College Basketball – Women’s – Kentucky-Alabama Postgame Quotes

Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement …

“I’m really proud of the team for bouncing back from our disappointment from Sunday. We really focused on two things only on Tuesday and Wednesday getting ready for this Thursday game. That was defense intensity and rebound tenacity. We did not work a lot on our offense. I think you can really see what we worked on. Trying to make sure Alabama didn’t score in the paint. They are really athletic and tough players and well coached. If you let them score in the paint they are really hard to beat. I was proud of the team limiting them to 10 points in the paint and winning the boards by 15 was fantastic. That’s what we were really trying to get across to them. That if you do those things I feel like we can work everything else out. We just have to be a tough blue-collar team. We rebounded the ball on the offensive glass tonight better than we ever have before. We have had bigger numbers but I thought we were really flying to the glass and that was good. It’s going to be a long SEC season we just have to get the mindset we are going to have to grind every single practice and fight for improvement. I’m very happy for them tonight they fought hard to get this victory.”

On the team’s strong performance in the third quarter offensively …

“I thought Sunday really affected our confidence in a major way. You could even see in in our practice. We were really shaken by that. In the first half we kind of panicked and played with no flow. I just told them let’s get back to being a really good offensive team. Let’s get in the paint and kick it out. Let’s shoot some 3s. Let’s turn it loose and get some stops and get in transition. Transition was really good to us. I simply thought some shots started to fall for us that didn’t fall on Sunday. It’s a great lesson for us and me as a coach we were a lot more fragile mentally than I thought we were. I thought we lost a lot of confidence form Sunday and I told them we couldn’t let one bad performance carry on. I thought we showed some signs of life in the second half. ”

On if he normally practices on game day …

“We felt like we had some effort break down. We just spent all of Tuesday and Wednesday working on us. We clearly are talking about Alabama, but it was some things we had to get to today that were good for us. We needed this victory very badly and we trained hard for it.”

On Maci Morris’ performance …

“I am really proud of Maci. We were sad for Maci this week her grandfather passed. She was not in practice yesterday she traveled down for the funeral. Our prayers go out to the Morris family. They are really proud of Maci, how she came back and I think her grandfather would be real proud of the way she played tonight. That was big for us because those were some shots that didn’t fall for us on Sunday. All of our starters got into double figures. I think that is good for us. Maci making those shots is really good for us and it lifts everyone’s sprits.”

On Makayla’s assist to Maci in the second half and getting excited about it …

“It was an unbelievable play. Not a lot of people can make that pass. It was a bullet skip pass that hit her right in the pocket and all she had to do was catch and shoot. I think Makayla got a little rattled offensively and was rushing shots around the basket and that is one of the things we have to get out of when she is just floating around the basket avoiding contact. I just wanted her to stay real patient. I told her in the timeout that an assist is as good as a score. I think that was right after that conversation she had that great pass to assist the 3 that got the crowd going. Really big play in the game and I got excited on that.”

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#3 Janee Thompson, G

On the status of her injury sustained during the game…

“Yeah, I’m fine. I just got kneed in my quad. But I’ll be fine.”

On the importance of getting a big win after the Auburn game…

“Well, I think we just lost our composure in every way in Auburn. And I don’t think we were worried about the score. I think we were more worried about the way we played and trying to correct some of the mistakes we made in Auburn. And I think we did that. I think we had a really good effort defensively and I think we finished a lot of good plays with box outs and rebounds. That’s what Coach was looking for, so I’m proud of my team for that.”

On Evelyn Akhator’s play…

“It was great. I think that overall, everybody gave a really good effort defensively. But Evelyn did a really good job of making herself present on offense. I think a lot of times when we were struggling to score, she would pop open in the paint and get some layups or get fouled. And she did a really good job of making her free throws today. I’m so proud of her. She did good.”

#13 Evelyn Akhator, F

On the importance of a big win…

“I think, like Janee said, we weren’t worried about the points. We were more worried about getting better and getting our footwork right, especially on defense. We really weren’t worried about the points, we were just worried about the effort.”

#35 Alexis Jennings, F/C

On if the team felt like they needed a dominating win…

“Yes, I felt like we did. I think we were so disappointed that for this game we wanted to focus on the things that we did in previous practices. And I feel like we got involved in the game and showed that we got over it (the Auburn loss).”

On outrebounding Auburn by 15…

“I would say that was a goal. We had been down lately in boards. In practice, we had been doing a ton of defensive footwork drills in order to get us into position to rebound, and a lot of it was footwork today.”

On what worked in the third period…

“I don’t know. I think it was Coach’s pep talk. At halftime, he was like, ‘just keep your foot down. You know, don’t let up.’ And I think that’s just what we did. We just stayed together and we were able to finish the game.”

Alabama Head Coach Kristy Curry

Opening Statement…

“At the end of the day you just have to credit Kentucky on a night like tonight. I thought they played really well. (They had) five players in double figures. (We) got outrebounded by 15. I don’t think they like what happened to them at Auburn and I thought they responded with an exclamation point. You credit them and you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and you get ready to go home and defend your home court like they did tonight on Sunday.”

On difference in the third period regarding offensive rhythm …

“I thought we couldn’t counter with a make. You can’t set your press if you’re not making baskets. We really struggled. I thought Karyla Middlebrook came out and really tried to help us offensively. (She) scored all of her points in the second half. But we have to have more folks step up and make shots and make plays offensively. And we weren’t able to do that tonight. I credit Kentucky’s defense. I thought their post really, really affected us and ran waves at us. It just shows with two recruiting classes that we’ve got the opportunity with that third one and that fourth one to continue and bring bigs in. That’s what we’re doing. We’re trying to build our depth in this league and you don’t do that overnight.”