what we did today. We really tried to focus on that. What you can see that shine through is those hustle plays and those effort plays.”

On the entire team contributing today ...
“Yeah, I think it is very important for where we are right now. You just have to recognize that after eight games and halfway through the first half of the season, we were not where we wanted to be or not where anybody expected us to be. These are really good players. They are good young women and they want to win and couldn’t quite figure out why we couldn’t get it going. I think a team victory really helps them come together and understand that no one person is going to dig us out of this hole. It is going to take the team. It is like I told them, the only way to stop a nightmare is to wake up. You have to wake up, open your eyes and see clearly what is in front of them. It is really, really important that everybody is involved in that. Nobody is going to put a cape on and be Superwoman and come through and save us. Everybody has to do their part and I think it is a great, great team victory today.”

On the team’s post defense ...
“They got to the rim some, but it was hurried and they were bothered. What we had been giving up was just lob, layup, no problem. Today, there was a scramble in there and they missed some at the rim, but I thought we had some effect on them because of the way we were hustling and deflecting the basketball and they didn’t know exactly where it was coming. One time, (Shanece) McKinney had the ball down and Jen got in there and she got it out from Jen, but missed a really close shot. I thought just our activity and our effort level and our energy was very important. We emphasized how important (post defense) was going to be today. They couldn’t lob the ball over us, it needed to be really tough passes in there and for the most part I thought we did a good job.”

On Bria Goss ...
“Well, she wants to win and she works really hard and she certainly doesn’t play every play perfectly, but she wants to win and is a competitor and she will shake off mistakes better than anybody we have on our team and that is a great quality. Especially in this game that was so important against such a good team. You get up 15 and they come storming back and everybody is worried about it. And can we win the game? We don’t want to lose and all of that starts setting in. You need to be able to have somebody like her that can shake it off. Missed a wide open layup there that probably would have iced it but then she got fouled again and made those two and didn’t worry about that and keeps playing. It is an important quality to have and demonstrate and it’s really good for our team.”

On the work the team did between Thursday and today ...
“Friday, was mental. We didn’t take the floor Friday. We just sat in a room and weren’t leaving until we got some things straightened out about how we are going to move forward. I am telling you, this is not a physical thing. It is mental. It is a mindset. I was really, really proud of the team. We watched film and it was very critical and there was a lot of criticism in the film session and it was not pretty Thursday night. Really proud of the team that everybody engaged in that process. People talked that probably didn’t want to. Then we had to go twice yesterday because we didn’t get to practice Friday. There was no use to practice Friday until we figured out a way forward. Yesterday was a double session and very, very important. Two great practices yesterday. I am just so proud of them for pulling together and getting this victory. This was one of the top teams in the country and are not playing particularly well right now and we have to find ourselves and to gut this one out and find a way to win is huge.”

On Makayla Epps’ play ...
“She responded to film session. It was not pleasant for her Friday because she has been a non-factor. She just catches the ball and looks for somebody to pass it to. She is unbelievably talented and strong and skilled and gifted and was just doing nothing for us. I think she probably did one of the best jobs I have ever seen a freshman just really, really getting taking to task in a film session and actually showing up the next day and trying to correct it. That is all she did. In the first half, I pulled her right back out because she was doing the same stuff of catching it and looking back up to the top of the floor and give it up to somebody else. She didn’t do that in the second half. Really had a crucial offensive board that we were able to get a bucket on and then her seven points, it was a seven-point game so that tells you how big it was. She changed her attitude Friday night when she went home and thought about it and came back Saturday a different player.”

On if the team is out of woods yet ...
“No. No. No. We are working hard and in the woods right now trying to get through some briar patches and get some machetes out and hack our way through. We are not even close to being out of the woods yet. We have a lot of work to do. Go Broncos! Hey, my man Tamme. Here we go right here. That is what we got today now. Broncos, here we go!”

Kentucky Student-Athletes

# 23 Samarie Walker, Sr., C

On the team’s meeting on Friday ...
“Friday was intense even though we didn’t get on the court. It was kind of like a tell-all meeting. He (Coach Mitchell) was being very open and honest with us. We were being very open and honest with him. We talked about what we felt like we needed to do as a team to move on from the past and get some wins the rest of the season. I think it helped us a lot, and the next day when we did take the court you could tell it was a change.”

On being relieved to have beaten such a good LSU team ...
“I think it’s definitely a confidence-booster. It’s something we’ve been working on in practice as well, building confidence in ourselves and each other. I think it’s definitely going to help us moving forward and also using it as a learning experience.”

#13 Bria Goss, Jr., G

On beating LSU as a step toward getting “out of the woods” ...
“It’s just all about being consistent. This game was a really good game for us. It looked like we were back to Kentucky’s way of playing. It won’t mean anything if we go back to being down and low energy. Like you said, it’s just a big step and we’re just going to keep it rolling from here.”

On the team’s change in mindset ...
“I know for me personally just seeing my teammates going hard, going 100 percent really gets me going. I really think that just starts with the ball and our defense. Janee Thompson did a really good job at the beginning getting us going, which led to easy buckets on the other end. Just playing for each other.”

On the importance of getting points off turnovers ...
“Really important. We’re going to have off nights, but we should never have an off defensive night. We can bring our defense 100 percent of the time. Just relying on our defense is going to get us to the next step. We’re just going to come back to practice, and keep going hard, and see where it takes us.”

#0, Jennifer O’Neill, Jr., PG

On the team’s change in mindset ...
“I think the intensity carries over from practice. We’ve been going cut throat, really going at each other one-on-one. We have a lot of drills where you play for the team you’re on. We just wanted to bring that to the court today. We were at home, and really wanted to get this win so we just came out with a lot of fire because of the way we’ve been practicing.”

On Makayla Epps responding on the court after the team meeting on Friday ...
“I think she carried over her work-ethic from practice into the game. She wasn’t trying to step outside her role, she was trying to do the things she was doing in practice like attacking the basket, trying to look to get the ball inside to the post and all the things she was doing in practice. It carried over to the game, so I think him (Coach Mitchell) telling her what he wanted and needed kind of made her realize she needed to step her game up. That’s what she did at practice. She wants her teammates to know they can trust her. She just tried to show that today.”

LSU Head Coach Nikki Caldwell

Opening statement ...
“I feel as though we had two teams that competed and played really hard. Kentucky did a nice job of executing their game plan. They are one of the best teams as far as their transition game. They did a nice job of capitalizing on our turnovers. Obviously when we look at our game, what we needed to do was take care of the basketball. That was a big issue, and then a lot of missed layups.”

On the differences between the two halves ...
“We talked about the fact that there are two areas that are causing us trouble. That’s us not taking care of the basketball. I thought we needed to be more aggressive off the bounce. I thought (Raigyne) Moncrief really set the tone for us in doing so. And then we needed to get back and be able and set our five defense. When we were able to do so, that disrupted their offensive execution.”

On if she thought that LSU would be more dominant inside ...
“Yes, I thought we could establish our inside attack. We did not want to settle for jumpers. I thought also we had some really good looks, but like I said earlier, we’ve got to make layups. When you’re on the road, you can’t miss those because you don’t get them that often. We didn’t capitalize in the paint like we should have.”

On anything different in person from UK today than she saw on film ...
“I think the one thing about Kentucky, and it’s been a staple of Matthew (Mitchell) is that he relies on his defense. They did a nice job of disrupting us. By doing so, it allowed them to get those transition baskets. This league is tough. It’s competitive and I think we are seeing that across the board. We talk about this as coaches, but we have a tendency within the SEC to beat up on each other. But again, I think that Matthew will get them going. I think that they are a team worth mentioning when you say who’s the champion is this year. I think it’s up for grabs.”

LSU Student-Athletes

#11 Raigyne Moncrief, Fr., G

On Kentucky’s defense ...
“Kentucky was defensively awesome at home. They put pressure on us and spread us out. Like Coach said, we can’t pick and choose when we want to come and play.”

On Kentucky’s pressure defense compared to what she expected ...
“We already knew they were going to come and press us. We prepared for it, we just didn’t come ready to play at all, especially in the first half.”

On the differences in the two halves ...
“We handled the pressure better. Defensively, we made things happen and we got some stops. We executed things that coach drew up for us. I wish we did that in the first half. I think the game would have been different.”

On her play in the second half leading the push back ...
“Coach just told me to push the ball, push the ball. I had help-side defense when I got past my man, and I figured I was going to kick it out to my shooter or go all the way to the hole.”


 

 

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