In the first conference game of the season, the 6th ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team was able to pull away and defeat the Alabama Crimson Tide 85-63. The Wildcats are now 13-1 on the season and 1-0 in the SEC. It was a nice way for the team to start the new year, playing the current last place team in the conference on the road without DeNesha Stallworth, UK’s leading scorer. Jennifer O’Neill led the way with 17 points and four 3-pointers for a high octane Kentucky offense that had four players finish in double figures.
The Cats were able to play well enough against a rebuilding Bama program to get the 20+ point victory, and one of the most impressive stats from the game was UK’s 86.7% mark from the free throw line. Foul shots have been an issue for the team all season, so to see that level of improvement on the road is a good sign. Stallworth’s replacement in the post Azia Bishop also had a stand out game, scoring a season high 16 points and eight rebounds. Kentucky desperately needs Bishop to play at a consistently high level to balance out the rest of the post.
Speaking of the post…senior Samarie Walker finished with her fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Mitchell said she “let the game come to her” and that’s big for a player who has all the potential but who’s mentality gets caught up in the mix sometimes. In the past, the Cats have had some head scratching results on the road in conference to teams they should have beaten easily, so it was great to see Kentucky go down and take care of business.
Around the SEC, the preseason champion 5th ranked Tennessee Volunteers fell at home tonight by three points to the 16th ranked LSU Tigers. This SEC season will be a war of attrition, and teams are going to beat each other up. It’s gonna be fun, but that’s a great way for to start for the Cats.
Kentucky will return to action on Sunday afternoon at 3 in their SEC home opener. The Florida Gators are coming to down, fresh off a double-digit win against Mississippi State to start their conference season. Florida’s Coach Amanda Butler is one of my favorite for her crazy antics and stomping high heels, so you know it’s gonna be a good one. Memorial Coliseum. Be there.