Women's Basketball
InteractiveTwitterFacebook
Kentucky-Tennessee Postgame Quotes




March 3, 2013

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes |  AP Photo Gallery  |  Photo Gallery 

Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening statement …
"It was a great, great day for us. I can't tell you how important it was for us to send A'dia (Mathies) and Brittany (Henderson) off the floor of Memorial Coliseum with a victory. They have meant so very much to our program. Kentucky looks a lot different than it did four years ago. I thought the team really understood that those two deserved to leave here with a victory and they poured their heart and soul into the preparation. I thought they played with tremendous intensity and passion today and when we do that we are a good basketball team. I'm real grateful for the players for making that kind of an effort and making it a special day on senior day."

On Tennessee struggling to get into a rhythm of any sort …
"I just thought it was our ability to pressure their ball handlers. They have a lot of talented players. And they have a lot of talented players that swing small forward to power forward and not so many guards. Our game plan coming in was that we thought (Ariel) Massengale, (Kamiko) Williams and (Meighan) Simmons were their ball handlers. Their ability to try and wear them down and play a 94-foot game was really important for us. Our ability to prepare and being energetic and excited, and we had quality depth today. You know, you can have a lot of players on your bench, but if they don't come and play hard, you don't really have depth. I thought our depth was quality and I thought it was able to wear Tennessee down."

On the growth of the program …
"I have said many times I am real fortunate to be in this position and coach at Kentucky. It's a very, very special place to coach basketball. I am a person that is blessed by God to be here and that we have had the time to build something. Mr. (Mitch) Barnhart, Dr. Lee Todd for hiring me, and Dr. (Eli) Capilouto lets us continue to work to make this a program people can be proud of. I am really blessed and fortunate to be at Kentucky and I am just excited about this team and this win today."

On how the seniors have changed the program …
"The first thing you have to look at is the players have worked real hard and done a great job. Certainly there are a lot of people that have done so much work to make it all possible. We are real fortunate to have good people here at Kentucky."

On if Tennessee clinching the title Thursday concerned him about motivation …
"I was concerned because we didn't win the title. I was very disappointed by that. I was very sad about that. We desperately wanted to win the title. But, as far as motivation, I was not concerned about that because of A'dia Mathies and Brittany Henderson. I just made it very clear that nothing was acceptable today but victory for those two kids. They deserved – I don't know if deserved is the right word – I just greatly wanted them to leave with a victory. Nobody wanted to be around me today if we lost, I can tell you that. These kids have worked hard and they have busted their tail, and they came here when we were selling a dream and now they have made it a reality that we can talk about – we can be a good program and we can be a good team. I wasn't in the mood for anything but a victory today."

On what he told A'dia Mathies as she walked off the court …
"Thanks. I told her thank you for everything that she has done for this program and how proud I was of her. That's the biggest thing I can say to A'dia Mathies, is thank you for coming to Kentucky and thank you for being who you have been and thank you for growing as a young woman and being a spectacular basketball player that has really injected some life into this basketball program. I am just full of gratitude for both of those kids."

On the importance of Azia Bishop's two baskets at the end of the half …
"I thought we were really dominating the game in the first half and I thought Tennessee was very fortunate for the margin to be four at halftime. In a way, we were fortunate because we looked like we were going to give it away and maybe they might go into halftime leading. I thought we sort of stubbed our toe a few times on plays that we could have made and if we could have made them, we could have really stretched the lead out. I thought it was good to say we came in with a four-point margin, but Azia (Bishop) did a good job. We were just trying to make certain they knew at halftime that if you would just settle down and stay on the attack that it did not appear that we failed to get good shots. We were getting great shots, we just weren't making a lot of them. That can be frustrating. That can put you in a dangerous place against a talented team like Tennessee. You crack the door open after you dominated the half and it's just four at halftime. You may be thinking they think they have a chance to come out and get a lead in the second half. But, I really thought the start of the second half was the critical part of the game."

On the quick start forcing UT to play from behind …
"I thought the players played really hard. Tennessee had 19 turnovers at the half. That is a whole lot of turnovers. That's a lot of turnovers in one game. I thought the players really worked hard, played with a lot of tenacity and our defense was working today."

On the matchups inside …
"I thought we had some advantages there at times. I didn't think we used it much in the first half, but I thought in the second half that was key. We really got together at halftime and talked as a staff as to how we thought we could go inside. We were getting a lot of wide-open jumpers, but when those aren't falling, kids can get discouraged. We made a concerted effort to get into the paint early and I thought the players did a great job. I thought the players did a great job on the offensive boards at some critical times. I thought Tennessee was making a bit of a run, so one of those put-backs when we were struggling to score kind of settled us back down. So, I thought both of those kids really played well. We need them to play well, they are great players."

On trying to get the seniors off at the end of the game …
"There was some confusion there. It was a bad job by me. A lot of you guys know me. I am not the smartest, sharpest guy around. I was trying to work that out, so we had to get her back in the game. Just a disaster (smiling). I can't sub nearly as well as she can play. It was a bit of an embarrassing moment for the coach, not for A'dia. We were glad we got her off the court. What can I tell you? It was a bad, bad effort on my part and I will have to do better next year. We have a lot more people to get off the court next year so I don't know how we will handle that. I was screaming foul them, anything. I was just trying to get the game to stop. So then Matt Insell gets an assist for the game. He was like 'Coach, you know you can just rotate them out.' Let's give coach an assist for helping him get the seniors off the court."

On not having to play until Friday in Duluth …
"We will just try and give them a couple of days off. We just had a murderous second half of the SEC schedule. I mean we had to play five of the last seven on the road. I could tell you a few more things about that, but it was a very difficult schedule down the stretch. We were disappointed not to win the championship, but I thought the players played reasonably well and they need a couple days off here to get energetic and energized and try to go win a championship in Duluth."

On the turnover goal entering the game …
"The turnover goal in the SEC is 25 turnovers and 25 points off those turnovers, so we did a good job today. They will get to go to Dairy Queen."

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#11, DeNesha Stallworth, Jr., C

On what the seniors meant to the program…
"They are extremely important. Coach Mitchell has stated when he was speaking that nobody really cared if they won or lost in Memorial. The fact that they started off and now we take it really serious. We just thank them for getting the program started at Kentucky and that Kentucky wouldn't be who Kentucky is today without A'dia (Mathies) and Brittany (Henderson)."

#1, A'dia Mathies, Sr., G

On the importance of tonight's win…
"It was great today. We went out there and wanted to win with a purpose. They wanted to see me out the right way. I think we definitely did that today. We came out with great energy and effort. We just decided to get a win in Memorial Coliseum for the last time."

On her play against Meighan Simmons…
"I don't think I did anything unparticular. I just wanted to be out there and play aggressive. The fact that I denied her the ball and let her get it in the first place, I think that's the big thing. I just tried to keep the ball out of her hands. I tried to force her left because if she goes right with any kind of speed she can go past anybody. It was definitely a team effort. I remember Janee (Thompson) took a charge when they beat me off the dribble, things like that. It's definitely a team effort."

On making Matthew Mitchell being the winningest coach at Kentucky with a win against Tennessee…
"He is very passionate and he really loves his job and being here at Kentucky. To get a win on senior night, and it being our last night against a rivalry team, I think it was meant to be. It happened and we're just glad we got it done tonight."

On walking off the Memorial court one last time…
"It felt great, especially since it was with a victory. In front of so many fans that care about us and support us. I'm glad we got the victory. It means a lot to me and I'm glad we can walk out of Memorial Coliseum with a win."

On the culture of Kentucky basketball changing in her four seasons…
"It's definitely changed. We when got here, we would do fundraising things to try to sell 5,000 season tickets. By the time we left, we weren't doing anything. People were coming to see us. We really didn't have any expectations when we first came here. They picked us to finish second to last in the SEC and we ended up finishing second.  I think each year we just build on it and I think we changed the program around to be a national powerhouse that it is."

#40, Brittany Henderson, Sr., F

On what senior day meant to her…
"It was very emotional. It doesn't seem like four years have gone by since I first stepped on campus. I was a freshman and then now it's senior day and it feels like it just flew by. I just want to thank my teammates and everybody who went out there and played hard and took A'dia (Mathies) and I out with a win. It was a great win."

On if she can tell opponents don't like playing in Memorial Coliseum…
"Definitely. We have a great home record here and I'm sure that teams look at that it's going to be a tough place to get a win at. We take that and run with it."

#0, Jennifer O'Neill, R-So., PG

On the fast start to open the game…
"I just wanted to set the tempo. I knew that from the scout that they would only play three people off the bench. We had more people to rotate and more bodies, so why not push the tempo? I think it was the smartest thing to do."

On UK's second-half momentum…
"I think it was very important. The reason why we did it was, like A'dia (Mathies) said, we wanted to send them out with a win. We were just setting a statement."

On Tennessee's frustration helping UK become more confident…
"Yeah, it gave us confidence. We saw that it was visible and we just fed off it. It's like when you make an and-one play and you feed off it, you get momentum from there."

Tennessee Head Coach Holly Warlick

Opening statement …
"Well, we just got out worked today and out hustled. We didn't get the job done, so credit to Kentucky and how hard they played and what they did to us."

On how different this game was from the great game the team recently played against Texas A&M and if she saw this coming …
"I thought it would be difficult for us to play two games of this magnitude back-to-back. I am disappointed in how we gave up, obviously, 19 offensive rebounds. You can't win. You have to take care of the ball and you have to bring your defense. We didn't bring our defense. You have to bring your defense and you have to rebound. We didn't do those two things. It was a totally different game. We didn't have it and we didn't get it done today"

On what she said to the team during the first timeout when it was clear that Kentucky was fired up …
"You just try to settle them down and regroup. That's all we were trying to do. Don't panic, try to get good looks, let's get stops, and let's get rebounds. I was just trying to get them to regroup."

On how the start of the second half set the tone of the rest of the half …
"Yeah, we turned it over on the first play of the game. It sure did set the tone."

On the status of Isabelle Harrison right now …
"I think Izzy is week by week. It is what we have been dealing with. I thought Kamiko's injury was tough for us. I think she came back and wasn't a factor when she came back in off her ankle. It is just things that we have had to deal with and it is part of the game. People have to step up and we didn't step up today."

On if Harrison will be ready for the SEC Tournament …
"Not sure. Not sure."

On what she thinks of A'dia Mathies
"She's fantastic. I think she is a class-act kid, plays hard. She is just a great kid. I don't personally know A'dia, but just watching her and how hard she plays, I know she is an incredible athlete and an incredible basketball player."

On how she tells her players not to panic and if that is what they did against Kentucky's pressure …
"I thought they made us play fast. If you want to interpret it as panicky, but they just made us play fast and we just quick shot the basketball. When you quick shoot the basketball, it's great when it goes in, but it wasn't going in. We tried to settle it because I thought at times we got good looks, but they are not good looks if they don't go in."

On if she is saying she would prefer a slower tempo …
"Well if we are shooting the way we are shooting, then yes."

On how the team usually prefers a quick tempo and usually makes the other teams pay offensively …
"We just had six people to play. Then when Shaar (Bashaara Graves) got in foul trouble, we were just extremely limited on what we could do with the tempo and how we wanted to play. It is what it is. We can't afford to get anybody in foul trouble. When Shaar picked up her third, we had to change our whole game plan of what we wanted to do."

On how the great rivalry between the teams, it being senior day, and the crowd affected the game …
"We have played in hostile crowds and environments.  It was a great crowd. I think that the people here appreciate good basketball and we had some fans come out as well. I think their style of play affected us more than the crowd and what they were doing. I hope that was the case anyways."

On how she appreciates that the team doesn't play until Friday with all of the injuries the team has …
"We are glad we have a week to prepare for the tournament. We are thankful we get the opportunity to play on Friday so we can heal a little bit. We will take tomorrow off. We can't do some of the things we would like to do because we don't have the bodies to do it. There is a fine line between how much you work and how much you get rest. So we are going to have to be really aware of that, and adjust how we practice."

On if she thinks Jasmine Jones seemed out of sorts because she has never played in an environment like this …
"No, they made her play fast and she did. She played too fast. I thought at times she got rebounds and she was playing hard. It just wasn't effective when you are turning the ball over and not finishing your shots and those types of things. She will learn and we will learn from them."

Tennessee Student-Athletes

# 11, Cierra Burdick, So., F

On what they can take away from this game as a team…
"We've just got to go back home and regroup and figure out what we need to do better. Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new season. We just need to put this behind us, learn from it and get better so we can come prepared for the SEC tournament and catch a couple of W's."

On the tone during the first timeout because of the fast-paced tempo…
"Anybody that's played here knows that's what Kentucky does. They're going to come out with the first punch, that's what happens when you play in Memorial. They always have great fans and they always have a sold out gym, and it is loud. That's something that our newcomers have to adjust to. We just have to come back and regroup and we failed to do that today and I think that really what hurt us. We didn't handle the pressure well and then we fell under pressure."

#10 Meighan Simmons, Jr., G

On if the turnaround for the SEC Tournament is an advantage or disadvantage….
"I think it gives us more of an advantage because it gives us more time to prepare for any opponent that we come up against. It gives us time to work on us and learn from the mistakes that we made today. We need to regroup, keep ourselves composed, keep communicating with each other, and continue to move forward taking it one game at a time. Don't be negative, always stay positive and stick together. We bounce back very well, so from today until the tournament I think it's really going to help."

On how the team's injuries have affected the season…
"You know when we do have injuries, people step up when they need to step up and know their roles on the floor. I think that even with Kamiko (Williams) going out she came back because she wanted to play but now I feel like this time, it's time for her to heal and it's time for this to heal so that when the SEC comes around we'll be ready. We've got to take it one game at a time, let everyone recover and do what we need to stay fit and in shape. We need to make sure that our bodies are relaxed and well taken care of and like Cierra said, tomorrow marks a new day. We just need to take it one game at a time and continue to work hard."


 

 

Interactive UK Tube - Now Playing Here