I am sorry for the lateness of the postmortem, but unfortunately, Greg was unable to do the regularly scheduled commentary and I was caught between the necessity of family life and the importance of dealing with the basketball game review. For the sake of domestic harmony, family life won yet again -- but not by too much.
The lady Wildcats simply didn't look themselves today. We all have those kind of days, when nothing goes right and the best-laid plans are simply insufficient to surmount the obstacles life puts in our path. Today, LSU played outstanding basketball, and the Wildcats simply did not display all the skill they have been able to bring to bear on opponents for most of this season. For the second time in a row, the larger, stronger, and more patient LSU Tigers prevailed over the Kentucky lady Wildcats, and they did so not by exceptional skill or prowess on the court, but by greater discipline and fearlessness determination.
Today, the lady 'Cats were tentative, indecisive, and wayward. Their shots did not fall, their normally smothering defense was ineffective and inefficient, and their swagger was totally absent. This was a game in which the regular-season SEC champions and #1 SEC seed looked completely inferior to their lower seeded opponents. It was, in summary, an epic fail in every respect, and a comprehensive victory for the LSU Tigers.
I don't want you to think that Kentucky did not care, but the recent string of road losses, along with the travails of a long season, appeared to manifest themselves in a profound way. But lest this sound like a failing of the Wildcats, let's dispense with that posthaste. LSU played very much like their namesake. They stalked the Wildcats with patience and power, and finished them with a killer instinct that belies their youth. In short, they beat Kentucky straight up, fair and square, and did so convincingly.
I will not spend a lot of time criticizing the Wildcats. It has been a long season, a lot of pressure, and it has taken its toll. For whatever reason, the Wildcats were not sharp tonight, did not really contest LSU in the paint, and were completely unfortunate on the defensive glass. LSU owned them so thoroughly that it cannot all be attributed to size alone. Rather, it is clear that LSU simply wanted this game more, and their determination controlled the outcome.
This loss does nothing to diminish Kentucky's fantastic accomplishments this season, and although an SEC Tournament championship will not be among them, they will come home, rest, refocus and prepare for the NCAA tournament while their opponents battle for the SEC crown. It is not the path Matthew Mitchell and the Wildcats would have chosen for the penultimate ending, but frankly, they were not ready for this game. It happens, and we move on.
Congrats to Kentucky for a great regular season. Congrats to LSU for a fantastic effort in this game. Next stop -- the Big Dance.