UK Hoops got ANOTHER win tonight, beating Auburn by a whopping 17 points . It was a close game up until the fourth quarter when the Cats went up by 20 at one point. Remember that eight game losing streak? Yeah, me either.
Despite the snow, Maci Morris came out hot, and by hot I mean on fire. In the first few minutes of the game, Morris scored her 1,000th point. That’s a lot of points scored…what a cool moment for the Bell County native. The rest of the Wildcats did need some heating up though, and so did the Tigers. It was a slowwww game plagued with turnovers and bad shooting – not only for us, but for Auburn too. Check out the box score statistic comparison:
Yikes. The only place we really shot well from was the line, but we did manage to capitalize off Auburn’s turnovers – so thanks for those, Tigers. Auburn leads the SEC in free throw shooting, and we did not let them get to the line.
The best part of the game? During the losing streak, the Cats fell apart in the third and fourth quarter but tonight, we went on a 24-3 run in the fourth alone. I’m not sure what Matthew Mitchell is doing but thank the higher power of your choosing that it’s working!
We’re finally learning how to play off our opponents’ weaknesses. Things are heating up y’all.
Maci Morris had a big game tonight, she finished with 18 points, and made five threes. Taylor Murray didn’t get to show off tonight, only playing 12 minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. However, this didn’t stop her from coming alive in the fourth. Murray finished with 14 points and five assists. Alyssa Rice also had a big game with a whopping nine rebounds and 11 points.
What a game. Feel bad that you missed it? Don’t! Just catch the next one! Trust me, you wanna see this team play right now.
The Cats take on LSU in RUPP ARENA at noon on Sunday. Come out before the super bowl!
Kevin Knox isn’t the only Kentucky basketball player making headlines throughout the SEC this week. UK Hoops’ Dorie Harrison was named the SEC Freshman of the Week following her career-high performance against Arkansas Monday night.
The freshman was the team’s leading scorer for the first time last night, scoring 16 points and adding four rebounds, two steals and one block in the Cats’ victory over the Razorbacks. The performance marked her second-consecutive career night; she recorded a previous-best 15 points against Alabama last Thursday.
Combining the previous two games, Harrison has scored 31 points while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field. She’s also added a total of nine rebounds, two blocks and three steals. After a rough patch for the Hoops team, Harrison’s strong efforts have helped the Cats’ record bounce back to break-even: the team’s record is now 11-11 on the season and 3-5 in the conference.
The Kentucky women’s basketball team got back on track tonight, defeating the Arkansas Razorbacks 76-65. Dorie Harrison led the fight, finishing the night with a career-high 16 points and adding four rebounds. But Harrison, a six-foot-three freshman, wasn’t alone – Kentucky had five Cats score double-digits in the win: Makenzie Cann (12 points), Taylor Watts (12 points), Maci Morris (11 points) and Amanda Paschal (10 points). Arkansas had three players hit double-digit scoring.
Tonight was Harrison’s third consecutive game breaking her own career scoring record. What’s going right?
“I think it’s just the extra reps and post workouts that Coach Mitchell puts us through,” Harrison said. “It really gets us in game-like situations and it makes it easy on us to transfer that into the game.”
Mitchell agreed the team’s performance in the post has greatly improved throughout the season, and it’s making a difference in conference games.
“Our young kids in the post have really worked hard to develop,” the head coach said. “It has been a lot of hard work, but now we are getting great production from the post, and that has helped.”
It was a game of runs for the Cats, including a 12-0 run in the first quarter, a 10-0 run in the second and another 12-0 run in the third. Although the final score shows just an 11-point victory, the Wildcats dominated on all fronts. They scored far more points off the bench (31 points versus 10); they turned the ball over less (13 versus 18); they rebounded more (35 versus 33); they scored more three-pointers (nine versus five); they scored more points in the paint (36 versus 20). From nearly every aspect of the game, Kentucky performed.
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) January 30, 2018
“Very good win for our team,” Coach Matthew Mitchell said after the game. “I am really proud of their focus and how we prepared for this one.”
Tonight’s win marks the second consecutive conference win for the Wildcats, who defeated Alabama 79-54 last Thursday. This is the first time Kentucky has won back-to-back SEC games this season.
Maci Morris, who had 11 points and two rebounds in the win, is now just four points shy of joining Kentucky’s 1,000 points club. She’ll have her next chance to sign her name with the elites this Thursday at 7 p.m. when the Cats take on the Auburn Tigers inside Memorial Coliseum.
By Maggie Davis on ©January 28th, 2018 @ 8:00pm
Before the UK women’s basketball team clinched a much-needed win against Alabama Thursday, Coach Matthew Mitchell divulged the secret to this team’s new-and-improved mentality: the word purple.
No, not blue. Purple.
Prior to the the Alabama victory, the Cats had lost nine of their previous ten games. With that disappointing record, the young team had to find a way to stay positive. Under the suggestion of assistant coach Kyra Elzy, the freshmen began using the word “purple” as a codeword for positivity. And what started as a sort of inside-joke between freshmen has turned into a team-wide phenomenon – even Coach Mitchell is in on it.
“They say [purple] and then I started saying it too now because there are a lot of times that I want to go negative because they are not doing what I want them to do,” Mitchell said. “They want me to go positive, then they ask themselves to go positive, everybody needs to go positive.”
But, of course, it hasn’t always been easy.
“There have been days we have gone negative because it’s been a tough go,” Mitchell said. “But what I love about it is they are still coming to practice hungry and that they even care enough to understand that they need to be positive and keep going on. That just tells you about them as kids. They are not where we want them to be skill wise, but you can teach skill, you cannot teach the other.”
The positivity paid off for the Cats, who blew past Alabama 79-54 Thursday night. Now, they’ll have to capitalize on this momentum, as they travel to play Arkansas on the road tomorrow and return to Memorial Coliseum Thursday to face-off against Auburn.
“Very happy for our players. They have been working extremely hard. A lot of hard work went into that one,” Mitchell said of the victory over Alabama. “They’ve been working really, really hard. We need to build on this one.”
It was a MUCH-NEEDED win for UK Hoops tonight! They beat Alabama 79-54 and no one could be happier about it than Matthew Mitchell himself. The man was grinning ear-to-ear.
Man, it feels good to win again. Let’s talk about some key moments from tonight’s game and revel in this victory.
I almost called 911 tonight because this girl was ON FIRE (sorry)! Murray finished the night with 20 points and 10 assists. It’s UK Hoops’ first points-assists double-double since February 2016. So, that’s pretty cool.
“She does a great job of getting the ball out so quick,” said Alabama Head Coach Kristy Curry on Taylor Murray.
She’s also the only player in school history to have 20 and 10 in an SEC game.
“Really proud of her resilience….we need it desperately,” said Mitchell.
We (kind of) have a leader
And her name is Alyssa Rice. Rice only had six points tonight, but she had a big presence on the court! It seems like a leader is FINALLY emerging from this team. It just might be too late.
“It’s been very ugly at times but you’re seeing that this team’s worked so hard,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell noted that he’s working on confidence – especially with the freshmen KeKe and Dorie, and utilizing the older girls to help them.
“We can’t have a glamour player,” said Mitchell.
What’s going right?
Shooting, for one thing. The Wildcats out-shot the Tide like crazy. They were 33-51 tonight, compared to Bama’s 20-51. Overall, They’re playing smarter. Taylor Murray said they’ve really been focusing on execution in practice – and it showed tonight. The Cats really capitalized on Bama’s quick mistakes. Not to mention, their confidence was off the charts.
“We were just all on,” said KeKe McKinney.
Mitchell attributed the win to good hustle and the “reboot” of the bye week. whatever he did, it’s working.
What’s still going wrong?
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. Yikes. We need to work on turnovers! And rebounds, too. Our defense is nowhere near where it needs to be. Matthew Mitchell knows there’s a tough road ahead with Mississippi State and South Carolina still on the schedule.
“A win is a win but we still have a long way to go,” said Taylor Murray.
That’s the truth.
Let’s end this on a positive note – we WON tonight. Like I said earlier, it feels really good.
UK Hoops travels to Arkansas on January 29 and will be back in Memorial on February 1 to take on Auburn. Go Cats!
It was a much needed win for UK Hoops on Thursday when they took on Alabama at Memorial Coliseum. Kentucky’s defense had a weak start, allowing Alabama to score eight of their first 13 points in the paint. Like the South Carolina game last week, turnovers were another big issue UK Hoops faced, with seven early turnovers by the end of the first quarter. But the Cats held on, scoring over 60% from the field in the first half, a trend that would continue throughout the game. The score by the end of the first quarter was 17-16, with Alabama holding a slight lead.
Alabama started the second quarter with a 7-2 run, but UK Hoops answered with four straight shots to cut Alabama’s lead from six to two. The Cats took a three-point lead after a 9-0 run, but a three from Alabama’s No. 23 Shaquera Wade brought the game to a tie at 27-27 late in to the second quarter. No. 24 Taylor Murray responded to this and, after scoring a team-high 12 points in the first half, hit a three at the buzzer to give UK a five-point lead. While the Cats still faced a large number of turnovers, Alabama was dealing with their own turnover issues. By halftime, UK Hoops had made 13 points off of turnovers from Alabama. The score at halftime was 34-29.
A three from No. 22 Makenzie Cann and an and-one from Murray helped to increase Kentucky’s lead. While a few turnovers from the Cats helped Alabama on a 5-0 run, UK Hoops still managed to hold the lead, with the score 54-49 at the end of the third quarter.
Memorial Coliseum was filled with deafening roars from excited Kentucky fans as UK Hoops started the fourth quarter on an 11-2 run. A second and-one from Murray and multiple threes from Cann and No. 4 Maci Morris helped secure Kentucky’s victory. Murray was the top scorer for the Cats tonight, hitting a double-double with 20 points and 10 assists. It is UK’s first point-assists double-double since February 2016. Kentucky also ended the game with a season high 64.7% from the field, which is the second best field goal percentage in school history. The final score was 79-54.
“I thought there was some real joy from the players because it’s been a tough road and there’s a tough road ahead. During the bye week, we really had to adjust our attitude and they’ve worked really hard. I’m overjoyed for them because they really worked to earn that victory,” Coach Mitchell said in the post game press conference.
Kentucky plays the University of Arkansas at the Bud Walton Arena on Jan. 29 and 7 pm. UK Hoops will be back in Memorial Coliseum to take on Auburn University on Feb. 1 at 7 pm.
The crowd at Rupp Arena was excited and energetic on Sunday afternoon as UK Hoops took the floor to play the South Carolina gamecocks. Mackenzie Cann was the first to score for the Cats, hitting a big three halfway through the first quarter. Despite having to stop game play for two separate shot clock issues, Kentucky went on a 5-0 run, preventing South Carolina from scoring for three minutes. The score at the end of the first quarter was 13-12, with South Carolina holding a small lead over UK Hoops.
While the Cats started the second quarter by gaining the lead, it quickly became clear that free throws and turnovers would be the two biggest obstacles UK would face. By halftime, South Carolina had been sent to the line 12 times, making seven free throws, while Kentucky was only one of four from the line. Turnovers were another area UK Hoops struggled with in the second quarter. The Cats average 12 turnovers a game, but already had 14 by the end of the first half. The Gamecocks turned Kentucky’s 14 turnovers in to 12 points and responded with a 20-4 run, taking their biggest lead of the game. The score at halftime was 34-20.
UK Hoops started the second half with significantly better offense. Their free throw percentage raised from 25% to 63% and the Cats only had two turnovers in the third quarter. The crowd at Rupp were on their feet, as No. 24 Taylor Murray, No. 4 Maci Morris, and No. 3 Keke McKinney all scored double figures. After trailing by 18 points early in the third quarter, Kentucky fought to bring South Carolina’s lead down to less than eight. The score at the end of the third quarter was 59-48.
But Kentucky’s comeback with cut short when the Gamecocks scored a three early in the fourth quarter, followed by a 7-0 run to increase their lead by 15 points. South Carolina shot 79% from the field for the second half of the game, securing a victory by the final buzzer. The final score was 81-64. While this is the second loss in a row for UK Hoops, Coach Mitchell remained optimistic about the team’s future in the post game press conference: “I saw some signs of progress for us today. We have to keep going and keep working.”
UK Hoops will be back in Memorial Coliseum to take on the University of Alabama on Thursday, Jan 25 at 7 pm.
By Karly Walker on ©January 20th, 2018 @ 3:00pm
Coach Matthew Mitchell held a press conference on Friday, January 19, to preview Kentucky’s upcoming game against South Carolina. While UK Hoops has struggled this season, Coach Mitchell is looking to the future with hope, and keeping his team focused. Here are three big takeaways from his press conference:
Sunday’s game against South Carolina is going to be a big one
Kentucky’s season has been turbulent, and while a victory against the University of Florida brought the Cats’ eight game losing streak to an end, their recent loss against Vanderbilt did nothing to boost team or fan morale. But Coach Mitchell is still hoping UK Hoops will draw a big crowd to Rupp Arena on Sunday. “We’d love to get a big crowd out there, at Rupp, on Sunday to help us try to earn a victory, but it will be tough game and the team’s working hard to try to get prepared for a good South Carolina team.”
And while Coach Mitchell did not confirm whether No 4 Maci Morris or No 22 Makenzie Cann will play in the South Carolina game, he did say he was “hopeful” and that both girls had been feeling better after battling knee and foot pain.
UK Hoops takes on South Carolina at Rupp Arena on Sunday, January 21 at noon.
The team is not “quitting”
Coach Mitchell made it clear that while UK Hoops has been struggling this season, he has never once felt that the team was giving up. “I have never sensed through all the difficult times that there is quit happening.”
Instead, he pointed to the Cats inconsistent level of play, and the need to push them in the right direction. “As their coach, you just continue to fight every day to make certain they know it is not happening to them. It is difficult for a team that is really relying on people that are in such different roles. It has just not come together the way we wanted it to or expected it to.”
But Coach Mitchell is still looking forward to the future of the team, citing the South Carolina game as a big opportunity for Kentucky to turn their season around. “They practiced extremely hard yesterday and I still believe that our best basketball is in front of us.”
UK Hoops will find success this season
Coach Mitchell is under no false impressions when it comes to his team’s season, but he is looking at the rest of the season with an optimistic attitude. “This has been a challenging time and a difficult time. Anybody that would say you don’t have some doubts during that time or negative thoughts creeping into your mind, they are a better person than I am. At the end of the day, what you have to have come through is faith. I have tremendous faith that we are on the right path.”
While he is “not joyful” about the season Kentucky is having, Coach Mitchell says he understands that this is an important learning process, especially for a team so young.
“We are trying to stay the course and we will be successful with this group of players, it is just taking us some time.”
By Maggie Davis on ©January 15th, 2018 @ 10:00pm
The women’s basketball team suffered another tough loss tonight, falling 70-55 to Vanderbilt. The Wildcats played without the season’s leading scorer Maci Morris, who is still out with a knee bone-bruise injury, and the Cats couldn’t compensate for her missing offensive spark. Tonight’s loss drops Kentucky’s record to 9-10 overall and 1-4 in the SEC.
The Wildcats struggled from the beginning; both teams remained scoreless for the first 5:14 of the game and the Cats failed to get a bucket until only four minutes remained in the quarter. They found a groove by the end of the first quarter, going on a 6-0 run and holding a 10-7 advantage at the end of the period. But it wouldn’t last, as the Commodores responded in the second quarter with a 15-0 run.
Taylor Murray served as Kentucky’s sole offensive power in the first half, scoring 12 of the Cats’ 20 points. She finished the day with a season-high 23 points and a career-high seven steals in her full 40 minutes of play. She was the only player to hit double-digit scoring.
“Taylor was really tough and we need her to play that way,” Coach Matthew Mitchell said after the game. “We will have to see if we can get some [other] players to step up and play that way.”
Freshman KeKe McKinney showed she has the potential to be that player. The freshman added nine points and six rebounds in tonight’s matchup. Senior Makenzie Cann was limited, playing just 15 minutes and scoring zero points. After the game, Mitchell said Cann is dealing with a foot injury, and her reps have been limited.
“You have to congratulate Vanderbilt tonight. They played a tough game and clearly wanted the game more than us and that is disappointing,” Mitchell said. “We have to get back at it and see if we can get better.”
The Cats will look to get back on track Sunday, when Kentucky will host South Carolina at Rupp Arena. Tipoff is set for noon and the game can be seen on ESPNU.
By Karly Walker on ©January 11th, 2018 @ 9:31pm
It was a narrow, but much needed, win for UK Hoops tonight against the University of Florida. No. 24 Taylor Murray secured an early lead for the Cats, hitting seven of the eleven points Kentucky earned in the first quarter. The score at the end of the first quarter was 11-10.
The second quarter started with the Gators hitting a 10-0 run and gaining their first lead of the game, but a three from No. 22 Makenzie Cann helped UK Hoops go in to halftime on top. By halftime, the Cats were scoring just 32.1% from the field, but still held on to the lead. The score at the end of the second quarter was 20-18.
Florida started the second half by hitting two threes, and reclaiming their lead. While the Gators hit a total of seven threes in the third quarter, Kentucky managed to hang on, only tailing by three points. The score at the end of the third quarter was 36-39.
Although UK Hoops managed to earn a four-point lead early on in the fourth quarter, Florida responded, tying at 46-46 with less than four minutes left in the game. A shot clock violation from the Gators gave the Cats the advantage they needed. Another three by Murray in the last minute of the game only increased this lead, with the score 54-49. A score from Florida managed to cut UK’s lead to 54-51 with less than thirty seconds left in the game. A turnover from Kentucky gave the Gators momentum to score again with 6.1 left in the game, bringing the score to a 54-53. In a nail biting ending, No. 4 Maci Morris was sent to the line, missing her first shot, but landing her second. No. 2 Paige Poffenberger was sent to the line immediately after. Poffenberger also missed her first shot, but landed her second, guaranteeing a victory for UK Hoops. The final score was 56-53.
In addition to this win ending Kentucky’s eight-game losing streak, it was also Coach Matthew Mitchell’s 250th win at Kentucky.
UK Hoops will play Vanderbilt University at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, TN, on Monday, Jan. 15, at 7 pm. The Cats will be back in Lexington on Sunday, Jan. 21, at noon, when they take on the University of South Carolina at Rupp Arena.
Finally, the UK Hoops losing streak is over.
Matthew Mitchell’s women traveled down to Gainesville on Thursday to take on the Florida Gators and they will return to Lexington with a win, their first since beating Evansville on December 5.
Taylor Murray was UK’s leading scorer with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field. JUCO transfer Amanda Paschal was the only other Wildcat in double figures with her 12 points off the bench.
Kentucky had lost eight straight games before taking down Florida, 56-53.
They will travel to Vanderbilt on Monday to try to start a new streak: a winning one.
By Savannah Patton on ©January 07th, 2018 @ 9:00pm
UK Hoops lost to UGA 56-42 today, making this their eighth consecutive loss in a row. Nope, that’s not a typo, they have lost eight games in a row. And no, we haven’t been just playing UCONN continuously, we’ve been losing to the likes of Florida Gulf Coast and Middle Tennessee. So what exactly is the problem with this team? After today’s loss, I’ve got some ideas.
After coming off an almost win against Texas A&M I expected better today. Maci Morris had a season best 22 points against the Aggies and Cann hit four threes. It seemed like things were going in the right direction. They were not. Today, Morris barely showed up scoring only nine points and going 0-3 on three point shooting. Morris didn’t even play in the fourth, she sat out with ice on her knee due to a knee contusion. Mitchell said they are waiting to see if this is going to be a long term injury or not.
Mackenzie Cann had a whopping 10 points – which makes her the leading scorer.Taylor Murray didn’t show up at all. She only got on the board with 4 rebounds. Yikes.
“We were just missing simple baskets,” said Jaida Roper. “If we make them, that’s game.”
But they haven’t been making them, for eight games in a row now.
“We gotta regroup and try to march forward, it’s not good right now,” said Matthew Mitchell. “We gotta persevere here, and get things turned around.”
Overall, the Cats finished shooting 20%. T-W-E-N-T-Y! TWO ZERO! How? It’s not like UGA was shutting them down, either. They played awful, too. The Dawgs finished shooting 28%, they didn’t win the game, they were just less bad than we were. It was terrible on both sides, which makes this loss even more embarrassing. When your opponent is shooting that bad, and you’re fighting to not lose your eighth game in a row, you should be shooting better than 20%. End of story. It’s as if this team has no fight, no strength or aggression. There’s been a lapse somewhere between the beginning of December and now. Where’s the team that gave Murray and Maci their best scoring games? Where’s the team that killed Evansville on the defensive boards?
The Cats have been notorious during this losing stretch for falling apart in the third quarter. Today, going into the half it was 26-24 UGA. At the end of the third, it was 35-29. Kentucky only scored five points in this quarter. There was point where we were one of 18 and shooting 9%. Against Texas A&M, we got outscored in third 9-4. During the Tennessee game, we came into the third down 31-20, the Vols annihilated us – extending the lead to 20 points just in the third. In the MTSU game, Kentucky only hit five of 17 shots in the third. Why is this team falling apart in the third? When asked about this horrible pattern, Matthew Mitchell didn’t have an answer.
“I will keep searching and trying to figure that out,” said Mitchell “I don’t know what’s happening there but it’s not good.”
Matthew Mitchell is in his 11th season at Kentucky and is the winningest coach in the program. Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy and his love for Kelly Clarkson and fine shoes, but it’s time to stop saying “I don’t know.” If he hasn’t fixed this team yet, when will he? How many losses in a row is it going to take? UK Hoops is now 0-3 in SEC play and with teams like South Carolina and Mississippi State on the schedule twice, it doesn’t look like things are going to look up.
By Maggie Davis on ©January 07th, 2018 @ 6:00pm
Matthew Mitchell said it best: “That was a tough game to watch right there.”
Once again, the Cats couldn’t find a way to win. Coach Mitchell’s Wildcats struggled offensively for the full 40 minutes before finally falling to an unranked Georgia 42-56 today inside Memorial Coliseum.
Now on a eight-game losing streak, the Kentucky women’s basketball team has dropped to 8-9 on the season and 0-3 in the SEC.
The Wildcats played their best basketball in the first quarter, but still shot under 30 percent from the floor while going 1-5 from behind-the-arc. Georgia also saw their best offensive performance during the first ten minutes of action, shooting 41.7 percent from the field. The Cats hit their first – but certainly not last – slump of the game during the first quarter, going scoreless in the final four minutes of the period.
The Cats continued to struggle throughout the second quarter, still shooting under 30 percent and going 1-8 from the three-point line. Foul trouble also began affecting the Wildcats, as Taylor Murray, Dorie Harrison and Alyssa Rice each picked up two fouls. On the other side of the court, the Bulldogs also had three players with two fouls each. The Wildcats were forced to go deep into their bench, with sophomore walk-on Paige Poffenberger and freshman Amanda Paschal each getting minutes in the first half. Despite all of their offensive struggles, Kentucky entered the locker room trailing by only two: 24-26.
And while halftime is supposed to be the time for adjustments, improvements and maybe even a motivational speech, the third quarter was the worst quarter of basketball the Wildcats have played so far this season.
Kentucky hit just one shot during the entirety of the third quarter; they finished the period shooting an abysmal 9.1 percent from the field. There were zero steals, a singular assist, two offensive rebounds and five turnovers. Still, Kentucky escaped the third quarter trailing by an almost impressively-close six points. The saving grace? While the Cats shot under 10 percent, the Bulldogs shot a barely-better 11.1 percent.
Cats are struggling as we head into the 3rd quarter. Down 29-35 and shooting just 22 percent from the field. Good news? Georgia isn’t doing much better at 23 percent.
– Maggie Davis (@MaggieDavisKSR) January 7, 2018
To make matters worse, Maci Morris left the game in pain and watched the entirety of the fourth quarter from the bench with an ice pack secured on her knee. According to Coach Matthew Mitchell, Morris suffered a contusion at practice on Thursday and is currently playing to her “level of discomfort.” Even with her injury, Morris finished as the team’s second-leading scorer, contributing nine points in her 20 minutes of action. Mackenzie Cann led the Wildcats, scoring 10 points and adding five rebounds. Point guard Taylor Murray brought the energy, but finished with a silent zero points, four rebounds and three turnovers.
Left without Morris, the Cats were lost in the fourth quarter. Despite their single-digit shooting percentage in the third quarter, they trailed by just six points. But by the final period, their luck had run out. Georgia outscored Kentucky 21-13 in the fourth quarter, with Kentucky suffering from a massive offensive drought. The Cats failed to score a basket from the 7:00 minute mark in the third quarter until the 4:00 minute mark in the fourth quarter.
Not even Coach Matthew Mitchell could sugarcoat today’s loss.
“It’s not good right now, and it’s not where any of us expected or wanted to be,” Mitchell said after the game. “But it’s where it is. We’ve got to work hard and persevere to see if we could get things turned around this week. [Then] go out and compete hard and see if we can get a victory on Thursday.”
Kentucky will look to shake off today’s loss quickly, as the Wildcats now travel to back-to-back road games. They’ll take on Florida Thursday and Vanderbilt Monday. The Cats will return to Lexington Sunday Jan. 21 at noon against the South Carolina Gamecocks in Rupp Arena.
UK Hoops faced off against Texas A&M today at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas, where the Cats went home with their seventh consecutive loss.
TAMU won the tip and scored 2-0 early in the first quarter. TAMU managed to evade the Cats defense, scoring two threes. Kentucky put up a fight, and by the end of the first quarter, found themselves only 6 points behind, with the score 24-18. UK Hoops continued to battle it out with TAMU during the second quarter. No. 4 Maci Morris scored 14 points in the first half and No. 22 Makenzie Cann hit two threes with less than five minutes left in the quarter. By halftime, the Cats were trailing Texas A&M by only four points, with the score 39-36.
Kentucky took an early lead in the third quarter, with Cann scoring another three at the beginning of the second half. UK Hoops followed by going 1-of-8 from the field, and TAMU reclaimed the lead by hitting back-to-back threes with less than six minutes left in the quarter. While the Cats weren’t landing the shots they needed, they were able to stay in the game with a strong defense. TAMU managed to hold on to the lead, with the score 59-55 at the end of the third quarter.
Kentucky began the fourth quarter by scoring, but TAMU answered with a 5-0 run to take a 64-57 lead. Cann scored another three in the last quarter of the game, but another three by the Aggies gave TAMU a six-point lead. With less than 10 seconds left in the game, No. 45 Alyssa Rice scored, putting the score at 72-70, with TAMU still in the lead. After Texas A&M’s No. 5 Anriel Howard scored both her free throws, the Aggies victory was secured. The final score was 74-70.
Despite the tough loss for Kentucky, Coach Matthew Mitchell remained positive. “The kids got better tonight and worked hard. I told them that if they continue to do what they did tonight good things are going to happen for them,” Coach Mitchell said in the post game press conference.
UK Hoops will be back in Memorial Coliseum to play the University of Georgia on Sunday, Jan. 7 at 2 pm.