Big Blue Nation no doubt woke up hurting this morning, after a heartbreaking defeat at CWS by that dastardly other school whose name shall not be spoken. Happily enough, UK Hoops is here and they come bearing the gift of another potential W to add to their 5-0 record.
Wednesday afternoon saw the Cats shooting lights out, hitting 59% of their shots on the way to an 89-67 victory over Eastern Michigan. (Important note: 59% is the best performance UK Hoops has had since 2007.) Janee Thompson delivered the 2nd double-double of her career, and has now shot in double figures for four straight games. Four Wildcats had double digit points, with Evelyn Akhator (12), Maci Morris (17) and Makayla Epps (21) joining in on Janee's fabulous performance. Maci's deadly three point shooting was again on display as the freshman from Pineville hit 83% of her 6 three point attempts. The Cats also combined for 46 rebounds, 26 assists and 7 blocks. The only number to be even slightly disappointed in was the lone steal by Janee. All in all, a truly outstanding performance.
Today the Cats will face the 2-1 Jackson State Tigers. Jackson State is the 4th largest HBU in the nation, whose notable alumni include the great Walter Payton. Kentucky will be the highest ranked program the Tigers have faced this season. Players to watch include Derica Wiggins, the team's leading scorer who is averaging 19 points per game. She is the only Tiger averaging double digits.
I don't generally like to predict blowouts, as things rarely go the way they should on paper, but if one applies Occam's Razor that's what this game is likely to be. The Cats beat the Tigers in every stat: field shooting (49.3% to 41.4%), free throw shooting (69.4% to 66.7%), three point shooting (44.4% to 35.9%), average points per game (85.4 to 73.3), average rebounds per game (45.4 to 39), average assists per game (21.4 to 13)...you get the idea. As such, the keys to victory are pretty simple:
- No injuries
Having said that, the basketball gods will no doubt somehow turn this game into a knockdown drag out battle so hopefully Matthew Mitchell has hidden the stats comparison info from his squad. The Tigers do have a slight advantage in height, with 8 players six foot or taller, while the Cats have a total of 6 players available in that height range unless Alyssa Rice is out of her boot.
YET AGAIN, the game isn't televised but you can catch all the action via ESPN3/WatchESPN/SECN+ or by listening to Neil Price on 630 WLAP. If you've never heard Neil call a game, I strongly encourage you to give a listen as he's fantastic. Tip off today is at 2 PM EST. (That's 1 PM Central, 11 AM Mountain and 10 AM Western time...shared as I know a few of our regulars, myself included, have been miscalculating start times)
Until 2 PM EST, Cat Fans - GO BIG BLUE!!!!