Women's Basketball
InteractiveTwitterFacebook
Kentucky-Central Michigan Postgame Quotes




Nov. 17, 2013

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes |  Photo Gallery 

Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening statement …
“Well, good game today for Kentucky. We are really glad to get that win. Good opponent today, Central Michigan really fought hard and drove the basketball at us all day and never let up. It was a tough, tough game. Happy we were able to find a way to win. Obviously we scored a bunch of points today, and that’s good. We definitely need to try to get better on defense against a team that just puts their head down and drives it. I thought Central Michigan was great at that. Hats off to them, but I’m really proud our team was able to get a win over what I think is a good basketball team today."

On Kentucky’s second-half rebounding …
“We just felt like we got off to such a great start and we were playing hard and Central Michigan sort of settled in. We were really unhappy with our defense at halftime. I just didn’t think that we had played our best on the defensive end. We tried to talk about some effort and some energy things at halftime. One strong indicator for effort is offensive boards. Central Michigan had taken it to us on the offensive boards. They had 11 at halftime so we really talked about the boards at halftime. We needed to try to get on the offensive glass and we needed to keep them off the offensive glass. That was probably the best part of the second half; just that response from the players coming right out. I wish that would have translated to the defensive end. I didn’t think they played with enough energy defensively, but the offensive boards really helped us today.”

On Samantha Drake
“We will get an MRI tomorrow. We are very concerned about her. It was a tough fall. She clearly couldn’t come back in the game. It was not a little bruise or bump. We will have to get her an MRI tomorrow, and just pray for the best.”

On Janee Thompson’s evolution as a player and if she can improve more and if this was the player he envisioned her to be …
“Well here’s the thing, she’s a sophomore so to answer your question she can improve more. That answer is yes. But is this the Janee Thompson I was looking for? That answer is yes as well. She is using her gifts at a very high level. I thought her speed and her aggressiveness and her attack on offense today in transition really made a huge difference in the game. She just went by them and went to the bucket and scored some really, really important baskets for us to keep that margin where it needed to be. I was very concerned any time they would creep back to like 11. They just can make so many 3s and Bradford could score, I didn’t think 11 was anywhere close to being safe. (Thompson) made some really important plays. Six steals from her is outstanding. She is on her way to becoming the player she can become. What is so great about her is she is still just a sophomore.”

On preparing for Central Michigan and if he did anything differently …
“We just rely on our fundamentals, and we relied on really trying to push the basketball. They are known as an up-tempo team so we wanted to get the game going as fast as we could. I really thought in the second half we were able to turn them over like I thought we would be able to, we just weren’t able to get that done in the first half. But give them credit, they were able to keep their dribble alive and get to the bucket some. Early in the season so many times your rotations aren’t where they will be in a month or maybe even two. So this was a hard game for us, a hard team to play. They are so talented and offensively gifted so we really had to battle to get this win.”

On his relationship with Janee Thompson and if they butted heads last year …
“We would have to talk to her about it, but I don’t know exactly what it was. I always thought that maybe it was just more difficult than she had expected it to be. Then her response was it was just harder than she thought it was going to be, and (she) never responded to it. That’s why the (2012-13) season was so up and down. She had not practiced well at all, and all she had done is shot the ball pretty well early last season. Then we get in that Louisville game, and she comes out and has this incredible performance that everybody is so excited. I thought that probably set her back even more because now she’s really not listening, or maybe she’s just not convinced that it’s going to be as tough as it is. We just tried to spend a lot of time together in the offseason. We tried to talk, and I tried to tell her how much I believed in her. When I recruited her I saw a certain kind of player: the player you see today. I just didn’t see that last year. Over the summer she worked hard, and I could just tell early on in practice that her precision and her attention to detail signaled to me that she had taken a big step forward. So I’m really proud of her. She has a lot of room to grow like a lot of young players. She still gets too upset when she makes a mistake, or somebody makes a mistake. We are just trying to get her more steady as a point guard here at Kentucky, but you can see it out there. She’s working hard: six steals, 13 points, six assists. She’s a productive player.”

On the new rules and how they changed coaching defense …
“We are just contently talking to them about energy and playing with their feet and being really active with their feet. Play with your hips low, get a hand in their face and the other one mirroring the ball and get our hands off the offensive player, just no hands. We are trying to play with zero hands. You get one touch, we are trying to play with no touch. We have never taught defense here about grabbing and holding. We have never told them to foul. This is not that great of a departure for us. We have never even skipped a beat. We went right back to what we have always done. There are just some bumps here and there and touches here and there in practice that we are all on top of now that we would have let go last year because the officials would have let it go last year. To me, it is not that big of an issue or that big of a deal. You have to be smart and stop grabbing and holding people, but you really should have never been able to do that. I think we are going to be a very successful team this year.”

On the team’s turnovers today …
“Yeah, that is an unacceptable number no matter how fast you play. We have never regularly turned the ball over like that. It was just a very sloppy game at times. I thought our physical effort to just run up and down the floor today in the Coliseum (was tough.) Sometimes we get these Indian Summer days when it is 70 degrees outside and it gets really, really hot in the Coliseum and I don’t know if that had our focus off or if they were just expending so much energy or what it was. But we were not mentally sharp today defensively, you could tell by the straight line drives and offensively you could tell by the turnovers. It will cause us major problems if we don’t get that under control. I really believe that we will get those under control and we will address it in practice.”

On Azia Bishop’s performance …
“Well, the team had a great two days of practice so that is why I was a little surprised at the defensive breakdowns and the turnovers today. I thought the team really practiced well the last two days and had a sharp session this morning. To go along with that, Azia had a phenomenal two days of practice and she has practiced so much better this year than she has every practiced. It is funny how the better you practice the better you play. That is the way it goes. I was so tickled for her today. She has worked hard. She has a chance now to be a really good basketball player but also a really good person and a really   responsible young woman and somebody that can achieve something in her life. That is what we are always wanting all of them to do. Man, I was just so tickled when she got that last bucket and another double-digit game and on the boards with incredible offensive rebounds today. She is somebody that I am really proud of right now, but we can’t stop now. She has to keep going and has to keep working really, really hard. If she will do that she will have a terrific season.” 

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#3, Janee Thompson, G

On her change from freshman to sophomore year…
“I guess just knowing what to expect now. Coming into college, I didn’t understand how hard I would have to work and how hard it would be in general, being away from home. College is a different level so having that year of experience; I think it’s really helped me so far.”

On butting heads with Coach Mitchell…
“I think that was just me being a freshman and me having a hard time and just struggling a little bit last year. I think I’ve definitely grown up and we’ve been able to work through that and we have a much better relationship now.”

On how she’s improved…
“I think it’s my whole approach mentally to the game. I’m much more focused out there, I try my hardest to take care of the ball and do all the little things Coach (Mitchell) wants me to do on defense and offense. It’s just me being more focused and that focus gives me confidence to go out, play hard and make the decisions that I feel are going to be best.”

#11, DeNesha Stallworth, F

On the defensive change between halves…
“I think our focus was to get on the offensive boards and keep them off the boards and I thought we did a great job of that. That was just our focus coming into the second half.”

On how Azia Bishop helps the post…
“We’re a lot better because then we know that Azia (Bishop), J.J. (Jelleah Sidney) and Sam (Samantha Drake) have our back. We can play harder and it helps us in the rotation just knowing that our second five is just as good as our first five. It makes us a very unstoppable team.”

On how Azia Bishop practices…
“She can shoot the 3, she’s a long, athletic post player and runs the floor really well. What you see out on the court is what she does in practice.”

#32, Kastine Evans, G

On Janee Thompson’s improvement…
“I really think it was her attitude and how she approached both this season and last season. Like she said, she underestimated how hard it was going to be to work, especially with Coach Mitchell’s approach to how we play. He doesn’t let anybody slide with anything so I think that was something new for her. I think she’s taking it at a much different pace and has really run with how much work that she’s put in through the summer. She’s playing really well right now and just needs to keep playing like that.”

Central Michigan Head Coach Sue Guevara

Opening Statement …
“Kentucky is ranked No. 7 in the country for a reason. I knew what we had to do if we were going to compete with them. One thing was to handle their pressure and the other thing was to not allow so many offensive rebounds and unfortunately that did not happen. I thought a key in the first half was we were down nine and we missed four free throws in a row. We could have gone into halftime maybe down five instead of nine. But, you know what, I think our kids battled. Do I think we gave Kentucky our best shot? No, I don’t. But give Kentucky all the credit in the world because they just get after you and stay after you and cause turnovers and attack the glass. I vote in the top 25 so I might have to put them higher than seven.”

On the team’s non-conference schedule …
“I will tell you that this was the very last game that was scheduled for us. We were dropped by the University of Michigan on July 12 so we were desperate for a game and Kentucky needed a game and Matthew (Mitchell) agreed to come up to Mount Pleasant next year. If you look at our schedule, in our league, we have to win three games in March. That is what we have to do to get to the NCAA Tournament. We are only a one-bid league. I am hoping that we have some teams on a neutral court (and we can compete). It is a schedule that is only going to help us get better. I tell my players it is not for the meek and mild. You have to have some thick skin, some tough skin and you really have to want to compete.”

On Kentucky’s rebounding edge in the second half …
“They were grabbing the ball. We were tipping and we are not a volleyball team. We need to grab the ball like it is a 100 dollar bill. We have to go after it and our guards have to make sure they are boxing out and going after the long rebounds. I am sure Matthew (Mitchell) might have chewed a little Kentucky cat at halftime and told his team to get after it. I went with a bigger lineup in the second half and we still got beat on the boards. I think that is a credit to Kentucky. It was very disappointing in that three or four-minute (stretch).

Central Michigan Student-Athlete

#23, Crystal Bradford, G

On her first game back…
“I think I just didn’t play as smart as I should have. I thought I had a lack of mental focus this game. They were tough and strong but I could have played better.”


 

 

Interactive UK Tube - Now Playing Here