Jan. 8, 2009
Head Coach Pat Summitt:
"My first thought was that on our scouting report defense, I'm not sure that we paid attention. Looking at them being 8-of-14 from the three-point line-we identified their three-point shooters and defended their sets. It was very, very poor on the part of our perimeter game to not be able to defend them better. I thought Alex Fuller had her best game of the year so far. Glory Johnson did some great things. Kelley (Cain) came in and helped some. Lyssi Brewer was not very good and not very inspired. Alicia Manning defended and scored. She has a toughness about her. Angie Bjorklund didn't show up. I was disappointed that we didn't get more from her. We won. As I told our team, fortunately you can win sometimes when you don't play well. We'll learn from it."
(on whether Tennessee is becoming a second-half team):
"It's scary. I do think that when our backs are against the wall, we stepped up. Shekinna Stricklen makes things happen. Bri (Bass) had a tough time defensively. They picked on her. We do what we have to do to win the game. Our desire is to be a 40-minute team. I think the watch stopped in the first half. We'll get there."
(on how this team compares to the national championship teams in 2007 and 2008):
"Our two national championship teams were veteran teams. We had an experienced point guard and a great frontline. When people play us, they play us like we still have Candace (Parker), Alexis (Hornbuckle), Nicky (Anosike), Shannon (Bobbitt), and Alberta (Auguste). I like our talent. We have skilled players. They're young. There's not a sense of urgency, and they play in spurts. They don't realize how hard they have to play. We'll get there."
(on freshman Glory Johnson):
"Glory did a great job of running to the rim. She's aggressive, but she combines that with composure. With Alex (Fuller), we've got two posts making baskets and stretching the high-low."
(on Tennessee's rebounding):
"We saw a different commitment tonight. We had 22 offensive boards and 21 defensive boards. That may be a record for us this year."
(on Tennessee's free throw shooting):
"It was much better. We spent time working on it. I told our players when you have Pratt Pavilion, you have to invest in free throw shooting. It's not just a commitment to your self but to the team. A number of players took us up on that, and it showed tonight."
(on freshman Alicia Manning):
"She was 3-for-3 on three-pointers. That was big for us. I'm gaining confidence in her and what she brings to the team. She defends. She's quicker, larger, rangier. When we want to go with a big line-up, she's our best choice off the bench."
(on Kentucky's three-point shooting):
"We expected the threes. I was disappointed that we didn't guard (Carly) Morrow better. Carly had her way with us. When they are 8-of-13 on three-pointers, we're definitely not respecting the three-ball. We'll learn from it. It was a W, and we'll move on."
TENNESSEE FRESHMAN FORWARD Glory Johnson
(On trailing late in the second half):
"We did not want to lose and I was going to put everything that I had out there just to ensure that we were not going to lose. We just weren't playing up to par. We were playing with intensity but weren't playing our game."
(On SEC play being a different level):
"It doesn't matter what game you're playing, you have to bring your 'A' game. Every team plays their best when we play against them, so it's always going to be hard, so we just have to bring our game."
(On playing together as a team):
"Sometimes Angie (Bjorklund) gets double-teamed or they deny her the ball. It allows our team to work with each other. If you can't score one game, you have to play defense. Our team just has to work together and share the ball and that's what we've been doing lately, more in the second half than in the first half."
TENNESSEE FRESHMAN GUARD/FORWARD Alicia Manning
(On playing with composure):
"Coach (Summitt) has been stressing composure a lot with me on the offensive end and just taking a step back and seeing the floor, making good passes, look inside and hit my shot if I've got it."
(On going 3-for-3 from the three-point line):
"They just left me open so I took the shot. That has a lot to do with our offense. The coaches did a good job and rest of the players did a good job of cutting and getting to where we could get open and knock down good shots."
(On Angie Bjorklund helping to open up the offense for the rest of the team):
"Angie is such a great shooter and teams know that and try to shut her down. Of course, she is going to have one of the best defenders on her at all times. Having that locked down on her opened it up for me, Shekinna and some of the posts to get open and move the ball around."
(On playing well for 40 minutes):
Coach really stresses that we need to go out and play a 40-minute basketball game. At Rutgers, we came out the first half slow and played strong in the second half. We just really need to put it together and become a 40-minute team. That is going to make us hard to beat."
TENNESSEE FRESHMAN GUARD/FORWARD Shekinna Stricklen
(On having a number of three-point threats on the team):
"It makes it so much harder (to defend us). It takes a lot of pressure off of Angie (Bjorklund). Everyone knows Angie is one of the best shooters in the country and this conference. With the three of us out there shooting like that, we are able to penetrate and kick it out to each other."
(On out-rebounding Kentucky, 43-30):
"Rebounding is very big and that is one thing that Coach (Summitt) always stays on us about. Rebounding really wins games. She's been telling us that we need to crash the boards."
Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell (opening statement):
"We're extremely disappointed to lose. We came down here with the intention to win. I tried to get prepared to do that, and I thought our players had some good moments in the game, but obviously not enough to win. I think it's pretty evident for us that it was not a lack of effort, it was a lack of execution. That's what we'll have to work on. In this league you don't get a lot of medals for trying; you get a lot of medals for doing what you're supposed to do and execution is a premium, so we'll try to work on that. Our players gave good effort, but we turned it over too much, and we gave Tennessee too many offensive rebounds. We will try to learn from this one and get ready for the next one."
(On Kentucky's effectiveness from the three-point line, where the Wildcats shot 8-of-14):
"It's key. It's always important to make shots, and when they're 3-point shots, and when you make a few of those, it gives you a chance to win. I thought the timing on a lot of our three-point shots was probably our biggest factor. We just hit some at key times. I don't think Tennessee ever got more than a ten-point lead and on a couple of those occasions -- I remember one in particular - Carly (Morrow) was able to hit a three-point shot. It just lifts your team and lets everybody know you can get back in it. The three-point shot was a big factor for us tonight in the game."
(On if his players got fatigued):
"I didn't think we ran out of gas. I think we played an excellent team in a tough environment on the road. I thought we missed some shots and had poor execution. I was very pleased. Amber (Smith) played 39 minutes. She made one to cut it down to four at the end. She didn't look fatigued to me. I'm sure they were tired, but I don't think that's why we lost the lead. I was very pleased with our players' physical effort."
Sophomore guard Amber Smith (On what this game means for the team):
"Amber ... There are a lot of positives that we can just go back and look back on. It wasn't a lot about what they were doing. We just missed a lot of easy shots. We had the opportunities, we just didn't get them in the end. I think we are going to get better after this."
Sophomore guard Carly Morrow (On scoring a team-high 16 points):
"A lot of those were created from Amber (Smith) and Amani (Franklin) driving and kicking, and making something happen. I just try to get in their vision. They're great passers. I just try to do my job of knocking down shots because they are doing such a good job of getting in the lane and drawing in the defense."