UK 48- UL 47
UK Goes To 6-1, UL 8-1
Well, for about 20 minutes today, I was convinced I was going to have to write a postmortem like Glenn's concerning the men's play against Notre Dame and Baylor. The UK Hoops squad, which played merciless defense for the first 14 minutes of the game, took the next 20 minutes off for some reason. And then, as my buddy Nate Parnham, who participated in our game thread, from over at Swish Appeal says, the switch got flipped. Matthew Mitchell's ladies got out of the Yum! Center with a 1 pt victory and a few lessons learned, and a lot of questions to ask as well. Follow me and we shall discuss.
First off, I told myself that I wouldn't do this after the Cats pulled out the win, but I am going to anyway. I want to know what is wrong with A'Dia Mathies. For the last year or so, she has seemingly disappeared in really big ball games when the Cats needed her the most. I don't know if she has some issues with nerves, or she is having trouble fitting in with the now more talented UK squad, but she was desperately needed tonight and for most of the game, she was nowhere around. She scored 6 points on 2-9 shooting, was 0-3 from behind the arc, and had 6 boards. Not totally unrespectable, but still an invisible night for A'Dia. This has me worried as she was also missing from the Baylor game as well. I will have more on that in the next few days, but for tonight at least, the Cats overcame it.
Now for the heroes. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like for you to help me welcome Janee Thompson to UK. She shares tonight's game ball with upperclassman DeNesha Stallworth. They combined for 50% of UK's offense,and Thompson hit 3 HUGE ft's with less than one minute on the clock, and hit the game winning shot in that same minute. Normally that gets you the game ball all by yourself, but Stallworth kept Kentucky in the game and brought them back from oblivion to the point where Thompson could seal the deal, so they share equally in the credit. Defensively, Kentucky played respectable, holding UL to 38% from inside the arc, and 26.7% from the 3. But if you factor in that with 11:50 to go in the first half, UL only had 4 points, you can see that it was on again, off again all night. But in the case of a game in hostile enemy territory, against an evenly matched foe, you take those numbers and be happy. The problem being that UK only shot 32.7% from inside and 18.8% from 3 themselves.
Stallworth had 14 points on 7-17 shooting, and was tough on UL on the inside. She forced turnovers, played smart, and played within herself the whole game. She single-handedly provided UK's inside presence at one point as Samarie Walker was in foul trouble, and A'Zia Bishop took a nasty fall in the first half and didn't return until midway into the second half, and was ineffective when she did. Had UK have done a better job of defending against UL's talented point guard Shoni Schimmel, the game would have been in better control, but alas, they could not. Add in the play of Mt. Vernon, Kentucky and Rockcastle Co. alum Sara Hammond and her last second 3 point shot off an inbounds, and Louisville had UK on the ropes for a large portion of the game. However,Kentucky outrebounded UL 37-34, and won the turnover battle as well, 23-25. A great game that I had the entire range of emotions in it, mostly due to some extremes in play by Kentucky on both ends. But a win is a win as Glenn says, so we take it. Next year they return to Memorial where it should be a little less hostile. And a whole lot more in control, I hope.