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UK Women Post Game Comments After Win Over Auburn

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KENTUCKY WOMEN’S BASKETBALL POSTGAME QUOTES

Kentucky vs. Auburn

Memorial Coliseum – Lexington, Ky.

Feb. 1, 2018

Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

Opening Statement …

“I’m proud of our players tonight. It’s a difficult game to get ready for. One day of preparation after that Monday night game and we were off Tuesday and they had one day to get prepared and I’m just so proud of them. Not the kind of game that you can draw a lot of plays up and control a lot of things as a coach. You have to rely on the players and we gave them some ideas and some concepts, and they just really did a great job, hung in there after a rocky start. I’m just proud of them. Great win for us.”

On what he told his players in an effort to minimize being “pushed around” …

“Just to adjust. Just told them that we didn’t have time –­ Auburn’s really tough to get ready for, and, you know, last year we were on the road at LSU. We stayed out there and had a lot of time to prepare and this was a tough, tough prep for us, and so I just told them that that was the one area we had to correct immediately that they could. They could start hustling and get tough. I just thought we really adjusted well and that was what you had to do because Auburn is so aggressive. They play so hard, they always do. They’re one of the hardest playing teams in the conference and I thought our players adjusted well.”

On whether or not he believed Kentucky’s defense would do as much damage as it did …

“I didn’t know that it would do the damage it did. I thought we had some opportunity. You know, I was hoping we could win the turnover battle and it was not pretty tonight with 20 turnovers on our part, but to force them into 25 was fantastic. Beautiful fourth quarter. People just flying all over the place and making plays and excited about that. But we were going to try to win the boards and try to win the turnovers and we were going to try to, you know, not have a lot of live ball turnovers where they were going and scoring. So, we did a good job of that.”

On the team’s abilities in the fourth quarter …

“I just think that we’re getting better, and the crowd helped us tonight and just were able to make some plays and gain the momentum. I thought we gained the momentum last Thursday night and also we’re clearly shooting the ball a lot better than we were earlier in the stretch and in SEC play, at the end of non-conference play where we really lost confidence. So, I think that momentum’s fueled by after you get a turnover, you come down and convert it into points. Amanda (Paschal) made a real tough 15-foot jumper in that run and, you know, made some 3s, Taylor (Murray) made a 3, and so, I think that helps your confidence too and energizes you a little bit. So, momentum swings in both of those fourth quarters went our way.”

On keeping confidence in the team’s shooting ability…

“Again, it’s very difficult. It’s not a normal game. You can’t get out there, even against a zone team where you can run some sets and get some looks. Just in halftime, here are some things that we think will work. Here’s where you need to get the ball. Credit the players. They made it work, finally hit the high post some. I though Alyssa Rice made some real tough goals around the basket and that was huge for us. So, a real credit to the players tonight. They really had to be fully engaged throughout the game to get better and improve and I’m real proud of them.”

On updates on Jaida Roper …

“We checked her at halftime and she was cleared to come back in, just not feeling great. So, she feels like she may have a knot on her head. I just talked to her. She was not in the concussion protocol at halftime, so we’re hoping she can get some rest and be available on Sunday.”

On whether there is a benefit to playing LSU with a similar style of play to Auburn …

“A little bit, so it’s not going from that to totally different concepts. So, they’re not exactly the same, but yeah, it helps. And with the schedule we have we need a little ray of sunshine. This is a brutal schedule that we’ve had and so that does maybe help us a little bit that we’ve been working some zone concepts and hopefully that will shine through on Sunday. Big game for us on Sunday.”

On Maci Morris scoring 1,000 career points today …

“Yeah, I was just so wrapped up in the game. That’s a great accomplishment for her. She really, really lit it up from the 3 for us and kind of steadied the ship when we were having a hard time figuring out how to beat that zone. She made some big, big shots. So proud of her. She’s an absolute warrior. She’s not 100 percent, not feeling great and she’s just out there battling. Her 3-pointers were big tonight. Proud of her. Happy for her.”

On tonight being a start to creating more turnovers and more pressure …

“We’ll see. I’ll tell you who gets a little of credit is KeKe McKinney who is on the top of that press for 35 minutes running side to side and finally the game kind of popped open and we were able to really turn them over some. So, her hustle was really key and it won’t show up in the stat sheet, but that looked good. We’re just trying to find ways to win games. Trying to find ways to get better. Tonight was a good night as far as forcing turnovers, so proud of them and we just need to come back to work tomorrow really humble and hungry and try to get better tomorrow.”

On Taylor Murray’s part on defense …

“Good, really good. Taylor’s playing really good basketball right now. Had some key steals there that kind of ignited us, but proud of the team. Basically played the second quarter without her and we made a nice run there. It would have been really nice had they not banked that 3 in. I mean it was a really good quarter there, so that’s a plus for the team, but Taylor is important to us. We need her to play well and she has really picked up her game and we’re proud of that.”

Kentucky Players

#4 Maci Morris, G

On whether she knew she scored her 1,000th point tonight …

“I knew that I would probably reach it this game, but think I did. I’m not exactly sure though.”

On her 3-point shooting tonight …

“Yeah, my teammates were doing a really good job. They were getting me a lot of open shots, so I knocked them down.”

On handling the team’s issues with turnovers tonight …

“It was super important. Auburn’s known for their press, so we knew they were going to turn us over some. We just had to come back with more effort and energy and make them turn it over. That was one of those things Coach was preaching before the game: the turnover margin, that we had to win that. So, we did a good job when we did.”

On the team’s fourth-quarter surge …

“I know for us, we’ve always struggled in the third quarter. At halftime and right before we go out there for the second half we just try to focus in and make sure we know we have to have a good second half because we usually struggle with that. Lately, we’ve been playing really well the fourth quarter. We were talking about how it was a 4-point game and we took over and executed. I think we’re just starting to click a lot better now and hopefully we can continue that.”

#45 Alyssa Rice, F

On surviving the physical game early on …

“We just kept trying to keep each other calm and telling each other that we needed to be poised. We’ve been working on it all week in practice, so it wasn’t anything that we hadn’t seen before. I think it was just getting the nerves out and being able to see that pressure first hand then we were able to adjust later on in the game.”

On her scoring and rebounding performance today …

“I just came in with an aggressive mindset. I knew that Auburn had an aggressive defense, so I just knew I had to be aggressive tonight, adjust any way my team needed me. So, tonight I was getting boards and just trying to be more aggressive overall.”

On what KeKe McKinney adds for Kentucky …

“KeKe is one of our huge energy people. Each and every possession she gives us energy on offense and defense. She’s like our hype man. She does the little things that may not show up on the stat sheet, but she’s definitely a huge factor on this team.”

On momentum and confidence …

“When you’re in the moment and things are going well, things go well for a lot of people and it just continues on like a snowball effect. So when things are going good you can feel that and you just want to keep building on the energy. It’s hard on the opponent when they keep scoring against you, so I think that is another factor.”

On the three-game win streak …

“It was definitely needed. We’ve been working really hard in practice and it’s always rewarding when you see what your hard work is actually getting rewarded for. We know that we’re not where we need to be, there’s still things we can improve upon, but it’s really nice to be able to get wins as a result.”

Auburn Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy

Opening statement …

“I thought we played well throughout the game. It was just the fourth quarter that came up. We didn’t handle the basketball and that’s really what gave Kentucky the lead.”

On the difference in the fourth quarter …

“We didn’t handle the pressure as well. We should’ve been attacking and we were a little passive.”

On the conversation in the huddle in midst of many turnovers …

“I told them not to turn the ball over. We had our press offense set, we knew exactly what we were supposed to do, but you’ve got to want the basketball.”

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