You always have to be careful about letdowns in the SEC. Those games can kill you.
"We were just so out of sync," Mitchell said. "We have a couple of players hanging their head right now, and we just couldn't get anything going.To fight back ... and just to persevere, I think this is a very significant win for us."
At 20-3, 8-2 SEC, Mitchell knows this is danger time for UK. This is the stretch in which the team struggled last year and lost focus completely, and dropped three straight games in the heart of the SEC schedule, including an embarrassing loss to Tennessee by a 31 point margin. After losing to Georgia at home and having their NCAA leading home winning streak snapped at 34, Arkansas was a trap game if there ever was one.
Foul trouble played a part as A'Dia Mathies and Samarie Walker each had 4, however they also had 15 and 16 points, respectively, to help lead UK along with a game high 17 from Bria Goss. Goss had a second half explosion to carry UK as she put up 16 of her 17 after the break. You can check the box score here for the details.
Arkansas controlled the first half against Kentucky who entered the game leading the SEC in turnover margin. However the Wildcats faced their old nemesis and committed 10 turnovers in the first half while forcing only 9 by Arkansas, and fell behind by 11 points before closing to within 33-28 at the half.
It took a complete team effort to prevent the loss as Goss, Walker, and Mathies combined with DeNesha Stallworth and Bernisha Pinkett to keep UK in the win column.
Things are not going to get any easier from here, however, as UK travels to Vandy on Sunday to play the Lady Commodores. This one will be televised on ESPN2 at 4PM. I will be posting a pregame and a game thread for the event.
On a side note, I put up another piece concerning the lack of TV time for the Hoops Squad during this last stretch of the season. These are some critical games that were UK's Achilles heel last year. I sent an email out to Susan Lax from UK's Media Staff, and she sent me back this:
I totally understand your concern. We wish all games were televised like the men. However, the TV schedule is set way before the season starts. UK IMG Network only picks five of our games each season and thats usually a struggle as they can only pick games that doesn't conflict with the programming on Fox Sports South so that makes us go against hockey, men's basketball and other. It's something that will continue to get better each season as our program gets better and the demand is there. Im sure the networks wish they could pick up our South Carolina game now but they dont think there is a demand for UK at Ole Miss. Does that make sense?
As you can see, the powers that be feel like UK Hoops is not yet the draw it needs to be to replace such hot sports as Hockey in the south. Susan is always great to get back to me and get me the information I need, and we just need to understand that UK has no control over the TV situation. Hopefully FSS can learn what a valuable asset these games would be to their network.
The next couple weeks are going to be critical, folks. And following UK Hoops is going to indeed be a challenge. I will endeavor to try and get us as many alternatives as I can.