Breakfast at Memorial….and scared of middle schoolers.
It’s an early start in Memorial Coliseum today as the Cats get set to play the Miami (OH) Redhawks at 11am. Today has officially been dubbed “Class of 2019” day as over 2,000 6th graders will be in attendance from middle schools around Lexington. It’s gonna be preteen heaven up in here and I really hope the high levels of raging hormones from these kids doesn’t affect the Wildcats’ level of play. Either way, Kentucky is 4-1 on the season, and the Redhawks are 3-2 and picked to win their division in the MAC. Here’s to hoping I don’t punch a middle schooler in the face today….let’s do it.
Kentucky Wildcats vs Miami (OH) Redhawks
FINAL SCORE KENTUCKY 92 MIAMI (OH) 53 It was a slow start to today’s game for the Cats against a talented and experienced Miami team today, but Kentucky was able to pull away in the second half and totally dominate the Redhawks. Bernisha Pinkett finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, both career highs. Freshman Janee Thompson also finished with a career high 11 points. Solid performance overall, and Mitchell will have a lot to preach during practice this week as the Wildcats get set to take on the 7th ranked Cardinals of Louisville on Sunday at 6pm. Hayley Minogue and I will be in attendance…pray we don’t get captured by a line bearded Card fan and taken away to drink Crown Royal.
2nd Half 3:53: A’dia Mathies is the definition of a silent assassin as she’s scored 14 points here today, and I honestly can’t remember any of her shots. Kentucky’s had a nice balance in their offense today with Thompson and Pinkett running the perimeter and Stallworth completely manhandling the paint. 6th graders now dancing to Cotton Eyed Joe…fun stuff. As much as I can get annoyed by middle schoolers…a real class act by the UK Hoops media department to reach out to the Lexington community and invite all these local schools to todays game. Cats closing this one out 80-47.
2nd Half 6:17: This one’s all but over as the Cats try to learn a few more lessons before their matchup on Sunday against 7th ranked Louisville. Miami’s Courtney Osborn has not disappointed for her team as she entered as their leading scorer and has 18 points so far today. Pinkett is one rebound away from a double double….LET’S DO IT. Goss has added double digit scoring for the Cats as well as more players on the team started to get in check as the game went on. The four Redhawks fans that are here look displeased. Cats winning 73-46.
2nd Half 11:42: You wouldn’t expect it, but today’s attendance of 6,476 is a season high for UK Hoops…shouts to you middle schoolers for making that happen. Stallworth and Pinkett have been the constants for UK this game in terms of energy, and without them this game would be a lot closer. Kentucky’s ability to pull away from Miami and completely shut them down defensively has been impressive this game, because the Redhawks are a good team and will definitely win a decent amount of games this season. Cats dominating 62-39.
2nd Half 15:35: Bria Goss has turned on the jets so far early in the second half, and nails two quick 3 pointers to start the Cats on offense. Bernisha Pinkett adds another 3 and a layup to give her 17, and Miami has seen enough as the Cats are beginning to pull away. Looking to my left and to my right is the weirdest dichotomy of my life. To the left….older fans who didn’t have to go go to work today and are all in their seats, cool, calm and collected. To my right…hoards of 11 year olds going through the worst stage of their lives obnoxiously dancing and high pitched squealing. Oh yeah…Cats extending their lead 55-35.
Halftime festivities included volleyball coach Craig Skinner getting the crowd pumped for his team’s appearance in the NCAA Tournament this Friday; they’re hosting the first two rounds here in Lexington. He also was pretty great at getting the crowd to do a unified U…..K…..HOOPS chant. After that…my total nightmare came true: 2,000 6th graders danced in unison to Gangnam Style……I have no words….
HALFTIME KENTUCKY 40 MIAMI (OH) 28 The game today hasn’t been pretty, but the Cats have scrapped and clawed out to a 12 point lead. The amount of high pitched squealing from the 6th graders here in reaction to T-shirts being thrown is mind numbing. Pinkett, Stallworth, and Thompson were definitely the MVP’s of that first half of play, Pinkett with 12 points. I think Mitchell will ask his team for a more steady and focused attack in the second half. In case you were wondering Coach Fantanarosa yells at Hannah Robertson more than my mom’s ever yelled at me, and that’s a lot. “GET THE BALL HANNAHHHH!”
1st Half 2:44: Bernisha Pinkett is having herself a game with 9 points and a career high 7 rebounds already today. Her and Stallworth have been the only sparks of energy so far for the Cats. UK is letting the physical play of Miami affect them, something they can’t do against the bigger and better teams down the road. Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein are in attendance, cheering on the ladies. Janee Thompson is also playing solid so far for the Cats, with 5 points. Cats lead 35-20.
1st Half 7:37: Samarie Walker has definitely been working on her j-work as she nails a jumper from behind the free throw line. DeNesha Stallworth answers that with a resounding block and the Cats are looking to assert their dominance. Kentucky has not been able to turn the Redhawks over nearly as much as they’ve wanted to so far, but Stallworth is completely dominating, scoring whenever she wants to, and already has 8 points. Bernisha Pinkett scores a layup and the foul and Fantanarosa is chewing her team out in the timeout huddle. Cats look a little more in sync now, and lead 22-15.
1st Half 11:34: 6th graders are STILL filing in and the Redhawks aren’t backing down. They’ve countered every punch UK has delivered to them and even delivered some of their own. Cats look very sluggish early, not really accomplishing anything on the offensive side of the floor. Coach Mitchell looks very displeased from the sidelines and Coach Fantanarosa…yeah she’s still screaming. I wouldn’t be surprised if this Miami team could compete with a decent number of SEC teams, so this is a very good non-conference test for the Cats. Kids are screaming for t-shirts…once again someone help me. Cats are down 13-12.
1st Half 15:02: Well….the “starting Conwright” experiment didn’t turn out to well. She’s had two early turnovers for the Cats and is quickly subbed out for Kastine Evans. The Redhawks definitely aren’t intimidated here early, and you can tell Coach Fantanarosa knows what she’s doing…she’s currently standing right in front of Hayley and me screaming her lungs out and squatting to the floor. I’m officially scared. Slow start for the Cats on offense, but Stallworth is running things so far and has all of Kentucky’s points. Cats lead 6-3.
BzzzzZzzzZZZZzzzZ: No lie the 6th graders have brought some pretty good energy to the Coliseum today. Maegan Conwright makes her first start of the season for UK; Mitchell must have liked the way she’s played lately. The Redhawks are definitely the tallest team UK has faced this season, other than Baylor, so look for the post players to be tested more than they have been of late. The band has toned down the pelvic thrust dance moves so far…nice of them to keep things G rated for the children. Cats win the tip and we’re underway.
10 Minutes Before Tip: The amount of Carly Rae Jepsen being played and awkward looking pre-pubescent teens is slightly overwhelming, but in times like this one must focus on what’s important: UK Hoops. The Cats should get more of a challenge than they have the past few games from the Redhawks, but at the end of the day look for another UK blowout (let’s hope). Miami’s coach Maria Fantanarosa has been in charge of her team for a whopping 14 years now, and is very well respected around the coaching world. The 6th graders are slow to arrive so far…typical.