Thursday, December 29, 2016

Transcript: UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell Post UK Hoops 54 vs @Duke 69 Press Conference Interview

Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell Post UK Hoops 54 vs @Duke 69 Press Conference Interview

Opening statement:
“Congratulations to Duke. What a great effort they had tonight. They really played hard and had great execution on offense and really shot the ball well and made shots. I thought our team really hustled and played through some adversity there in the first half. We had it in striking distance going into the fourth and I thought Duke gave us some looks that we just couldn’t knock down there in the second half. But I’ll have to look at the film because maybe those are the shots they wanted us to take. I thought our team battled. We outrebounded them tonight and gave some effort. We just couldn’t get the ball in the basket there in the second half. We’ll try to figure out and learn from that. But great game for us, a great learning experience. Our team has done a heck of a job against one of the toughest schedules in the country. I’m excited about our team, excited to be headed into conference play. Congratulate Duke on a really good performance tonight. They out-hustled us and outplayed us.

On the teams were off balance overall and missed shots for his team:
“[Duke] is averaging 83 [points] and we held them to 69. We gave ourselves a chance. I thought the real difficulty for us is that we had it at 45-42 and we couldn’t make shots and we let it balloon to 55-44. I thought it was us letting offense affect defense. We turned them over 21 times and we outrebounded them, so we were doing some good things. But offensively, I think on our team when the ball doesn’t go in the basket we have a hard time staying with it defensively and finding a way to tough through that difficult time. So that’s a learning experience for our team. I didn’t think we were taking terrible shots. I thought some of our shots at the rim were off balance. I thought we corrected that in the second half and started doing a better job, but while we had some good looks it didn’t go in.”

On taking Makalya Epps out in the first quarter:
“I thought we had a great opportunity to attack Duke. We were 8-2 I think to start the game and I thought it could have been 14 or more and I thought we were really passing east and west and I wanted her to see, because evidently she couldn’t see, the driving lanes. I was just trying to get her on the bench real quick right before the media so she could maybe see some of the gaps that were there. Duke does a great job of kind of matching up and confusing. When you drive past one, they do a good job of helping. You have to be tough and smart and sharp and we just weren’t sharp enough tonight and didn’t make enough good decisions. You credit them for that. They played good defense.”

On Oderah Chidom’s being a difficult matchup:
“What we were trying to do in the game is trying to get them out of rhythm. Becca [Greenwell] and Lexie [Brown] take so many shots and so we were trying to make sure that we covered Becca and we didn’t do a very good job on Lexie. She really made some shots with a hand in her face. I thought she was terrific. I think our post players didn’t do a good job of understanding that just because we were trying to take away Greenwell I thought we were a little bit relaxed early in the game. We got it corrected at halftime. I thought we were better. Chidom was 5-for-5 in the first half and then 0-for-1 in the second so we improved there. I just didn’t think we were intense enough and were kind of relaxed in the post and that’s probably a coaching error. I’ve got to do a better job of getting us ready and more prepared for that. She was really good. I thought she caught and saw there was no resistance and quick moves. We did a better job when we forced her out and started collapsing and started getting some turnovers. She’s a really fine player, a good athlete, plays hard. Duke’s got a good team…play hard, play together, make shots. They’re a good team.”

On what he liked that his team did in the first half:
“I thought we moved the ball and I thought we created some good looks, just couldn’t shoot it quite as well as we wanted to. I just thought we battled, especially when Maci [Morris] got two fouls and had to sit. We had some young kids come in and hang in there and fight. I just thought we fought pretty hard there. The first half was pretty even, we didn’t make our free throws and they made one more bucket than us, but it was a pretty good battle. We just let it get away from us there in the fourth quarter. We got really deflated on defense, gave up some easy opportunities, that if we could have battled through that time maybe it would have been a little bit different.”

No comments: