Baylor. They killed more than 1 dream last season for our women's programs. This date has been circled on my calendar for months, and I think the same can be said for our Wildcats.
UK Hoops is coming in off their 111-74 drubbing of Appalachian State Friday night. Led by Jennifer O'Neill, who's delivered 20 or more points in both games thus far this season, the Cats had 7 players in double-digits. Overall shooting cooled a bit vs. the UPike exhibition, with the Cats hitting 52% from the field, 41% from 3 point range and a truly dismal 63% from the free throw line. (Side Note - Jenny O' needs a mere 5 points to hit 1000 in her Kentucky career. I feel safe in saying this WILL happen Monday night.)
Shooting aside the Cats were playing VERY fast Friday, which may have affected some of their shooting. And when I say fast I mean FAST. Appalachian State was completely winded with 10 minutes to go in the game.
We should not expect to see a similar affect against Baylor. Not saying our "40 Minutes of Dread" plan should change, but Kim Mulkey has never put a team on the floor who wasn't well conditioned and the Big XII is a pretty tough field to play.
While this may be the first team for the Bears without the skills of phenoms Brittney Griner or Odyssey Sims, they do have a noted powerhouse player in Nina Davis. This 5'11" forward had a very pretty start to her season against Oral Roberts, delivering her first double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Kadijiah Cave had 19 points and Imani Wright 18.
The goods news is that past that, the scoring was not what I'd call evenly balanced among the team. Even better news: the Bears shot worse than we did with 46% from the field, 36% from the 3 and 64% from the charity stripe.
The bad news is: IT'S BAYLOR. They're tough, well coached, and will walk into Rupp looking for an early signature road win.
Also - our ladies do not shoot their best at Rupp. Last year we shot a horrid 33% from the field, 20% from the 3 point line, and a soul-destroying 42% from the charity stripe. We were also without one of best seniors as Denesha Stallworth had just had knee surgery. But that doesn't change the fact our shooting in Rupp is not good.
Matthew Mitchell and staff did a lot of soul exploring after we went down to Baylor last March, and we have 9 players who well remember the scene in the locker room afterwards. Let's hope that, and a loud and enthusiastic crowd at Rupp, gives UK Hoops the incentive they need to knock off the Bears. (Note: tickets are still available, and going for about $2 a pop. 21,000 have been sold but I know we can do better, BBN!)
Join us here at ASoB for all the action. Until 7 PM, Wildcat fans - GO BIG BLUE!