The A Capella Fellas, an a capella group of older men, wearing white turtlenecks and blue vests, sang the National Anthem to kick off the pregame festivities tonight as the 9th ranked Kentucky Wildcats tip off against the University of Missouri Tigers. This is a special game because it will be the first time that the UK Hoops team plays Mizzou at home in Memorial. Last year, Mizzou’s first year in the SEC, they finished near the bottom of the conference standings. This year, they are once again predicted to not finish so well, but after shocking upsets in the SEC so far this year, it’s really anybody’s conference. Without further ado, let’s get started.
#9 Kentucky v. Missouri
FINAL: Kentucky scored a home victory over Mizzou tonight, 80-69. This marks the 700th win in program history! YAY! The Cats won this game after a two game losing streak, and will hopefully never ever lose again. Make sure to stay tuned for Wilders post game in a few minutes. Peace and blessins.
2nd Half 3:34: Wilder- Just when Kentucky builds up a double-digit lead, Missouri is able to find a play to keep things just a little too close, and that just happened as Kulas hit a spot up 3-point shot at the snap of a finger. It has been an all-around performance for UK on offense as Goss leads the way with 17, followed by Thompson with 11 and Walker with 10. Kentucky trying to pull away 69-58.
2nd Half 6:56: Wilder- The intensity seems to be back alive for this Kentucky team which is a good sign based on the past few games. O’Neill still continues to struggle, but Goss, Stallworth, and Thompson have all stepped up to take the reigns for the Wildcats. Without Kulas scoring, Mizzou looks pretty frazzled on offense. They haven’t shot a 3-pointer in a while, and without that, the Tigers lose a large part of their points. The Wildcats definitely look better, but Missouri refuses to go away and have found different scoring options other than Kulas, especially in transition. Kentucky leading 61-52.
2nd Half 11:49: Hayley- GUYS IT FINALLY HAPPENED. Over the past three seasons covering this team, I’ve developed an anxiety that haunts me in my sleep, an anxiety that feels like there will be a time that the ball/a player/a ref will crash, slam, or fall into my computer at a game. Just moments ago, a block by Jelleah Sidney hit the top of my computer and bounced off. I can only imagine the heinous face that I undoubtedly made, the shock on Wilder’s face, and the replays that may or may not make it on SC Not Top 10… ok they won’t but whatever. Kentucky has thus far held Mizzou’s shining star Bri Kulas, who scored 20 in the first half and had 9 boards, to a scoreless half. Thank Gawd. This chick got game. Kentucky will have to continue to shut down this Tiger if they want to add a tally to the “victory” column. UK 51, MIZ 44
2nd Half 15:52: Hayley- Ok I’m going to out and say it. Jennifer O’Neill is in her seasonal rut. Against South Carolina, she was 1-13 from FG range, and in the first half she was 1-4 from the field. The past three seasons, she always seems to lull off during this time of the season. It’s frustrating not only to me the blogger, but also to me the fan. O’Neill was the first McDonald’s All American this team ever signed. She is in a leadership position by default because she is a junior, but she’s not setting the right example. In the past, I’ve felt bad for her, especially after a tough loss during press conferences because she shuts down and looks so visibly upset, but right now…. not so much. UK 45- MIZ 38
HALFTIME HAYLEY REPORT: Mascot basketball is my all time favorite halftime entertainment. Most people *cough cough Wilder* absolutely hate mascot basketball because they follow no rules… I think that’s why I like it though. There’s traveling, granny shots, short armed inflatables who can’t even shoot, falling, injuries… you know, things that aren’t really funny that have me geeking out. Samarie Walker is moving on up the list in the #MinogueDubDubWatch with eight rebounds and five points, and I’m adding Bria Goss. Goss has 10 points already and 4 rebounds. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever even put her on the list.. Four for you Bria Goss, you GO BRIA GOSS!… Mean Girls reference on KSR? Might be another first… So far this game, I’ve been extremely disappointed with the guards. Janee Thompson has six points and three assists, but also has two turnover. Jen O’Neill only has three points, and has two turnovers as well. Against Mizzou, we’ll probably be fine and pull out on top, but against teams like Tennessee and Florida, this team HAS to have a strong guard up top. HAS TO. Coach Mitchell will more than likely give them the stern halftime talking, but he shouldn’t have to do that every game.
HALFTIME KENTUCKY 37 MISSOURI 31 After a slow start to the game that had Kentucky fans and Coach Mitchell a little weary about this team, the Cats finally hit their stride at the end of the half to go into the locker room with a lead. UK was finally able to loosen up the paint area with some nice outside shots, and bigs Samarie Walker and DeNesha Stallworth took advantage. Missouri’s Bri Kulas absolutely dominated for the Tigers, finishing with 20 points in the first half alone. Kentucky is finally starting to look like the team we know and love, but they gotta keep it up.
1st Half 4:23: Hayley- This team is really starting to frustrate me. They can’t all seem to hit a rhythm at the same time. Sometimes Samarie Walker will be playing like a woman possessed, other times she seems shut down. I put her on #MinogueDubDubWatch (she has 5 points and 6 blocks), and I know she’ll get there, but I just want more from her. Azia Bishop just went down hard under the Kentucky basket, and when I say hard, I mean HARD. Knee right to floor. Great, that’s just what we need, another big hurting her leg. She joins Samantha Drake, who tore her ACL early in the season, on the bench. I cannot handle these injuries. Luckily for us, the Hoops have hit an 11-0 run. We’re taking the lead, but are we going to hold onto it? Kentucky 27- Mizzou 24.
1st Half 7:32: Wilder- Missouri’s Coach Pingeton is what us young folks like to say: “on one”. She is stomping, she is screaming, she is fist pumpin’, and I love it. Meanwhile, the Tigers are starting to get hot from beyond the 3-point line and that’s deadly for them as they are 4th in the nation in long distance shooting. Kentucky has found no answers on offense lately, as the Tigers have completely packed in the paint, leaving no room for Stallworth or Walker to operate, and none of Kentucky’s guards have been able to knock down shots. Missouri continues to lead 24-16.
1st Half 11:35: Wilder- Hayley and I have been feeling a little too kind to other teams lately. Too often, in today’s game and the game against Florida we have found ourselves “liking” the opposing team and their coach…but hey, I’m just a fan of the SEC. The Cats are getting a little more consistent play on offense, and have been able to contain the sharp-shooting Bri Kulas from Mizzou…so far. Kulas is averaging nearly 23 points in league games, so she’s dangerous. One thing that the Wildcats have done well today is offensive rebounds. Cats looking to get over the hump and trail Missouri 16-12.
1st Half 14:00: Hayley: Good news folks, this Mizzou coach is just what we’ve all been waiting for. She’s animated, she’s yelling, and sometimes it looks like she could be doing yoga. Her deep voice is shouting some of the best things I’ve heard all season, from words of encouragement to battle cries, this woman is the picturesque intense with a modest heel. Kentucky is off to a somewhat sloppy start, which we could have predicted. Everything today has felt so rushed, from the moment I woke up to the moment these athletes stepped on the court. Mizzou came in calm and composed, and the Hoops just feel so rushed. Lookin for them to settle down and play their game. UK 7- Miz 14
Pre Game: Hayley: Once again, an extremely sub par internet connection kept us from getting the proper time to scout the scene in Memorial today. Mizzou has a packed bench, something that we haven’t been seeing much of this season so far. Kastine Evans will not be playing today due to a “right leg injury,” and that’s all we got. A short, two line media advisory sitting on our chairs when we walked in. Jennifer O’Neill will be starting in her place. Let’s hope that Evans will be able to quickly fix this injury or rehab off of it. Three Hoops players injured on the bench is too sad for Wilder and myself.