Women's Basketball

Kentucky Women’s Basketball
Matthew Mitchell Pre-Vanderbilt Quotes
Joe Craft Center – Lexington, Ky.
Feb. 2, 2017

Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement…
“Well, we are looking forward to getting on the practice floor today and preparing for a really tough Vanderbilt team. Their record does not reflect how tough they are. They are a difficult matchup for us, really shoot the 3 well, have a lot of power inside. So, it’ll be a big challenge but I thought our team really responded well to some adversity last night. After the game, we just talked about how important it will be to come back today, and I know they’ll come back today with a great effort. Looking forward to preparing for what’ll be a difficult game for us on Sunday. We’ll need a big crowd out there, help us a lot. We had a great crowd last night. So hopefully we can get a big crowd in there on Sunday.”
On rallying back from being down 27 points at one point against South Carolina…
“Yeah, I was proud of them being able to reset their mindset. We really got discouraged and we were not playing with the type of focus that we needed to play with. You know, we called timeout and tried to say, if the score were tied right now, where would your mind be? Let’s not drift off and wander off because things aren’t going our way. South Carolina really did some great things last night, played extremely hard, made shots and it was a difficult night for us to say the least. But, you know, this team’s battled all year and they’ve worked hard all year and when they’re focused in they do well. That was a difficult time to refocus. It was so discouraging to be down by 24 points at the time we called the timeout, then they hit the three to go up 27 and then from there on out, I thought we regained our focus and gave a better mental effort. You know, last night no matter what was going on, South Carolina gave a supreme effort and it would have been a difficult game for us to win last night, but what we want to do is we want to try to make sure we’re giving everything that we have. I was proud of the team after not doing that, were able to get that back going in the confines of the game because it’s difficult to do. That’s something that you build on. The next time we play them, you work hard and learn where you can try not to go seven minutes without scoring. You know, that happens over the course of the season. So we just need to hit the floor today with a lot of energy and enthusiasm and I think the team will do that.”
On how Makayla is doing after exiting the game last night…
“I think she’s going to be ok. We’ll check her before practice, but we don’t anticipate it being any type of difficulty that would keep her from Sunday’s game. She tweaked an ankle there at the end, stepped on somebody’s shoe down under the basket. So it was very late in the game, so we got her out and she’s getting treatment today. We feel like she’ll be good to go Sunday.”
On what Maci Morris is doing well and where she can continue to improve…
“Well, Maci was in an unfortunate situation when our spirit dropped last night and the heat really got turned up. She ended up with the ball at the end of the clock a bunch, having to try to create and so a lot of her shots were rushed and harassed. We just didn’t do a great job, the other four of us, helping her out. So I appreciate just her aggressive nature and her resilience. She went 2-for-11 in the first half and she just came right back out in the second half and battled and went 2-for-5 there and had a better half there. You know, I just think that she’s playing hard and growing every game. It’s her sophomore season. A lot of people go through what they call a sophomore slump and she shows no signs of that. She’s a major part of our defensive plan, always assigned to the top perimeter player and you know, just making things happen. She is just hanging in there, having to play heavy minutes. I think she’s doing a great job. We were not poised on offense last night. We were really poor on our execution. Against that team, you’ve got to execute well. You’ve got to be crisp, sharp. We got a little panicky with their pressure and it led to some negative plays for us caused by South Carolina. You give them credit for playing tough defense. I think it’s going to help her today. We’re going to go back and try to slow it down, review it a little bit more and get her into some good situations, but I think she’s having a terrific season. We wouldn’t be in very good shape without her, I can tell you that. She’s doing great.”

On whether he’s happy with the team’s shot selection…
“Yeah, I think they’re doing pretty well with that. We started rushing when the shots weren’t falling. We were doing a pretty decent job of getting some shots and then when the lid went on, we were missing layups and all sorts of things. Then we started getting panicky and not doing a great job with moving the job and helping each other out. So we took a few tough shots, but this team has, for the most part, really grown offensively. I think we’ve got capabilities, from a schematic stand point, that we can attack you in different ways, inside and outside with different screening actions. So I think that we just need to stay it every day, but I think that on a given night have plenty of weapons and can cause some problems.”
On any possible fatigue issues at this point in the season…
“Well, I think we’ve gotten through a big bulk of the schedule. We’ve got basically three two-game sets coming up here and we’ll handle it well. One of those we’ll have a bye squeezed in there, so some time to refresh. So I’m not concerned about the team’s fatigue right now. That was a fatiguing game because South Carolina is a really big, strong, athletic team and I thought our team just battled and from a physical standpoint gave a lot. But I think that we are in a spot right now where they’re practicing with great enthusiasm and energy. Their practice on Wednesday getting ready for South Carolina was terrific, didn’t show any signs of fatigue. I think we’re in a good spot there. It’s tough on everybody this time of year, but I don’t feel for one second that we’re in any type of diminished state or any type of disadvantage because of our roster. I think everybody is practicing hard and really contributing and doing well. So I feel good about our team from that standpoint.”

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