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Kentucky-Bradley Postgame Quotes




Nov. 27, 2013

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Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement …
“A really up-tempo game today. The pace was very, very fast and I thought we pushed the pace all day long. Obviously, we were able to score a bunch of points and I thought Bradley really wanted to play at a high pace and play fast and I thought they did some really nice things in the game. Glad we were able to come away with the big victory.”

On if he was expecting Bradley to push the tempo …
“Yeah, we had a good handle on that. They are averaging 75 points a game and that is what they do and how they play. We anticipated it being a fast-paced game. We had several breakdowns in our press today which led to them getting into a good tempo offensively. But that is what they do. Hats off to Michelle Young and Kelsey Budd, who I think are in great shape and are strong well-conditioned athletes and great players. I thought the entire Bradley team really pushed the pace. They are a tough team to play against.”

On Kastine Evan’s shooting …
“It is the culmination of Kastine working hard every day and just staying with it and working really, really hard. She has gotten her body a lot stronger through our strength and conditioning program. She has worked really hard to be coachable and work on the things that will make her a good player. She has spent countless hours in the gym trying to perfect her shooting form. It is just a combination of a lot of hard work and time put into it. I have seen her do that for four years and it is great to see her reap some rewards from all of that great effort.”

On Kentucky’s 25-0 run to take control of the game …
“I thought we had some energy in the press and finally started to turn them over. It was a devastating run for Bradley, just really hard for them to recover from that. We finally got some good traps set and hustled enough to get some good traps set. I think today the pace was such that, that was really the only time in the game where we had enough energy and substitutes came in off the bench and were able to get into Bradley’s conditioning. That was the only time in the game we were able to do that. What you saw was, finally able to get some traps and rotations. If we can ever get a nice chunk of practice time we have to get our press sharpened up and we are not nearly as sharp as we need to be in the press right now. That is really what you saw. That was probably our best stretch of defense.”

On if he is displeased with some other things after this game …
“Well, I was hoping at some point in the game we would take a charge and we just would not take a charge. Maybe it is easier for me to sit on the sideline and tell them to take a charge when the kids are running 100 miles per hour at you. It is tough, but there really weren’t a lot of opportunities to do anything but take a charge. We wanted to get up and press the ball and they put their head down and went to the basket. That was my only problem. We wanted four or more charges today and we didn’t get it. I just think that is something that the team is going to have to decide if they want to do or not for us to really move forward. You have to believe that is going to be people’s strategy especially with how the games are being administrated now and the rules are what they are. We have to play with our hands off and not impede the ball handler and sometimes they are going to get loose and put their heads down. For us to really take a step forward defensively we are going to have to sharpen up our press and get over and take some charges.”

On Samarie Walker’s play …
“Well, I was just so happy that she came out with some energy on the boards early. I thought a big key to today’s game was offensive rebounding and you can just tell so much about our energy when we get on the offensive glass. That is really, really important. She was fantastic on the offensive glass and she just works really hard. She creates opportunities for herself by having energy on the offensive glass. Great thing for our basketball team is DeNesha (Stallworth) and Samarie really force you to give a lot of attention to the paint and some it tis sometimes hard for our guards to get the ball in there and sometimes the best shot for us is to reverse the ball and step into a 3-point shot or step in one-shot fake, one-dribble jump shot. We don’t make all of those. We make a bunch, but not all of them. Samarie is just relentless with her attack on the glass and I think that is something that is going to help our team.”

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#0, Jennifer O’Neill, Jr., PG

On limiting turnovers as a focal point in the game plan…
“It’s a big focal point every game, but today we were actually able to stay on our goal, which was 13 or less. That shows that we are getting better and are taking care of the ball more.”

On benefiting from the play of Samarie Walker…
“I think it’s hard for people to stop us. Most of our points are going to the boards and finishing around the basket. When she’s on top of her game nobody can stop her but herself.”

On what needs improvement prior to the upcoming stretch of marquee matchups…
“There are a lot of things that we have to work on, especially like today in transition defense, we kept getting beat back. Somebody took a charge today, but it wasn’t the amount he (Coach Mitchell) wanted, which was four, which was another goal we had. There is a lot of stuff that we have to work on like being patient in the offense, not just passing the ball up top and keeping it on the perimeter, getting the ball inside, play inside-out. So we still have a lot to improve on.”

On the difficulty of taking a charge…
“I don’t think it’s hard. You want to be at the right spot at the right moment, but nowadays players can twist their body in ways that you have to slide in to get the charge. So instead of just standing there and taking it, you kind of have to maneuver yourself. You are more likely to get a block call vs. a charge. It is something we do a lot. Bria (Goss) does it really well. But like (Coach Mitchell) said, he was disappointed that we didn’t get four.”

#11 DeNesha Stallworth, Sr., F

On if they are aware when they go on large runs …
“No, actually we are not aware of what is going on. We just try and run down and play four minutes at a time. (We try to) play hard and play Kentucky basketball.”

On how difficult it is to stop Samarie Walker when she is playing well …
“Samarie has worked hard on her confidence level. She is doing great right now. This is what our team needs right now.”

#23 Samarie Walker, Sr., F

On her performance today …
“I have been telling myself for a while now to be more aggressive on offense. The only person that can stop me is myself. I think it finally hit me today to go out there and play harder.”

On the magnitude of Saturday’s game vs. Louisville …
“Just playing, honestly. It’s a really big game because it’s Louisville. They’re a top five team and we want to get the win on our home court.”

Bradley Assistant Coach Skyler Young

Opening statement…
“It was a pleasant afternoon in Big Blue Country. It was a great atmosphere to play in and our ladies came out and competed. Kentucky is highly ranked and that was why we wanted this game on the schedule. Our vision is like theirs. In their office, there is a note that says space reserved for Final Four trophy. That is our vision at Bradley and in the Missouri Valley Conference.  We want to hang banners for the MVC. We want to play these teams again, not only in the regular season but the postseason as well. Kentucky is a very talented team, and I am proud of our girls. (Kentucky) will not have many in the right side of the column if they play like they did today.”

On stepping in as the head coach for today…
“We have been preparing this for a while. Since September there has been some complications so we have had a couple practices without him. Yesterday it was 7:30 in the morning and all the texts said ‘we are in delivery’. We were scheduled at 10:00 to leave, and I knew that he was not going to make the trip. He called the staff to let everyone know the game plan, but our ladies have been prepared for this for a while. We are all one unit. The head coach is only as strong as his assistants.”

On how they played in the first half…
“We were rattled a little bit during that 25-0 run. We put some pressure on them, but I feel like we missed too many layups that we had to make to stop the bleeding. Kentucky is a team of runs, and not a half-court basketball team. If you let them run and do nothing to counteract that with some type of scoring it is going to get ugly real fast. We couldn’t stop them until we called a timeout.”


 

 

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