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Kentucky-Georgia Southern Postgame Quotes




Nov. 13, 2013

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement …
“I thought that was a terrific effort from our team to come out on an important day where we have so many people and special guests on campus, who are getting to experience Kentucky for the very first time. I thought our players did a great job of leaving an impression on those kids that were here at the game today. As a coach, what you would like to see your team do is really come out and hustle and give maximum effort and hold them to a high standard and I thought our team did that today. I am very, very grateful to our players for working so hard and giving such a great effort today.”

On the team working on zone in practice …
“We have worked some on that, but very little, probably 95 percent man, 5 percent zone. They did at least know how to lineup in it and we knew at least a few things to do. Then, we just tried to stress hustle and effort there. I would say when you are a good man-to-man team you can probably be a good zone team if you spend enough time on it. I just don’t know how much time we will spend on it.”

On Bernisha Pinkett’s play …
“Yeah, I would say that is how Bernisha needs to play to bring her maximum value to the team hustling on defense. Bernisha really struggled from the 3-point stripe last season and when you have been a valuable 3-point shooter and that shot is no longer falling, the psychology of that situation is difficult to handle. I have been very proud of her hanging in and just sticking with it. We have been trying to show a lot of patience with her because I have seen her shoot the 3 so well recruiting her and in practices and games over her career. I just think she is a good shooter and I am very, very happy to see her experience some success today.”

On the team’s offensive and defensive execution and if it was near perfect today …
“Well, we definitely had more talent in the game today and then you start really paying attention to what is the opportunity to execute and are we staying focused and staying sharp even though the margin had really widened there. We were very mindful of our offensive execution on the bench. We were trying to hold them to a very high standard. I didn’t have to do a lot of talking there, they held themselves to a high standard and were really working hard and tried to do the things we were working on offensively. Then defensively, what I was so impressed with was the five assists. They only had five assists and they couldn’t really get the ball passed around very much because we were in such great stances and in good fundamental position on defense in passing lanes. It was a good effort. Clearly, we have things we could work on but all you can do is what you could do today to play as hard as you can and to that standpoint I am really happy and appreciative.”

On Makayla Epps and Linnae Harper
“They are developing and both still have a ways to go defensively. I was happy to see them get some game flow today and what I mean is, they were able to (play) and we didn’t have to pull them out and teach them every second of the game what they needed to do. They were able to get into their rhythm in the game and I think you can see how talented they are. Defensively, they still don’t know exactly what is going on. They are trying, we just need to get them up to speed and we need to get them up to speed fast, defensively. Both are very good passers and both can score the basketball. Both are really, really strong rebounders and tough kids. So, I think they have bright futures and we have to do a really good job as coaches of getting them up to speed defensively. We are going to need them.”

On the team having 26 assists …
“We are trying so hard to get the ball in the paint. We are trying to get the ball in the paint every possession and whether it comes out of the paint and creates a shot is something that can happen, but we just have such a focus on making sure we either pass the ball into the paint or we got our feet in the paint off of a drive. I thought they did a good job of collapsing the zone inside and then moving the basketball and being patient and passing up an open shot to give their teammate a better shot who might be more open. That was good to see and we need to continue to be diligent in that area and try to become the best offensive execution team we can be.”

On Janee Thompson leaving the game with an injury …
“She just took a really bad shot there to the eye early in the game. She bounced back fine from it, but once the margin got really wide we just decided to let her sit the rest of the game. It is a little swollen, but she was in good spirits after the game. She would not have gone back in if she would have had any concussion symptoms. Once the swelling goes down I feel like she will be good to go. We will have to watch her and make sure we are giving her great care and we will do that between now and Sunday. Then Sunday, will be a much different type game and a real, real test. Central Michigan has a good team, a strong team. We need to get ready between now and then for a tough NCAA Tournament type team coming in here Sunday afternoon.”

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#10, Bernisha Pinkett, G

On how it felt shooting well today …
“It felt pretty good. I haven’t been knocking down shots as I did in the past and Coach Mitchell always had faith in me. Being able to go out there tonight and actually see my 3s start to fall, I felt really good about it. I think Coach is really proud of me for that.”

On the atmosphere with the grade school kids …
“I think it was pretty awesome. The kids gave us a lot of energy. They were yelling and screaming, making us want to work even harder so that we could score more points so we can hear them yell and go crazy. I think it was fun, I just love kids.”

#23, Samarie Walker, Sr., F/C

On how it felt to shoot well today…
“I honestly didn’t even know I was 5-for-5 until afterwards. Not that I don’t worry about it, but it does feel good. I think I need to take more shots and be more of a threat offensively, but it does feel good. I should be proud of myself.”

On what the team takes away from a game like this…
“I think the main thing today was our energy. We were having a few conversations about if the energy level was going to be high or low because the game was so early. I think just building off of that and seeing how well we played in transition and defense, we can build on that too.”

On the atmosphere with the grade school kids…
“We could definitely hear them. There was one point in the game where Bria (Goss) and I were trying to communicate but we couldn’t hear each other because they were screaming for whatever reason, I don’t know what we did. It was fun playing in front of them and I wish they were here every game because it’s really fun.”

#25, Makayla Epps, Fr., G

On the challenge of playing at the collegiate level …
“It’s been a major challenge for me just because the transition from high school to college, it’s a totally different level of competition and a totally different level of how much work you have to put in to be good. Kentucky thrives off defense and coming out of high school I wasn’t the strongest defensive player. I’m just here working to get better because I know if I want to be on the court I have to play defense.”

On how she’s become comfortable with passing more …
“I’m becoming very comfortable with being just a passer. Coach Mitchell tries to tell me to look for my shot more instead of just being out there and looking to be a passer. I’m just trying to play a very overall based role of score when you can. Bernisha (Pinkett) was hot tonight so I knew she needed the ball in her hand and Azia (Bishop) was hitting shots too so I knew they needed the ball in their hand. Scoring isn’t my main mentality, but it’s also in the back of my head and I’d rather pass if I’m not having a good night.”

Georgia Southern Head Coach Chris Vozab

Opening statement …
“Well, we know Kentucky is a tremendous program and a great team and it’s really tough to simulate their pressure every day in practice. It’s not the kind of length and athleticism one through five that we necessarily see every day. We respect them so much and the things that we had talked about doing they did not allow us to do. We talked about when a double team would come that’s when we have to be aggressive and make a play out of it. When the double team would not come and it was one-on-one, but obviously great pressure one-on-one, denying passing lanes, that’s when we really had to time our cuts great, stay poised and get ball reversals and stay in our rhythm. They completely sped us up, that’s what they do and they did a great job at it.”

On players getting injured …
“Obviously it’s tough when your players go down and they’re players that play major, major minutes for us that we’ve relied upon heavily, not only in the early going this year but last year. I mean, these are the kids that have played all the minutes, kind of, since we’ve been going together as a program. So definitely it’s a strain on things but regardless of who we had out there, Kentucky is quite formidable in the full-court press and they took our starters out of what we were trying to do and then they took the rest of our team out of what we were trying to do. I do think that it was valuable for some of our kids off the bench that haven’t gotten as many minutes thus far to handle this kind of pressure for this long. Out there the whole second half, that’s going to help our team grow moving forward.”

On what they can take away from a game like this …
“One of the things we talked about in trying to build the program, is to be a really great program, you’ve got to be able to exert your will on every possession, whether that be offensively getting the ball to spots on the floor, spots on the floor we need to get. Whether that be defensively, understanding exactly what’s expected, the angle that we’re in defensively, for what reason we’re in it. Everything we talk about wanting to be as a program I think we saw today why Kentucky is at the place that it’s at. I told our kids, we’ve got to learn from this, take these lessons and make ourselves better from it going forward.”


 

 

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