NCAA Women's Tournament – UK Hoops upset by Dayton

(Notes and Interviews courtesy of UK Athletics)

UK_Hoops_TeamUK Hoops 2014-15 Postgame Notes – (7) Dayton 99, (2) Kentucky 94 – Memorial Coliseum – Lexington, Ky. – 2015 NCAA Tournament – Second Round – March 22, 2015

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky finishes its season 24-10 overall, while Dayton improved to 27-6 this season and moves onto the Sweet 16.
  • Kentucky moves to 736-495 (59.8) all-time in 41 seasons of varsity women’s basketball.
  • Matthew Mitchell, UK’s all-time winningest coach, dropped to 224-110 overall, 194-81 at UK.
  • UK is now 4-4 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
  • Kentucky is now 17-12 in the NCAA Tournament, 13-6 under Matthew Mitchell.
  • The Wildcats finish 14-3 at home this season. The loss broke UK’s streak of 54 straight non-conference wins in Memorial Coliseum.
  • UK leads the all-time series with Dayton 13-4.
  • Dayton tied the series at 1-1 in the NCAA Tournament.
  • UK is now 19-7 against Atlantic-10 teams all-time.
  • Today’s attendance was 3,320.

First Half Notes

  • UK started with the lineup of Jelléah Sidney, Makayla Epps, Bria Goss, Jennifer O’Neill and Alyssa Rice.
    • This lineup started a game for the first time.
  • Dayton led by as much as nine (20-11) at the 13:03 mark in the first half.
    • Kentucky went on a 13-2 run over the next 3:14 to take a 24-22 lead.
  • Senior Jen O’Neill scored 10 points in the first half for the second game in a row.
  • Kentucky outscored Dayton 12-2 in first-half points off turnovers.
  • UK, who leads the nation in free throw attempts per game, shot 10 free throws in the first half, going 10-of-15 from the stripe (.667).
  • Kentucky led 45-42 at the break and is now 16-5 when leading at the break.

Second Half Notes

  • UK opened the second half with Jelléah Sidney, Makayla Epps, Bria Goss, Jennifer O’Neill and Alyssa Rice.
  • In the second half, Dayton shot 64 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from three-point range.
  • UK started the second half 1 of 5 from the field, and Dayton tied the game at 48-48 with 15:50 left.
  • UK went on a 7-2 run to take a 62-54 lead with 12:18 to go.
  • Dayton forced a UK timeout when it took its first lead of the second half at 79-78 with 5:24 to go in the game.
  • Kentucky outscored Dayton 7-2 over the next 2:09 to take  an 81-85 lead
  • Dayton’s Kelly Austria hit a 3-pointer with 1:08 to go, giving Dayton a 90-87 lead that it never relinquished.
  • Jennifer O’Neill responded with two made free throws on the other side of the court, but Dayton’s Amber Deane hit another 3 as the shot clock was winding down, to give Dayton a 93-89 lead with 24 seconds remaining.
  • Dayton outscored Kentucky 57-49 in the second half.
  • Makayla Epps scored 22 of her 29 points in the second half.

Team/Game Notes.

  • Dayton shot 57 percent (30 of 53) from the floor, which was the best shooting performance by a UK opponent this season.
  • Dayton’s 3-point field-goal percentage (61 percent) on 11 of 18, was also a season-high by a UK opponent.
  • Dayton made 28 of its 31 free-throw attempts (90 percent), which was the most by a UK opponent this season and tied the best percentage by a UK foe.
  • Kentucky is now 322-22 when scoring 80 or more points under Matthew Mitchell, and 9-1 this season. In the last three seasons, UK is 70-3 (.959) when scoring 80+ points.
  • Kentucky 31 made free throws are the second-highest of the second, while the attempts are the third-highest.
  • UK won steals 11-1.
  • Dayton had 24 turnovers, compared with five by Kentucky.
  • Kentucky outscored Dayton 24-5 off turnovers.
  • Kentucky’s four seniors (Azia Bishop, Bria Goss, Jennifer O’Neill and Jelléah Sidney) concluded their careers as the winningest class in school history with 108 wins.

Individual Notes

  • Sophomore guard Linnae Harper came off the bench to grab a UK-high 12 rebounds, and she added nine points.
  • Senior guard Jennifer O’Neill recorded her 29th double-figure scoring game of the season, including 10th straight with 16 points.
    • Finished her career tied for sixth place on UK’s all-time games played list with 133.
    • She finished her career ranked 12th on the UK all-time points list with 1446.
    • She also finished her career ranked second on the all-time 3-point field-goal list with 197.
    • She is one 30 Wildcats to have scored 1,000 points in her career.
  • Senior guard Bria Goss added 12 points, her third straight game in double figures.
    • Marked her 14th double-figure scoring game this season, and 72st of her career.
    • She moved into fourth place alongside teammate Azia Bishop on the all-time games played list at UK with 134.
    • She is one 30 Wildcats to have scored 1,000 points in her career.
    • She ranks fifth on UK’s career list for free throws made (398) and ranks second in FT percentage (.819).
  • Sophomore guard Makayla Epps scored a game-high 29 points, her 27th game in double figures this season, including fourth straight.
  • Freshman forward Alyssa Rice made her 11th career start, and scored seven points.
  • Senior forward Jelléah Sidney blocked a season-high two shots
  • She scored seven points and added two blocks and four rebounds.

Kentucky Head Coach, Matthew Mitchell

Opening statement …

“First of all, I would like to thank everyone from the University of Kentucky and everyone from the NCAA that came in and was a part of putting this tournament on. It was really well-run and it was a first-class operation and we just thank everyone who had a hand in that. It was a great experience from that standpoint. I want to congratulate the University of Dayton, they just played so hard today, they wanted the game very badly, they played with great intensity, they had great resilience in the game. When they went down, they always found a way to fight back and they just played much harder than we did, and certainly down the stretch when it was time to win the game, they just played. I would congratulate them and wish them well as they move forward. It’s a disappointing end to a really, really good season for us. The good part of the season, there are a lot of moments, a lot of great wins, a lot of great victories, a lot of happy times. But I think for me, just what we learned about our players and what Kentucky needs to stand for and what Kentucky needs to be, I feel really good about that I feel really good about how we will approach the future. A disappointing end to a season that I will always remember. And I’m real grateful to our seniors. They had a great career here and what they did for us down the stretch to help us know what we needed to know what we needed to do going forward I’ll always remember.”

 

On not coming out ready to play and focused …

“I just thought yesterday was one of the best days we had from a focus standpoint and a preparation standpoint, the spirit the players were in when we talked about the gameplan, they were really focused in. I was really looking forward to the game today. Our practice was sharp yesterday, so I was looking forward to the game today. I wanted to find a way to beat a good Dayton team, because I wanted another week with this team. I really thought yesterday was what I was looking for from this team, and I thought if we could get another week of that, then we could really do something. It’s just plagued us all year — inconsistency at inopportune moments. I could really kind of tell it from the beginning. There’s just certain things that you can notice from players and we just did not have the focus and the energy and the effort that we needed and we just gave them so many opportunities in their strength zone and they took advantage of it. We needed to play harder, sharper, and we needed to play more consistently throughout the game. We had a chance to stretch it to double-digits in the first half and we missed free throws, you know, we missed 14 free throws. You can always tell with our team. There are nights where you’ll miss three or four and days like today when we’ll miss 15. In the first half, we had a wide-open 3 to stretch it to 10, got the offensive rebound, had free throws to stretch it to nine, get a stop and then really have some great momentum going into halftime, but we let them come back and cut it to three. It’s just things like that. We had a chance to stretch it to 10, the place is going crazy, everybody is fired up and we miss two free throws, let them get back going and we missed some layups at inopportune times. So, to me, we just weren’t nearly sharp enough from a mental perspective to stop Dayton. If you let them drive the ball and don’t stop them getting to the rim, they can really hurt you. (Ally) Mallot had a fantastic day and (Amber) Deane had a fantastic day. They just played up to their ability and their best and we just didn’t ever seem like we had that fire in our belly to advance, and this particular team can’t play that way. There is no in-between. We have to play really, really hard with maximum effort and greater effort than our opponent, or we get beat and that’s what happened today.”

 

On the suspension of Azia Bishop …

“My role as the head coach is I have to set the standard. February 24 was the day, a Tuesday, when the seniors came to my house and said I was not doing a good enough job upholding the standard and I needed to be much more focused with our younger players and I told them, I appreciate that, but you can’t come in here and tell me that and then not uphold the standards and so everybody was clear. Everybody needed to be in their rooms by 11 (o’clock) with nobody coming by and stopping by to see you and nobody on the floor, and I don’t think that there was anything in Azia’s mind but a lack of focus. She just lost focus at a real important time. She’s not a bad person, she’s a great person who I love a lot, but if I’m not going to uphold the standard – I don’t know whether that lost the game for us or not. We’ll never know. It’s irrelevant to me. What I have to do is uphold the standard as their coach and I can tell you if she played, whether we won or lost the game, I think we would have lost a bunch in the future if I don’t uphold the standard, so it’s not what I wanted to be dealing with this morning, but it’s what you have to deal with. I do the right thing, and I don’t really think about that. We had more than enough talent on the floor to win. We could have won the game, and so how did it affect us, I don’t know. I’ll talk to the players and we’ll see what it was. I hate that that was the way her career ended. I really wanted to get to next week because I know she feels terrible about the situation. I feel terrible about the situation. But if you’re in my shoes, you must do the right thing or if you don’t have integrity you don’t really have a program. That’s my thought on that situation.”

 

Kentucky Student-Athlete Jen O’Neill

 

Regarding Dayton shooting 57 percent …

 

“Coming into this game we were told that they were an unselfish team and they really look for their key players coming down the stretch and they were able to knock down shots.”

 

Describe the difficulty of defending Dayton …

“We just really needed to stop dribble penetration and we weren’t getting it done.  They were able to penetrate and kick.”

 

What’s it going to be like knowing you’re not going to pull on that Kentucky jersey again?

“Personally, it’s tough for me just because I’m the one who really lost the game. I let her hit that 3-point shot. That’s deflating to my team. We were on a little run and as a senior I can’t make mistakes like that. Among a bunch of other mistakes I made that was a key moment in the game and should never happen.”

 

Kentucky Student-Athlete Bria Goss

 

Regarding Dayton shooting 57 percent …

“They hit some really big shots down the stretch. They did a really good job distributing the ball and finding the open man and knocking them down when they needed to be counted.”

 

Describe the difficulty of defending Dayton …

“A lot of drives and kicks.  We were just too late on recovery in trying to help stop the drive and  just came up short.”

 

Was there anything in the game that looked different from what you saw from Dayton on Friday

“No, our coaches did a great job in getting us prepared.  It was up to us to buckle down and focus, focus for the full 40 minutes and not take plays off.  They are a great team and they executed really well but our coaches did a great job letting us know what was going to happen and what we were facing up against.  We just didn’t take advantage of it.”

 

What’s it going to be like knowing you’re not going to pull on that Kentucky jersey again?

“It’s just going to be tough … (long pause) Next question.”

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