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Video/Transcript: UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell Post UK Hoops 89 vs Ole Miss 57 Press Conference Interview

Video courtesy of kywildcatstv

Kentucky Head Coach, Matthew Mitchell 

Opening statement … 

“Well, proud of our players tonight. It sure was a great win. They came out with tremendous enthusiasm and energy on the defensive end, created a lot of turnovers early in the game that led to some fast-break points that got us off to a good start on a night where we were not sure what was going to happen. We were shorthanded. Everybody had to pick up the slack and they did. Proud of our players.” 

On what led to the fast start … 
“I thought that we worked real hard Tuesday and Wednesday like we do every week to prepare. I thought our team was really prepared. I thought they just made some plays based off our preparation that let us get off to a great start. I think we were excited to be back at home. It was a tough road trip and they just played with tremendous energy. We were shooting a lot of lay-ups off of defensive pressure, and so I thought we were able to switch our defenses and keep them off balance and I thought that helped us some. It was a tremendous effort by our team and our players. Maybe they had a heightened sense of security because Makenzie (Cann) was out. That was a big blow to our rotation. Foul trouble could bother you and there are just so many things – but we just got off to that great start that really, really helped us.”

On when he knew they would be without Makenzie Cann … 
“We just thought she was sick. She was at practice Tuesday and everything seemed alright, and then she was feeling bad and went to the doctor and we thought maybe it was a cold or something. It was the flu. So, she had to go home and quarantined – away from the team, and we found that out late yesterday afternoon. Not a lot of time to prepare without her and we tried to get (Makayla) Epps and Maci (Morris) ready to go when we had to go without (Alyssa) Rice and Evelyn (Akhator). Then we told Jaida (Roper) and Paige (Poffenberger) to be ready. Paige was sick and out Tuesday and wasn’t real well yesterday, so when she made that 15-foot jumper it was a good contribution and she had some great passes tonight. So, everybody just turned it up, played hard and we were aggressive. We had been working on trying to work against pressure and our preparation really helped us tonight.”

On the response of playing tough in the recent stretch of games … 
“We’ve said for a long time that we are not large in numbers, but this is a high-character, quality group of young women who subscribe to the principles of honesty, hard work and discipline. They are not perfect. There is plenty for us to improve on, but they come in every day with their lunch pale and hard hat on and whatever other blue-collar adjective you want to use and go to work. I just told them how much we have improved since that Sunday afternoon in Knoxville. We just got killed on the boards, got outrebounded, got driven to on the basket, and this group since then has really, really taken it to heart, worked hard and improved. So, high character, hard work, and discipline – those things will give you a chance.”

On what Maci Morris is doing recently to play so well … 
“I don’t know that she is doing a lot different. She has been working on her shot and really working hard. I just think in a long season against good teams where people are trying to guard you and take things away from you, I just think you go through streaks and some times of struggle and one thing to her credit is she continues to bounce back. She continues to be resilliant. She had a lot of seven-, eight-point games there and kept grinding and kept grinding and has been guarding the other teams’ best perimeter player, getting on the glass. So, she’s a really good shooter and continued to work. I’d say she has been consistent and resilient and wants to be good.”

On what he saw from Evelyn Akhator in the game … 
“Evelyn is just playing with great poise and shooting the ball great. She is really aggressive, and you know, teams early on have tried to double-team and sag. These last three teams have sagged to try and put pressure on you, and so that gives you opportunities to get north and south and she is just making great decisions, rebounding the ball, hustling, and-one plays. Just really giving a great effort.” 

On the satisfaction for this team after the offseason … 
“Well, the six that hung around – I loved them before it all happened, and loved them even more after it all happened. And then, the six that have joined up have really worked hard and so, listen we have a long way to go, so it’s not time to start writing any of our history yet. We’ve got a lot to do, but I love this group. I love this team. We are a collection of imperfect people that are very flawed, but you know, as a team we have come together. We can do some things and have some success. We’ve got a long way to go, really proud of them at the halfway point. We’ve got an extremely difficult second half ahead of us. We need to keep our mind on constant improvement, stay honest, hard working and disciplined, stay coachable and see how good we can be. I love this team.”

This post first appeared on Wildcats Thunder, please read the originial post: here

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Video/Transcript: UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell Post UK Hoops 89 vs Ole Miss 57 Press Conference Interview


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