After a difficult loss last Sunday to Texas A&M, Kentucky bounced back with a nice 71-54 win on the road at Alabama. Today the Cats look to extend their win streak to 2 straight games when they host Georgia at 3 PM EST at Memorial Coliseum.
We’ve been talking all season about how this team’s success depends in large part on the performance of its seniors. Case in point: in Thursday’s game, Evelyn Akhator had a career high 29 points, 15 rebounds and 3 assists. Makayla Epps had 16 points, 3 assists, 1 rebound and 1 steal. Both seniors had a terrific night at the free throw line, hitting 5 of their 6 free throws. It’s never easy to get a road win in the SEC, but if Evelyn and Makayla can continue this kind of performance consistently? The chances for a return to the Top 25 look a lot brighter.
We’ll need them to continue to deliver excellence today if the Cats hope to go to 3-2 in SEC play. Georgia may only be 2-2 in conference play and 10-7 overall, but those losses include a nailbiter at #5 South Carolina, where the Dawgs fell 66-63. UGA will be looking for blood when they walk into Memorial, and the Cats will need to fight like crazy to make sure they don’t give them any.
Georgia players to watch include 6’3” sophomore Caliya Robinson, who leads the team with an average of 15.4 PPG, no doubt based on her blistering 52.6% shooting from the field. Caliya also leads the team in blocks. Her weak spot is FT shooting, where she hits a dismal 57.9%. (Hint: Cats, if you’re looking for someone to foul? I suggest you go with Caliya.)
Other players to watch are 5’ 11” senior Pachis Roberts and 6’ 2” junior Mackenzie Engram. Pachis averages 13.1 PPG and leads the team in steals. Mackenzie is averaging 11.5 PPG, and is Georgia’s best three point shooter at 34.9%.
Georgia has a much more experienced lineup than Kentucky does, and has a lot of athleticism and height to go with that experience. What they don’t have is anywhere near the talent Kentucky possesses, when you compare their squad to Evelyn Akhator, Makayla Epps, Taylor Murray, Maci Morris, and Makenzie Cann. How can UK secure a win today on their home court?
- We cannot let the momentum shift. This team tries SO hard, but has an overall tendency to let a few bad plays get in their heads. If something goes wrong, shake it off and move on. Think marathon, not sprint.
- Smart shooting. That one is usually self-explanatory, but Georgia likes to rebound and deny any second chance points. With their size, I don’t know if we can beat them on the glass but making smart shots minimizes their chances of turning our offense into their points.
- Free Throw Shooting. We hit 74%. They hit 68%. We can’t leave anything on the floor, and that definitely includes the freebies.
- BBN: Georgia isn’t used to playing in front of the crowds that UK has at Memorial. That’s good for at least 4 points.
Happily today’s game is televised on the SEC Network, and it’s not like there’s any other sports going on today, so really - what excuse do you have not to watch? (I mean, sure, Randall Cobb and the Packers are facing the Cowboys but that’s not until 4:40. So I repeat, no excuses!) Tipoff is at 3 PM EST.
Until gametime, Cat fans - Go Big Blue!