Women's Basketball
Vanderbilt-Kentucky postgame quotes

Feb. 20, 2012

Recap |  Box Score

Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb
On whether she felt that her team could take the win once they got within striking distance …
“I felt like we got it within striking distance, and then we turned it over too. We did such a poor job of getting too far down. We ran out of time. When we did have the opportunities, I think, to cut it a little tighter in big plays, we turned it over, which we did all game.”

On the challenges Vanderbilt faced trying to get the ball into the paint …
“They do a great job. They’re small and physical so they do a really good job of pressuring the basketball and playing high side of the post and our post did not do a good job of getting open to the basketball. They were just more physical than us and we didn’t do our job on offense to get open."

Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell
Opening Statement …
“Fantastic victory tonight for our team over a very good opponent and I just loved the way that we started the game with tremendous defensive intensity and great aggressive play on the offensive end. It was clearly a game that we wanted to win and we played like we wanted to win. We played really, really hard and hustled tonight. I am really proud of our team.”

On the character of the team that they play that well coming out of the gate after three consecutive losses …
“Yeah, I tell you, I really liked the way that we practiced the last couple of days. We were in a tough spot, clearly and had not played well and suffered some losses. For us to be able to come out and stay focused and not get down (was big.) What a great crowd for the late tip, I really appreciate people coming out, but I was so proud of these players. I thought that they came to play tonight.”

On the effort of Samarie Walker, especially offensively …
“It was a big night for her and just an unbelievable effort, particularly in the first half. We have struggled so much to score against zone defenses and Vanderbilt probably does a better job than anybody of mixing defenses. I tried not to focus on what they were doing and focused more on what we were doing and how we were moving and how hard we cut and screened. I just thought the aggressive play by everybody got Vanderbilt in a lot of rotation situations and that opened up the offensive boards and Samarie was a monster on those. Really good effort and, you know, I just think that she can continue to get better. She missed a lot of layups and free throws so the effort you saw tonight I think can get better with her, as far as being more efficient. I am really, really happy because she played 35 quality minutes tonight.”

On getting good scoring games from players other than Bria Goss and A’dia Mathies …
“The six-minute draught in the second half really turned a game that we had firmly in control into a really tough game that we had to grind out. I was really proud of the players because sometimes those are harder to close out when you start to lose the momentum. Just balance across the board. If we ever hit on all cylinders in a night we will be tough to beat. No matter how it happened, or how it needed to happen tonight, we got what we needed and that was a victory.”

On ending the three-game losing streak …
“I am just so happy for our players because you get off to such a great start at 10-0 and then you lose some tough games and there has to be a point for them where their confidence is down. There is no question about it. I am so happy for them. Really proud of our coaching staff because we just tried to stay behind them and believed that we had a good team. I think we can continue to get better. This was a tough game for us to win tonight and I was proud we were able to get it.”

On Amber Smith’s status …
“She is just not 100 percent. I just think that probably rest (will help.) She was available, but I think that probably trying to get her back at 75 percent (isn’t what we need to do), but get her back to 100 percent where she can have some explosiveness. She just doesn’t have a lot of explosiveness right now. We have a lot of basketball left to play and I know that she wants to finish her career out really strong. It just worked out tonight where we didn’t have to play her. She is ailing, but could have gone. Probably better that she didn’t.”

On Maegan Conwright’s play recently …
“I thought that Maegan played a beautiful game for not playing that position in months. I thought that she was fantastic. I told her during the game, she had a couple of turnovers that she felt bad about, I told her, ‘With what was on the line tonight, coming off what we have come off and to be thrust into that position, I am very impressed.’ She needs to embrace that role and you see we are much more explosive with her in that position.”

On if this team is where he wants them to be at this point in the season …
“I think we can get better. As far as our position, we are in better position than we probably have ever been in a SEC season in the history of the school. As far as how they award the championship is based on a 16-game schedule and I love the position we are in. We are still striving to win the championship and we are still in position to do that. I am happy with that, but I still think we can play better.”

Kentucky Players
#23 Samarie Walker, So., F
“On getting her first-career double-double …
It’s definitely exciting. Coach has always told me about rebounding and that is the first thing that was on my mind. The scoring just comes.”

On if this is what she expected transferring from UConn …
“It’s been a long time coming. I haven’t expected to play this much since I got here, but I had to step up and do it tonight.”

On what has improved the most in her game since coming to UK …
“My defense is getting a lot better. That is what I have been focusing on the most in practice. My teammates and coaches help me out with that.”

#1 A'dia Mathies, Jr., G
On how good it feels to win again …
“It is very great. We had a couple of losses that we shouldn’t have suffered, so it was nice to get back on track and get back to the way we had been playing for the first part (of the season). It was very exciting and I think we are going to keep the momentum going.”

On how she thought Maegan Conwright handled the point …
“Yeah, I was very impressed. Meg (Conwright) is very talented. She can play a lot of positions and she just came in and did her job. She ran the team and got us the offense when we needed to and made some great plays. I applaud her for the job she did today.”

On not being the top scorer and other people stepping up …
“I think it is something that I am really used to doing. I mean, you can come back and score at any time. We go through droughts. We can easily break droughts. Whether it would be me, Keyla (Snowden) with a 3-pointer, Samarie (Walker) with a put-back, we just find ways to score and I think we did a good job of that tonight.”

#4 Keyla Snowden, Sr., G
On how they won the game …
“Just through our defense, playing aggressive, playing hard, definitely playing hard. And I think just staying with each other. I think us cheering each other on helps us a lot and I think that helped us get out of the slump.”

On how badly this team needed a win …
“We needed it pretty badly. It just feels good to get the win and we are just going to look forward from here and not look back.”

On if the drought in the second half scared her at all …
“Not really. We worked extremely hard this past week in practice and just relying on our defense helped us out a lot. It just gives us energy, and I thought tonight we did a good job of being energized. Our bench was rowdy, really loud and I thought that helped us out.”


 

 

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