Ladies and Gents, welcome to another chilly day in Memorial Coliseum for the University of Kentucky women’s basketball game against Arkansas. Today’s game is very exciting and has lots riding on the outcome. Kentucky is coming off of a home loss to Alabama, one of the worst teams in the SEC, and really needs a win today to turn around their luck. We’ve talked about it time and time again, but this is a team that relies heavily on their mental game. A few bad plays are a direct hit to their confidence, and bam they lose. A win today will hopefully begin their journey back to good SEC standing. Today is Alumni Day, so we’re looking to have a packed house, and will keep everyone updated with who shows up and makes an appearance! This game is also kinda cool because Willie Caulie-Stein’s apparent girlfriend (we’re 95% confident they’re FBO), plays for Arkansas. Freshman Kelsey Brooks is all over Caulie-Stein’s Instagram, and will hopefully get a chance to spend some time with him today with their busy schedules. Why does it have to be so hard to find a team that we just want to thoroughly beat?? Let’s get started. You can watch today’s game on Fox Sports South.
#9 Kentucky Wildcats vs Arkansas Razorbacks
FINAL KENTUCKY 68, ARKANSAS 58: This victory did not come easy folks. After a roller coaster of a game that at one point had Kentucky down by double digits, the Wildcats will walk away with what will hopefully start a winning streak in the rest of their SEC play. Coach Mitchell and his wife Jenna decided to donate $2 to the “We Back Pat” Foundation for every fan that came to this week’s home games, which added up to over $20,000. Over all, today was a great home and team victory. Until next Sunday when we play LSU… Be Trill.
2nd Half 3:31: Wilder- Thank God for Jennifer O’Neill and Janee Thomspson. The tandem point guards have single-handedly dominated for Kentucky on offense, as O’Neill has 21 points and Thompson has 11. Post play has been almost non-existent for UK today, but the back-court has picked up the slack. Matthew Mitchell is desperately urging on his team and this crowd, waving his hands in the air and Kentucky answers by drawing a Razorback charge. Wildcats lead 61-54.
2nd half 7:03: Hayley- Arkansas may have created some energy for themselves, but Kentucky just pushed them down and took it from them. Janee Thompson is on a run and Memorial is getting buck, turnt, live, all of it. Thompson, who only had 2 points at halftime, has put the team on her back and scored 9 points in the second half. Coach Mitchell always says that in order for this team to play well, he needs Thompson and O’Neill to play well. As a pair, the two have scored 29 of the teams 56 points. It’s up to our big girls down low now. Will they answer? Stay tuned. UK 56, UA 50
2nd Half 10:54: Wilder- The “40 Minutes of Dread” defense that Kentucky has patented over the years with Matthew Mitchell has been completely absent for the Wildcats these past few weeks. Arkansas has currently forced more turnovers than UK, and that’s a stat that UK never loses. After the 10-point deficit, Kentucky and the Memorial Coliseum crowd has come alive. The Cats have gone on an 11-2 run capped by a Bria Goss 3-pointer, and we’re right back into a nail-biter. O’Neill is feeling it today, and I love it. Hogs lead 48-47.
2nd Half 16:54: Hayley- Second half is off to a less than good start. Not even par… not even sub par… Kentucky has scored only three points so far in the half while Arkansas has gone on a run. You can feel Arkansas picking up the energy and watch Kentucky lose it. The Wildcats look tired, frustrated, and honestly somewhat uninterested. This game is wearing on them, and it doesn’t take a genius to pick up on it. Kentucky needs to come back from this break with a HUGE play if they want to turn things around. Wildcats 34, Hogs 44
HALFTIME KENTUCKY 31 ARKANSAS 32 Very entertaining half of basketball from Memorial Coliseum. Jennifer O’Neill was on fire for Kentucky, scoring 16 points, including four made 3-pointers. The Cats are going to need some other players to join in on the scoring however because Arkansas isn’t backing down. The Cats are currently honoring their alumni and former players in the program for Alumni Day, very cool. Arkansas’ freshman Jessica Jackson has led the way for the Hogs with 11, and she is the do it all woman for UA.
1st Half 3:12: Hayley- Rally the troops Coach Mitchell!!! I agree with Wilder, Kentucky is looking better, but Arkansas continues to beat the press. This is a mentally tough team. They play every minute of this game looking forward and forgetting about any shots they gave away or baskets they missed. Kentucky and Arkansas have a history of close games (last year we beat them in overtime), so I’m feeling like today will be the same. Arkansas head coach Tom Collen also used to coach at Louisville before the reign of Walz (who doesn’t care about the rivalry, in case you forgot), so he is familiar with the Kentucky style of play. The key to this game is going to be offensive rebounding, so hopefully the ladies got their bunny shoes on today. Kentucky 26, Arkansas 26.
1st Half 7:34: Wilder- While Kentucky definitely looks improved, the Hogs are not backing down. They are a team with definite NCAA Tournament hopes, and all of their four losses in the SEC have been single-digit deficits. O’Neill is doing most of the scoring for Kentucky so far as she has already nailed two 3-pointers. The post play has been a mystery for UK of late, and clearly Mitchell is trying to send a message to Stallworth after not giving her the start. Freshman Jessica Jackson for Arkansas leads her team in scoring, and she is a forced to be reckoned with from all parts of the court. Cats lead 18-17.
1st Half 10:01: Hayley- So far, this game is a bit frustrating. Kentucky isn’t playing bad by any definition, but they’re just not playing as well as we’ve seen them this season. They’re missing layups, turning over the ball, and just don’t have the spark they’re going to need if they want to get the W today. Mitchell is showing no reserves to make the necessary changes to the lineup and has already switched things up.. he never ceases to amaze me with his subbing decisions. This is a tough Arkansas team with a 2-4 SEC record, but who finished undefeated in the non-conference, so I’m predicting a down to the last minute battle. Good thing I wore jeans, I can’t handle Wilder’s nails digging into my legs today. Kentucky 15, Arkansas 12.
1st Half 15:15: Wilder- You can tell Mitchell wants this one, and he wants it bad. With the shakeup in the starting lineups, Kentucky seems to have come out with more urgency and energy, something that has been lacking for the entirety of the conference season so far. The cold shooting from Thursday night’s loss to Alabama seems to be gone, as both Kastine Evans and Jennifer O’Neill have netted 3-pointers to start. Couple update: Willie Cauley-Stein is sitting in the Arkansas cheering section to support his girl, but with no college affiliation in his wardrobe. How sweet. Cats lead 12-7.
PREGAME: So this is kinda strange… Jelleah Sidney is getting her first start EVER today, over DeNesha Stallworth and Azia Bishop. Sidney and I have had our differences, like when she tried to murder my laptop, but good for her. Jennifer O’Neill will also be starting today over Janee Thompson, bringing the full lineup to O’Neill, Goss, Evans, Walker and Sidney. Here’s the buzzer, fingers crossed they come out tough.