Monday, March 21, 2016

Transcript: Oklahoma Head Coach Sherri Coale, Gioya Carter, Peyton Little Post #3 UK Hoops 79 vs #6 Oklahoma 58 Second Round ~ 2016 NCAA Women's Tournament Lexington Region Memorial Coliseum, Lexington, Ky Comments

Sherri Coale, Oklahoma Head Coach:

“I first want to thank the people of Lexington. Everybody here has been so terrific. Friendly folks and so hospitable and genuinely excited about women’s basketball NCAA Tournament. That’s been great so thank you for your hospitality. Kentucky just played better than we did tonight. They did, they just played better. I told our guys before the game if you have the most possessions you’ll probably win. That was a lie. We got 66 shots up and they got 58 and we lost by double-digits. We didn’t defend and we didn’t handle physicality the way we should have. We didn’t take physicality back at them and that’s sort of been an achilles heel for us this season. But I’m proud of our kids. I have a tremendous group of student-athletes that I wouldn’t trade for anybody on the planet. They work hard. They’re committed, and they’re united, and they’re earnest in what they do. It’s an absolute joy to coach them. I’m just sorry that the journey’s over because I think we had some becoming yet to do.”

On Kaylon Williams …
“Kay Kay’s growth has been phenomenal. She’s been with us for five years. She spent a season redshirted with a torn Achilles, which is an injury that a lot of athletes don’t return from period. Especially not post players. And so I have long admired her perseverance and her desire to compete at the highest level. Just coming back from that injury was something in and of itself, but to come back and play the way that she has. She’s just been terrific. I don’t know that, well no one here, would know about her growth as an individual. I could talk about what she’s done and how her numbers on the basketball court have improved every year. I could talk about how great her post moves are and even what a great vocal leader she is in practice and in the locker room. But that’s not even the most important stuff. The important stuff is Kay Kay Williams has learned how to be a winner. She’s learned how to affect people. She’s learned how to use her platform as a way to make people in the world around her better. She understands how to sacrifice. She understands what commitment is. She’s grown in so many ways. I could talk about her and how I feel about her for hours. She’s just a special kid, and she’s given her heart and soul to Oklahoma basketball. I will forever be grateful to her for that.“

On the game plan against Makayla Epps …
“Well the game plan wasn’t to give her 14 free throws, I can guarantee you that. That was a big problem. Never in a million years would I have thought they would have 29 points from the free-throw line. That’s crazy. I thought the point guard (Janee) Thompson was really key. I thought she really looked like a senior running her team. Third quarter we cut it to two. We’re doing everything right and she makes a couple of big shots and is just calm – her presence. It’s was just obvious that she was running the show there. But we had trouble scoring inside on their bigs, too. The defense they did on us at the block: we didn’t really have an answer for that. It was a collective effort. I thought Kentucky pulled together there late in the third quarter and got the fans behind them. That’s why you’ve got to play better during the year. You’ve got to play better during the year so you can play on your home floor in women’s basketball. They earned that right. They played better than we did and got to have it here. So they got all the fans pulling behind them and helping them. That’s what we have to do in the future.”

On what effect Oklahoma’s foul trouble had …
“Foul trouble kept us out of any sort of rotation all night long. It kept us from running things we wanted to run offensively. It kept us from doing the things defensively that we wanted to strategically. It affected us from the first quarter. We never were able to substitute for purpose. We were always forced to substitute out of necessity, and it was tough to recover from. Maddie (Manning) got a charge called on her, and then every time we went in to shoot a layup we’re jumping sideways afraid that we’re going to get another foul so it effects your shooting percentage. There’s not an element of the game that wasn’t affected by it.”

On looking ahead to next season …
“I appreciate that question. I always find it hard to answer because you’re just sitting on the broken pieces of kids right now. They’re just so disappointed. They’ll get back to work, and we’ll talk about it real soon, but right now my job is just to help them get through the disappointment.”

On if she’s ever been in a game where a team shot so many free throws …
“Yes, in the Virgin Islands (during the 2014-15 season) against Kentucky. I think they, literally, I think they shot 50, and tonight they shot 38. I don’t know that I’ve ever, I mean I’m sure it’s happened – you guys are the numbers people, 38 free throws in a NCAA Tournament game is a lot.”

On if there’s something about Kentucky that allowed them to get to the free-throw line so much both this year and last year …
“The teams are different. It just so happens that that’s the other high-fouling game that comes to my mind. We’ve been so much better this year in our discipline of not fouling. It was really a focus for us in the offseason so it’s a little bit of a surprise that we’d do this on this stage, but I don’t know that there’s any Déjà vu involved.”

Gioya Carter, Oklahoma Guard

On what made the difference in the game during UK’s late third quarter run … 
“I think for Kentucky’s run, we made a run and we had some miscommunications on defense and that really got them going and got the crowd into it and that just spiraled from there.”

On the physicality of Kentucky … 
“They were relentless on the boards offense and defense. They weren’t letting us get clear lanes to the basket. They were just very physical all the way around.”

On the meaning of senior Kaylon Williams … 
“It’s been an honor to play with her. She is a great teammate, my roommate, my sister, and I’m going to miss her.”

On what this team can do next year with so many returning players … 
“Every year is different, but we have things to work on like getting tougher. Being consistent is our big thing that we need to work on.”

Peyton Little, Oklahoma Guard

On the physicality of Kentucky … 
“They are just a physical team. Like coach said, it has been a downfall of ours all season. We’ll have to work on that for the next coming season.”

On the meaning of senior Kaylon Williams … 
“She has meant a lot to our team and she has been a pleasure to play with. She is so much more of a better person than she is a basketball player and she’s a great basketball player. It’s been a pleasure to play with her and she’s going to do great things with her the rest of her life.”

On what their gameplan was to slow down Kentucky’s Makayla Epps … 
“We just tried to make her go left and stop her in transition. That was our main focus. I think we did a good job with that.”

On what this team can do next year with so many returning players … 
“Anytime you have a lot of the same people coming back, that’s something that you can build on. Every team is a new team no matter if you lose one or if you lose five. We’ll just have to get back to work.”

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