Well, I am glad that's over.
The UK Women got all they wanted and more from the Auburn Tigers this afternoon. The old saying about "pressing a pressing team" came to pass as Auburn used stingy defense and some awesomely accurate shooting to jump out to an early lead and make the Hoops team look very sluggish on both sides of the ball. Kentucky came out flat and Auburn came out hot as they jumped all over UK and pushed the lead out to the point that they doubled the women up at the halfway mark of the first half. Then Matthew Mitchell's charges woke up. It took an entire team effort and some big three-point shots to take a one point lead at the half.
In the second half, however, it was Kentucky that took off and tried to run away with the game. Unfortunately, Auburn proved to be just as tenacious in the second half as they were accurate in the first half. Auburn countered Kentucky at almost every turn, and made the second half one to remember. The Tigers got behind as much as 8 at 64-56 then rallied to come all the way back to within 1. Kentucky held on however, and in the end took the game at Auburn Arena at a time when they really needed it. Falling to 2-3 in the SEC is not something you want to do when the talent is so deep in this league. Whereas the Kentucky Men have a hard time getting any respect for playing in the SEC, the Kentucky Women have no such issues. The SEC is just as deep and talented as any other league and quite possibly the best NCAA Women's Basketball Conference in the country.
Jennifer O'Neill led Kentucky with 16 points, and was a leader when Kentucky desperately needed one. But it was Auburn's Tyrese Tanner that put on the show. She put up 28 against UK on 50% shooting and an 8 for 11 from the line.The most points scored against the Hoops Squad by one player in quite some time.
Samarie Walker had herself a double-double scoring 10 and grabbing 13 boards. But it was Kentucky's poor free throw shooting which made a very long day for the Wildcats. UK went 13-29 from the charity stripe and gave a poor effort against Auburn reminiscent of the men's pathetic free throw shooting before the Vols came to town Saturday. The Cats' bench outscored Auburn 20-15, which is only a telling stat when you look at the fact that Tra'Cee Tanner had all 15 of those points for Auburn.
All in all, a great game to watch as a casual fan, but a barn-burner if you are True Blue. Janee Thompson struggled to lead the Women when she was at the point, again forgetting that she is not 6' 8". The slow start almost doomed Kentucky before they could get rolling.
Kentucky moves to 15-3 (3-2 SEC), and Auburn falls to 11-7 (2-3 SEC). The Cats take on 'Bama on Thursday evening at 7PM (no TV). Kentucky is now in a four way tie for third in the SEC standings with Florida, LSU, and Tennessee. Texas A&M leads the conference at 5-0, and Vandy and South Carolina are each a 1/2 game back at 5-1.