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.