Kentucky Sports – No. 13/15 Kentucky Hoops 67, shocks No. 2/2 South Carolina 56

(UK Hoops Notes and Mitchell Interview courtesy of UK Athletics) – UK Hoops 2014-15 Postgame Notes – No. 13/15 Kentucky 67, No. 2/2 South Carolina 56 – Memorial Coliseum – Lexington, Ky. – March 1, 2015

UK Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

UK HoopsOpening Statement …

“Well, great victory and really proud of our team, especially proud of our seniors. It probably would not have been possible without their input and how much they care about the program. Sometimes life doesn’t work out where people get what they deserve. That was going to be a hard game to win today. I wasn’t really worried about the outcome. I was so proud of them for what they have done but it sure is icing on the cake to get the victory and their memory of “Senior Day” is going to be something special and they deserve to feel good today. I am really proud of our team as a whole and especially proud of our seniors.”

 

On this “Senior Day” compared to the rest …

“It’s a special one. It’s always a great day. We have had a lot of success on “Senior Day” but this one is really special. Before the game tipped off it was special for me because of what they have done and I think the Thursday night victory was one of the biggest ones I have ever been a part of just because where we were able to go in a very short period of time. It was directly because of what the seniors did and that is what we want at Kentucky. We just want great women who accept responsibility and know how to figure things out and solve some problems. I was real happy before the games started.”

 

On the chat with the seniors on his couch this week …

“First of all, I was so happy that they called the meeting and Jen (O’Neill) called the meeting. Jen was the person who called me. Bria (Goss) has been a rock her entire career and she has done everything she can do. She’s really worked hard and I have been really after Jennifer to step up and accept her importance to this team. The kids love her, I love her, the fans love her, everybody loves her and her importance to the program is something that she has not always embraced and I could just hear it in her voice for the first time. It kind of hit that this thing was winding down and I needed to meet with her. All of us needed to meet with her, so I thought that was good. I was not defensive at all and I just want our players to be successful. That is what I’m in it for, the wins are great and all of the other stuff – I don’t do this for any other reason than to try to help these young people be the greatest they can be. I was happy to hear because I knew something was missing there and as a coach you try to evolve. Maybe give the players a little bit more responsibility here and there not control everything because when you start out you control everything, you just have to control the culture and the kids don’t know what to do. You’re hoping that you can transfer that responsibility to them and basically what they sat down and told me they said you’ve got to go back to when we were freshman, you’ve got to go back five years ago to Jen and you have got to get this group under control from a focus stand point. Again I’ll tell you as far as I know there is no one that has done anything criminal and I don’t think there is any bad people on the team it’s just an incredibly unfocused group of players that had kind of gotten into a spot where they were just telling me nobody is listening and you’re the only person that is going to listen.”

 

 

On Jen’s performance …

“Thursday night her defense changed the game and I have always wanted her to value defense. When we have been go this year she has really cranked it up on defense and she did it again today. She was the energy defensively that changed everything.  Bria is always there and sometimes when you’re always there you’re taken for granted and I think Jennifer really was powerful. She really understood the game plan. She was really terrific defensively and I think that is what this team needs her to do. The offense will be there but we need her to be a lock down defender because she and Bria can do that and there are not a lot of kids that can bring the kind of energy and pressure. We had to have some kind of ball pressure today to help. Our kids are so undersized compared to South Carolina. They just have an unbelievably talented team so we had to disrupt their ball handlers so they don’t have time to throw the ball in because their post players are open a lot but if you can’t see them you can’t throw it in there. If the ball handler can’t see them and that was sort of our philosophy today. I thought she was great with that so it was a great performance and we needed her to do that down the stretch and we might do something special.”

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