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UK Hoops Media Day Coverage




Oct. 23, 2012

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Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

THE MODERATOR: Coach, we'll open it up to you for opening statements.

Matthew Mitchell: Thank you all for being here today. We are starting a new season, and we always appreciate the interest in our program and you all covering our program.

I think right now Kentucky is the most exciting place in the country to play college basketball. We have just great, great people involved, and for us, it starts with our players. We have some players who are now and have been working extremely hard in preparation for this season. They are working on building their character each and every day. They're working on becoming the most well-conditioned athlete they can be, and right now we're working hard just to form our team. I'm excited to be coaching this team.

We also have some great people that are committed to helping those kids get better every day. I really appreciate the commitment Mr. (Mitch) Barnhart and President (Eli) Capilouto made to us in the offseason by extending the contract and giving us a chance to continue our positive momentum going forward and that confidence I don't take for granted.

We're working each and every day to make sure the confidence they have placed in us is honored with a great effort every day. That's exciting for us as we move into the future for the program.

I'm really appreciative to all the people that are working with the team, our assistant coaches, our support staff. It takes a lot of people working at a high level to be successful in the Southeastern Conference, so we have a great group assembled for the 2012-2013 Wildcats and we're looking forward to getting started.

Q. You were picked by the media to win the SEC ... Can you talk about the possibility of winning the SEC this year compared to years past?

Matthew Mitchell: That is really different because I don't think it's ever happened before so, you know, that is -- I'll answer that this way: There is what it means for a program and what it means for our current team.

For the program it's a wonderful thing and it just is some tangible proof that the team last year was good, and they did well, and a lot of preseason awards were passed out on what last year's team did. So we should congratulate last year's team for helping us be the preseason pick. It also makes you appreciative of where we have come from.

Four years ago we were picked 11th so it at least gives you some idea that progress is being made for the program. I'm confident that our fans are excited about that and take pride that we are now considered to be a good program.

Those things are really, really positive, and we are appreciative of that. Then when you turn it to the team, it literally means nothing. It really means absolutely nothing for this year's team, because I think back when we were picked 11th, we didn't pay attention to that at all, and we saw what that team did.

So if it didn't mean anything to that team it can't start meaning something now. We do have a good team -- well, let me say this: We do have good players and we have the capability of becoming a good team, but there is nothing automatic about that. Really, the only thing automatic, when you think about it, is we all in this room are going to die at some point, but other than that --

[Crowd laughter]

Matthew Mitchell: Well, you can't look at that computer Larry (Vaught) and make a story appear, it's not automatic at all, you got to do something. Outside of going 6 feet under we got to do something with this team. We're excited about the possibility of finishing the season first. That will be really what's important.

Q. Seems like there will be even more of a bull's eye on your back. Do you think the players are ready to handle that?

Matthew Mitchell: I think that is one of the most important functions as a head coach is to make certain that I pay attention to the team and have a pulse on the team and the way we gauge that is in practice every day. I have never been a big believer in the bull's eye being on your back or not on your back. We have had some good success being the underdog before. We have had success in games when we were supposed to win games, so I don't pay very close attention to that.

I do pay close attention to, are they doing the things every day in practice each and every day, is their effort right? That's more how I gauge it than whether we're favored or not favored. One thing we are always trying to get out of our players is their very best. I think that's preparing them for life after basketball, and why I love coaching at Kentucky and why I love being involved with young people is the practice court is sort of a laboratory where you can put people in difficult situations, you can challenge people, they can learn what it takes to really become their best, and we are of the mindset that needs to carry over when they are finished playing basketball and they're striving to be their best all the time.

So I think when that's your measuring stick, that's much more effective than any kind of external expectations people may place on you through polls or predictions.

Q. Early on you play Baylor. Is it hard not to be looking at them with a bull's eye that game with them being 40-0?

Matthew Mitchell: That's a great example of the bull's eye theory, if the bull's eye is on the back of their jersey, I'm not sure what their uniform looks like this year, but if the bull's eye is there, I don't know that that will be nearly as effective than us practicing hard and being ready to go down there and play because we're going to try to have a bull's eye on the basket that day and make a bunch of shots into the basket if we can.

That will be a stern test early in the season and everybody, I think, is familiar with the season they had last year, 40-0, and I'm certain they have to be the No. 1 pick now nationally. Coach (Kim) Mulkey and all those players and notably Brittney Griner certainly have a strong challenge. Certainly that's helped them going in the season and we know there is a sense of urgency because we have a tough test looming.

Right now we're trying to do things that are going to help Kentucky be really good and ultimately whether it's the second game of the season or the last game of the season we're just trying to focus and practice on things that can make this team and this group of players a real team and help us be successful in the court.

Q. Question regarding if UK Hoops is a potential Final Four team this season ...

Matthew Mitchell: They're a potential Final Four team, that's easier for us to say than it is to happen. But if you look at our roster and if everybody were to come together and play really hard and you get some breaks, I think they are -- they have that potential.

Q. Can you talk about that?

Matthew Mitchell: We try the best we can to explain to them early in that first team meeting what opportunities exist for them. So we don't huddle up every day and say we're trying to get to the Final Four, but we have tried to make them aware that we believe that they're championship caliber, that we believe they can be that kind of team. Without going through everything that it takes to get there, we think it's a possibility.

I do think you need to set goals and have direction so we would love to get to New Orleans, and it's a long way between today and there, but we will try to remind them how special they can be. If they will just really focus on working and being their best, they will give themselves a chance, I can promise you that. If they really, really come together they will give themselves a chance to be there at the end.

Q. Question regarding how he thinks the SEC will shake out this season, including the absence of Pat Summitt at Tennessee ...

Matthew Mitchell: I am the worst person in the world to ask that question and I appreciate the question and I'm not trying to be funny at all, but I pay so little attention to what everybody else is doing because we try to invest that time in our team. I have a general knowledge of the league and I certainly have an incredible respect for the coaches and the players in this league, but I just go into the season assuming that all the other 13 teams want to be the champion. And when you have those great coaches and great players trying to get there, then I think what serves us best is really staying focused in on us doing the things necessary to be champions, because we want to be SEC champions, that is a big, big deal for us and we were so proud that last year's team worked hard enough to become that.

It is definitely going to be different without Coach (Pat) Summitt patrolling the sidelines and I think everybody here is aware of the opportunity she gave me many years ago and I certainly wish her the best and it will be different without her there. I would say without a doubt that there are a lot of formidable teams in this conference and I would think that it's wide open this year.

Q. Question regarding DeNesha Stallworth's play ...

Matthew Mitchell: She is from a skill set perspective a very talented player and physically she is big, long arms, tall, but athletic, can block shots on the defensive end. But I just think she adds another dimension because she adds to our level of talent. And she is a big, big player and she is coming into this season after a year of practice and I don't care what you say, I'm sure she is very nervous about this season. I know she wants to do well and be a big impact on the team, but we're just trying to make sure we start from ground zero with everybody and make everybody understand how we're all connected and it won't be just one player that makes the difference. But DeNesha, from my viewpoint, is a welcome addition to this team and she'll be heard from, I believe, before the season is out.

Q. In years past the length of other teams has bothered you guys and it seems like this year you have a lot of length yourselves, is that accurate?

Matthew Mitchell: We do. We've transitioned well over the last four years from a team with nobody over 6 feet tall to now several players that have some size and some length. While doing that we have been able to maintain a high level of athleticism, so that's good.

But I think we are deeper with our talent in the post than we've ever been. The hard thing about it is the way that we try to play takes tremendous effort, but before that it takes belief in your mind that you can get it done. And sometimes that's harder to get the post players to understand, and I'm just at the point right now trying to make those kids believe how talented they really are from an athletic standpoint, and I think if we can get that done we're going to be in good shape.

Q. Question regarding Coach Mitchell's relationship with men's basketball head coach John Calipari ...

Matthew Mitchell: I think my relationship with Cal has helped him tremendously. He won the national championship last year and I've been working with him extensively on, really, every phase of the game and mainly on his public relations skills (Laughter).

The guy has had trouble in that area so I feel good that I've been able to bring him along to where there is interest in that program now and maybe I can devote more time to our team and see if we can get to a Final Four.

Thank you guys for laughing at that, makes my day that you guys enjoyed that. John is -- there are a few things I would like to say about John. One is his wisdom and experience helps me tremendously, and I guess I need to start with just his willingness to help me, and his availability and his encouragement. Those are all functions of him making himself available to me, and from what I can tell anybody on campus that needs his help, he will do that.

That says something about the kind of person he is. In particular with our relationship, it is so helpful to be able to walk across the hall as a young coach and go to somebody with experience who has done something that we're attempting to do, take a program that didn't have a lot of tradition and people didn't expect those things and trying to move into that spot where we are now where people do expect good things from us. His wisdom and his willingness to share that is powerful, and then he's just done some things back when we were really trying to get it going. He asked ESPN to put us on College GameDay, little things like that that you think are big, but just his support is meaningful to me and I appreciate him greatly and I'm confident he appreciates me, too, and all the good work I've done for him.

He's been a good guy.

Q. Question regarding A'dia Mathies' play ...

Matthew Mitchell: Well, A'dia, her talent has not diminished and she is well equipped to take on competition in the Southeastern Conference, so my expectation for her is to really try and make this the most special year of what's already been a special career. It's been an extremely special career. The program has transformed in front of our eyes during the time she has been on campus so I would be happy if she could cap it off with the best year of her career and to do that, I think what she needs to focus on is being consistent in practice, being aware of what the other players on the team need from her. I think if she'll work and be connected with her teammates, I think she has enough around her that we could elevate her game to another level.

So I'm looking for tangible things out of her and I'm trying to take what she can give and I'm trying to help her show leadership and consistency in practice and if she'll do that, then she'll be ready for any challenge that faces her in a game. Sometimes I think for A'dia, the only time she may have a chink in the armor, if she doesn't get a good start in a game, she lets that affect her, so just trying to build that mental sufficiency and not let anything throw her off her game, because we believe if she'll just play she'll be one of the most spectacular players in the country so we're trying to help her with that.

Q. Question regarding the reaction he has received from dancing at Big Blue Madness ...

Matthew Mitchell: It's been overwhelmingly positive, Larry, overwhelmingly positive. People are extremely impressed with my ability to entertain. Madness, it has just been fantastic and I know my parents are so proud of me, my wife, my two daughters -- well, one of the daughters doesn't really know what's going on right now, but I'm sure they are very proud of how I go out and represent our family and dress in those ridiculous costumes.

The way I look at it is if anybody is going to say anything negative, I just run the other way in the chance that there is something negative to be said. Mr. Barnhart didn't fire me after that, so I figure it went over well.

Q. Are you worried about Saylor (youngest daughter) seeing the videos one day and being embarrassed ...

Matthew Mitchell: I guess I'm not worried enough because I continue to do it (Laughter). I continue to go out there and make a complete fool of myself. It may make parenting Saylor tough when I'm trying to teach her how to act and she then pulls up "You Tube" and says, "What are you saying right here?" But it's been positive, Larry.

Q. Do you talk to Cal when you are doing things like that?

Matthew Mitchell: No, I try to bring things up to Cal that don't waste his time. He's a busy man, and, no, we are not talkin' about that (Laughter).

Q. Why not sing? That's more your fashion.

Matthew Mitchell: You have to get the monitor right and the sound is too complicated. Clearly we could get that done, but just everything else that's going on, you just keep it simple.

Q. Question regarding Bria Goss ...

Matthew Mitchell: Well, I tell you what makes Bria (Goss) so likeable as a coach and what makes her have a legitimate chance to have a career here is her work ethic and her attitude. Her attitude is one of wanting to get better every day and so when you have those kind of gifts that God's given her, she is tremendously gifted, then you couple that with that attitude of, I really want to come out here and be good today and I'm listening to the coaches and that the way to be good is to work really hard, then you have a chance to have a special player on your hands and I think that's the best way to sum up Bria Goss.

Shooting the ball well from outside right now in the early season practices, shooting the ball great, hustling, playing great defense, just really getting after it and I'm real excited to see how her sophomore season goes and sometimes people worry about a sophomore slump, and I would not bet against Bria Goss this year. She is poised for a great season and she is a mentally tough kid and wants to be good and understands what that comes through, having a great attitude and working hard.

Q. Question regarding the point guard position ...

Matthew Mitchell: Well, we are blessed in one way that we have several players that are capable of playing the point. We ask a lot of our point guards and so it's not the easiest position to play here, so I think that's one of the most important things as a coach for me and the rest of the assistant (coaches) this season is to do the work necessary to make sure that we are playing at a high level at the point guard position, and I can't tell you exactly who is going to do that. I have some ideas, and I have a lot of confidence in those players that can play that position.

But we're still a work in progress. I have a strong belief that we will be good at that position before the season is over.

Q. Do you worry about playing time and chemistry because of all your depth?

Matthew Mitchell: I do. I am a feel-based coach, emotionally-based coach at times. I'm not analytical. I'm not stats driven. I'm thinking about chemistry and I'm a big believer that if we get the intangibles right with this team, that's going to be the difference more so than a certain play or certain scheme.

So when you're that kind of a coach and the relationships with your players matter to you, then that does have an element of concern that you want everybody to feel positive about their contribution. Having said that, then as a coach you have a responsibility to do what's in the best interest of the team.

So you balance all that out and you make tough decisions and the best way I've found to really help that situation function well is to make your practice competitive, and be very clear on what you're looking for, and then give everybody an opportunity. With the way we play and we practice hard and you get a lot of opportunity in practice there is not standing around where you don't have a chance to make yourself known there.

At the end of it what I'm going to try to do is give everybody an opportunity to produce in practice and that will be what dictates who takes the floor in games.

We have proven over the last few seasons that we can get a lot done with a lot of players, so it's not a huge concern. But I would be lying if I told you that's not something I think about a lot and I want to make sure the chemistry is good because if you're not concerned about team chemistry, you aren't concerned with winning a team championship because that's a huge part of it.

Q. What are you expecting from Janee Thompson?

Matthew Mitchell: I'm expecting her to work every day to become as emotionally tough and as strong as she can because that's the biggest jump from high school to college especially when you are jumping from a high school-level program where she has been tremendously successful and now you're jumping into a college program that has a lot of confidence in you and also wants to compete at a high level.

The difference there is in high school you're not going to make anywhere near close to the mistakes or you're not going to have to pay for them like the mistakes you make in college. You're going to make more mistakes and they cost more and that wears on a young player's mind so I think that's a big responsibility for our coaching staff to make sure that we are helping her learn every day in practice but really trying to show her the places in practice where she has opportunities to become mentally stronger and emotionally tougher because she has all the physicality. She is a highly-skilled offensive player and I think for her we need to focus on getting her as tough as we can get her.

Q. Question regarding Geno Auriemma making comments about lowering the goal ...

Matthew Mitchell: Lower the goal? My initial thoughts on that would be that we are having a hard enough time getting the ball in the goal right now. I think if we make any adjustments right now it's going to be tough on our team. I would have to give thought to that down the road. Coach Auriemma coming off the experience with the US National Team, maybe has had some talks with people and they have given thought to that, I haven't given a lot of thought to that.

I think right now our game is exciting at Kentucky, and a lot of people are coming out to watch us play and are excited about our team. So if something made it more exciting it might be good, but I haven't given a lot of thought to that. Thank you.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

#1, A'dia Mathies, Senior, G

On getting to the Final Four this season...
“That is the big step we are trying to make this year. We are definitely making strides to do that. We are working hard in practice every single day. We are working on drills, defense, and everything imaginable to make that run this year.”

On if this year’s team could be better than last year’s...
“I believe so. I think we have even more pieces this year to help us make the trip to the Final Four. We have even more talent this year. We have transfers and people that can actually play this year that could not last year so that will definitely help us.”

On the expectations for herself after a successful season last year...
“I’m just trying to make us even better. We had a great season last year, but we have a lot of improvements to make. Personally, I definitely want to improve my free throw shooting. I’m not that bad, but I just want to be consistent and reliable. I think if everyone on the team makes goals to improve themselves, then it can make us a better team.”

On how much she thinks about the Final Four this year compared to last...
“We are definitely thinking about it more this year. We have been to an Elite Eight since I have been here, so to take that extra step and reach the Final Four would be great for our program.”

On being a leader of this team...
“I feel like a leader in some ways. We have more people that take on a leadership role like Kastine Evans, Jennifer O’Neill, Brittany Henderson, and even Bria Goss, being a sophomore helps lead. I think everyone takes on a leadership role in some way.”

On how the program has changed since she has arrived on campus...
“I think every year that I have been here there has been more focus on basketball. My first year here we had an outstanding season, which not too many people predicted us to do. It is more of a culture now. My first year we shocked everybody, but now it is more consistent. We have to hold ourselves to a different standard now so we need to play even better.”

On how the SEC is shaping up and if they can dominate the league...
“I think we have the potential to. We just have to stay focused and just do the things we have been doing in the past. My freshman year we were picked 11th and finished second, so we can’t just go by on what other people say. We just have to put in the work to fulfill that.”

#13, Bria Goss, Sophomore, G

On her comfort level entering this season compared to last...
“I feel a lot more comfortable. I am more comfortable with the team, more confidence in myself, and just all around a lot more comfortable.”

On the improvement in her game since last season...
“I have been working hard in the offseason. I know my teammates have been pushing me. I feel like the bond that I have with my teammates will help me go out there better prepared.”

On if this season is the one to get to the Final Four...
“Yes. We thought that last year too, so we always want to keep that mindset. We are going to have the same mindset next year, but this year is going to be our year and a good one for us. I am excited to watch everybody go out there and perform.”

On what A'dia Mathies means to this program...
“Personally, she means a lot. I have been watching her ever since my junior year of high school and I am really excited for her to get her senior year under way. I know in high school I was always one to play for my seniors, so she is just another one of my seniors so I am excited to play for her. Through her career here, she has done a lot of things that people have not done in the past. She is going to shock a lot of people and can’t wait to see her perform at the next level.”

On the addition of Janee Thompson...
“She fits in great with our system. She plays defense and gets up and down the court just like she did at Whitney Young High School. She is going to be even more comfortable after a while so I am really excited for her to play.”

On if there is any added pressure to win the SEC after being picked to do so this preseason...
“No. We just need to go out here and play our game. We can’t worry about what others are doing. We just need to worry about what we need to do as a team to perform and get better.”

On being somewhat of a leader as a sophomore...
“I just like to work hard. I think I can lead by example. I have started to step up more of a vocal leader so it means a lot to me to hear that people are noticing my progress.”

#31 Samantha Drake, Junior, C

Thoughts of being on top this season....
“It feels great. We are proud of our past accomplishments and we are very proud to be number one. It just means we have a lot to prove this season.”

Thoughts on the possibility of being a Final Four team...
“I do believe this is the year for us to get over the Elite Eight hump. We’ve worked so hard and we keep trying to learn from our mistakes and build on what we had last season to build onto this season. “

Thoughts on the Baylor game and what it could mean for the team...
“I think that game will showcase our character and also show what we’ve been working on.”

Thoughts on playing against Brittney Griner....
“I am looking forward to playing against her. I think its going to be a challenge but I played against girls that were bigger than me in high school so I’m excited for the chance to play her.”

#40 Brittany Henderson, Senior, Forward/Center

Thoughts on the team being picked first in the SEC this season....
“I was here my freshman year when we were picked 11th in the SEC so it’s very humbling to be picked first. We’ve been working hard these past three years and the program has just turned around.”

Thoughts on chances of reaching the Final Four...
“This is definitely our year to make it to the Final Four. We have a lot of talent and we just have to keep working hard everyday.”

Thoughts on the differences in talent since her freshman year...
“Victoria (Dunlap) was a great player when I first got here, and now we have A'dia (Mathies), Bria (Goss), Samarie (Walker) -- we just have a lot of great pieces to the puzzle now.”

Thoughts on how the talent affects team chemistry...
“The more talent the better. We all just want to have fun.”

Thoughts on her role on the team and how she plays it...
“Coach has always called me the greyhound dog. I go in, battle and knock people over. We all want to be the most dreaded team in the SEC.”

Thoughts on the Final Four...
“We think about the Final Four everyday because it’s one of our goals, but we still just want to take this season one day at a time. The Final Four games are so far away we just want to focus on starting the season off strong and have the next two weeks of practice go well."

Thoughts on the best parts of this particular team...
“The best part is our tempo and our team chemistry. We really get along both on and off the court. I love my teammates.”

Thoughts on Coach Matthew Mitchell in practice....
“He definitely laughs and jokes around with us in practice because there are times for that, but he is also very serious and wants us to work hard and do our best at times as well. We love him.”

Thoughts on the speed of the team’s progress...
“I believe our progress is right on time. We have all the right pieces. Last year our motto was ‘Right Team, Right Place, Right Now,’ so we’re just on that next step and turning the corner to potentially being great.”

Thoughts on Coach Mitchell’s confidence in the team’s Final Four potential...
“I know how great our team can be and how well we work in practice and how great we work in practice so his confidence isn’t surprising. I definitely think we have the potential to make it to the Final Four.”

#23, Samarie Walker, F, Junior, Forward/Center

On being named Preseason All-SEC Second Team...
It’s very surprising and I am very excited about it. I think I have worked hard for it and my teammates have pushed me to be in a position like this.”

On the extra competition between the post players in practice...
“There’s a lot of competition. We’ve all been working very hard and Coach (Mitchell) is pushing us to become better.”

On whether Coach Matthew Mitchell expects more of her after her outstanding season...
“I think he has always expected a lot out of me since I arrived here. This year he has been on me a lot about being confident, continuing to work hard and not getting down on myself more than anything.”

On preparing for Baylor’s Brittney Griner early in the season...
“I played against her my freshman year so I kind of have a little bit of experience against her but we both have gotten better, stronger and older. This whole preseason we have been working on shot fakes and different moves around the basket but I don’t know how many shots we are going to get off down there.”

On whether the early season matchup against Baylor has kept the team focused during the offseason...
“Definitely, but we are more concerned about our first game and our exhibition and scrimmage. Once we get there, we will worry about it.”

On being preseason favorites to win the SEC...
“It’s exciting but we are more worried about actually getting to number one at the end of the season.”

On the newcomers affecting their style of play...
“I think we all have gotten a lot better. I’ve never seen a group of girls work so hard together, not just for themselves. I think we are going to be even better than we were last year.”

On how much the team has been thinking about the Final Four...
We haven’t thought about it too much yet, but that is obviously our goal.”

#3, Janee Thompson, Freshman, PG

On the early season matchup with top-ranked Baylor...
“It’s obviously going to be one of our bigger games this season. We are going to be up for the challenge, but that is not our main focus. Our main focus is winning a national championship and going out there every day and every game with the best mentality possible.”

On Coach Mitchell calling them a Final Four-caliber team ...
“We definitely are and we have been showing signs of that. We have all the tools to do that we just have to continue to work hard and pull it all together in practice then carry it over to the games.”

On the intensity of practice ...
“The practices are very intense. With the way we play, you notice very easily when we are not hyped up and excited and that’s why Coach Mitchell really pushes us to be energetic and talkative because that’s something we need with the way we play.”

On why her game fits Kentucky’s style of play...
“I’ll have to say because the way I am able to create and with the way we play and as fast as we play I am able to keep up with it offensively.”

On how the transfer to college has been off the court...
“Off the court it has been pretty easy. I have tutors to help me with all my work then I have my teammates that are already like my sisters to me and we haven’t even been around each other very long.”

On her thoughts about Big Blue Madness ...
“Madness was unbelievable and like nothing I have ever seen. The amount of support that we get here is amazing and when I walked out onto the floor I got goose bumps from all the people there and knowing they were all there to support us.”

#0 Jennifer O'Neill, R-Sophomore, Guard

On her feelings of sitting out last season due to an injury...
“At first it was tough but as the season went on it got easier. The girls were very supportive. Coach Mitchell only asked me to come to practice with energy and support them and encourage them and that’s what I did.”

On former Wildcat Amber Smith’s advice about sitting out for a season...
“She just told me to keep my head up and don’t get discouraged by my injury and don’t let it affect me for this year coming up.”

On the differences between this time last year and this year...
“We are so talented. We are going to be faster this year than we ever have been. We have extremely talented post players. Everybody came into preseason in shape. I think everybody is ready to go. Everybody’s mindset is goal orientated.”

On this year’s team’s potential to go to the Final Four...
“I think it’s our playing style. We come ready to play all the time. We play up tempo and bring a lot of energy with the way we play and the fact that we all play for each other. We aren’t just going out there because Coach Mitchell tells us to. It’s like ‘I want to play for her and I want to play for her.’ We make plays for each other.”

On playing time concerns...
“I think you have playing time concerns when teams aren’t as close as we are. If you are getting more playing time then I am, I am not going to say ‘you don’t need to be out there.’ While you’re out there I’m going to be like ‘okay, here we go!’ I’m going to be encouraging. There is no reason to be upset.”

On the team having multiple point guards...
“That’s not a problem. In the way we play, it’s impossible for five people to play forever. We are going to get rotations in and at the end of the day Coach (Mitchell) always says ‘your practice is what determines your playing time.’ So if you are working hard in practice you really have nothing to worry about.”

On her weight loss in the offseason...
“I lost 15 pounds. I feel a lot faster. I can feel it when I cut when we run. I feel like I’m not as heavy as I was. Even on defense I’m not as tired as I used to be.”

#11 DeNesha Stallworth, Junior, C

On getting to play again after sitting out last season...
“I am definitely excited to be back on the court and contribute to my team.”

On sitting out last season...
“It was definitely hard. Without my coaches and my team, I probably would not have gotten through it. It’s hard to watch them play through the good and the bad. I just tried to contribute in practice and think I was on the court in spirit. I was kind of like the sixth man.”

On the toughness of the SEC...
“The SEC is definitely tough. I learned about it last year just watching them play. It’s definitely different from the PAC 12, the physicality, the pace, the intensity as well.”

On the expectations for the team...
“The expectations are very high but we try not to focus on that. We just try to get better every day in practice.”


 

 

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