(AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)
In the most physical and defensive minded game of the year, the Kentucky Wildcats fell short on the road to 18th ranked South Carolina 55-50. The Cats are now 18-2 and 6-1 in the SEC. Tonight’s loss broke the 17 game winning streak for UK, as they now come home on Sunday to try to reclaim the magic of Memorial Coliseum.
Kentucky struggled from the beginning, as DeNesha Stallworth and Jennifer O’Neill were the only UK players to do anything against the tough defense from the Gamecocks. O’Neill finished with 17 points, and Stallworth recorded another double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Senior star A’dia Mathies had a tough night from the field, as she finished with 12 points but only shot 4-14. The Cats weren’t able to bother the Gamecocks into as many turnovers as they would have liked, as UK ended with 17 turnovers and USC only had 16. The play of Samarie Walker left a lot to be desired, as the junior forward missed four straight free throws that would have put Kentucky in the lead.
South Carolina is known for their defense, as they have held 14 of their 19 opponents before tonight to 50 points or less. There were bodies flying everywhere, and the second half was a game of runs after it was tied at 19 during halftime. South Carolina put together the final run as they went up eight points with four minutes left to finish the game. The always steady bench for Kentucky fell short tonight, as a lone three-pointer from Kastine Evans represented the only points from that part of the team. Coach Mitchell was disappointed following the loss saying his team “never seems to respond to their (South Carolina’s) physical play”.
The Cats play again Sunday afternoon at 3 as they host the LSU Tigers, a team who beat Kentucky twice last year. Make sure to come out and support this team in their endeavors for a second straight SEC Championship.
Follow me on Twitter as I cry myself to sleep @WilderTreadKSR