Postgame Quotes: Kentucky 75, Lady Vols 71

Feb. 16, 2014

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Head Coach Holly Warlick

(Opening Statement)
"Got in a hole the first half. We struggled on the defensive end, had a chance the second half and gave up a three-point shot that [Jennifer] O'Neill banked in and we turned the ball over four out of the last six possessions. Tough game, but we couldn't get over the hump."

(On being critical)
"I think that we didn't come out and defend very well. Kentucky hit big shots and I just think we didn't- defense wasn't important for us today. So, that's about it."

(On foul troubles)
"It hurt us. I think it hurt us that Meighan [Simmons] only played seven minutes the first half and [Andraya] Carter as well. It got us in a bind, but you have to adjust to how the officials are calling the game. We didn't have our hands on them. We were bumping. We just have to adjust and I thought the second half we were better. We played a little bit more zone. We changed up our zones. It affected us for those two being on the bench."

(On turnovers)
"Down the stretch, we're just throwing the ball away. We threw the ball away on transition. We had an illegal screen called. We threw the ball away, posting up Cierra [Burdick]. I'm sure their defense had something to do with it too, but I think that us not completing the play had a lot to do with it as well."

(On inbounds play to Isabelle Harrison)
"Yes. We were trying to get the ball inside to Izzy [Isabelle Harrison]. We got what we wanted. They just knocked the ball out of her hands."

(On defending Kentucky)
"I thought the first half we weren't too aware of where she was. We did a better job the second half. We were in a switching defense right there and I have to go back and look- we didn't come up enough. For her to get off the three, that means we weren't as aggressive as we should have been."

(On first half foul trouble)
"We just couldn't. We can't go, with two fouls, it's just- we couldn't do it. I thought Jordan [Reynolds] came in and did some good things, some positive things. We had- [Cierra] Burdick had five turnovers, Izzy [Harrison] had five, [Meighan] Simmons had five. I don't know- Jordan [Reynolds] had two. When you turn the ball over like we did, those are times when you don't get attempts and shots. So we missed the shot- that gives us a chance to get second chance points, but when you turn the ball over, you don't get that look. Down the stretch, the ball never even got near the basket.

(On final plays of the game)
"We were up by four. That's part of the game. [Jennifer] O'Neill shot a three and it banked in. It is what it is. That's when we went on our run and had four turnovers in six possessions. I thought we did well- the clock's running down, we get her to take a tough shot and it goes in. That's just part of the game."

(On post play)
"I think we were trying to hard. We haven't been doing that. I don't know if we were pressing. It is- it's a little frustrating that you don't get opportunity to at least get a shot off."

Senior Guard Meighan Simmons

(On being in foul trouble)
"It's a little frustrating. It's just one of those things where I can't get myself in that position when my teammates need me. I just have to be smarter with the ball. I can''t really say anything, I just have to be a lot smarter and keep myself in the game as much as I can."

(On if her last three-point field goal attempt)
"That didn't get blocked, I got fouled. It's just that simple. Holly asked me that when I went in the locker room, `Was it an open look?' and I told her "Yeah, I did.' I was wide open and she bumped into me as I went up."

(On missed opportunities)
"I don't think it was just a missed opportunity, I think it was a lot of opportunities and knowing that we should have made easier baskets. They just didn't go in today, that kind of just got us a little frustrated. We got stops when we needed to. We just needed to continue to get stops and not be up and down throughout the game."

(On the difference in Kentucky's defense)
"I think, just slowing us down, knowing that we do get a lot of transition points. They decided to change their game plan and send everyone else back in the half court. That kind of got us to slow down and make us play in the half court set because when we get in transition the game becomes more fun, we get easier baskets and we get more momentum in the game. I feel like they took our transition game away."

(On Ariel Massengale sitting on the bench)
"We were very excited to see her on the bench. That's all she was talking about, especially when we were doing our introduction. She was saying how it's hard not being able to play, but it's better to be here, be here with you all and with all the fans. We're really excited. We definitely need her. I can't wait to see how well she comes back."

Junior Center Isabelle Harrison

(On who knocked the ball away on UT's last offensive possession)
"I think it was her (DeNesha Stallworth) or one of the guards that was creeping in."

(On losing control in the last part of the game)
"I think we are getting some momentum in the game and we are starting to play like we are supposed to play. I guess they kept on making plays and we couldn't get stops. Of course, I'm the type of person to put a lot of blame on myself. I blame me, I feel like I had a lot of turnovers. We were getting frustrated and if we would have had a little more composure we would have been fine."

(On Tennessee's play towards the end of the game)
"I just feel like we were really rushed. We've played good teams like Kentucky and we've composed ourselves. They did play good defense. They were really physical against us, but I felt if we would've taken extra time making plays and think stuff through, we would've been fine."

Sophomore Bashaara Graves

(On Isabelle Harrison and herself scoring 20 points apiece)
"With our posts, we had an advantage against Kentucky so we definitely wanted to go inside a lot. That's what we kept doing. Izzy was hitting shots, I was hitting shots. The ball kept going in. We just happened to both get 20 total."

(On scoring double figures)
"I just came into this game and wanted to play as hard as I can. That's what I'm going to do next game. It doesn't matter how many points I score."

Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell

(Opening statement)
"I would first like to say that the effort from both teams was a great tribute to Betty Jaynes. She was a real pioneer in our game. I don't think we would have a game if it weren't for her contributions. She was a founding member for our coaching association. She was a giant supporter of women's basketball. She was laid to rest this week. We just like to think that she was really looking down on two teams that played really hard and competed well. I know she is smiling up in Heaven right now, so tribute to Betty Jaynes. For our team, we just have great respect for Tennessee and how good they are and the team they have. We had to work hard in preparation to win down here today. I couldn't be more proud of our players. They couldn't have played any harder. Tennessee played a real tough game, and our team played a tough game. It was a great win."

(On first win in Knoxville since 1985)
"This something that you look back at after the season when you highlight some things, but this team needed to win today because they could. They needed to believe in themselves, and they did. That is the significant thing in my mind. Anytime we do something we haven't done before or in a really long time is good, but I am just happy for these players. They have worked real hard over the last few weeks so they could get their minds in the spot where they could come in and win a big game like this today. The credit goes to them for all the work they have put in. It was a great day for us."

(On three wins versus top ten teams)
"We have a good team, and we knew that. Over the last couple of weeks, we have been focusing on making sure our players know we have a good team. What they did today is something they have already done this year. We beat another top ten team away from home on a big stage and environment. I have just been trying to get them to understand that they are a good team and players. We have had some rough patches, but they could come in here and win today, and we did."

(On Janee Thompson's play)
"She is a really good player. She is an example of someone who has had to work hard in the last couple of weeks to make changes necessary for her to play her best. I have 100% confidence in her. Thompson believes in herself, and that is all that really needs to happen. I love the way she played today. She played to win. She was a huge part in our big team victory today. She played terrific and really kept her composure. She showed a lot of growth today."

(On creating 22 turnovers)
"We just haven't been able to full court press this year the way we would like to. The last couple of weeks, we have tried to become the most vicious half court man-to-man defense that we cane be. I thought we did that today. Those 22 turnovers are forced with zero full court press. We were very tough, and I thought we did a good job offensively. If you let Tennessee operate in their comfort zone, they are going to kill you because we just don't have the size to match up with them, but we do have the speed and the defensive ability. You have to speed it up and make it a little chaotic."

Senior Guard Jennifer O'Neill

(On the importance of this win for the team)
"Anytime you get a win, it feels good. We were questioning ourselves, but we came down here and played a good game and got a victory. That is all that matters."

(On recent high-scoring games)
"My coaches are being positive with me. They have just been telling that I need to shoot the ball and not keep hesitating. They also told me not to overthink things. It is just a matter of coming out and playing my game: not just myself but for them too."

Senior Forward DeNesha Stallworth

(On what was said to the team to get past Tennessee's late run)
"I think we stayed poised and did a great job of coming together. Back in the past, that is something we didn't do. We all just came together and stayed positive. We took it one play at a time and got the stops. Everybody was very encouraging including Coach Mitchell. We did a great job of staying together."

(On key to guarding Tennessee down low)
"They have very strong post players. Their guards do a great job of looking for them. I think did a great job of getting ball pressure, which helped us. We kept our hands up and stayed between them and the basket. We did a good job of keeping in our minds that they had to run back 94 feet. We played tough in there, and we came out with a victory."

(On what happened during the last play)
"Isabelle caught the ball outside off the block. She drove in, and I tipped it up. Then Kastine Evans had great hustle and came up with the loose ball."





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