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Kentucky-South Carolina Postgame Quotes




Feb. 23, 2012

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement…
“I just want to say two things to start. I am really proud of the effort our kids gave and I have tremendous respect for South Carolina. They are a very tough basketball team. They are extremely well coached. They tried to attack every one of our weaknesses tonight. I just thought they played a fantastic game. Because of that, I couldn’t’ be prouder of our team. They certainly didn’t make it easy on us tonight. They challenged us in every way possible. This was a great victory for us and it was earned. It was tough and I’m proud of our team.”

On what the officials said regarding the shot clock violation/jump ball call…
“I didn’t listen to the details much when they said it was our ball. I’m not real sure. I think Samarie (Walker’s) shot hit the rim, remarkably. At that point in time when they blew the inadvertent whistle it [became] our ball.”

On Bria Goss’ technical foul…
“Just a freshman hustling and trying to play as hard as she could play. None of us in this room have been in that position for a while so it’s hard to throw stones at that kid. She felt awful about it. The only thing I was upset about was that I [told them to] let them roll it in and get back. She kept getting up like she wanted to guard the ball and I told her to get back and let them roll it in no problem. It’s five points. She dives on the floor and we were still in good shape until she made the ‘T’ sign. Then they T’d us.”

On the possibility of fouling in the back court…
“No, with three seconds we were not fouling.”

On staying undefeated at home…
“We talked about it in the press conference before the game of how important I think it is. I don’t put a lot of importance on a lot of stats. I’m not a big stats person. I’m am honesty, hard work, and discipline person. But I’m telling you, to me, that’s a really big accomplishment. There is no other team in our conference who went undefeated at home. It’s just a remarkable accomplishment playing the teams that we played here.”

On whether he was worried they would not get the ball back after the shot clock dilemma…
“Yes. I was very, very worried at that time. We had not been able to stop them. They are just so doggone tough. It’s just hard to describe. They are very, very tough. Coach (Dawn) Staley is an excellent coach and she just knows how to attach us. It was a tough game.”

On A’dia Mathies’ aggressiveness…
“Well we needed it so bad. They were putting so much pressure on her and they weren’t guarding other people. We just didn’t have a lot of other people step up early. I thought we had some kids really fight hard and make some plays a little bit later in the game. I was so proud of her. They gave her a lot of trouble tonight. They double-teamed her a lot. They sent two people to her. We were trying to play her at power forward and they recognized that and they knew the people they didn’t want to guard. It was good that she was aggressive. The big play was when they tried to press us and we attacked and laid it up there. That was a huge play because we were struggling to score in the half-court.”

On what the difference maker was in this game…
“Just our ability to overcome (what was) not our best night. I didn’t think we were as energetic as I expected us to be. It was really, really tough and physical. I felt like they were beating us to some loose balls the entire game. I think we were eventually making enough hustle plays and toughness plays. We never let down and stayed with it. I asked them three questions before the game: How hard are you willing to work? How tough can you be tonight? How much fun can we have? I don’t know the answer to number 3. I think we were very tough tonight and we worked really hard. I don’t think anything about that game was fun.”

On Bria Goss’ effort in the second half…
“Tremendous. She is really, really just playing so terrific for a freshman with so much on the line. She knows what’s on the line. As a coach it’s great to have someone that works that hard and embraces big moments like that.”

On Amber Smith’s performance…
“Not quite explosive. We tried to give her a go early but I didn’t see anything in her that was going to be a big factor in the game. I though Maegan (Conwright) did a really good job to overcome. She played poorer tonight than she did Monday night. Those two free throws at the end of the night were huge.”

On Samarie Walker’s effort on the defensive end…
“I wish we were a little deeper in the post because I would have subbed her. I think she got a little tired. It was hot in there tonight. She’s still developing as a defensive player. Coach (Shalon) Pillow has worked hard with her and she has improved. We just don’t have anyone else playing hard right now and we need to try and correct that.”

On getting a chance to win the SEC regular season title outright on Sunday …
“It wasn’t a real celebratory mood in the locker room. We just tried to get them focused now. They have worked so terribly hard. Now we are one game away. They need to control it. It we beat Mississippi State we are the champions. I just told the team, we have come too far now to let effort be an issue or let confidence be an issue. We are a phenomenal basketball team and we need to go prove it in Starkville. It’s a great opportunity for our program. A lot of hard work has gone into it and I’m real proud for these kids. It’s not over; we have to go earn it. Mississippi State is not going to give it to us. We have to go play 40 minutes and get a victory. We are going to work like heck to get that done.”

Kentucky Players

#4 Keyla Snowden, Senior, Guard

On what getting a share of the SEC title means …
“It means a lot. We are very glad that our hard work is going to pay off. It feels great to be a part of this team throughout the years.”

On Bria Goss’ timeout call in final seconds …
“She was just hustling. It was a hustle play. When you’re in the moment and the heat of the game, you just kind of react.”

On getting the win, yet not have a big night on the stats sheet …
“It doesn’t matter. When we look back at it 20 years from now, we are not going to be like ‘Oh I had such and such points.’ We are going to say we left this season undefeated (at home). I think that is most important.”

#1 A’dia Mathies, Junior, Guard

On what getting a share of the SEC title means …
“We are very fortunate. We have worked very hard to get where we are, and I think it shows how hard that we did work. There was a lot of tough games that we had, even at Rupp (Arena), which is kind of a neutral site to beat Duke. (But we also) beat Louisville, one of the top programs, and beat Tennessee. It shows us how hard we really did work in the offseason, especially for the seniors.”

On her performance tonight …
“I guess you could kind of say it was me being a little more aggressive. I made a couple of baskets early on, and I just kind of fed off of that and took what they gave me. When I wasn’t scoring, I was trying to tip a rebound, you know, make hustle plays. That was the main focus, trying to hustle out there.”

On what she is impressed with on the final box score …
“I’m impressed with the total points, and just that we could come out with a win. They outrebounded us, they got more points in the paint, same number of turnovers, more second-chance points, so they played a really good game.”

#13 Bria Goss, Freshman, Guard

On what getting a share of the SEC title means …
“We don’t want to stop here. We have other goals that we want to fulfill, so yeah they (Tennessee) lost, but we have another game on Sunday.”

On what the final play was with the timeout call …
“I was supposed to stay back, but I ended up coming up when they threw the ball, and I don’t know what I was thinking.”

On finishing undefeated at home …
“I couldn’t be happier for our seniors in their last year going undefeated (at home.) I play for our seniors and I want to get this done for our seniors and I put in work for our seniors. To see them go out on an undefeated home streak that’s really good.”

South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley

On the explanation she received regarding the shot-clock question with nine seconds remaining…
“They weren’t clear whether or not the ball hit the rim. The first shot did not hit the rim, the second shot grazed the rim and there was an inadvertent whistle and it went to the possession arrow and the possession arrow was Kentucky’s. It is what it is. At this point we just have to play the game. We’re just a small part of the game.”

On extra contact around the rim…
“It was going to be a physical game. We knew that coming in here. Our mindset was just making baskets, driving hard to the basket and put ourselves in a position where we can put Kentucky on their heels and give them a taste of their own medicine. We closed the gap from the first time that we played them, we took better care of the ball, we gave ourselves a shot to win the game and that’s all you can ask for.”

On the baseball pass on the final play…
“That is a play that we have been working on all season long. It is something that the cards have to line up and it’s got to be a perfect pass. We set it up to where if it was overthrow then Markeshia (Grant) would come in and pick it up but I don’t think she made a move for the ball.”

On Charenee Stephens stepping up today…
“I thought having a player down like (Aleighsa) Welch, she was our leading rebounder and gives us another threat out there from an offensive standpoint. I thought everybody came together. We missed her but we also put ourselves in a position to win the game. Charenee (Stephens) was great down there. I thought we could possibly give her the ball a little more but Kentucky did a great job of pressuring us and cutting down our vision.”

On Kentucky going 18-0 at home and how tough that is to do…
“It is surprising. They do a tremendous job of creating a home court advantage. When you come down here you know there will be a lot of people in the stands, a lot of blue in the stands and you have to be prepared for that. I thought we gave them a run, we had them on the ropes and gave them a run for their money and they did a good job of protecting their home court.”

On A’dia Mathies…
“(A’dia) Mathies is an incredible player, anytime you have somebody that can create their own shot. Then they play her at a post position, she creates a mismatch. She could probably score 30 points easily every single night but what makes her really good is she has great court vision, she can shoot the ball, she can shoot it off the bounce, just a really tough matchup for us no matter where she is playing on the floor.”

South Carolina Players

#11 La’Keisha Sutton, Senior, Guard

On shooting the technical free throws with 3.1 seconds left…
I had been in that position before so I wasn’t nervous or worried about it. I knew I had to make my free throws for my team.”

On the inbounds play after the technical foul shots…
“It was a good play. Coach (Dawn Staley) drew it up in practice. I was trying to get it over (Samarie) Walker but she is a lot taller than me.”

#12 Charenee Stephens, Senior, Forward

On playing against Kentucky’s forwards…
“Going into the game, we had watched them and were prepared. We knew how serious it was coming in here and we knew we had to keep them off the boards, work hard and make hustle plays.”

On having to play Thursday in the SEC Tournament…
“Honestly, we’re going to take it one game at a time. We’re going to come in with the same work ethic every day and practice hard. Whoever we face, we are going to give them a run.”

On having one final home game…
“We need to win. La’Keisha (Sutton) and I talked before the game and said we will not be in this position again. I think we understand that, although we came up short tonight. Sunday will be a good game and we will show that the seniors want to go out with a bang.”


 

 

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