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UK Needs More Confidence As They Get Ready For Florida - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

UK Needs More Confidence As They Get Ready For Florida

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Matthew Mitchell talks about playing Florida:

“Well, it will be a tough game tomorrow night in Gainesville, Florida. They are tough to defend and shoot a lot of 3s, they do a good job of that. They have some really good post players so they are an inside and outside threat. They will be hard to defend and we have been working hard on trying to get better with that. They are really, really smart defenders. They are going to try to make us take shots that we do not want to take. It will be a big challenge on the road for us. The team has been practicing hard and really doing well, we just have to find some way to get all of our progress that we are making in practice show up in a game. So tomorrow night is another opportunity to get that done.”

On Maci Morris’ injury ... 
“She is day-to-day with a bone bruise. It is very painful and it is all about pain tolerance now and how does it fill. She is such a tough kid and may have been able to make it through the Georgia game, but she came off of a screen and knocked knees with Dorie (Harrison) and that is really what shut her down for the rest of the day. The knee looks good, structurally it is great. It is just very painful. We won’t know (if she will play). But I can tell you, she is as tough physically as anybody I have ever been around. She was really in pain when she went 38 minutes against Texas A&M. So we will just have to see. It is something that we will have to work on every day and try to limit her reps in practice. She is probably without a doubt in the best rhythm offensively, so if there is anybody that can kind of weather through that it is her. It is a tough painful injury for her right now.”

On if they had the knee looked at further after the Georgia game …

“Yeah, we have gone back and looked at it again and it is a bone bruise.”

On what’s going differently this year that’s limiting Taylor Murray’s abilities …

“Well, I think what is the biggest difference is if you look at her freshman and sophomore year, you had people who game plans were devised around. So, you know, Arizona State tried to stop Evelyn (Akhator) and Makayla (Epps), and Maci (Morris) had 29 points. South Carolina was working hard to shut down Evelyn and Makayla, then Taylor goes for 29 points, and she’s been able to play sort of in the background those first two years, and use her speed and we were able to get out and run a little bit more than what we’ve been doing here this year. So, teams are just trying to make sure she can’t score at the rim and they’re really trying to play her right hand. It’s no secret and I’m not giving away any secrets. It’s just what’s happening. Also with our lack of depth we haven’t been able to get out and run the way that I would like to run, so that’s kind of taken away some of her ability to be dynamic and score because she may be out but the wings aren’t running with her so it’s not all on her. So, now we’re trying to get set up and execute a little bit better. So, it’s just a different set of circumstances that she’s got to battle her way through, and the great thing about Taylor is that she’s making no excuses. She knows she has to play better. She’s said she has to play better. I expect she’s going to and this is a great opportunity for her to grow because she’s capable of doing the things that we’re asking her to do. She’s just not comfortable doing those right now and that’s just one of these lessons in life. She’s got to expand her horizons and get out of her comfort zone and understand that we’re not playing against a bunch of do-do birds here in this league. They know what you can do and they’re trying to take it away from you the best they can and the game plan is focused around stopping Maci and Taylor. So, that’s a different role for her. So, that’s the best that I can describe it to you. She’s working hard to play better and I believe she will.”

On how much improvement he’s seen from the three freshmen post players over break …

“Well, I’ve seen a lot of progress in practice. The difficulty we’ve had is getting that to the game. So, they just still get in a rush. We were not efficient with any of our shooting, perimeter or post, on Sunday. And, you know, you listen to people who wish you well like, ‘Hey, you just can’t get the ball to go in the basket,’ like it’s some kind of mystical force out there. What’s happening is our young post players are not trusting their fundamentals and their process. Tatyana Wyatt is such a good player, but if she lets someone push her 10 feet from the basket and she’s using back-to-the-basket moves 10 feet from the basket, that doesn’t work. You’ve got to face up and you’ve got to have that poise and confidence to do that. Or when she got some deep seals, she did too much instead of just being able to make the quick read. She had a little right hand hook and she kept trying to go back and make it more complicated. These are the things that are showing up in the game. They’re getting better. It’s not at the rate that any of us wish it would be but they are working hard. This is what I would say, it’s just right now a battle to stay in what are the facts and not get caught up in emotion. It’s just such an emotional roller coaster you’re on and it’s just so easy to get caught up in what’s gone wrong. The facts are you’re not making shots because you’re not doing the right thing, it’s not because the ball won’t go in the basket. You’re not doing what you need to do. So, the effort’s there in practice. It will come around. It will show up. I hope it shows up tomorrow night, but there is a strong commitment to these kids working hard and trying to get better and they are. They’re getting better.”

On how hard work in practice showing in games can affect a team…

“When you lack experience in the fire, so everybody besides Maci is kind of out of their comfort zone of what their role is. Everybody’s got to battle through and make some plays in what their role is right now and not hang on to the comfort of not being out of the spotlight. The spotlight is shining on us right now. There is no doubt people understand that we have struggled to put the ball in the basket at times, and it is a pretty specific game plan. You just have to go in every day with that mindset. I’ve been very proud of the team, as difficult as it is around here to go through this because we have been so successful. It just adds on to it. The emotions just get so high that you have to find a way and manage that and come to practice every day. I was just so impressed with them yesterday. It was about as poor of a performance that you could see on Sunday, 20 percent shooting. The team that beat us shot 27 percent. That would normally be an automatic win. The only teams that I’ve ever seen that could win like that were back when we were running and pressing. We would shoot 32 percent and turn somebody over a hundred times and win. Difficult game and about as low as you probably can get, and these kids came back yesterday really, really positive, worked real hard and got better. We improved yesterday. Our defense continues to improve. We played good enough defense to win in all three games. We’re not talented enough. If we don’t make the proper play and use the proper fundamentals, you’re not giving yourself every chance you can to win. That’s where we are right now. That’s the message. It would do a world of good if they could go into the game and slow down, have some poise and make some things go right. That would be tremendous for our confidence right now because there’s no doubt about it that part of what we’re fighting right now is between the ears. There’s no question about it. The results we are getting are not indicative of what their ability is. We’ve just got to keep working, getting better. I think that is what our challenge is right now. Nothing is going to happen for us. Eventually, we have to step up and make some things happen.”

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