Well, that was unexpected. Kentucky played Vanderbilt like they were a concert violin today at Memorial Gymnasium. For a place that has been a real downer for UK historically, the Hoops squad is starting to like playing in the SEC's strangest venue. The Cats have now won their last 3 in Memorial, and as much as Catlanta is the Men's home away from home, the ladies are beginning to make Nashville more than their favorite place to pick up a George Strait CD.
A'dia Mathies has officially come into her own in her Senior year. I was vocal and persistent in criticizing her when SEC play started, and I believe it was justified. However, when she made up her mind that she was going to get back to leading this team, she has come on full bore. Game Ball. 28 points on 10-17 shooting, 5-9 from the arc, and 3-3 from the line will get you a win from A'Dia every time. She started out hot, and got even better as the Cats jumped on her back and rode all the way to the win.
Bria Goss once again was on fire coming off the bench, and I think that Mitchell has found something in bringing her in about the 5 min mark of the game. It was not a benching, just a strategic move that seems to be paying serious dividends for Kentucky. 30 points in two games is nothing to sneeze at. Kastine Evans seems to have responded as well. She has been a defensive nightmare for her opponents, and learning to find her way as the team progresses.
At the half, Vanderbilt led some categories in offense and had a crease that they thought might be exploitable, however, UK shut that down really quick, and by game's end led every offensive category of any consequence. Kentucky scored 27 points off turnovers, and shot both 2 and 3 point % in the 40's.
Vanderbilt was exhausted by the halfway point of the second half, and it showed. Kentucky expanded it's lead to 25 before the 22 point end difference.
Tiffany Clarke scored 20 for Vanderbilt, and once again, as it has been in a lot of other college games this season, the foul situation (or as in this case, a lack thereof) allowed the game to get really physical at times. Then the referees decided to get into the game, and it became a whistle blowers convention.
Kentucky, now 21-3, 9-2 SEC sits in 3rd place, behind South Carolina and Tennessee. I expect them to be either ready to defend their SEC Regular Season crown by the time Tennessee gets to town, or looking to take it with a win.
Matthew Mitchell is now second place in all-time wins by a Kentucky women's coach and needs four more wins to take the #1 spot. Thursday night, Kentucky gets a chance to redeem themselves against arch enemy South Carolina at Memorial. No TV, and as I will be leaving to head out of town, I cannot do a game thread. So, a week from Monday night, February 18th, it will be Texas A&M at College Station on ESPN2 at 7PM. Hopefully by then, South Carolina will be in the rear view mirror and we can look to avenge another bad loss.
Every game is big from here on out.