In their first game of the SEC Tournament, the 7th ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 76-65. With a final score that was much closer than the game ever was, the Cats used their depth to dominate Vandy from the tip. C0-SEC Player of the Year A’dia Mathies led the way with 16 points and five steals, and UK was able to answer every Commodore run with the lead never closing in within 10 points the entire second half. It took around 45 minutes for Hayley and I to connect to the internet here in Duluth, but
we I mean the team fought back and will live to play another day. #SurviveAndAdvance
Off to the races…
After beating the Commodores by 20+ less than a month ago, Kentucky used their patented recipe for success of pressure defense and mass substitutions to garner their 6th straight win against Vanderbilt. Coach Mitchell was very proud of his players, calling it a “very good day for Kentucky basketball and his team who is very excited to be in Georgia playing for a championship”. The Wildcats forced star Vanderbilt guard Lister into nine turnovers, and despite a few late spurts, the Dores never really settled into a good rhythm.
Speaking of mass substitutions, Kentucky used all of their players in tonight’s victory, and Mitchell was constantly subbing in five players at a time replacing the entire lineup. The Wildcat bench outscored Vanderbilt’s 32-12, and no player played more than 26 minutes for UK. Depth is an advantage that Kentucky hopes to use a lot during the tournament setting here in March, and is something that Mitchell believes can serve the Cats very well in the long run. He called the play of post players Samantha Drake and Azia Bishop “beautiful” as the two centers combined for 18 points and six rebounds. Kentucky is 21-0 this season when they win the “points from the bench battle”.
Despite the offensive production in the post, the paint was the one area of the game in which Vanderbilt excelled, and that was the reason the margin of victory was closer than expected. The Commodores beat the Wildcats 40-26 on points in the paint, and consistently out-manned UK inside. Vandy got many and-one opportunities, and that was when Lister said her team was playing “patent Vanderbilt basketball”. What Kentucky lost in the paint, they made up for in the backcourt, as Wildcat guards Mathies, Goss, O’Neill, and Evans completely dominated their opponents.
Today sets the record for longest day of my life, as Hayley and I left the great city of Lexington for Duluth in the wee hours of the morning, and I feel like a zombie as I type this post-game report. We drove through the duldrums of Tennessee, took pictures with advertisements for fudge, and ended up here at The Arena at Gwinnett Place. It isn’t the biggest environment for college basketball, but it gets loud, and is a good atmosphere for this tournament. Many teams brought a decent number of fan support with Tennessee, Kentucky, LSU, and Georgia leading the way in terms of school-color-clad supporters. We are staying at the same hotel as Alabama, LSU, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, and South Carolina, so don’t be surprised if a few fights break out.
Kentucky set a new school record for blocks in a single season tonight, as they had eight for the game, bringing their 2012-2013 total to 154. Samarie Walker led the charge with three for herself, and continues to be the “glue-woman” for this Wildcat team. Every since her fresh new mohawk haircut, Walker has jump started the team with her defensive intensity, energy, and pure excitement for the game.
UK President Capilouto was in attendance. As I saw no happy college students or kegstands in the parking lot outside, one can only assume Eli has banned tailgating yet again. His wife still hasn’t made any cookies. SEC commissioner Mike Slive was also in Duluth tonight, sitting right in front of Hayley and I. We sent in a petition to make dodgeball an official NCAA sport, but he ripped it up in front of us and instead chose bass fishing.
Vanderbilt’s Coach Balcomb wore a sweater vest……….again.
The Cats play tomorrow night in the SEC Tournament Semifinals against the winner of LSU and Georgia at 6. Both the Tigers and the Bulldogs took down Kentucky once this season, so it will be a game of revenge for UK, and a surely a great one to watch. Well..that’s all folks. Hayley and I are off to our hotel in the sky and one very laaaarge king bed 😉