The Kentucky women’s basketball team made a leap into the AP top five this week for the first time in 30 years, and the 16-1 Wildcats are back in Memorial Coliseum tonight to play host to the lowly 8-9 Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Cats are on a tear, winners of their past 15 games, and in the midst of a school record 31 game home winning streak. The Bulldogs are a lot like their male counterparts…aka: not very good. They have yet to win a SEC game, while the Cats have yet to lose one. Look for a romp tonight in Lexington, and for UK to improve upon their undefeated record in conference play. Go Cats, and happy one year anniversary to KSR College!
#5 Kentucky Wildcats vs Mississippi State Bulldogs
FINAL KENTUCKY 100 MISSISSIPPI STATE 47 Blowout city. Cats set the school record for largest margin of victory in a SEC game, breaking the record they set against MSU last year. Stallworth led the way with a career high 25 points, and Mathies wasn’t too far behind with 21. Goss and Evans had 13 and 12 respectively, in an all around easy victory for the 5th ranked Wildcats. Kentucky improves to 17-1 and 5-0 in the SEC. This team…is good.
2nd Half 5:32: Not much more to report here from press row. Mathies and Stallworth are both over the 20 point margin tonight with 21 and 25 each. Mississippi State is what we thought they were: pretty terrible. The Cats have forced 32 turnovers tonight, and only have 17 themselves. I think everyone here tonight is simply waiting for the conclusion of this total beatdown. Cats up 86-41.
2nd Half 11:18: This game got real ugly, real quick. The Dogs are simply no match for the Cats in any sense, and it’s probably good for UK to get a “breather” from the tough gauntlet of one posession SEC games they’ve been a part of lately. Azia Bishop is in and scoring now…two things I was not anticipating to type tonight. She has a splint, wrap sort of thing on her arm, but seems to be pretty healthy. The Cats are vying to break their largest margin of victory ever in SEC play tonight, a record they set last year at home against the Bulldogs (48 points). Kentucky leading 69-36.
2nd Half 15:32: Mathies starts the second half on fire, nailing two quick three-pointers and extending the Wildcat lead. The senior star has 17 points tonight, in probably the most non-chalant fashion someone could score that many. Mathies is known for her role as a silent assassin. She does good play after good play, and before you know it she is scoring 20+, but you would never know based on her facial expression. She is stoic and workman-like all day, every day. Stallworth is unstoppable tonight, and has 23 (a career high) to match the Wildcat’s guard play. Wildcats blowing out the Dogs 60-26.
HALFTIME KENTUCKY 46 MISSISSIPPI STATE 24 It was a pretty slow half of basketball in Memorial, as the Cats were eventually able to pull away from the Dogs in the waning minutes. Stallworth straight up dominated MSU’s leading scorer Martha Alwal, as the California native had 18 points compared to Alwal’s whopping total of zero. A surprise for many: Bishop actually checked into tonight’s game with 16 seconds left in the half…so apparently her injury got a lot better from last night to tonight. Cats forced 17 turnovers so far, and look for the blowout to continue in the second 20 minutes.
1st Half 3:17: Injury Update: Sophomore Azia Bishop suffered a stress fracture in her wrist three games ago against Alabama, and is well on her way towards recovery, being an active participator in Kentucky’s warmups tonight. Coach Mitchell expects her to be back by next Thursday’s game against South Carolina, which is a good sign for the Cats going forward. DeNesha Stallworth is putting together a solid performance (like always), as she leads all scorers with 16 points and three rebounds. The addition of the junior center transfer from Cal has been a definite advantage for Kentucky thus far, and who knows where the Cats would be without her. Mitchell must be reading KSR, cause the Cats are on a 15-2 run and Kentucky is running away up 37-19.
1st Half 7:59: Cats just can’t seem to pull away from the Bulldogs for some reason, but A’dia Mathies trying her best to thwart MSU’s upset bid tonight as she hits her first three-pointer, a shot she has perfected over the years. The Bulldogs have already committed 10 turnovers, but UK has seven themselves and State has taken advantage of them. Jennifer O’Neill has yet to take a shot tonight, which is very odd considering she has scored in double-figures each conference game this season. Cats need to go on a run….now, but still lead 25-17.
1st Half 11:59: MSU is a scrappy team, and the Cats have played some sloppy basketball early on, allowing the Bulldogs to stay in the game tonight. State was picked to finish near the bottom of the league this year, and after some huge blowouts against them last year, UK might have entered tonight’s game a little complacent, something Mitchell wants to avoid at all costs. After winning SEC Freshman of the Year last year, Bria Goss has been fairly quiet this season, lacking that “breakout” game with staggering numbers of points. Despite that, Goss is one of the most consistent players and workers on Kentucky’s squad, and that shows in games like tonight, as she has six points and is perfect from the field. Cats winning 18-12.
1st Half 15:33: Coach Shaefer is apparently in a competition with Florida’s Amanda Butler for craziest/most animated coach in the SEC, as he is jumping all over the sideline tonight, already losing his voice as I type. Cats are pounding it in the post already, as Stallworth and Walker already have 10 points combined against the Bulldogs. Kentucky has made some uncommon mistakes inbounding the ball and on simple layup defense so far, allowing MSU to get some quick easy points, but there is no doubt the Wildcats are the more talented team on the court tonight. Kentucky leads 14-8.
BzzzzZZZzZzZzz: It’s apparently KSR day here on press row as Hayley and I are joined by Drew and Rashawn for tonight’s game. It’s good to be part of #LaFamilia. Goss, Mathies, Walker, Stallworth, and O’Neill are starting tonight for the Cats, as always, and Coach Mitchell is looking for another solid outing from his core trio to get another victory at home. Cats win the tip, get four offensive rebounds on their first posession, and the Bulldogs call a timeout within the first minute.
10 Minutes till Tip: This week is “We Back Pat” week in the SEC, as each team has their own personalized warm-up T-shirt and will provide awarness to the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund. In case you weren’t aware, the Bulldogs aren’t very good. They are under the direction of first year head coach Vic Shaefer, who has spent most of his coaching career under Gary Blair as an assistant at Texas A&M. They are led by Kendra Grant and Martha Alwal, both averaging double-figures in points per game. The Cats currently lead the nation in turnover margin (+10.3), so look for that margin to widen tonight. Pound the Alarm is playing…I think it’s game time.