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#17 Kentucky WBB at Tennessee

The Cats kick off their SEC season with the Lady Vols on ESPN2

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NCAA Womens Basketball: SEC Basketball Tournament- Kentucky vs Florida
Welcome back, Taylor Murray!
Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2017 brings health and joy to you & yours, and to our Wildcat women! Coming off a tough loss to Duke, the Cats are looking to return to their winning ways in 2017, and the team in their way is the Lady Vols. (At least, I think they’re still the Lady Vols. First they weren’t, then they were again. Sorta. All that orange must be hard on the brain, because the decision to kill the Lady Vols logo was boneheaded to begin with.)

However, these aren’t the Lady Vols ladies formerly known as Vols tall women wearing UT orange that we’re used to seeing. They’re not ranked in the Top 25. They lead the conference in exactly one stat. However, they’re still 8-4, which includes a win over Stanford, and are on a four-game winning streak. They still have megastars like Mercedes Russell and Diamond DeShields. And Thompson Boling Arena is still a very tough venue to play in, let alone pull off a W.

How do these two teams compare? Well, they’ve both beaten and lost to Top 25 teams. Tennessee is averaging slightly higher PPG (78.2 to the Cats 71.5) They’re also beating us in average RPG (46.2 to out 39.3), and three point shooting (37.2% to our 31.2%). We’re better from the charity stripe (73.4% to their 71.4%), average steals per game (6.9 to their 6.8), allowed PPG (59.1 to their 64.2) and turnovers (12.7 to their 15.5). Both teams have four players averaging double digits per game, and nothing in the stats clearly indicates who the winner should be.

So let’s get to the question on everyone’s mind right now: how do the Cats start their SEC season with a much needed win?

  • Having healthy players helps. Taylor Murray back in the lineup is a game changer, as she showed against Duke with 18 points, 4 rebounds and an assist.
  • Play OUR game not theirs. They have a lot of height and will no doubt try and pack it in around the basket. We have to be speedy and frustrate the heck out of them.
  • Smart shot selection.
  • Need multiple players to have big games. I’d love to see Makayla and Makenzie answer the call here, as it’ll be BGE’s last game at Knoxville and Mak’s first.

After a LONG absence from the screen, this game is TELEVISED! Hooray! Now no one has an excuse on why they can’t spend part of New Year’s Day cheering on the Cats! Tipoff is at 4 PM on ESPN2.

Until gametime, Cat fans - GO BIG BLUE!!!!