Thursday, January 05, 2017

Transcript: UK Hoops Players Makayla Epps, Maci Morris Post UK Hoops 64 vs Missouri 62 Comments

#25 Makayla Epps, G

On the importance of her shot at the end of the first quarter …

“I feel personally I struggled against Duke and I struggled against Tennessee. Two big teams, two big stages, games that the team needed me to play well. I just wanted to get my legs back under me, go out here and have some fun, get to smiling, bouncing around like I’m used to doing. To start the game, I was shooting the ball and it wasn’t going in, but I was still shooting it. So I knew it was an early game, early start. Missed a couple shots early, nobody’s hurt off that. And just to hit a shot like that, Coach always says big-time players make big-time plays and that was just a shot at the end of the quarter. I think my teammates—my teammates believe in me I think sometimes more than I believe in myself. If I’m down on myself, they’re right there to pick me up and I really appreciate them for that.”

On the confidence issues Coach Mitchell spoke of … 
“Especially because in all of our losses, we have seen why we have lost on film. It’s right there for us to see. It’s not like we are out here just wondering like the world’s against us and we’re wondering why we lose everything. Confidence is a team that this team struggles with because we all want to do so well that when we do one thing wrong, I feel like the world is against us, so definitely to get a win against a tough Missouri team and get our first SEC win is big.”

On playing all 40 minutes in the game … 
“I take pride in that. I would rather be out there 40 minutes on the floor than one minute on the bench.”

On how she’s able to manage playing a 40-minute game … 
“It’s kind of like a game of spirits. Sometimes I feel like I’m just exhausted and then the media (break) comes at a perfect time and I’m like ‘thank you’. Or somebody calls a timeout and there is a turnover or a foul and it just slows the game down, so all of those things play into it. But me catching my breath in those small moments give me the energy to push through for 40 minutes and I’ve been doing this for a couple years now, so I’m getting used to it.”

On if she’s talking to herself to have fun during games … 
“Not necessarily talking to myself to have a good time. Basketball is fun for anyone who plays it. So when we get to rippin’ and roarin’ up the court and scoring in transition, Evelyn (Akhator) is getting and-ones, Maci (Morris) is hitting 3’s, making big plays, it’s fun. I always have this smile. Me and Coach Mitchell met and he said he hasn’t seen my smile in a while and you don’t think until you go back and watch film and you’re bogged down and you get that out of the way. Then when I’m out there having a good time and I’m smiling – my smile is contagious. We smile at each other all the time on the court. We laugh and have a good time out there. I feel like it’s just an energy boost for me.”

On what they were saying in the closing stages of the game as the gap closed … 
“We have a timeout, use it. We have multiple timeouts, call them. Like I said, it’s a pressure situation. Maci and Taylor (Murray) are sophomores. We had Jaida Roper as a freshman, Makenzie Cann is just getting back to playing after a year sitting out – so, coach told them if you get trapped, call a timeout. Then we got a turnover and a jump ball – so like coach says, we’re struggling right now mentally. We’re pretty sharp off the court academically, but we’ve got to sharpen up on the court and it just takes time and reps. It’s a learning experience. I’m sure we’ll start working on late-game situations now.”

#4 Maci Morris, G

On the confidence issues Coach Mitchell spoke of … 
“I think our problem is that we just want to do so well. I know a lot of our team, especially academic-wise, they’re perfectionists. Alyssa (Rice) and Paige (Poffenberger) are perfectionists. So when they mess up, they’re not used to that so if you make one mistake it can get you down and we just have to learn to keep playing when we mess up and hopefully just learn to not mess up and learn from the mental lapses like coach is talking about, or just learn how to play through them.”

On what a game like tonight in a win can show the team … 
“It just shows that you’ve got to keep playing and just when we keep playing and try to pull out a win, we can do it. That just gives us confidence to know that.”

On Makayla Epps getting back to her old self … 
“Not only do we look up to her as the leader of this team, but we are really good friends with her. Any time we see her down, it makes us down because we don’t want her to be down. Even if she’s having a bad game, we want her to feel like we have her. We believe in her and we believe in her more than she believes in herself sometimes and we just want her to believe in herself as much as we believe in her.”

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