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Kentucky’s Season Ends in Elite 8

Well…that was ugly. In a rematch of last year’s regional final loss against the top seeded Connecticut Huskies, the Cats fell short of a Final Four…again. It was a close game early on, but a UConn run to end the first half sealed the deal and Kentucky went down hard 83-53. The Wildcats finish the season with a school record 30 wins to just six losses. Surely it will go down as one of the best year’s in program history, but as a fan you can’t help but be frustrated by the lack of success in “big moments” this year from the Cats (i.e. SEC Championship, Elite 8). A’dia Mathies finished her collegiate career as one of the best players ever to wear the jersey at Kentucky, but struggled tonight, notching three fouls early on scoring only 14 points. It will be another long offseason for Coach Mitchell as the Cats once again are left with the dilemma of “how to become elite in college women’s basketball”.

Time to reflect…

 

Jennifer O’Neill was the throttle to Kentucky’s offense early on, as she had nine points within the first 10 minutes of the game running and gunning and shooting hot from the field. She cooled off considerably and virtually faded away into the background when the Huskies made their run. A’dia Mathies looked considerably frustrated the entire time, and it’s hard to tell what such a mental player like herself thought about such a disappointing end to a career. Mathies finishes her time at Kentucky with 2,014 points, and will be regarded as the start of the Wildcat revolution in women’s basketball. In her career the Cats were 111-30, and the atmosphere of the entire team changed under her direction.

“They really really whipped us in every way imaginable tonight,” was the first thing Coach Mitchell had to say to the press tonight. For the first time in my memory covering this team, the Cats failed to win the turnover battle. UK had 21 turnovers to 18 from the Huskies, and UConn converted those into 24 points. Kentucky looked totally opposite of the team we have all grown to know and love over the years, and it will take Kentucky looking like Kentucky to finally break into the Final Four. “Wish we had been able to play better….A’dia has been a blessing for the University of Kentucky, and we are at a much better place now than when she arrived.”….wise words from the head man.

Consider this a formal letter to the NCAA requesting something to be done about the choosing of arenas in the women’s basketball tournament. The Huskies haven’t had to play a single post-season game in either Big East or NCAA Tournament’s outside of the state of Connecticut. Many times, higher seeded teams will find themselves playing road games in the NCAA Tournament against teams seeded lower than them, just because of a “court approval process”. Honestly, this makes no sense. It does well in terms of producing tickets and fan attendance, but it is taking away the term “neutral court”. Granted, the Cats would have probably lost the UConn either way tonight, but having a 94% Huskie crowd working against them did Kentukcy no favors.

Geno Auriemma is a maniac. First time seeing Connecticut’s head coach in person and two things I noticed were 1) he is really short. Napoleon complex? 2) he is really scary/terrifying. Not once in the whole entire game did he stop screaming at his kids, even when up by 20+ points. The guy obviously knows how to coach, as the Huskies are on their way to a NCAA record 6th straight Final Four, but I would not wanna be on the receiving end of one of his tirades…hence his control of the refs (wink wink hint hint)

Now what? Well, Matthew Mitchell has to find a gameplan to get his team to the upper echelon of the sport. Time and time again he has preached his goal of becoming the best college basketball program in the nation, and while the program has improved by lightyears under his direction, tonight proved there is still a ways to go. The past few years the Cats have been right on the cusp of breaking through into elite status but have failed to capitalize on numerous chances to do so. Yes, it is disappointing, but don’t let this one blowout of a game define the season for a team who has worked so hard all year. Matthew Mitchell said it best: “We will not be deterred. In a sports oriented society we expect things to happen quickly, but we will continue to march on to our goals.”

Lost in the hustle and bustle of UK Hoops’ tournament run was assistant coach Matt Insell’s departure from the program. Insell has been a Wildcat for five seasons, and just three days ago he was hired to become the next head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels women’s basketball program. The Rebels finished last in the SEC this season and are in total turmoil, so the energetic addition of Coach Insell only seems to make sense. At only 30 years old, Insell has been a vital part in inking the best recruiting classes in Kentucky history, and Coach Mitchell took some time tonight to applaud Insell on his contribution to the program. He is a class act guy, and everyone in Kentucky wishes nothing but the best for him.

That’s all I got folks. It has been an amazing season, and I’m extremely thankful to have had the opportunity to cover this team the length of the year. Shouts to Matt for giving me this chance, and shouts to the UK Hoops squad for making this the most fun I’ve ever had doing “work”. Until next year…

@WilderTreadKSR

Article written by Wilder Treadway

KSR Alpha Class '12 #holla

22 Comments for Kentucky’s Season Ends in Elite 8



  1. fireants25
    10:39 pm April 1, 2013 Permalink

    “how to become elite in college women’s basketball”.



  2. Rae
    10:45 pm April 1, 2013 Permalink

    I said this somewhere else, but Florida’s two NC’s aside, their typical men’s basketball program under Donovan is very similar to our women’s. Always second place, always Elite Eight, good for regular season championships sometimes but falling short a lot. It isn’t a terrible place to be, just frustrating. Honestly it could be preferable to go out west rather than get stuck in UConn’s bracket again. They are the Duke (or maybe UNC) of women’s basketball.



  3. Nutter Butter
    10:47 pm April 1, 2013 Permalink

    How about scrimmaging the men’s team in the preseason?



  4. Walsh is Gay
    11:02 pm April 1, 2013 Permalink

    Far be it for me to be incredulous, but… what was the score?

    Maybe it’s just me, but I kinda want to know the final score if you’re going to spend so many hundreds of words talking about the game.



  5. Tcat
    11:09 pm April 1, 2013 Permalink

    Walsh is gay I totally agree. I too just wanted the score and guess we are way too simple



  6. jaws2
    11:09 pm April 1, 2013 Permalink

    Until Mitchell picks up some of those mules in the middle, the results every year will be the same against the best competition. That’s the way the women’s game is.



  7. Unboltedharp
    11:14 pm April 1, 2013 Permalink

    Couldn’t make a shot, could not get a call. What a terrible double whammy to end the season on. But, it was a great season ladies! GO CATS!



  8. Scooby Doo
    11:32 pm April 1, 2013 Permalink

    What do the elite team’s of womens college bball have? SIZE! You can beat a lot of teams running ragged and jacking up 3’s but you have to be ablee to protect the paint and score in the post…none of which we can do against good, disciplined teams that dont turn the ball over.



  9. Las years team
    11:49 pm April 1, 2013 Permalink

    was the better team in my opinion.

    @6 – The problem is the strong and physically imposing centers do not want to play the 40 minutes of hell type schemes. It demands too much of them physically.

    Next year really is the moment where we see where the UK program is. The success to this point coincided with the reign of A’dia Mathies. Was this just a blip in history where one player has such a tremendous impact or do next years group extend the reign of success? Tennessee will likely be a preseason top 3-4 team and heavy favorite the SEC next year. Will UK contend and stay in the top 2-3 or fall back into the 4-6 range? That’s the next chapter to be written.



  10. Linda Taylor
    12:13 am April 2, 2013 Permalink

    One factor in all of our losses this year was when refs called a lot of fouls on our ladies early in the game. It seems to affect the team’s confidence when they can’t play their signature defense without the fear of ticky tacky fouls being called. They have to learn to overcome that. They definitely didn’t play up to their potential tonight and I hate to see A’dia and Brittany end their careers in this type of game. The better team won tonight.
    We have 3 very good players coming in next year including the 5th-ranked player in the class, though none are over 6′ tall. What I am wondering about is the next recruiting class, since we will be losing 6 seniors next year with tons of talent graduating. Matthew Mitchell will have to have an incredible recruiting class to replace that group.



  11. green river 46
    12:27 am April 2, 2013 Permalink

    This was the worst passing team, I have ever seen. yes we need some beef on the front line. I don’t see any linebackers, coming next year.



  12. UK Basketball Fan
    12:36 am April 2, 2013 Permalink

    Lessons Learned Tonight.
    BE THE BALL! Way too many BAD passes in the first half tonight.. Focus on the BALL! Use your Eyes..Learn from Chevy Chase. BE THE BALL.. Next year the Cats will improve and will continue to get stronger!! Go Cats!



  13. Jerry C
    5:37 am April 2, 2013 Permalink

    $1 mill for a coach and this is all we get.



  14. Bane
    7:13 am April 2, 2013 Permalink

    Jerry is spot on, and the parody that is in men’s bb doesn’t exist in women’s. Shouldn’t be that hard to make a final four at least.



  15. BigHoopsFan
    8:16 am April 2, 2013 Permalink

    Great season, ladies! So many factors went into our loss tonight but what a great season. So glad to cheer on the BBN!



  16. asdf
    8:26 am April 2, 2013 Permalink

    I think the girls just let UCONN get in their heads. They were scared last night. The closest analogy is UK football where for 7 out of 8 years, we had teams as good as or better than Tennessee, but we still lost every year for mental reasons until we finally climbed that mountain.



  17. BNClay
    8:32 am April 2, 2013 Permalink

    Great season, but I agree with several others, if Lady Cats want to be top 5 instead of top 10, they got to get some of tall, beefy, big butts, in the post. There isn’t alot of those gals to go around so hopefully Mitchell can find away to pry some one from the recruiting giants UConn, UT, Baylor, or Notre Dame.



  18. Jeff Garlin
    9:00 am April 2, 2013 Permalink

    Geno Auriemma crys about every call and the refs bend over and give it to him. Makes me sick. Gret job Wilder!



  19. Bledsoe's Biceps
    9:12 am April 2, 2013 Permalink

    Great season for the UK ladies and hated to see it end like that. I have to agree with the announcers and analysts from several of the tourney games….The refereeing in the women’s games is absolutely atrocious. If they want parity and a broader audience, this has to change ASAP. There is no consistency at all. Players get knocked to the floor and no whistle and the next play they will call a ticky tack foul. And it is obvious many of the refs are enamored with the elite teams and players.



  20. UKAlum
    9:33 am April 2, 2013 Permalink

    13- The man rebuilt the program and brought it to Top 10 status, I say that is money well spent.



  21. sckysportsink
    9:53 am April 2, 2013 Permalink

    I agree about the arena being more of a neutral site. If you plan to leave an elite program in their own backyard for monetary reasons, you also need to assign strong officials to those games. I hate to cry “bad officiating” after a loss (because we deserved to lose based on the way we played) but if you go back to where the game got away, you’ll see some strange calls (especially one ref) that all went against Kentucky. A neutral site would make the outcome look more legitimate.



  22. blueinmemphis
    1:37 pm April 2, 2013 Permalink

    Wow. Elite eight’s are not a great season? Maybe you’re spoiled. Getting into the top 4 in women’s basketball is a lot different than on the men’s side. Fewer elite athletes and more disparity between the top 4 and the rest of the teams. It will take some time for UK to build to that point. Baylor is there because of a once in a lifetime player, otherwise it’s the same old teams…