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Kentucky-Ole Miss Postgame Quotes




Feb. 13, 2014

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement …
“Well, that was a good win for us tonight. I was really proud of the players for coming out, playing an up-tempo game and scoring a bunch of points. Making tempo a factor in the game, we knew that would be important. Ole Miss has a really big, tough team for us to guard. Valencia McFarland makes so many things happen and the way that we play defense, you have a point guard that can really keep the ball in her hands and it’s hard to get it out of her hands. She just made a lot happen tonight. (Tia) Faleru, getting to the line so much, was real difficult situation for us too. They played hard and really pushed us. We had to play really, really tough to win and I’m real happy with the result.”

On DeNesha Stallworth’s performance …
“I thought she was really aggressive and we did a decent job in the second half of finding her and getting her the ball. We need to get her the ball a little bit more because we’re missing her, but just the effort and the willingness to go to the boards is important. It’s being talented and being able to get up there and have strong hands. Rebounding with two hands in this game was real, real tough because those kids for Ole Miss really go to the boards hard, they’re aggressive and they play extremely hard. It was tough in the paint tonight.”

On how they have improved …
“I just thought that we – two things – we handled adversity better tonight. We weren’t always really sharp, but we were able to make some runs and when the energy dropped, we were able to get it back and recreate it. I think that’s because more people played well tonight and played with some pop and pep in their step so that helped us. Then, just shooting the ball. Shooting the ball helps you a whole lot, instead of 2-for-16 from the 3. We were 8-of-16 from the 3 and everybody just gets fired up. Everybody gets going. Also, we were able to drive the ball tonight effectively and get to the line. We just hadn’t been getting to the line very much, we’d been trying to get to the goal, we just hadn’t been able to get the line very much, and we were able to do that tonight. We just need to play with a lot of confidence and fire offensively. If people score on us, we need to run it right back at them and make tempo a factor. I thought we were able to do that tonight.”

On their offensive and defensive performance …
“Offense was better tonight clearly. You don’t score 108 in an SEC game and not have worked hard to get some baskets. Offense, you look across the board, we had a pretty consistent night there. It’s just Coach Insell did a really great job with his game plan and his offense. They just make so many great plays out of the ball screen and gave us some trouble there. Then I thought defensively, we’ve got to find somebody. Samarie (Walker) is usually that person, but she got saddled with foul trouble. If Samarie is out, we have to find someone who will step up, meet the challenge like Tia Faleru and really work hard. At some point, you have to call timeout and say it’s a point of personal pride. We have to get up here and compete harder and Samarie went in there, got some steals and hustled. The only problem I had on defense, I thought the ball screen defense was a little shaky and I didn’t think we met the one-on-one challenge that was created by Faleru. She’s a really active and energetic player. Offense was really good, defense we can get better.”

On DeNesha Stallworth and Jennifer O’Neill playing well at the same time …
“Yeah, I think it’s important enough to have a paint presence to open it up a little bit. The thing that you can do if you have two people going like that is you can try and get them on one side of the floor and try and make somebody make a decision. If people try and scheme that, then you have capable players on the other side of the floor. So, it really does help. It helps when DeNesha (Stallworth) is at full strength. I want her to get back to blocking shots and being a defensive presence in the lane defensively. She looks a lot better offensively. That is something we missed for a while, so that’s a big key. Jennifer doesn’t have to score 27 every night, but she’s got to try and get 27 every night. Her mentality needs to be one of aggressiveness and attack and it’s just such a big difference when she does what she did tonight. Those aren’t any different opportunities than we create in the other games. She really asserted herself tonight, and I think that’s important for our team.”

On the importance of Jennifer O’Neill’s offense to this team …
“It’s big; I think it’s important for all of us no matter what we’re doing and no matter what we’re engaged in. When we are able to see some accomplishment, it has to make us confident. That’s what I try and explain to her. You have to manufacture something. You have to do something to give yourself confidence, and it’s more her mentality, I’m telling you. She’s a kid that I really have to spend a lot of time and talk too. I’ve spent a lot of time with her the last couple of days and I’ve really stuck with it. That was better tonight. And then you see the play where she throws it away and then she goes up and grabs a kid – it’s just not a real good play for us. You have to find a way to really get to her mentality and make sure she’s processing things right. When she does, you saw the result. It was good. The result was good. It was a good result.”

On the fans giving Matt Insell a warm welcome back …
“(They) should have. I wasn’t focused on it, but I was waiting on it because I clapped with them. The guy is a dear friend of mine. He has contributed so much of my life and he’s contributed so much to this program. A lot of the kids running around out there playing ball tonight, he had a huge hand in convincing them to come to Kentucky. They should have given him an ovation and they did. That just shows you the class of our fans. They are aware and he is very much appreciated. He will build a great program at Ole Miss.”

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#00 Jennifer O’Neill, PG

On how it felt to come out and play well against Ole Miss…
“It was fun. It was exciting to see that we could get back to playing like we did before. We still have a lot to work on but it was good to get a win.”

On if she knew she was going to have a good game…
“My teammates did a good job of finding me and I was getting a lot of rhythm shots. I was able to get my momentum going and just kept playing.”

On if DeNesha Stallworth having a good game in the post impacted her ability to get open shots…
“Our coaches always tell us to get the ball in the post. We try to play inside-out, but sometimes we miss the post. It was good because she was the main focus and I was able to get open easier. She did a great job being aggressive. That is something that she has been doing in practice and it is showing in her game. ”

#13 Bria Goss, G

On the efficiency of the team when they have good inside and outside play…
“Really, really strong, just having that inside presence and from a guard position and having that presence. We’re hard to beat when we bring it every game like that and I think that they both (DeNesha and Jennifer) had fantastic games. I think we’re going to feed off of what they did tonight and roll into practice tomorrow ready to go.”

#11 DeNesha Stallworth, F

On how it felt to win in convincing fashion…
“It felt really good, just getting our confidence back and us just having fun again. Just us having fun and believing in one another, it just felt fantastic especially going into the next game against Tennessee.”

On how she feels on almost being back to full strength…
“One hundred percent, I felt really good. I think I was a big piece that we were missing and it’s not all on me. I think we all have our little parts as a team but it just feels good to be back out there playing hard and playing with a purpose, it’s just feels really good to get a win.”

Ole Miss Head Coach Matt Insell

Opening Statement …
“First off, I would like to say thank you to the Kentucky fans. It really meant a lot to me the ovation they gave me before the game. It speaks volumes for the support that they have for this program. I really want to thank them. I would also like to give credit to Kentucky. I said in a statement in one of the papers, ‘Matthew will figure this out’ and he will figure this out. They’re starting to come together. The last game, I thought they played well against Florida. He didn’t get the result he wanted. I thought they played well today and they are getting better and better. We got beat by a really good basketball team today. We’ll go back to Oxford and figure out where we made mistakes and fix those mistakes. I’m proud of my kids for continuing to fight. Tia Faleru (did well) on the road against some really good post players, 31 (points) and 16 (rebounds). She’s a good player and she’s getting better every day. I am proud of her for that. We’ll go back and figure this out and get better. Full credit to Kentucky. They have got a really good basketball team. Look for them to make some noise as the tournaments come on.”

On how much better Kentucky is when DeNesha Stallworth is playing well …
“DeNesha Stallworth is one of the best players in the country. Pre-injury everyone was saying, ‘Kentucky is going to go to the Final Four.’ Kid has an injury. It takes a lot of players some time to come back from injury. Tia (Faleru) broke her finger right before SEC play and struggled playing and is just starting to come back to her own. It’s (taken) DeNesha a little time to get back. DeNesha’s injury was a knee injury. That’s harder than a hand injury because now you aren’t running; you’re getting yourself out of shape. She is starting to play herself back into shape. They’re real good when DeNesha Stallworth plays. They’re real good when Jennifer O’Neill plays. You get both of those clicking together on the same night—like they had tonight—that’s a team that has a chance to play in Nashville. Tia would even say that. We’ve played everyone in the league now. The way they played tonight, I would think they’re one of the better teams in the league. Wouldn’t you?”

On second half adjustments …
“I think they tried to do it the whole game. Big play in the game was to end the half down seven. Everything was going our way. They were a little frustrated. That’s what we were trying to do by switching our defense. We had the tempo we wanted. We gave up a jump shot there to end the half. They came back to start the second half with a little more emotion that we came out with as a group which allowed them to get a little lead. We cut it back to 12 or 14 there. We give up a layup and then one of our players has a frustration technical. That’s a huge turning point. I think they make a 3 right after that. They did nothing different in the second half than they did in the first half. Valencia (McFarland) is a great point guard. They guarded her with two. They were trying to get into her legs just like everyone tries to get into her legs. She has to play 40 minutes a night for us. That’s just where we’re at. We don’t have a lot of depth and that kills us. Her going 40 (minutes) and them trying to get into her legs is a good strategy for them, but nothing different in the second.”

On the crowd’s reaction to his introduction …
“I wasn’t expecting that. I didn’t know what to expect. I thought they might boo me. I don’t know if everyone is mad at me for leaving. I don’t really know. I told Tia (Faleru) they may boo me when they announce my name, but they cheered for me. That was a special moment for me. This is a special place that I put a lot of sweat into. This is a place that we are moving our program in the same process that we had here five or six years ago. We are at the beginning stages (like) when Matthew (Mitchell) and I both got here six or seven years ago or whenever that was. For the fans to cheer for that was special. It was a real special moment for me for their sign of respect there. There are a lot of really nice people in this area. I respect Kentucky’s program. We are trying to get our program to that level. We are trying to get our program to the top of the SEC. We are working hard every day on our recruiting. We are working every single day to get players to come in here and do the exact same thing they are doing. (We’re) stacking our roster and building our depth on the roster. It was a real special moment. It hit me there for a couple seconds and then it hit me that I need to get Tia Faleru the ball and that’s what we did. I was real happy with that. (She) didn’t come to the bench and tell me to throw (her) the ball tonight, which is good. That happens quite a bit too.”

Ole Miss Student-Athlete

#32 Tia Faleru, F

On getting a career high number of rebounds tonight …
“Rebound and scoring—I haven’t really been struggling with that. I just knew my team needed me tonight. I just had to do whatever I had to do. That was rebounding. That was getting a bucket when we needed a bucket. That’s what I had to do.”

On if she has been to the free-throw line that many times in a game …
“No, not that many times. Mississippi State I went to the line quite a bit. No, not 23 times. Coming into the game, Coach said they were going to be very foul prone. They are going to be tough getting contact. That’s what I tried to do. I couldn’t get as many and-one’s as I wanted but I got to the free throw line to give my team a chance to win the game.”


 

 

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