Ladies and gentlemen of A Sea Of Blue, we have two basketball teams at UK. If you did not get a chance to witness the UK Hoops team play at home this year, then you have missed out on something special. Today they completed an undefeated home season by obliterating the South Carolina squad 71-50 at Memorial Coliseum today. And the game was awesome with a capital A from start to finish.
The UK Hoops squad jumped out to a 9-1 lead early on and never looked back as the inside game of this squad played what might have been it's best game of the season. The combination of Victoria Dunlap, Senior Lydia Watkins, and Freshman Brittany Henderson, who coincidentally brushed by me as I stood in the sun on Lexington Ave waiting to enter Memorial, shut down the inside game of South Carolina and put 28 points on the board to boot. They played tough, in spite of a couple of questionable calls in the second half ( I really hate make-up calls by the way, and they are even worse in person) and Dunlap's 4 fouls. The game was never in question, and the Lady Cats played smart, opportunistic and complete basketball in front of a large(over 7700) crowd for Senior Day at Memorial. John Wall, DeAndre Liggins, and Jon Hood looked on from the balcony as the women showed them how to really put away an opponent, and hopefully give them the formula to do the same to the men's squad when they come to Rupp.
This was my first time being in Memorial since I was a small child, and for some reason it seemed much bigger in 1969. If you watched the game, I am convinced the TV crew got me on full screen dancing away with the crew of young women whom I chauffeured to the Coliseum, wearing my Sea of Blue inspired T-shirt( which brought a myriad of questions from the crowd both inside and outside Memorial), AND the hat which has now brought victory to the women's squad as well as the men's. This hat may get bronzed after the season if we win out.
The Lady Cats shot 43.1% for the game, and 33.3% from the 3-pt mark. They also scorched the FT line at 18-19 for 94.7%. They held South Carolina to a dismal 32.3% from inside the arc, and a paltry 8.3% from outside it. FT's were no help for the South Carolina squad as they only hit 56.3%. Coach Matthew Mitchell accomplished all of this while only dressing 8 players for the game as the injuries have started to pile up for the Lady Cats and 4 players were either on crutches or hurting else-wise. Our other Senior Amani Franklin contributed another 9 points as both Seniors were fantastic on the floor today. Coach Mitchell was emotional as he addressed the crowd afterward and congratulated his squad on quite an accomplishment, as the undefeated home season has only happened once before in team history. The 17 straight home wins in a single season is a new mark.