In case you missed today’s UK Hoops win over Florida, here are five leftovers from the victory.
Despite the final score, it was a fairly even matchup
The two teams really competed in the first half, with Kentucky building a lead and then Florida answering with a run. Although the Cats were able to pull away in the second half, a lot of the game’s statistics were extremely similar between the two teams. Kentucky shot 46 percent from the field, while Florida shot 45 percent. UK ended with 30 total rebounds, and UF ended with 28. Additionally, both teams scored 32 points in the paint.
Second chance points were key
One clear exception to the previous statement is second chance points. Kentucky finished with 25 such points, compared to Florida’s five.
Another uneven factor in the game were turnovers. Florida committed 23, while the Cats gave up just 15. This led UK to outscore the Gators 24-10 on points off turnovers.
“We just turned the ball over too much,” said Florida head coach Amanda Butler. “We had a lot of unforced turnovers [and] too many possessions where we just flat threw it out of bounds.”
UK outscored UF from the bench
While Kentucky has struggled with getting more players actively involved in their rotation all season, this game was a unique one in that Florida had the same issue. Excluding players who entered the game with less than one minute remaining, Kentucky played eight women, while Florida played seven. In terms of bench points, the Cats had 13, while Florida had zero. Jessica Hardin, Paige Poffenberger, Makenzie Cann and Jaida Roper all entered the game off the bench and scored at least two points.
Hardin returned to action after a 12 game absence due to concussion protocol. In her first game since Dec. 29, she drained a three-point basket immediately after checking into the game late in the fourth quarter.
“I was hoping to get her in a little bit earlier, but we didn’t handle the second quarter great,” Mitchell said of Hardin. “She took so much time off for her concussion, but, man, it didn’t affect her shooting. I still believe she could play a vital role in the post season.”
Taylor Murray was a major factor… even if the points column doesn’t show it
Although the sophomore point guard ended the game with just four points, she played a big part in the Cats’ win.
“11 assists and one turnover? That’s incredible,” Mitchell said. “She is playing some fantastic team basketball. She just ignites us.”
Next up… senior night
This Thursday, this team will play its last game in Memorial Coliseum. With two such strong seniors – Akhator and Epps – it’s sure to be an emotional night.
After the game, Mitchell praised Epps for the progress she has made not only as a basketball player, but also as a person throughout her time at Kentucky.
“I’m really proud of the work she’s done as a person. She’s made some changes that are going to benefit her for the rest of her life,” said Mitchell. “We’re going to work our heads off to see if we can send her and Evelyn off with a victory.”