This Thing Is Gettin' Serious!
Jlev said it best in the game thread. The suspense was over in this one with about 35 minutes remaining in the game. Wow!! UK jumped out on Auburn like they were on fire, and never looked back.This team has become focused, zoned in, whatever you want to call it. But by the time this season is over they are going to be calling this defense Forty Minutes Of Devastation at this rate.
If you like imposing basketball, the kinds of games where UK goes out and does their best Billy Jack impersonations on the opponent, you cannot help bu love this team. Auburn knew what UK was going to do. They knew who was going to do it. They knew how they were going to do it. And yet, they still could not stop the machine. And that's how UK played. Like a machine. The machine had about a 3.5 minute breakdown in the second half, or the margin of victory would have been 60-70 points. Let's go over the particulars.
First off, A'Dia Mathies led all scorers with 24. But it's the way she got those 24 points that hurt Auburn. Mathies took 2 different runs in which she scored 9-10 points each and completely dominated the Tigers. Back to back 3 point scores on two different occasions were just complete will-breakers for Auburn. she only played 25 minutes, and still was the nail in Auburn's coffin. And Stallworth was the hammer. A double-double in 24 minutes with 16pts. and 10 rebs, was the backbone of UK's controlling the paint and the interior defense. She and Walker are now simply forcing teams outside and not allowing them to come inside to score.
The Wildcats' physicality as well as their athleticism are completely overpowering opponents now. And if you throw in Mathies and O'Neill and their 3 pt barrages, and Auburn was done when they stepped onto the court. O'Neill had 17 pts and 6 assts to add to the total.
47.2% from the floor, 42.9% from 3 and 73.9 from the line were more than good enough to prevent Auburn from ever actually being in the game. Auburn came back from 39 down to close the margin to 24 with about 10 min to go in the second half, but that run was quickly snuffed out by UK's run of 21-3 to close out the game. UK had three separate runs of 24-2, 19-3, and 21-3 in the game. No one can overcome those kinds of numbers.
Auburn shot a respectable 40.4% FG, 33.3% from 3 and 77.85 from the line. But the key is in the attempts. Auburn only attempted 3 3-pt shots hitting 1, and was 19-47 from the field. Compared to UK's 34-72 from the field, they just could not get shots off. 2 different shot clock violations, 30 turnovers, and UK's 18 steals were just too much for the Tigers to try and fight off. It was another crushing defeat for an SEC opponent, and they are starting to pile up. Kentucky scored 40 points in the paint, 34 off turnovers, and 23 second chance points.It is simply mind boggling.
UK also hit 12 3 point shots on their way to victory. Another great game by the Ladies, and they are starting to make those commonplace. They have now won 17 in a row, and they have now won 38 straight at home, both at Memorial and at Rupp. If the 1-4 teams slip even a little between now and tournament time, UK appears to be ready to take control of one of those #1 seeds they so desperately want. Looks like at least one team in the Commonwealth can maintain their top 5 ranking this week!
Next game is again on TV, against #13 South Carolina on Thursday evening at 7:00 on SportsSouth in Columbia. Also covered by WatchESPN.com. It will be a hostile environment and the toughest test UK has faced yet in SEC play.
Come out and join us for the thread and what should be a very entertaining game.