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PHOTO: UK Athletics

Three Takeaways from Kentucky’s Tough Loss to Louisville

PHOTO: UK Athletics

Despite second-half improvements by the Wildcats, Kentucky could not overcome Louisville’s dominating lead, and UK fell to their in-state rivals 87-53 inside Memorial Coliseum. The unranked Wildcats’ loss to No. 3 Louisville drops their record to 8-4 on the season. For Savannah’s immediate game recap notes, click here. Otherwise, fill yourself in on the top three takeaways from today’s loss.

A Costly Second Quarter

After hanging on throughout the first ten minutes of play – Kentucky trailed by seven at the end of the first quarter – the Wildcats went ice cold in the latter half of the period. Kentucky scored just nine points on 3-13 shooting throughout the entirety of the quarter, while the Cardinals recorded 24 points.

“We let it get away in the last 12, 13 minutes of the first half,” Coach Matthew Mitchell said following the game. “I thought the end of the first quarter was bad and then, you know, obviously the second quarter we didn’t do what we needed to do to hang in there.”

Louisville built their biggest cushion of the half during the final three minutes, increasing their lead significantly during the end of the quarter. Kentucky trailed 47-25 at the half, and they were never able to recover. The 22-point deficit proved to be too much for the Wildcats to make up in the second half.

“After that really tough second quarter, our mind in the second half was trying to come out and get back, chip into the lead, see if we could cut it to ten or so, get it under double-digits and see if we could get ourselves back in a position to win,” Mitchell said.

In trying to chip away this lead, the team got frantic. They committed six turnovers, fouled six times and grabbed only one offensive rebound. Guard Maci Morris recognized this franticness as an issue, but sees it as a learning opportunity.

“I think what we have to learn from is just, when teams go on run, we can’t just panic and try to catch up right then and there,” Morris said. “We have to slow down and just chip away from those leads.”

Two-on-Two, Louisville dominated

All season, Kentucky has shown – and relied upon – the depth of their bench. Today was no different. Nine Wildcats saw the court, and all nine of them scored (eight of which recorded field goals; Amanda Paschal had one point on 1-2 shooting from the free-throw line). 

While nine players scored, only two hit double digits. Maci Morris was the team’s leading scorer, finishing with 16 points, followed by Tatyana Wyatt, who added 10 points. Point guard Taylor Murray had a relatively quiet game, contributing eight points and seven rebounds. Jaida Roper had nine points, while Taylor Murray and Alyssa Rice both added eight. Still, UK and UofL finished the game with the same number of bench points: 16. 

While Kentucky’s top two scorers combined for 26 points, Louisville’s top two finished with a combined 50 points. Junior Asia Durr scored a whopping 32 points, and senior Misha Hines-Allen added 18. 

Limiting the productivity of UK’s typical scorers was obviously a part of Louisville’s game plan, but Cardinal head coach Jeff Walz said other Kentucky players did a good job of stepping up and scoring.

“We doubled on ball-screen when Morris came off of it, and she throws it back and McKinney hits a three. Tatyana Wyatt hits a three. So they had kids step up and make some shots, too,” Walz said. “Which you have to have when you’ve got players of the caliber of Asia [Durr] and Maci Morris that you’re competing against.”

It was a physical one

As a rivalry game, today’s matchup held true to form. Memorial was packed and energetic, and the game got rough. From diving for loose balls to hard fouls and tough rebounds, players from both teams will feel this game tomorrow. Those hard-fought rebounds were tough, but they were the key to success in this game.

PHOTO: UK Athletics

“They’re an aggressive team. Their guards rebound the ball so well – I think Taylor Murray had seven rebounds,” said Hines-Allen. “Say we did get the ball, their guards would be right there. I know I got one poked away from me. Their guards are really aggressive; their post players are just so big. We just have to be strong with that ball.”

Despite the physicality of the game, both Morris and Murray remained on the court for the full 40 minutes. 

“We were just trying to get better. We had a rough first half there, and we’re counting on those two,” Mitchell said. “They’re also two really strong competitors that want to win, and this is a big game with a lot of pride on the line there. So we were trying to play our very best. Those two never ask to come out, they never ask for a break – that tells you what kind of warriors they are.”

The persistence of Morris and Murray surprised Louisville.

“We were up like 15 or 20 but we had to keep going,” Durr said. “[Mitchell] didn’t take his best two players out for the whole game. He was trying to make a statement.”

But, according to Mitchell, he wasn’t trying to make a statement. He was just trying to win.

“We were trying to get back in the game and win the game – that’s the statement we were trying to make there,” Mitchell said. “We were just trying to play our best basketball. We didn’t today, but there are brighter days ahead.”

Now on a three-game losing streak, the Cats will look to return to the winning path Thursday Dec. 21 at noon when they take on the California Golden Bears inside Memorial Coliseum. 


Photo via @KenutckyWBB

UK Hoops Falls to Louisville

Photo via @KenutckyWBB

UK Hoops falls to No. 3 Louisville 87-63, making this their third loss in a row. It was the first time Louisville has beaten the Cats at home since 2007. Here’s a quick summary of how it went down.

It was a beating from the beginning, Louisville held the lead the whole time. Cards star player Asia Durr had a whopping 32 points and Myisha Hines-Allen, one of the best players in the country had 18 points. Five Cards players finished in double-digits while UK only had two. The Cats got out-rebounded 36-25, and 22 points off turnovers, UK Hoops only had five.Safe to say, this Louisville team is really good, they’re undefeated for a reason. The Cards really beat us on the defensive boards and that’s all there is to say about it.

Maci Morris had 16 points and five rebounds, while Taylor Murray had a quiet 8 points compared to her career high last year against Louisville. With this loss, UK Hoops moves to 8-4 this season. There’s a lot of work to do before SEC play starts up!

UK Hoops plays No. 24 Cal next on Thursday 12/21 at noon in Memorial.

(Via @KentuckyWBB)

UK Hoops falls on the road against Miami 65-54

(Via @KentuckyWBB)

It was another tough loss for UK Hoops today, when they took on the University of Miami at the Watsco Center. The Cats were off to a slow start offensively but still managed to end the first quarter with a slight lead, up 18-14. Kentucky maintained this lead into the second quarter until guards Taylor Murray and Maci Morris received two fouls each. The Cats still held on to the lead, even as Murray picked up her third foul and had to come out with less than five minutes left in the second quarter. By halftime, the Cats were shooting just 38.2% from the floor, but still managed to hold a 30-23 lead.

Wyatt picked up two fouls 19 seconds in to the second half, while Keke McKinney took the floor to replace her. Miami’s offensive came out strong in the first few minutes of the third quarter, shooting 7-of-9 from the field and taking the lead. By the end of the third quarter, Miami had outscored Kentucky 28-18, and had 12 fast-break points. The score at the end of the third quarter was 48-51. UK Hoops had enough defense to keep Miami from scoring for over four minutes during the fourth quarter, but the Cats just weren’t landing shots. Kentucky was 6-for-25 from the field in the second half, and just 19-of-59 in the game, giving Miami the advantage they needed to win. The final score? 54-65.

While the Cats shot a season-low 31.7% from the field, Morris ended with a game-high 18 points.

“We will take some time this week and look at everything and find out how we can get better. We have to learn from this,” Coach Mitchell said in a post-game press conference.

Following the loss, Kentucky falls to 8-3 on the year.

UK Hoops will be back in Memorial Coliseum to take on the University of Louisville on Sunday, Dec. 17 at 3 pm.

UK Athletics

Kentucky Falls to Nebraska 3-1 in Regional Final

UK Athletics

The Comeback Cats ran out of gas against Nebraska.

The perennial powerhouse looked the part against the Wildcats today at Memorial Coliseum.  A slow-starting team, even when UK recovered in the second set, Nebraska’s guns were too big.  For most of the match Kentucky was good, but Nebraska was better.

The Cats started strong in the third set by building a 7-3 lead.  That lead extended to 16-11, but was quickly erased by the Cornhuskers.  The Cats had to claw back to tie the game at 24.  A kill from Leah Edmond and a block later, the Cats handed the Cornhuskers their first set loss in 22 days.

Kentucky fought to keep their tournament hopes alive, but it was too much to overcome.  Nebraska won the fourth and decisive set 25-22 to eliminate Kentucky from the NCAA Tournament and advance to their third consecutive Final Four.

Despite the loss, a big Congrats goes out to Craig Skinner’s most successful volleyball team.  The Co-SEC Champs reached just the second Elite Eight in program history, the first in Skinner’s 13 years as head coach. With plenty of young talent returning (setter Madison Lilley and killer outside hitter Avery Skinner are just freshmen), the future is bright for the Kentucky volleyball team.

Today on KSR, powered by DRAFT: Monmouth and Nebraska are in UK’s Crosshairs

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9:30: The KSR Pregame Show LIVE from Jack Demsey’s

Yesterday’s show at the UK alumni bar with Ramel Bradley and the Pardon my Take gang was a resounding success.  It’s time for one more round with Matt, Ryan, Drew and Shannon the Dude.  If you’re not in NYC tune in to 630 WLAP; if you are in NYC, find refuge from the Santas with Kentucky fans.

Noon on ESPNU: UK vs. Monmouth at the Garden

It feels like forever since the last Kentucky basketball game.  After a five-game blitz over two weeks to start the season, Kentucky just plays on Saturdays through December.  Today they return to the court to play a team you probably don’t know anything about, Monmouth.  The Hawks haven’t won a lot and their stats aren’t that impressive.

A homecoming for a pair of Wildcats, today is more about Kentucky than it is about the Hawks.  However, we’ll still have plenty of stuff posted before the game so you can soak in some Monmouth knowledge.

4:00 on ESPNU: A Fight for the Final Four

Before I get to the Elite Eight matchup with Nebraska, I have to say one thing: what a freaking win.

The five-set thriller over BYU was incredible.  I still don’t really know how Kentucky won, especially when they went down five in the final set.  I’ve watched thousands of volleyball games, and yesterday’s win was an extra special treat I hope no one takes for granted.

Craig Skinner’s Comeback Cats need to replicate that magic today to earn the program’s first ever trip to the Final Four.

Standing in their way is Nebraska.  The gold standard of college volleyball, the Cornhuskers have won four national titles, most recently in 2015, and have taken 13 trips to the Final Four.  No moment is too big for Nebraska.  A team that doesn’t mess around, yesterday they swept through Colorado without a problem.  Kentucky needs another career day from Avery Skinner and Leah Edmond to take down the Huskers and make volleyball history at UK.

Looking for tickets to the game at Memorial Coliseum? Buy them here.   

In-Between it All: Hear from the Football Team

Mark Stoops is off the road and taken the recruiting back to campus.  While he’s in town hosting official visitors, the Cats have returned to practice.  They’re using yesterday and today to kick off some rust before the players get a finals week break.  We’ll have updates from Stoops, Matt House and the defense once postgame basketball coverage comes to a conclusion.

College Basketball on TV

  • Noon: No. 1 Duke at Boston College on ESPN
  • Noon: No. 8 UK vs. Monmouth on ESPNU
  • Noon: UCLA at Michigan on CBS
  • Noon: Marquette at Wisconsin on FS1
  • 2:00: Indiana at Louisville on ESPN
  • 2:15: Lipscomb at No. 24 Tennessee on the SEC Network
  • 4:00: No. 6 Wichita State at Oklahoma State on ESPN2
  • 5:00: Colorado at No. 13 Xavier on FS1
  • 6:00: No. 5 Florida vs. No. 17 Cincinnati on ESPN2
  • 6:45: No. 14 Minnesota at Arkansas on SEC Network
  • 8:00: No. 18 West Virginia at Pitt on ESPN2

The South is Crumbling Beneath Snow

I do not feel sorry for Atlanta’s ineptitude, I can only laugh.

Go Army, Beat Navy

That’s for you, Freddie Maggard.

Sydney McLaughlin dominates in UK Track debut

Olympic track phenom and UK freshman Sydney McLaughlin made her Kentucky debut tonight, and to no one’s surprise, she dominated the competition.

McLaughlin finished the Hoosier Open 300m in 36.12 seconds, good for the world junior record.

Here’s the race:

UK’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn also finished second in the race at 37.91 seconds.

According to the official UK Track and Field account, McLaughlin’s time is No. 2 collegiate and US all-time, best non-altitude, and sixth on the all-time indoor world list.

When the Olympic phenom made the decision to come to Kentucky, we all knew she’d be special. Shattering records in her first race? Now that’s just crazy.

Congratulations to McLaughlin for the impressive start!

(via @KentuckyWBB)

UK Hoops loses to Florida Gulf Coast University 70-64

(via @KentuckyWBB)

UK Hoops suffered their second loss of the season 70-64 on Friday against Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Meyers, Florida.

UK Hoops held a small lead in the beginning of the game, but FGCU ended the first quarter with a 14-4 run to grab a four-point lead. The score at the end of the first quarter was 14-18, and the Cats’ struggles only continued from there.

While Kentucky averages 7.8 threes per game, by halftime they were 0-of-4 from the three-point line and had only scored 32% from the field. FGCU ended the final four minutes of the half with a 9-0 run to give them their biggest lead of the game, giving them a 35-26 lead at the break.

A 5-0 run by UK’s Tatyana Wyatt late in the third quarter helped the Cats offensively. Kentucky hit seven of their last eight points in the third quarter, bringing the score to 44-52. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Maci Morris hit Kentucky’s first three of the game. A fast-break layup from Alyssa Rice helped UK Hoops tie the game 57-57.

A 6-0 run by FGCU gave them a lead the Cats struggled to catch up with.

In a nail-biting ending, the score was 64-66 with 39 seconds left in the fourth. A missed three from Wyatt gave FGCU the momentum they needed to win the game with a final score of 64-70.

With the loss, UK Hoops is now 8-2 on the season, with both losses occurring on the road.

UK Hoops will be on the road again next Sunday, Dec 10, at 1 pm, when they play the University of Miami.

The Cats will be back in Memorial on Dec 17 at 3 pm to play the University of Louisville.

UK Volleyball comes back to advance to Elite Eight

UK Volleyball comes back to advance to Elite Eight

Congratulations to the UK Volleyball team, which just came back to beat BYU in five sets to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history. Tomorrow at 4 p.m., they’ll face the winner of Colorado/Nebraska, which is about to get underway at Memorial Coliseum.

After going down two sets to one, the ladies stormed back to force a fifth set, which they dominated. Sophomore Leah Edmond was unbelievable, keeping the Cats in it with a team-high 21 kills. Here’s match point:

And the celebration afterwards:

Check out Stephen Johnson’s video of the football team watching the match from the training facility:

And Craig Skinner in the locker room afterwards:

Comeback Cats indeed.

Get Your Tickets to UK Volleyball’s Regional Tournament at Memorial Coliseum

UK Athletics

Craig Skinner’s Kentucky volleyball team could reach historic new heights this weekend, but it will not be easy.  That’s why the team needs YOUR help to get them over the top.

This weekend the No. 4 overall seed is hosting the Regional Tournament at Memorial Coliseum.  To make it to the program’s first Final Four, they’ll have to beat a pair of powerhouses.  Friday at noon the Cats take on BYU, who is in their third straight Sweet 16 after advancing all the way to the National Championship in 2014.  If UK advances to Saturday’s final, they’ll likely face Nebraska, a eleventy-gazillion time National Champion that’s essentially the face of college volleyball.

Help out the Cats and get your tickets here.

The timing is odd, but if you can make it to the noon game tomorrow, UK is helping out fans by opening up the Limestone Parking Garage at 10:00 a.m. and offering free parking.  If the garage is full, there will be free parking in the Green Lot at Kroger Field with a free shuttle to the Coliseum.  Pack Memorial Friday to help the volleyball team play for history at 4:00 on Saturday.

Photo via UK Athletics

A Few Leftovers From UK Hoops’ Blow Out

Photo via UK Athletics

It was another big win here in Memorial as UK Hoops demolished the Evansville Purple Aces 100-62. Yup, that’s right your Cats scored 100 points tonight. It was a fun game for those in blue, for those in purple? A bloodbath. Maggie’s got a game recap for you here and as usual, I’ve got your leftovers.

1. It was the “Maci Morris Show” again.

I wrote about Maci’s huge game on Sunday and she showed up again tonight. Morris finished with 20 points and only missed one 3 pointer. One of those 3’s right at the buzzer at the half. Maci said she wants this to be a “fun” shooting team.

“I just had confidence in myself that it’ll go in,” said Morris.

Morris shot 9 threes in a row and when she’s open, she wants to knock it down.

2. It was also the “Tatyana Wyatt Show.”

A huge congrats to Freshman Tatyana Wyatt for recording her first UK Hoops double-double tonight. Wyatt finished with and achieved her double-double before the game even ended. Wyatt, who missed the first five games had quite a comeback today.

“Tot’s tough, she gets the ball she’s going to score…she’s going to take someone’s head off,” said Morris on Wyatt.

“I’m so proud of her,” said Mitchell. Wyatt does more than score, he said. “She’s got hustle and relentless effort.”

3.  First half vs Second Half

The Cats fell into momentum early, but paid for it a bit in the second half. They started the game on a 16-0 run, not allowing Evansville to score until the end of the first quarter. Alyssa Rice scored 11 points just in the first quarter. The Cats went the full half with 0 turnovers and 0 fouls. Meanwhile, Evansville’s 14 turnovers made way for 20 of UK’s points.

The second half was a bit of a different story. The Cats finally picked up some fouls and turnovers. Still, they kept a huge lead. With five Cats scoring in the double digits, they crushed it offensively. Defensively though, there’s still a long way to go. Coach Mitchell said the main thing he wants this team to work on is perfecting the press before SEC play. He wants the team to be a “press weapon.”

4. What went wrong with Evansville?

For starters, their mascot…the Evansville “purple aces.” I don’t even know what that means. In all seriousness though, they got down early with the 16-0 start and just couldn’t come back. Add in foul trouble for three of their players and 17 turnovers – you’ve got a recipe for a big loss.

Next, the Cats go on the road to take on Florida Gulf Coast on Friday, and then Miami on Saturday. They’ll be back in Memorial on the 17 to (hopefully) beat Louisville! See you there! Go Cats!


UK Hoops Crushes Evansville Purple Aces, Wins 100-62

UK Hoops Crushes Evansville Purple Aces, Wins 100-62

PHOTO: UKathletics

The Kentucky women’s basketball team never trailed in tonight’s matchup, defeating the Evansville Purple Aces 100-62 inside Memorial Coliseum. The No. 20 Wildcats hit triple digits for the second time this season, and they improved to 8-1 on the season.

The Cats came out blazing, and the Aces were simply never able to catch up after a dominating Kentucky performance in the first half. Strong inside play by Alyssa Rice and successful three-pointers by both Maci Morris and Taylor Murray gave the Cats a 19-0 lead in the first half. Evansville finally got on the board with a trey by fifth-year senior guard Hannah Noe.

“We just came out and we knew what we had to do and we did it,” Morris said of their early, unanswered points. “We were shooting the ball well and we had energy with our defense.”

Still, the Cats were hot. They hit nearly 60 percent of their field goals and 62.6 percent of their three-pointers in first ten minutes of action. Throughout the quarter, Kentucky did not turn the ball over, while Evansville committed eight turnovers. By the end of the first, the Wildcats held an impressive 35-8 lead.

The Cats cooled off a bit in the second quarter, hitting just three of their final ten shots. Still, Kentucky maintained a substantial lead, and a Morris three-pointer at the buzzer sent the Cats to the locker room leading 52-23.

Morris stayed hot – she did not miss a basket until three minutes into the second half. The junior finished the night with 20 points on 8-9 shooting and 4-5 from behind the three-point line.

“My teammates do a great job getting me open shots,” Morris said. “If the [opposing] team is going to leave me open I know I’ve got to knock it down because it isn’t going to happen that much.”

Another major contributor tonight was forward Tatyana Wyatt. The freshman recorded her first career double-double, claiming 20 points and 10 rebounds in the victory.

“We absolutely believe in her talent and her ability,” Matthew Mitchell said after the game. “She’s extremely poised offensively as a freshman [and] she’s getting better defensively… certainly can improve and get better, but we’re glad she’s on our team.”

Mark your calendars: After two road games, UK Hoops will be back in Memorial Sunday Dec. 17 at 3 p.m. against Louisville. Get ready to throw your L’s down.


Kentucky Volleyball Survives Scare from Western Kentucky


Don’t call it a comeback.

Backed against the ropes, trailing two sets to none, Kentucky clawed its way back to life to defeat Western Kentucky in five sets.  The No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament took a haymaker at home, falling to the Toppers 25-16 in the first set.  WKU squeaked out a 25-22 win in the third set, but from that point forward it was all Cats everything.

Leah Edmond led the offensive attack with 21 kills and the Cats closed the second round match with 25-19, 25-21 and 15-12 victories to knock out WKU.

The 27-3 Wildcats advance to the Sweet 16 and will host the winner of BYU-Oregon.  You can get your tickets to the Regional Championship at Memorial Coliseum here.

(Via @Kentucky_Hockey)

Kentucky Hockey ties 3-3 with Depaul University

(Via @Kentucky_Hockey)

The energy tonight at the Lexington Ice Center was electric, with fans erupting in to a roar as the Kentucky Hockey team took the ice to play Depaul University. Body slams and flying pucks had the crowd of hockey fans on their feet for the entirety of the first period. The first point of the game went to Kentucky, leaving fans thirsty for more. They begged for fights, cheering at the brief altercations that began, and deflating once the referees stepped in to separate players. While the Cats may have ended the period slightly behind with a score of 1-2, the crowd didn’t lose its spirit, chanting and singing while Kentucky Hockey reconvened in the locker room.

(Via Gage O’Dell)

The energy in the rink dwindled slightly throughout the first few minutes of the second period. But a goal by No. 28 Cory Day, followed by a goal from No. 23 Jordan Shannon rejuvenated spirits. The Cats left fans in a nervous state at the end of the second period with a tie of 3-3. Kentucky Hockey put up a fight until the final buzzer sounded. After deliberation, it was decided the game would not go in to overtime, much to the dismay of the parting crowd. The game ended with a 3-3 tie. Kentucky Hockey still has a chance for victory when they take on Depaul University for a second time tonight, Dec. 2, at midnight at the Lexington Ice Center.

Kentucky volleyball sweeps ETSU in opening round of NCAA Tournament

The Kentucky volleyball team got off to a hot start in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, sweeping ETSU in three sets.

Freshman Avery Skinner led the Wildcats with 14 kills, including the game-winner in the third and final set. Leah Edmond was second on the team with 11 kills along with three digs and two blocks. Setter Madison Lilley finished the day with 39 assists, three blocks, and two kills.

With the win, head coach Craig Skinner has achieved his 300th victory of his career, adding to his status as the winningest coach in UK history.

Kentucky will take on WKU in the Round of 32 tomorrow night in Memorial Coliseum at 7:00 p.m.

One down, five more to go.

Kentucky Cheerleading chosen to represent USA at Winter Olympics

Kentucky Cheerleading chosen to represent USA at Winter Olympics

The University of Kentucky cheerleading team has won 22 national championships in the last 33 years, proving to be the one of the most dominant collegiate sports teams in history.

Today, the UK cheerleading team was chosen to represent the USA in the XXIII Winter Olympic Games.

Here was the release from CheerDaily:

USA Cheer has chosen the University of Kentucky to represent the United States in performances at awards ceremonies, Olympic venues, street parades, closing ceremonies and a cheerleading championship with teams from other countries. Cheer teams representing Norway, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and the Netherlands will also be participating in the events.

The Executive Director of USA Cheer says the team’s spirit, engagement, and overall success led them to this decision.

“We are proud to send the University of Kentucky to represent the United States of America,” says Lauri Harris, Executive Director of USA Cheer. “The cheerleaders from the University of Kentucky have engaged crowds and elevated spirit for generations, and have won countless national championships and we are excited to have them show their talent and spirit on the world stage.”

Kentucky coach Jomo Thompson told reporters the team is very excited to represent USA in Korea.

Jomo Thompson, coach for the University of Kentucky’s coed cheer team, agrees. “Our athletes are among the finest in the country and appreciate this opportunity to participate in the activities surrounding the Olympic Games. They take this responsibility seriously and are looking forward to representing American cheerleading in Korea.”

We may talk a lot about our basketball and football teams, but we’ve never seen a sport at Kentucky dominate the competition the way the cheerleading team has.

Congratulations UK Cheer on this well-deserved honor!