Kentucky vs. Alcorn State
Fri., Dec. 28 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Radio: UK IMG
Live Video (via subscription through UK All Access)
Grind it out. Do it again. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Makes a ball game sound mundane, doesn't it? Don't let the adjectives and descriptive phrases fool you. This team is on a mission, and the mission is, do unto others the same way, night in night out. Don't fix what ain't broken, and leave well enough alone. UK Hoops goes for their 28th consecutive home winning streak (longer than the men, by the way) against the Alcorn State Lady Braves tonight at Memorial Coliseum. If your Friday night is not what you think it ought to be, go to ticketmaster.com and get a $1 general admission ticket to the game tonight. Family entertainment for the cost of gasoline. You cannot beat that. What will you see? Let me give you an idea.
At 10-1, with their only loss being to #1 Baylor, UK has built momentum since that loss, in every game. Senior leader A'Dia Mathies has struggled at times, trying to find where she fits exactly in this newer improved UK offense. In her attempts to be a jack-of-all-trades guard/leader/shooter/defender, she has sometimes gotten herself lost in the shuffle. However, in the last 2-3 games, she has fit well within the parameters of her position, and UK is getting better by the game because of it. Shooting %'s have improved and defensively, Kentucky is even better than last season at this point, and their record is, as well. DeNesha Stallworth looked impressive in the return to her home state as she led the Hoops Squad over Pepperdine last week with a season-high tying 17 points. Bria Goss also had a good game, netting 16 points. The offense is slowly catching up to the defense, and it's starting to show.
UK has forced at least 21 turnovers in every game this year and is currently third in the nation in turnover margin at +11.2. As per usual, UK's defense is leading the way for the team, and they are not taking prisioners. They have been limiting their opponents to 51.1 points per game and forcing 27.2 turnovers per game.
This game should not even be a serious challenge for UK as Alcorn State has yet to win their first game of the season and they are 0-8. However, they are coached by former Tennessee standout Tonya Edwards who is in her fifth season. Edwards, who captured two NCAA Championships with the Lady Vols in 1987 and 1989 is not accustomed to losing, and you can bet that the Lady Braves are going to be pulling out all the stops to try and take down UK at home. UK has never faced Alcorn before, so they have no history, save Edwards' UT teams using UK as a punching bag in her playing days. Coach Mitchell had a good perspective on the entire weekend that leads into SEC play:
We have two important games coming up this weekend. It's another great opportunity for us to handle that situation of playing two games back-to-back with just one day in between of preparation. It's a tough challenge for our team coming back off of the holidays. They were able to get home for four days and I have been really pleased with how they have come back and we have had some good practice sessions. . I hope we have a big crowd in Memorial tomorrow. We will look forward to trying to earn a victory over Alcorn State. I thought the big challenge early in the month was the three-game stretch with Louisville, DePaul and Middle Tennessee. I thought our team really did a good job that week of kind of winning three different types or styles of games. That was good to see you can function in different styles and different ways and still win. I've just seen an overall progression of the team. We have really started to blossom in our post game, especially our two starting posts are starting to play off of each other really well and get a feel for each other and that's an exciting combination. I thought A'dia really asserted herself on the California trip and that was good to see. I'm just pleased with the talent level that we have and right now we just need to fall in love with working hard and preparing and getting ourselves mentally ready to play each and every game. If we do that I think we will have a good season.
Alcorn State, is led by senior guard Carolinsia Crumbly, who leads the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 11.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. She also leads the team and ranks second in the Southwest Athletic Conference in steals per game with 2.5. Junior guard Tierro Frost follows with 8.3 ppg.