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UK Hoops took down number 12 Oklahoma tonight in a rocking Memorial Coliseum with an 82-68 victory. Here’s how it all went down:
1. Matthew Mitchell ROCKED the blue suit
First things first, Matthew Mitchell totally pulled off the all blue suit, a look not many people can rock (looking at you Roy Williams). Maybe it was the blue suit or all the UK sports momentum everyone has these days but, the crowd at Memorial was rocking tonight. They were standing, cheering, and booing at the officiating. It was a truly exciting environment and the Cats fed off it big time.
2. Maci Morris had a career high night
Morris had a career high 19 points and 8 rebounds and played 36 minutes. She broke out in the third, scoring 17 points. After a very close first half and with Akhator and Rice in foul trouble, Morris lead the team to a dominant victory. Matthew Mitchell noted that in order to have great games, Morris has to play well.
“I just had a feeling I was going to have a breakout night,” said Morris.
3. Makayla Epps had a season high night
Epps set a season high 30 points tonight. She shot 12 for 19 and made 5 of 6 free throws. Epps got going early with the first points of the game. She came out with an attitude to play after giving her team a “let’s shock the world” speech in the locker room.
“Let’s go knock off number 12, why not, why not us,” said Epps.
4. Akhator didn’t play much
Both Akhator and Rice picked up two fouls in the first period and were benched for most of the second. Akhator picked up her third foul in the beginning of the second half. She played a total of and scored , an unusual low for her.
5. Oklahoma has a 6’9 freshman player
Nancy Mulkey is the tallest Women’s basketball player in the nation, and she’s also a reality TV star. I may have scared press row when I saw her and geeked out a little, because I am an unashamed lover of TLC I recognized her immediately from the TV show “My Giant Life.” But her height wasn’t a disadvantage for the Cats at all. My Giant Life, more like My Giant Loss am I right (sorry)? Mulkey only played 3 minutes and scored 0 points, some could say she came up a little short (sorry again).
You can read Maggie’s game recap here.
On Sunday, UK Hoops takes on Louisville at 2pm. Haley and I are going to venture over to the YUM Center so be sure to tune into our twitter feeds then -I’m sure there will be an “Ls Down” picture.
In an explosive game against No. 12 Oklahoma, the No. 17 UK Women’s basketball team upset the Sooners 82-68 in front of a packed house. The Wildcats are now 6-1 on the season, with all six of their wins coming in Memorial Coliseum.
The first half was a nail-biter. Senior Makayla Epps led the way, as she owned 12 of the Wildcats’ 19 points in the first quarter. By the end of the half, she had recorded 18 points, two rebounds and four assists. Sophomore Maci Morris also had a career-high night, and she added eight points in the first half. Despite these impressive numbers, three-point baskets kept Oklahoma in the game. The Sooners hit 8-17 from behind the arc in the first half, including three straight treys before heading into the locker room, putting them up 39-37.
Whatever Matthew Mitchell said to his team during halftime worked. Kentucky came out ready to fight in the second half, and Morris started the period by immediately draining a three. Morris continued to dominate, finishing the night with a career-high 19 points, while adding eight rebounds and one assist. By the end of the third quarter, UK’s dominance was on full display. The Cats held the Sooners’ field goals to 6-16 (37.5%) during this period, while UK clocked in at 8-16 (50%).
By the fourth quarter, the Cats were rolling, and Memorial was on its feet. Kentucky’s lead continued to grow as UK prepared to hand Oklahoma their first loss of the season, and the Cats outscored the Sooners 19-13 during the last ten minutes of action. Epps put on a show, finishing the night with 30 points, three rebounds and five assists.
“She is the strongest player, physically I’ve ever coached,” said Mitchell of Epps after the game. “It was a lot of fun to watch her tonight. Makayla has had some explosive games, and hopefully she has some more in her.”
Kentucky hopes to see this explosiveness on display once again this Sunday as the Cats take on No. 7 Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center at 2:00 p.m. What does this team have to say about their next matchup?
“Oh buddy,” laughed Epps. “I tell this team, jokingly, all the time that I don’t care if we win a game all year, but that win on Sunday? I need it.”
While most of us were still recovering from the long weekend and a massive win over Loser-ville, the Kentucky women’s basketball team was back at work. The Wildcats crushed the Samford University Bulldogs 80-57 at home. You can read Haley’s game recap HERE. And now, here are five of the most important notes from today’s victory:
1. The Cats’ Offense Dominated
Samford’s defense was no match for Kentucky’s offense today, which ended the game hitting 51.9% from the floor. Just last season, the Bulldogs owned the number three defense in the nation, holding their opponents to just 50.2 points per game. The cats hit that mark by the third quarter, no problem.
2. And the team played with a balanced offense
Four of the eight Cats with minutes in today’s matchup scored in the double digits: Evelyn Akhator (15 points, 13 rebounds), Makayla Epps (20 points, 5 rebounds), Taylor Murray (15 points, 5 rebounds) and Mackenzie Cann (12 points). Two more players, Maci Morris and Jessica Hardin, finished with eight points.
After the game, Coach Mitchell commented on the benefits of having such a well-rounded team.
“When you have people who can score and you can be a balanced offensive team, [opponents] can’t just take that away. Being balanced makes us harder to prepare for,” Mitchell said. “We have a lot of weapons offensively.”
3. The defense held their own – especially in the first half
In a team that has consistently struggled on the defensive end of the ball, today was a different story – especially in the first half. Samford’s leading scorers, Kassidy Blevins and Hannah Nichols, who both average 15.2 points per game, were shut down in the first half. Blevins ended the half with four points, while Nichols had just two. By the third quarter, however, the Cats had a decisive lead, and the defense slowly slipped away. Blevins and Nichols both found their groove, and they finished with 18 and 17 points, respectively.
“We clearly lost some intensity in the second half,” said Mitchell. “We’re going to have to correct that.”
Makayla Epps agreed.
“The energy sort of dropped being up so high,” said Epps. “We kind of put the car in cruise, and that’s something we can’t do.”
4. Taylor Murray continued to shine
Coming off a stellar performance against Morehead State earlier this week, sophomore Taylor Murray had another great game. After scoring a career high 18 points against Morehead, Murray finished today with an equally impressive 15 points and five rebounds.
5. What the team lacks in communication, they make up for in chemistry
All season, Mitchell has pressed the issue of communicating on the court. Although it’s still a work in progress, he recognizes this team is full of high-character girls.
“This particular team has a great spirit about them: they want to please, they work hard in the classroom, they represent us well off the court, there are no complainers,” said Mitchell. “They are great, great, high-caliber young women, and I just have to work really hard to bring out their competitiveness.”
Once again, Epps agreed with her coach.
“This is probably the most cordial, loving, caring team I’ve been on since I’ve been here. I was just saying this in the locker room – we really like each other, but we don’t talk to each other on the court. It’s different,” Epps said with a laugh.
The Cats have two tough games coming up: No. 20 Kentucky vs. No. 13 Oklahoma at home this Thursday, Dec. 1 at 7:00, and against No. 4 Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday, Dec. 4 at 2:00.
Hoops moves to 5-1 on the season after picking up a 80-57 win against Samford University in Memorial Coliseum.
It was a solid team effort for the Cats today as four different players scored in double digits and two more were on the brink.
For a while in the first period, it looked like Samford was going to keep up whit the Cats, until they were able to break away after the second media timeout, where Kentucky shut down Samford and broke away with a 22-12 lead at the end of the period.
Kentucky continued to break away with a 6-0 run in the middle of the second period and ran away with the game from there.
Makayla Epps led the team with 20 points and five rebounds with Evelyn Akhator and Taylor Murray trailing behind her with 15 points each. Akhator also grabbed 13 rebounds to record yet another double-double while Murray had five of her own. Mackenzie Cann also scored in double-digits scoring 12 of their own. Maci Morris and Jessica Hardin were so close to getting in double-digits as well, knocking down eight points of their own.
Even though the Cats were on point offensively, head coach Matthew Mitchell was displeased with his teams performance on the defensive end. The Cats out rebounded Samford 36-21 and forced 13 turnovers, the Cats still allowed the Bulldogs to score 25 points in the third period and then 15 more in the fourth period compared to the 17 they scored in the first half alone.
“We just have to try to embrace the defensive end more instead of doing it because you have to,” said Mitchell afterwards.
According to Mitchell, in order to get this team to embrace that end more, he’s going to have to demand it in practice and motivate them to make it their best interest to embrace the defensive end of the court.
The next week will be a tough one for Kentucky as they face two top 15 opponents this week as they face No. 13 Oklahoma on Thursday and No. 4 Louisville on Sunday in the Yum! Center.
Kentucky knocked the Sooners out of the NCAA tournament last year in the second round in a 79-58 win. The Cats also trumped the Cards inside Rupp Arena last year 72-54.
By Haley Simpson on ©November 23rd, 2016 @ 9:30pm
While the rest of her team seemed to be in a pre-tryptophan coma, Taylor Murray was having herself a career night.
For the first 2.5 periods of No. 20 Kentucky’s outing against Morehead State University, the Cats could just not get it together. Luckily, sophomore guard Murray was feeling herself and had a career-high 18 points just after the third period got underway.
A quarter of their buckets coming in the fourth quarter, Kentucky was able to defeat the Eagle’s 74-47.
Before the first TV timeout, the Cats looked to be on fire. Within the first two and a half minutes, Kentucky was already up 11-0. The Eagle’s would soon break through, however, coming out of the timeout and hitting four straight three-pointers to close in within one points of Kentucky at 13-12. Turnovers would soon turn their ugly heads against both team, Kentucky committing five and Morehead committing six of their own.
Leading 20-17 coming into the second period, Kentucky was able to reign in their sloppiness, turning the ball over only four more times the entire game. However, their shooting began troubling them. From the field, the Cats were only able to knock down five out of 16 shots. The Eagle’s would also struggle on the offensive end of the court, only scoring three points the entire period, beginning a nine-minute scoring drought that would end off a pair of foul shots in the third period.
In the ugliness of Kentucky’s first half, Murray was the shining light. While the rest of her teammates, even Makayla Epps struggled to knock one down, the guard was putting on a show. Hitting 16 points two minutes into the third period began, Murray had surpassed her career-high. The sophomore would only make one more basket the rest of the night, but she was able to rake in eight rebounds, one rebound less than Evelyn Akhator.
Halftime seemingly woke the Cats up, and so did Epps and Maci Morris. Out of the break, Epps scored 16 points to break even with Murray for 18 points and nine assists. Morris also added six points of her own for 14 points total along with six rebounds.
The victory tonight moves the Kentucky to 5-1 on the season. The Cats will be back in action against Samford Sunday afternoon at 2 inside Memorial Coliseum.
Happy Thanksgiving and go Cats.
By Nick Roush on ©November 21st, 2016 @ 9:45pm
1. Isaiah Briscoe’s Mysterious Injury
It went unnoticed by many in the second half snoozefest over Duquesne, but Briscoe only played three minutes after halftime. There’s a mystery as to exactly what happened. At first it was described as a pulled muscle, then a foot injury, then a fan behind the bench said they saw him sitting on an icepack (he hurt his butt?). Regardless, it’s no big deal and Briscoe will be back ready to go Wednesday against Cleveland State.
2. A “You People are Crazy” from Cal
Even though he didn’t repeat the Calipari cliche verbatim, he definitely meant it. As he wrapped up his press conference, he asked if there were still fans waiting to hear his radio interview with Tom Leach on the court at Rupp Arena. He couldn’t believe they were still there on a Sunday night.
“Are you kidding me? Go home, folks, it’s really late.”
3. Fox and Wall’s Similar Stats
Nobody knows their Kentucky stats quite like Cat Scratches contributor Corey Price. The following two stats show just how similar Fox is to John Wall.
- De’Aaron Fox has the most assists through a UK player’s first four games (27) since John Wall in 2009-2010 (28).
- Fox is the first UK player with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals in a game since John Wall vs. Mississippi State on 2/16/2010.
4. UK Leads in 4th Down Conversions
You probably forgot the Cats converted two fourth downs against Austin Peay. Now 9-of-11 this season, the Cats 81.1% fourth down conversion rate is the best in the SEC.
5. Tubman’s Return to Commonwealth
Former UK defensive end Lloyd Tubman did not make the stat sheet in his return to Commonwealth Stadium, but he did take the time to pose for a picture with his teammates from the class of 2014. The Twitter caption: “Got mad love for theses boys,It was different being across from em on Saturday. But we all good doe.”
6. Toth Selected to the Senior Bowl
After the UK center concludes his Kentucky career at a bowl game, Jon Toth will attend the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Overlooked by most of the talking heads, Toth will prove to the NFL scouts he’s worth a large paycheck.
7. Randall Cobb is Still Making Big Plays
The Packers have not been good at football this year. How this happened is a bit of a mystery, but Cobb still found a way to make a big play on Sunday Night Football.
Not going down that easy…
— NFL (@NFL) November 21, 2016
In other news on NFL Cats, Bud Dupree was taken off injured reserve for yesterday’s game against the Browns, although he only played a snap or two in his 2016 debut.
8. Can Trae Young and Quade Green Play Together?
That’s the question everyone’s been asking since Green announced his commitment to Kentucky Saturday night. In theory, they can, but it might not work in practice.
I can imagine a world were the pass first distributor (Green) runs the offense alongside an elusive sharp-shooter on the wing (Young). I don’t have to imagine because the two played together this summer on the the USA’s U18 team. Their stats from the tournament in Chile reveal a few things:
- Young took the most threes on the team, but didn’t make the most (23%).
- Young played almost twice as many minutes (94 to 50).
- Young only had 3 more assists in twice the minutes, but committed 5 less turnovers.
Neither were stars, but Green was more efficient. Playing together is a possibility, but not likely.
9. UK Men’s Soccer Eliminated
For the first time in school history, Kentucky received a national seed. At No. 16, they earned a bye and the right to host a second round matchup. Facing perennial power Creighton, the Cats fell behind 2-0 early. The quickly responded with a goal, but were forced to play the last 20 minutes with only 10 men, eventually falling to the Bluejays 3-2.
The Cats’ first loss of the year at The Bell, it was a sudden end to a great season. The program is in good hands with Johan Cedergren, who’s taken UK to the NCAA Tournament three consecutive years, only missing it once in his five years as a head coach. Hopefully it’s the first of many postseason games to come at The Bell.
10. UK Hoops Dropped in the AP Poll
After taking a tough 79-69 loss in the elevation against Colorado, Matthew Mitchell’s team fell to No. 20 in the AP Poll.
By Haley Simpson on ©November 20th, 2016 @ 5:00pm
An early lead wasn’t enough for the No. 15 Lady Cats last night when they fell on the road to unranked Colorado.
Kentucky started off with an early lead in the first period, leading the entirety of it. At the end of the period, the Cats held a 12-11 lead going into the second period. After the break, Colorado came back strong and went on an 8-0 to stretch a 22-15 lead over Kentucky.
The Cats continued to struggle in the third quarters as they were outscored 25-16 and fell to a 11 point deficit at 62-51, their largest of the season. From there, Kentucky was unable to regain momentum to get them over Colorado.
Overall, it was the usual suspects who led the way for Kentucky. Makayla Epps, Maci Morris and Taylor Murray all three had 14 points with Evelyn Akhator not far behind with 12 of her own. Both teams shot a bit below 50% from the field in the second half, but the Buffalos were just able to get more shots off than the Cats and make more defensive stops.
The loss will likely bring the Cats down in rankings, but they will still remain in the top 25.
Kentucky will be back in Memorial against Morehead State at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
By Drew Franklin on ©November 17th, 2016 @ 4:00pm
Fans of three-point shooting will enjoy the highlights from today’s UK Hoops win in Memorial. The Cats hit 12 threes in the game to fight off the early start time and get the victory.
By Savannah Patton on ©November 17th, 2016 @ 2:00pm
The Kentucky Women’s team didn’t let an 11 a.m. tip off time slow them down. UK Hoops dominated the University of New Hampshire Wildcats this afternoon with a 92-43 victory.
Mackenzie Cann, Evelyn Akhator, Makayla Epps, Alyssa Rice, Maci Morris and Jessica Hardin all scored double digits. Mackenzie Cann, a transfer student from University of Cincinnati had a career high game with 20 points. She went 6 of 8 from the 3-point line.
“When Cann gets going it really takes the pressure off everyone,” said Coach Mitchell.
When asked about how good this team can be at 3-point shooting Mackenzie Cann said “the sky’s the limit if we put the work in.”
Besides the raining threes, Senior Evelyn Akhator also had a notable game with her third double-double this season. Akhator has been consistently energetic since the season started. This afternoon, she finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Akhator said her early season success comes from the coaches and team – especially Makayla, inspiring her during the off-season.
UK Hoops will travel to Colorado on Saturday to take on the Colorado University Buffs at 9 p.m.
By Drew Franklin on ©November 17th, 2016 @ 12:52pm
Makenzie Cann lit up the scoreboard to lead the Kentucky women in scoring in today’s win over New Hampshire. The Anderson County native connected on six of her eight three-point attempts for a career-high 20 in the Cats’ 92-43 win.
Evenlyn Akhator dropped a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while four other Wildcats chipped in double-figure scoring behind Cann and Akhator.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 16th, 2016 @ 5:30pm
Earlier this week, track star Sydney McLaughlin committed to Kentucky, a huge coup for Edrick Floreal and the UK Track & Field program. At the Rio games in August, McLaughlin became the youngest U.S. Olympic track athlete in more than 40 years, making it to the semifinals in the 400-meter hurdles at only 17 years old.
McLaughlin, who has a devoted fanbase on social media, gave her followers even more to talk about yesterday with this video of her shooting hoops with the caption, “You know Kentucky’s a basketball school.”
"You know Kentucky's a basketball school" 🏀🙌🏽 pic.twitter.com/dEQwYNvezf
— Sydney McLaughlin (@GoSydGo) November 15, 2016
How big of a star is Sydney? That video has almost 700 retweets and over 2,500 likes in less than a day. That’s a lot.
Any chance you’d like to also play some basketball while you’re here, Sydney?
This summer Sydney McLaughlin represented the United States in Rio. Next summer she’ll be running at the University of Kentucky.
McLaughlin became the youngest U.S. Olympic athlete since 1972 when she advanced to the 400-meter hurdle semifinals this summer in Rio. She’s set many national high school records in the hurdles, her specialty. That’s why she chose UK over USC. Kentucky alum Kendra Harrison is the current 100-meter hurdle world record holder.
Edrick Floreal already has one Olympic hurdler on his team, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn. Now, he has two.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©November 14th, 2016 @ 5:00pm
Big news today for the Kentucky men’s soccer team: the Cats received a 16-seed in the NCAA Tournament, only the second time in program history they’ve been seeded. Not only that, they will host the winner of the Creighton/Tulsa game in a second round match on Sunday, November 20 at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex (starting time TBA).
Here’s a look at Kentucky’s region, which they share with 1-seed Maryland:
And the entire bracket (click to enlarge):
After starting the season with consecutive double-doubles, the first Wildcat to do so since Victoria Dunlap in 2009-10, Evelyn Akhator has been named National Player of the Week by College Sports Madness. Akhator was also named SEC Player of the Week.
Akhator started the season with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks against No. 14 Miami on Friday. Without a day of rest, she posted a career-high 28 points Saturday against Albany, a mid-major that won an NCAA Tournament game last year. She also grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked 4 shots for her 15th career double-double.
Akhator will return to the court on Thursday morning when the 15th-ranked women’s basketball team takes on New Hampshire at 11:00 a.m. All local elementary, middle and high school students are invited to the game and can receive free admission. If you’d like to bring a group, all you have to do is RSVP here.
The past few days have been jam-packed with exciting UK news. However, if the football game made you turn off your television or if the election made you log off of the internet for a few days, you may have missed it. Here are some highlights.
I’m not going to beat a dead horse. Obviously, there were frustrating elements to the Wildcats’ loss to Tennessee on Saturday. Despite the drawbacks, the Cats had several positive aspects of their game, most notably 443 rushing yards. For a full analysis, check out Freddie’s take on the game here.
UK Hoops had a very busy weekend, playing (and winning!) two games. On Friday night, the Wildcats took down the Miami Hurricanes 82-66, and on Saturday night they defeated the University of Albany Great Danes 70-46. Coach Matthew Mitchell was very pleased with the team’s performances, as he spoke of their character and perseverance in both post-game press conferences.
“I thought that our players had high character, but until you get into an environment like last night [against Miami] and have to bounce back the next day against a really tough team, that shows the character of this team,” said Coach Mitchell on Saturday night. “They’re fun to coach, they’re fun to be around, and I’m just really proud of them and excited to see them keep working.”
The Cats will play again on Nov. 17 at 11:00 a.m. against the New Hampshire Wildcats.
Kentucky volleyball swept Arkansas three sets to none last Wednesday, Nov. 9. Standout performances came from freshman Leah Edmond, who had 18 kills and 10 digs, as well as Olivia Dailey, who had 45 assists and nine digs. The Wildcats, currently ranked #24, are playing at this very moment against Ole Miss, and have split the sets one-to-one so far. Stay tuned for more updates on this game.
UK wins set two 25-16! pic.twitter.com/vHSPG2X5sA
— Kentucky Volleyball (@KentuckyVB) November 13, 2016
Two senior Wildcats were named to the Conference USA Men’s Soccer All-Academic team on Thursday. Paul Sime and Charlie Reymann, both starters and key players for UK this season, both successfully balanced strong academics with a soccer team that finished their season with an impressive 11-4-2 record. Sime, a native of Guadeloupe, is a 4.0 political science major, while Reymann is a 3.7 finance major. Congrats to two outstanding student athletes.
Overall, UK’s doing great things. Keep up the good work, Cats.