In a shocker that displayed the true strength of the SEC, the unraked Florida Gators (12-3, 2-0 SEC) came to Lexington and shocked the 6th ranked Wildcats (13-2, 1-1 SEC) 83-73. Kentucky fell in Memorial Coliseum for just the second time since Hayley and I started at KSR, and this broke the six game winning streak the Cats had over the Gators. From the get-go, we knew this would be a hard match up as Florida ran out of the gates on fire, energized, and focused.
Mitchell walked into the press conference noticeably glum. “Really tough game, hats off to Florida, they played so hard today and never let up. They were really outstanding, played together as a team, played with toughness and played through adversity. They just came in here and beat us today….it was really evident who played with more passion.”
Florida’s Jaterra Bonds led the way with 23 points and freshman Ronni Williams followed with 19. Coach Amanda Butler was thrilled following numerous close losses to Kentucky, and credits the win to her team’s chemistry and composure. “This team has an extra “oomf” to them. We had to be mentally ready, and I’m really proud of the way that we didn’t hang our heads.”
Junior Jennifer O’Neill led the way for Kentucky with 15 points followed by Walker’s double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. None of Kentucky’s starters shot over 50% from the field. Team unity is an obvious issue with UK right now. “We’re either going to come together as a team, or go apart separate as individuals,” said senior Kastine Evans.
Where was the passion from Kentucky? “We have an inconsistency on our team with the passion and the energy, and it’s really disheartening. I don’t really know why you would be in a situation right now where you would not be super focused, but I’ve got to figure that out. We have to forge ahead and bounce back.” Mitchell was noticeably upset about the effort from his team saying that it was obvious it meant a lot more to Florida than it meant to Kentucky.
Kentucky returns to action this Thursday night on the road against 13th ranked South Carolina…not an easy task.