For the first time in five years, No. 7 Louisville tops No. 17 Kentucky, 69-67 in an overtime win in the KFC Yum! Center. While the Cats first top-ten test of the season resulted in a loss, there was still much to learn from today’s matchup:
Mackenzie Cann is ready
For the first time in her Wildcat career, Cann earned her spot in the Wildcats starting lineup. Cann has been getting significant minutes off the bench, playing 38 in the Cats rout over Oklahoma on Thursday where she scored 10 points compared to Alyssa Rice’s 14 minutes and 0 points. Tonight, Cann played every minute of the game, coming out with only 3 points, but did a great job on the defensive end, grabbing four rebounds but staying on her mark.
A little adversity doesn’t scare them
The Cats spent almost all of the game trailing Louisville, not gaining the lead until a Makayla Epps and-one with 3:56 left in the game for a two point lead at 52-50. Kentucky fought to keep their lead, but Louisville came back to tie with four-seconds left. It was Rice however, who gave the Cats a chance to tie the game, stealing the ball and handing it off to Epps, who missed the shot for the win.
Alyssa Rice steals from uofl, no good last second shot from Epps pic.twitter.com/v10RXiaGfR
– Haley Simpson (@haleysimpKSR) December 4, 2016
Coming into overtime, Kentucky looked gassed, but continued to battle after getting down early, loosing only because Taylor Murray wasn’t able to get a shot off in time.
“We responded to that well,” head coach Matthew Mitchell said. “I though we came back and really battled.”
Josh Allen’s sister is good
Kentucky Football’s own Josh Allen sister, Myisha Hines-Allen, starts for the Cards and is pretty dag-on good. Hines-Allen led the Cards with 26 points in 27 minutes and was crucial in forcing several of the Cats turnovers.
I bet their house was interesting last weekend.
This team doesn’t work without Evelyn Akhator
An off night for Akhator led to an off-night for the Cats. The senior spent quite a bit of time on the bench because of foul trouble, but the time she spent on the court, was not productive. STATS HERE. In order for this team to work, Akhator has to have a solid presence in the middle, rebounding and making the shots down low. Akhator sat out for almost the entirety of OT, coming in only with less than fifteen seconds left to guard the in-bound pass, fouling the recipient before she crossed half-court.
Kentucky’s problems started in the first period with six turnovers, a number high for Mitchell’s team. Unfortunately, that trend would stick throughout the rest of the game, coming out with 19 overall. Louisville was able to turn the Cats turnovers into 18 points. If Kentucky had just committed one less turnover, that would’ve been the difference in the game. A good portion of Kentucky’s turnovers came off inbound plays, which Mitchell says are 100% because of coaching.