We lost to UConn, 83-53. Congrats to an incredibly talented basketball team, women's or men's. UConn has a first-class program and they are rightfully on their way to New Orleans. That's the postmortem. But that's not what I am here to write. The officiating was terrible. Not here to write about that either. This is going to be a thank you letter.
To the women of the University of Kentucky Basketball program. Thank You. Thank you for a wonderful and exciting season full of incredible moments that have brought us all joy and elation, and at times an overwhelming sense of Wildcat pride. I have never allowed myself to become as emotionally invested in any team this way, but these girls stole my heart.
You cannot watch NCAA Women's basketball and not be impressed by the job that Matthew Mitchell has done with this team. Kentucky is ready to get to the next step, but just as he brought them to this point, he has to lead them over. Replacing our outgoing assistant with an incredibly innovative offensive mind might be a good start. That is not a knock on the job he has done however, just a suggestion. He will figure it out. He is too good a coach not to. Thank You, Coach Mitchell.
To the UK fans that have decided that it was worth it to give the women a try this season, Thank you. We have seen our game threads grow from sometimes only one person to what is now a decent base group to follow every game. I cannot thank all of you enough for your continued participation and helping to bring the same passion to the women's threads that we have on the men's side.
To Glenn, for giving us a voice here at A Sea Of Blue. Most UK sites still ignore the women or give them a mandatory mention whenever the headline is big enough to garner a little attention and maybe a few hits. Glenn has given us equal billing on the same stage, and that is something that other than UKAthletics.com, does not exist on the net. We will continue to grow this next year, and I am hoping some of you will choose to start getting involved in posting women's articles and the like. JLev has been great to help with statistics, so another voice would be welcome.
To A'Dia Mathies and Brittany Henderson, Thank you. You will not be here to see what happens next for this program, but without you two, we don't make it this far the last couple of years. I hope and pray you each have a boatload of success at the next level, or whatever you decide to do next in life. It has been pure joy watching you play.
For all of you who read, but do not comment, Thank you. Please continue to watch and read all about UK Hoops. It is worth your time and effort. And please feel free to join in and have fun with those of us who do comment and get into the game threads.
It has been an incredible season. As wonderful as it has been, however, I have to say that bigger and better things are ahead for this program. We will be a better basketball team next season. Losing A'Dia will hurt, but we will be more versatile next year, and we will have more and more scorers. We return every starter but A'Dia. We return a huge portion of our defense and 70% of our offense. We will be stronger, faster, and more skilled at every position next year. Jennifer O'Neill will be hitting her stride as a junior and we will see better perimeter shooting than we have ever had. Forty Minutes will be returning next season, but I believe it will have a twist and a newfound offensive direction. We will get bigger, we will get stronger, and we will get better at handling these elite teams.
For myself, it has been an amazing ride. You have to pace yourself when it comes to this blogging thing. I have been hoping for a break, but was ready to stick it out for a couple more weeks to see us through. I have been a harsher critic than anyone when we were not performing as we should, and no one has been a bigger fan when we did well. I probably could have shredded our girls, the staff, and their efforts tonight, but that would not have accomplished anything. So, I decided to write what I felt. If that's softballing this one, or not being objective, then that's on me.
Losing hurts, but this team hasn't lost anything. They have gained. Since the first time I saw a UK women's game on TV and then in person, they have made such huge strides and come so far. And the best part is that this is just the beginning of the journey. The beginning of what will, I promise you, be well worth following. Get ready, world. The Kentucky women are coming, and they are coming at you hard. They will not be denied and they will not stop here.
Thank You Kentucky Wildcats. Thank you for being what you are supposed to be, winners. The score matters not, the feelings are the same. Thank you.