No more Memorial. I can hear Matthew Mitchell saying that over and over to the Hoops squad every day in practice in the last week. No more home cooking to rely on. No more looking up on the walls and seeing all that cool blue everywhere. It is time to fish or cut bait. And by cut bait, I mean Gator Bait.
The Florida Gators are first up on the Cats' plates this tourney. They knocked off Auburn in the first round 70-60 and #1 UK is waiting as their prize. We will cover this in more detail after the jump.
A #1 Seed. Those words have never been spoken before for the UK HOOPS squad in the SEC Tourney. Not yet an NCAA #1 Seed, but it is the next step in changing this team into a consistent winner and a force in women's basketball. And after the ladies took home a virtual stash of SEC trophies already this season ( short one for Matthew Mitchell which I think is a crime), it will be nice to add an SEC Tournament Trophy to that group. A'Dia Mathies, Bria Goss, and Keyla Snowden all took home individual SEC awards this week, and they are looking to add to that take.
UK is going to have to be aware that Florida is coming in loaded for bear, and they will not go away quietly. Jennifer George scored 12 points and 14 rebounds for 15th double-double of the season and 19th of her career. It was the 22nd time this season she scored in double-figures, 38th for her career and the 15th time she has had double-figure rebounds this season.
Jordan Jones hit a three-pointer for the 13th consecutive game and for the 27th time in 30 games this season. She scored a team-high 17 points and finished 3-7 from beyond the arc. This was the 15th time she scored in double-figures this season, she was a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line, giving her 103 made free throws in her Florida career. Lanita Bartley scored 13 points, her 15th game in double-figures this season, 25th for her career. She also had eight rebounds, bringing her to 300 career rebounds. Azania Stewart scored 10 points, her fifth game with 10+ points this season. Stewart also had three blocks, bringing her career total to 200. Florida had four players in double-figures.
There will be no surprises for UK in this game, A'dia Mathies has to lead UK if they expect to put up a W, but she cannot do it alone. Kentucky has the components to be difficult for everyone to handle, and the veteran players to keep the ship righted as tournament play wears on. Look for big games from Goss, as well as from Brittany Henderson and Maegan Conwright. Samarie Walker will also likely be a big time contributor, but expect for Matthew Mitchell to clear the entire bench if necessary to get this win in the books. Friday's game starts at 1:00 pm, and we will have a live blog in case anyone manages to get free time and needs to be kept up to speed on results. So here we go Big Blue Nation. Time to get one more SEC Championship and bring it home to Lexington where it belongs.