I know you’re probably thinking, “Really Roush? A women’s basketball post? Nobody really cares. We we like Matthew Mitchell, but it’s just women’s basketball.” I know some people think like Shannon the Dude and refuse to ever consider watching women in sports, but give me a few minutes of your time to convince you that watching this UK Hoops team is a fun group worth your support.
Memorial Coliseum is Crazy
The history of the the gym is enough to make watching a game there worthwhile. That historical significance doesn’t have a peaceful tone. If you wonder why Rupp is quiet or why people aren’t standing at Commonwealth Stadium, it’s because all of the crazies are at Memorial. Regulars are a different breed of fan, creating a deafening din inside the arena. Even though the next two home games are at Rupp (UofL on 12/10, and Duke on 12/20), it’d be a mistake to miss a game at Memorial.
Evelyn Ahkator is a Bad Ass
Last year’s Junior College Player of the Year imposes her will on the court. The 6’3″ double-double machine (12.6 ppg, 11.1 rpg) runs the floor as well as she plays on the block. Simply put: she looks scary. I don’t know whether to compare her to Chuck Norris or Drago, but I think you get the picture.
Women’s Rules are Better than the Men’s Rules
We thought it was revolutionary when the men went from a 35-second shot clock to only 30-seconds. The women have been doing that for years. This year they went to four 10-minute quarters, leaving men’s college basketball as the only level of basketball in the world that plays halves. I shouldn’t have to tell you that’s stupid. It also creates more total possessions and last-second shot opportunities.
The other new rules aren’t obviously better, but I believe they’ll eventually be in the men’s game. In the final minute, if you are trailing and call a timeout, you can inbound the pass from halfcourt, like the NBA. The only rule change that is controversial: instead of shooting one-and-one, players automatically shoot the double-bonus after five fouls in a quarter. After each quarter, the bonus is reset.
Janee Thompson is Smoother than Blue Suede Shoes
Tyler Ulis dictates the flow of the game with the ball in his hands, but Tyler plays with more bounce. Janee plays with a flow that is rarely seen. She looks as though she’s putting no effort forward, even when drawing fouls and putting defenders on skates. Her 3-point shot is just as smooth. Even though she’s only 5’8″ (maybe), I’d like to see some of the big boys try and lock her down.
Taylor Murray is Eric Bledsoe 2.0
It’s not just because she wears the number 24. Murray is a strong guard that plays physical. She runs the floor well and creates turnovers, an essential in Matthew Mitchell’s system. The other night she lost her headband twice in the hustle. That kind of energy and effort is how Bledsoe played, letting the offense take care of itself.
Who cares if they can’t dunk?
The majority of the high school games you watch will not have a dunk. You’ve probably never dunked, why discriminate? I’ll admit, a game filled with missed lay-ups and jump balls is awful, but this team is one of the best in the country, it isn’t Junior Varsity.
Maci Morris Gets Buckets
The true freshman from Pineville has started every game for the Cats because the girl is butta from behind the three-point line. She shoots 5 a game and hits an exceptional 43% of them. How can you not cheer for the mountain girl with a beautiful shot?
Matthew Mitchell is Running and Gunning
They play in your face on defense, and run the floor on offense. To put it simply, they resemble Pitino’s teams from the early 90’s. They don’t shoot as many 3’s as Pitino’s teams did, but they still fill ’em up. It will be interesting to see how long they can maintain the fast-pace after four player departures in six weeks.
There aren’t many Combo Guards Better Than Makayla Epps
Anthony’s daughter is better than he was. She had only the program’s second triple-double earlier this year (Janee Thompson was one assist shy of joining her). What makes Epps stand out above the rest is her bulldog mentality. She has a quick first step (so quick it looks like a walk), before getting to the basket and either drawing a foul, or dishing it to a teammate for an assist. Any common idiot that watches this team will come away impressed with Epps.
I know I’m not convincing everybody, but give this team a chance. If you could sit through this awful football season, I promise you this team will be more entertaining, leaving you smiling and satisfied.