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Photo by Jen Smith on Twitter

A whole bunch of people waited to get Makayla Epps’ autograph today

Photo by Jen Smith on Twitter

Photo by Jen Smith on Twitter

After four years, Makayla Epps’ time in a Wildcat uniform is coming to an end. The seniors last home game will be on Thursday, senior night, but a good amount of the 6,600 fans that showed up for today’s game against Florida waited to get a chance to thank Epps for her commitment to the Cats.

According to the lovely Jen Smith of the Herald Leader, the line for autographs went all the way down the ramp and through the doors onto Euclid Avenue.

One fan was even lucky enough to get her picture made with Epps inside the Joe Craft Center:

The last four years have been a fun ride, I’ll have more on that later this week, but don’t miss out on your last chance to send Epps out in style on Thursday. Get your tickets for senior night against Mississippi State at 7 here. 


UK Athletics

Kentucky Drops Game Three At #13 UNC

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

The BatCats came from behind but could not trump North Carolina’s offense early as the Tar Heels won 5-4 to sweep Kentucky. Logan Salow pitched five scoreless innings in relief and Riley Mahan clubbed a two-run home run, but North Carolina held off the Cats to complete the three game sweep.

Recap

Logan Warmoth got the offense started early for the Tar Heels. With one out in the first, Warmoth took Justin Lewis deep for the first home run of the series. Lewis struggled early and often in his first start of the season. The sophomore allowed a two-run bomb from Tyler Lynn in the second inning. Through two innings, UK was already trailing 3-0 to the #13 Tar Heels.

Much like yesterday, the Cats answered back. Connor Heady doubled home Troy Squires to get UK on the board in the top of the third. With two outs, Mahan pulled a fastball from Luca Dalatri into the trees in right field. Mahan’s seventh career home run tied the game at three.

Lewis came back out in the third and could not find a groove. Salow entered the game with no outs and two on after Lewis balked in a run. Salow allowed one inherited runner to score before shutting the door in the third. Lewis allowed five runs in two innings while allowing three walks and four hits.

Kentucky would get one of those runs back in the top of the fourth when Squires grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Marcus Carson. Salow would come back out and dominant for four more innings. The senior threw five shutout innings in relief, allowing only six baserunners and striking out two. UK struggled to find any offense with Salow on the mound. Dalatri settled down following the third and fourth innings. In his first career start, Dalatri went seven innings and struck out five. The Cats had reached base in every inning until the 7th when Daltri shut down UK for the first time.

Once again, UK had an opportunity to win in the 9th when trailing by one. Josh Hiatt picked up his third consecutive save as he shut down the Cats in order in the 9th. 

Game Notes

Kentucky’s bullpen was excellent this weekend. With no starter going further than five innings, the bullpen needed to have a big weekend. UNC scored a combined one earned run (three runs total) on UK relievers. Logan Salow had five scoreless innings today to keep UK in the game.

Tristan Pompey collected his first hits of the season. The athletic outfielder had several hard hit balls that fell into a shift in the first two games of the series. Pompey went 2/4 today with a pair of singles.

The Cats held close but couldn’t find a win. The three losses this weekend were by a combined four runs. In each game, UK had the tying run at the plate in the 9th inning but couldn’t put together a late rally. It’s a tough way to open the season, but there are positives from this weekend. The bullpen exceeded expectations and we saw that the offense doesn’t back down when they get behind.

The Cats are back at it on Wednesday. UK will play three games in Virginia starting with a 3 ET first pitch at Liberty.

 


Five takeaways from the UK Hoops victory

Five takeaways from the UK Hoops victory

Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 3.53.52 PMIn case you missed today’s UK Hoops win over Florida, here are five leftovers from the victory.

Despite the final score, it was a fairly even matchup

The two teams really competed in the first half, with Kentucky building a lead and then Florida answering with a run. Although the Cats were able to pull away in the second half, a lot of the game’s statistics were extremely similar between the two teams. Kentucky shot 46 percent from the field, while Florida shot 45 percent. UK ended with 30 total rebounds, and UF ended with 28. Additionally, both teams scored 32 points in the paint.

Second chance points were key

One clear exception to the previous statement is second chance points. Kentucky finished with 25 such points, compared to Florida’s five.

Another uneven factor in the game were turnovers. Florida committed 23, while the Cats gave up just 15. This led UK to outscore the Gators 24-10 on points off turnovers.

“We just turned the ball over too much,” said Florida head coach Amanda Butler. “We had a lot of unforced turnovers [and] too many possessions where we just flat threw it out of bounds.”

UK outscored UF from the bench

While Kentucky has struggled with getting more players actively involved in their rotation all season, this game was a unique one in that Florida had the same issue. Excluding players who entered the game with less than one minute remaining, Kentucky played eight women, while Florida played seven. In terms of bench points, the Cats had 13, while Florida had zero. Jessica Hardin, Paige Poffenberger, Makenzie Cann and Jaida Roper all entered the game off the bench and scored at least two points.

Hardin returned to action after a 12 game absence due to concussion protocol. In her first game since Dec. 29, she drained a three-point basket immediately after checking into the game late in the fourth quarter.

“I was hoping to get her in a little bit earlier, but we didn’t handle the second quarter great,” Mitchell said of Hardin. “She took so much time off for her concussion, but, man, it didn’t affect her shooting. I still believe she could play a vital role in the post season.”

Taylor Murray was a major factor… even if the points column doesn’t show it

Although the sophomore point guard ended the game with just four points, she played a big part in the Cats’ win.

“11 assists and one turnover? That’s incredible,” Mitchell said. “She is playing some fantastic team basketball. She just ignites us.”

Next up… senior night

This Thursday, this team will play its last game in Memorial Coliseum. With two such strong seniors – Akhator and Epps – it’s sure to be an emotional night.

After the game, Mitchell praised Epps for the progress she has made not only as a basketball player, but also as a person throughout her time at Kentucky.

“I’m really proud of the work she’s done as a person. She’s made some changes that are going to benefit her for the rest of her life,” said Mitchell. “We’re going to work our heads off to see if we can send her and Evelyn off with a victory.”


@MaggieDavisKSR


Kentucky pulls away to beat Florida

Kentucky pulls away to beat Florida

16864532_1369821256371301_8254563438574196509_nAfter a close first half, the Kentucky Wildcats were able to finally pull away from Florida, defeating the Gators 67-48 in front of a packed Memorial Coliseum. The win was made even more special as it was UK’s annual Play4Kay Pink Game benefitting the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Both teams and every coach sported pink in the matchup.

Although Kentucky defeated the Gators by double digits, it didn’t always look so easy. While UK led by ten during the second quarter, Florida would just not go away. Throughout the first half, the Gators chipped away at the lead, ending the half trailing by just four: 27-31.

In the first half, the Cats relied heavily on senior Evelyn Akhator, who finished the half with 10 points. Taylor Murray, despite only scoring two points in the first 20 minutes, got it done for the Cats in other ways, specifically by dishing out seven of the team’s eight first half assists.

But it was the third quarter that really propelled Kentucky ahead of the Gators. While Florida went just 4-9 from the field, the Cats hit 7-15, outscoring the Gators 19-10 during the period.

“We really worked hard to not be frustrated at halftime,” Matthew Mitchell said. “They really locked in and did a great job in the second half.”

By the final quarter, Kentucky had found their stride. The lead continued to grow, and Akhator continued to shine, ending the night with 19 points and nine rebounds. Maci Morris also performed well, finishing with 15 points, while Makayla Epps added 14 points.

Kentucky is now 19-8 on the season, including 10-4 in the SEC. The Cats’ final home game of the season will be on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7 against Mississippi State.


(Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images)

UNC Takes Series With 6-5 Win On Saturday

(Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images)

(Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images)

Zach Reks went 4/4 and Kole Cottam drove in three runs for Kentucky in a 6-5 loss to North Carolina. UK trailed 6-1 headed to the 7th before the offense woke up with three runs in the 7th and one in the 8th. It was a little too late as UNC took game two of the series.

Recap

UK jumped out to an early 1-0 in the first as Kole Cottam doubled to score Reks. The lead would be short lived as the Tar Heels used a Kyle Datres RBI single to tie the game at one. Logue was able to wiggle out of multiple jams throughout his 4.1 innings on Saturday. The senior stranded six runners in the first four innings, but the Tar Heels began to knock him around in the fifth. Logue allowed single runs in the fourth and the fifth as he exited allowing three runs in 4.1 innings on six hits and four walks and five strikeouts.

As Kentucky’s offense struggled to bring in runs, UNC jumped on their biggest opportunity in the sixth. Leading 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth, UNC batted around and scored three runs against four different UK pitchers. Alec Maley hit a pair of batters and Mark Doerries and Austin Keen combined for three walks as UNC stretched their lead to five. Brad Schaenzer got the final out and left the bases loaded for UNC.

Kentucky found their fight in the 7th as Reks singled and Riley Mahan and Tristan Pompey walked. Cottam roped his second RBI double of the game to score Reks and Mahan. Pompey was thrown out at the plate but the Cats trimmed the lead to 6-3. Marcus Carson knocked Cottam home with an RBI double of his own with two outs.

Zach Pop came in and held the UNC offense down. The Top 100 MLB Prospect held the Tar Heels scoreless for 1.2 innings before Logan Salow got the final out of the eighth. In the top of the eighth, UK used an RBI groundout by Mahan to get one more back before the ninth.

For the second consecutive day, Josh Hiatt came in and shut the door for the Tar Heels in the ninth. UK got a man on first but Hiatt ended the game with a strikeout.

Notes

Reks continued to hit well. The second year left fielder has seven hits in the first two games with one walk. Having a guy like that at the top of your lineup can truly change how an opposing team pitches to you.

Evan White missed today’s game. White was out with a hip issue that is supposedly minor. Nick Mingione held him out today due to caution.

Plenty of new faces. We saw a lot of new guys come out of the bullpen today. Pop, Salow, and Logue are all guys that started last year. Keen, Maley, and Doerries made their debuts today.

Game three is tomorrow at 1 ET. Justin Lewis is set to go for UK. 

 

 


(UK Athletics)

BatCats Drop Opener In Chapel Hill

(UK Athletics)

(UK Athletics)

Despite multi-hit games from Zach Reks and Evan White, Kentucky dropped the opening game of the 2017 season 3-1 at North Carolina. Reks and White combined for five of the Cats’ seven hits as All-American and Team USA pitcher J.B Bukauskas struck out ten over six scoreless innings for the Tarheels.

Game Recap

In the top of the first, Reks led off the game with a single to center on the first pitch thrown by Bukauskas. With one away, White found the outfield grass to put runners at first and second. Bukauskas was able navigate out of the jam in the top of the first by inducing an easy groundout and flyout.

Sean Hjelle made his first career start in a UK uniform. The 6’11” sophomore struggled early when the #13 Tarheels came up in the first. UNC used three first inning singles, including an RBI knock by Zack Gahagan, to test Hjelle early. Hjelle allowed two more runs over the course of five innings. The Minnesota-native allowed 11 hits and struck out two in the longest outing of his collegiate career.

UNC added a runs in the third and fourth to extend their lead to 3-0. Bukauskas did not allow another hit after the second inning on his way to a dominant performance. Hjelle left the game in the sixth and was relieved by newcomer Colton Cleary. Combined with Brad Schaenzer, Cleary and the bullpen allowed only one hit in three innings of scoreless baseball. 

The offense could never recoup after the three early runs. Reks drove in Luke Heyer in the top of the ninth to trim the lead to 3-1, but Josh Hiatt shut the door by striking out Kole Cottam to end the game.

Notables

Mingione drops game one. It was a tough start to the Nick Mingione era at Kentucky. The new head coach will look for his first career win as a head coach tomorrow at UNC.

Reks and White shined. It’s important to have your stars shine early in the season. Reks went 3/4 with an RBI and the All-American White was 2/4 with the team’s lone double. White collected both his hits against his Team USA teammate Bukauskas.

Bukauskas was phenomenal. The #6 overall prospect for the MLB Draft this season struck out ten in six innings for the Tarheels. The junior righty can touch the mid to upper 90s on his fastball. As UK saw today, he also can use his changeup and slider effectively.

There was little consistency in the lineup. Outside of White and Reks, the Cats went 2/26 with no extra base hits on Friday. Bukauskas, Rodney Hutchison, and Hiatt combined to strikeout 15 Cats.

Game Two Tomorrow- The Cats have a shot to even the series tomorrow at 2 ET. Zach Logue will take the bump for the BatCats against Jason Morgan and UNC on WatchESPN. Follow along on Twitter for update @TreyHuntsmanKSR.

 

 


Photo By UK Athletics

UK Hoops Beats Arkansas on the Road

Photo By UK Athletics

Photo By UK Athletics

UK Hoops traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas tonight and beat the Razorbacks 69-62.

In the first half the Cats hit six three pointers pointers but, other than that the first half was a little lack luster for UK. They only shot 29% from the field. According to the @KentuckyWBB Twitter account, Matthew Mitchell pushed the team to play harder in the second half.

At halftime UK led 31-20 but then Taylor Murray got called for a flagrant and Arkansas took off. The Razorbacks went on a 7-0 run in the third and a 9-0 run in the fourth. With just five minutes to go UK Hoops led 55-53. With three minutes left, Epps hit a huge three, Akhator got aggressive and Murray made a game changing lay up. Ball Game.

Murray led the team with 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Senior Evelyn Akhator had her 14th double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds so yeah, she’s really GOOD.

UK Hoops returns home to Memorial this Sunday to take on Florida at 1pm.


Thursday Night Notes for the UK Fans of the Day

Thursday Night Notes for the UK Fans of the Day

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All-Star Weekend Begins Tomorrow

Nine former Wildcats will be in New Orleans to participate in a variety of events designed to showcase the best the NBA has to offer.  Here’s where you’ll find them:

  • Rising Stars Challenge (Friday, 9 p.m.): Karl Towns, Devin Booker, Jamal Murray, Trey Lyles
  • D-League All-Star Game (Saturday, 2:30 p.m.): Dakari Johnson and Alex Poythress
  • Skills Challenge (Saturday, 8 p.m.): Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Devin Booker
  • All-Star Game (Sunday, 8 p.m.): Anthony Davis (starter), DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall

All of the events will air on TNT except the D-League All-Star game, which can be seen on NBA TV.

@KentucyMBB created a ton of photoshopped billboards that I wish were real.

@KentucyMBB created a ton of photoshopped billboards that I wish were real.

The Cubes is Cal’s Newest Podcast Guest

Most know him as the Dallas Mavericks’ owner; others as the guy who invests in small businesses on ABC’s Shark Tank.  Now see Mark Cuban in a different light as John Calipari’s podcast guest.  The Cal Cast is available on iTunes and anywhere you can get podcasts.

Watch Lynn Bowden Dunk

It’s almost too much fun to see the crazy things the future football star can do.  Here’s what happens when he messes around with a basketball in an empty gym.

That boy’s good.

Shots Fired at Courtney Love

Blake Bone is quite the comedian.  The wide receiver did some deep diving to clown on Kentucky’s middle linebacker, Courtney Love.

Love’s response was simple: “2011 State Champs 🏆.”  Still, Bone wins this round.  I just wish players would bring back the shoulder pads that are three times too large.  Love looks more like a Ninja Turtle than a linebacker with those nine-inch pads.

P.J. Washington is Excited to be in the Bluegrass

The future Wildcat will play at Marshall County High School Friday night at 7:30 and Saturday evening at 6:30.

As a KSR blogger, it’s my job to encourage you to watch Washington play.  As a fan of good basketball, I implore you to see Washington play in person before he comes to UK.  He is without a doubt my favorite player in this class and will leave Kentucky as one of my favorite players in the Calipari era.

To make this simple: he’s a younger version of Draymond Green.  A 6’8″ smack-talking power forward that rebounds like a traditional post on the defensive end, Washington is much more dynamic on the offensive end.  Playing for the sixth-ranked team in the nation, he leads Findlay Prep in assists and three-pointers made, shooting at a 35 percent clip from behind the arc.  According to Ben Roberts, in one game this season both Findlay Prep point guards had to sit out of the first half for disciplinary reasons, so Washington ran the point.

Please, jump on the P.J. Washington bandwagon before it gets too crowded.

I Want to Hate Oregon’s Jerseys, but I Can’t

@ESPNCBB

@ESPNCBB

The concept of glow-in-the-dark jerseys is the most idiotic thing in human history.  They have no utility.  The only time the players might notice them is during pregame introductions, that’s it.  Still, as a child of the 90’s I’m obligated to appreciate the tackiness.  Not only was any and everything glow-in-the-dark cool, cartoon college sweatshirts were a fad I was sad to see disappear.  Donald Duck on the chest is the best thing Oregon uniforms feature.  See what you think by turning the channel to ESPN.

A Walk-Off in Westwood

The UK softball team suffered a loss to the No. 5 UCLA Bruins in the first leg of last night’s doubleheader, but they returned with a vengeance for the second game.  In the top of the 11th inning, Jenny Schaper took one into deep left centerfield.

The 2-1 win was sealed with a 6-5-3 double play in the bottom of the 11th.  The 22nd-ranked Wildcats have three more games before they return to Lexington: UC-Davis and Oregon tomorrow night, and Saturday against Cal State Northridge.

The season begins for the Kentucky baseball team this weekend in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  The BatCats will take on the Tar Heels Friday at 3:00, Saturday at 2:00 and Sunday at 1:00.  Follow @TreyHuntsmanKSR for updates throughout Nick Mingione’s first weekend as UK’s head coach.

Did Mitch Make It?

Mitch Barnhart hit the road to Fayetteville with UK Hoops.  He isn’t going just to be a cheerleader.  During today’s pregame shoot-around, he got in on the action.  Unfortunately, this photograph doesn’t show his form, nor if the bucket fell through the net.

@KentuckyWBB

@KentuckyWBB

Based on the trajectory and Barnhart’s eagerness, I’m going to say yes, yes it went in.


Photo by UK Athletics

Leftovers from UK Hoops’ Win

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

The UK Women’s Basketball team defeated the Georgia Lady Bulldogs on the road 66-56 Thursday night. The Cats are now 17-8 on the season and 8-4 in the SEC, including four SEC road wins. First, you should check out Nick’s game recap, then catch up on the five takeaways from last night’s victory.

This matchup was very different from the matchup in Lexington

On Jan. 15, the Wildcats crushed the Bulldogs 82-61 in Memorial Coliseum. In the first meeting, Georgia ended the first quarter with just four points. On Thursday, the Bulldogs scored seven points in four minutes, and they ended the quarter trailing 8-11 to the Wildcats.

“Coach told us a lot that we were going to see a completely different Georgia team than we saw in Lexington,” said senior Makayla Epps after the game. “We are on their home court, and nobody wants to get beat like that on their home court.”

In Lexington, Kentucky forced 12 Bulldog turnovers and converted those mistakes into 24 points. In Athens, the Cats committed 12 turnovers of their own and scored 12 second-chance points, compared to Georgia’s 17 second-chance points.

“Last time we played them we were coming off the three-point loss to South Carolina,” Georgia Head Coach Joni Taylor said. “Because we played South Carolina so well, we thought we could just show up to the next game. I don’t think we were mentally locked in.”

Akhator recorded another double-double

This marks her 26th career double-double at Kentucky and her 13th of the season. She is now ranked second in terms of most double-doubles in a single season, behind legendary Wildcat Valerie Still.

In Thursday’s game, Akhator scored just 11 points, but grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds. And, according to Matthew Mitchell, these were no ordinary rebounds.

“Those 14 defensive rebounds that Evelyn got tonight were grown-up rebounds,” Mitchell said. “They were going at us tonight.”

Epps, Morris were also leading scorers

Makayla Epps ended the game with 7-14 shooting for 16 points and three assists. Maci Morris reached double-digit scoring for the fifth time in the past six games, finishing with 15 points.

…but don’t worry about Murray

Although Taylor Murray shot 3-12 from the floor and ended with nine points, four rebounds and two assists in a full 40 minutes, Mitchell says she contributed in other ways.

“Don’t worry about Taylor’s stat line tonight,” Mitchell said. “She ran the floor and had great poise. She even calmed me down in the third quarter.”

Poise was an important aspect of the victory, as the Cats had to continue to fight to maintain their lead. Most importantly, it helped Kentucky make 18-of-21 from the free-throw line for 85.7 percent, while the Bulldogs hit just 7-of-12 for 58.3 percent.

“There were some tough times tonight, but I thought the players did a great job of keeping their poise,” said Mitchell. “I thought our team communicated really well down the stretch, had great poise and did a great job.”

Congrats to Alyssa Rice

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

The junior center has just been named one of the five District II honorees to the 2017 College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District Team.

On the season, Rice is averaging 21.6 minutes per game with 4.1 points and 4.4 rebounds.

Off the court, Rice continues to excel. Last semester, she earned a 3.94 GPA. Earlier in the season, she represented UK at the SEC Women’s Basketball Leadership Council and was voted on by her peers to serve as the vice chair of the council.


Twitter: @MaggieDavisKSR


UK Athletics

UK Women Win on the Road at Georgia, 66-56

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

The Kentucky women’s basketball team won their second straight SEC game behind a powerful performance from Evelyn Akhator.  The senior power forward had 11 points and 17 rebounds.  Mackenzie Cann contributed a career-high 8 boards to help the Cats outrebound the Bulldogs 40-35.

It was a slow starting game.  Despite not hitting a shot for a five-minute stretch in the first quarter, Kentucky maintained a three-point lead entering the second quarter.  It took some time, but they found eventually their shot.  The team finished the game shooting 40 percent from the field and 33 percent from three, yet they could never pull away from Georgia.  Clinging to a late seven-point lead, the Cats rebounded and hit their free throws (18-21) to prevent a comeback.

Makayla Epps led the team in scoring with 16 points and Maci Morris added 15.

Matthew Mitchell’s squad improved their record to 17-8, 8-4 in the SEC to share third place with Texas A&M.  They’ll return to the court a week from today in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


Hump Day Evening Notes for the UK Fans of the Day

Hump Day Evening Notes for the UK Fans of the Day

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—  Makayla Epps is a Finalist for TWO National POY Awards.  If you didn’t realize how good of a season Makayla Epps is having, this should be your wakeup call.  Epps is a finalist for the Naismith and Dawn Staley Player of the Year Awards.  She’s one of 30 finalists for the Naismith POY Award and one of 19 finalists for the Staley Award, given to the nation’s best guard.

Epps is averaging 17.2 points per game, she’s scored more than 20 points in her last four games and she recently moved into fifth-place on the UK scoring list with 1,620 career points.  Epps and the Kentucky women’s basketball team return to action tomorrow night in Athens, Georgia at 7:00 p.m.

— Monk and Fox are Wooden Award Finalists.  Kentucky is one of three schools with multiple players on the twenty-person list, joined by Kansas and North Carolina. Kentucky’s freshmen guards are two of the six freshmen on the late season list for the player of the year award.

—  “Forgive me Lord! I counted my chickens before they hatched!”  This announcer’s call at the end of regulation in a game between University of Montevallo (remember them?) and Young Harris College makes the call better than the buzzer beater.

Unfortunately, this announcer couldn’t get his chickens to bring home a win, falling in overtime to Montevallo 89-83.

—  No news on two new football coaches.  Now that the recruiting season has concluded, Mark Stoops is searching for replacements for D.J. Eliot and Jimmy Brumbaugh.  The deadline for the special teams position is today and the deadline for defensive line/outside linebackers assistant is Monday, February 13.  In no need to rush, I expect Stoops to announce both hires at the same time just before the start of spring practice.  If you know a guy, tell him to click here to apply for a coaching position.

—  Two Football Guys you need to Follow.  We’ve reach the six week stretch from National Signing Day to Spring Practice where absolutely nothing is happening in the world of Kentucky football, yet it’s arguably the most important time of the year.  The players are lifting and conditioning almost everyday, doing the hard work nobody sees.  However, you can see glimpses of it by following the strength coaches, Coach Ed (Corey Edmund, @UKCoachEd) and Mark Hill (@UKCoachHill).  Here’s a small sample:

@UKCoachEd

@UKCoachEd

These pictures become even more fun to follow when the players start chirping at one another on Twitter, like when the outside linebacker (Denzil Ware) passes the cornerback (Lonnie Johnson). This entire thread is worth a read.

— 31 Football Players on the Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll.  This list is reserved for those who play football, cross country, soccer and volleyball and examines their grades from the entire academic year.  Making honor roll is hard enough without having to play a sport.  They deserve all the credit they get, and then some more.

  • Drew Barker-Integrated Strategic Communication
  • C.J. Conrad-Communication
  • Greg Hart-Marketing
  • Nick Haynes-Business Management/Economics
  • Jacob Hyde-Social Work
  • Jojo Kemp-Community and Leadership Development
  • DeNiro Laster-Community and Leadership Development
  • Tate Leavitt-Community and Leadership Development
  • Courtney Love-Community and Leadership Development
  • Austin MacGinnis-Finance/Marketing
  • Naquez Pringle-Community and Leadership Development
  • Kynan Smith-Health Promotion
  • Ryan Timmons-Community and Leadership Development
  • Jon Toth-Mechanical Engineering
  • Charles Walker-Finance/Marketing

See the rest of the honorees after the jump.

(more…)


UK Softball coach Rachel Lawson perfectly describes the responsibility she feels towards her senior class

UK Softball coach Rachel Lawson perfectly describes the responsibility she feels towards her senior class

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 4.02.41 PM

Today was UK Baseball and Softball Media Day, and although I’m far from a UK Softball expert, this clip of head coach Rachel Lawson talking about senior Shannon Smith caught my attention. When asked why she prefers to say “retooling” her squad instead of “rebuilding,” Lawson got a little choked up while describing the responsibility she feels towards her senior class, specifically Smith.

“I don’t like to talk about replacing players. I like to talk about succeeding players – because the bottom line is this is Shannon Smith’s senior year. It’s important to me that Shannon Smith has a big senior year, so I have to make sure that I’m retooling every single time that I have a senior class. I have to make sure that I’m retooling.”

Lawson broke off to gather herself, when Smith piped up from the offstage, “It’s not even Senior Day yet,” drawing laughter and lightening the mood.

“I’m really not that soft, but gosh, I come off like it, geez,” Lawson laughed. “Everybody is important to me and everybody’s career is important to me. If you just try to figure out how to rebuild, all you’re doing is you’re saying all of the people on my team can’t get it done. Basically what I’m doing is admitting that I’ve wasted their last four years. And, I’m not going to do that. So, when I coach, I not only think about winning now, I think about winning in 10 days, I think about winning at the end of the season,  I think about how I’m going to win next year, and I’m thinking about how I’m going to be able to develop my current freshman class so that they can be standing in Oklahoma City. So all of those things are going on in my mind the entire time that I’m coaching – so it’s not a marketing tool at all, it’s how I like to do things.”

Perfectly said, and even more moving when you watch the clip below, courtesy of KSTV:


@KentuckyWBB

Four Leftovers from the UK Hoops Victory

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

After a rough night of men’s basketball, the UK Women’s team showed the BBN exactly what they needed to see: a victory. Kentucky defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 71-63, improving their record to 16-8 and 7-4 in the SEC. It was close for most of the game, but in the end, the Cats pulled ahead and clinched the W. First, check out Haley’s game recap, then take a look at these four takeaways from today’s victory.

Cats controlled the paint

By the end of the first half, Kentucky was already asserting their dominance in the paint, outscoring the Commodores 26-6 with points in the paint. By the end of the game, that number had stretched to 42-22. Vandy’s two tallest players – senior Marqu’es Webb and freshman Kayla Overbeck, both 6-foot-1 – struggled to score over 6-foot-3 Evelyn Akhator, and the Commodores’ points in the paint struggled because of it.

Epps, Akhator and Murray thrived

On the season, these three women are leading the team in total points. Today was no exception. Makayla Epps ended the game with 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists; Evelyn Akhator had 20 points and eight rebounds; Taylor Murray finished with 18 points and seven assists.

With these numbers, Epps has earned her place in the top five all-time scorers in program history. Her 14 first half points placed her in fifth place with 1,611 total points. By the end of the game, she had added nine more, making her total 1,620 points. Leslie Nichols is fourth on the list with 1,797 points.

@KentuckyWBB

@KentuckyWBB

“She plays with emotion, and I love that. She’s got the edge you need to be successful,” said Vanderbilt head coach Stephanie White. “She’s special, and she kicked our rear ends.”

Limiting turnovers was key

When Kentucky stopped turning the ball over so much, they quickly took back the lead. In the first quarter alone, UK had six turnovers. At the end of the quarter, Kentucky led by just two. In the second quarter, however, the Wildcats committed zero turnovers, and entered the locker room leading by seven.

Vandy, on the other hand, struggled to hold onto the ball. They finished the game with a stunning 21 turnovers.

On the season, Kentucky is averaging just 12.4 turnovers per game, which puts them at the top of the SEC and No. 11 in the nation. Today, the Cats had just ten.

A third quarter run propelled the Cats ahead

The Cats were slowly building their lead against the Commodores during the second half, but a run late in the third quarter is what finally gave Kentucky a nice, nine-point cushion heading into the final ten minutes of action.

“That was a tremendous turning point in the game,” Matthew Mitchell said.

This cushion proved to be beneficial, as the Commodores hit consecutive three-point baskets to start the final quarter. Nationally, Vandy comes in third place for accuracy behind the arc, hitting 40.7 percent of their treys. Today, they went 8-24 for 33 percent. Kentucky hit just 2-14 for 14 percent.

UK Hoops will be back in action this Thursday at 7 p.m. to take on Georgia. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.


Who does Matthew Mitchell have winning the Super Bowl?

“Today at noon was my Super Bowl,” Mitchell joked after the game. “I will be going for the Falcons. Jacob Tamme plays for the Falcons, so it’s an easy pick for me.”

Twitter: @MaggieDavisKSR


Photo by UK Athletics

Paint dominance leads Kentucky to victory over Vandy

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

After back-to-back losses this week to Missouri and South Carolina, Kentucky fought hard for their 71-63 win over Vanderbilt.

The Commodores currently sit at the bottom of the SEC but gave the Cats a run for their money today. Vanderbilt even led in the first period until Makayla Epps hit a three with less than a minute left to give Kentucky the lead at 18-16. The three was part of a 6-0 run to spark Kentucky’s offense and give them a boost that lasted the rest of the game.

The first period was a sloppy mess, both teams turning the ball over six times. However, Kentucky was able to get themselves under control and only allow four more the rest of the game for 10 total compared to the Commodores’ 21 total.

The game was won in the paint, where the Cats completely dominated. Kentucky outscored Vanderbilt 42-22 in the paint, but the Commodores won the rebounding matchup 41-29.

Kentucky was led by Epps, whose 14 first half points put her at No. 5 on Kentucky women’s basketball all time scoring list for 1,611 points. Overall, the senior scored 23 and grabbed eight rebounds. Evelyn Akhator led the charge in the paint with 20 points and eight rebounds after an off night against South Carolina on Thursday.

 

The Cats will be back in action on Thursday at Georgia with tip-off at 7 p.m.