It’s been a long week off from basketball in the UK Hoops world, but no worries, we’re back in Memorial Coliseum this snowy Sunday afternoon and all is good. Today’s game is sure to be a good one, as the 8th ranked Kentucky women’s basketball team takes on the 13th ranked Lady Bulldogs from Georgia. The Cats enter today’s game with a 19-2 overall record, and are 7-1 in conference play. The Bulldogs are one of the nation’s best as well, picked to finish second in the SEC with a 17-3 overall record, and 6-2 in the SEC. You can watch today’s game on the SEC Network as you follow along with the live diary here on KSR. Cats.
#8 Kentucky Wildcats versus #13 Georgia Bulldogs
FINAL KENTUCKY 71 GEORGIA 75 Holy moley. Still in shock. Georgia didn’t give up and for the first time this season Kentucky looked and played scared. Miller for Georgia was clutch, giving them five three-pointers at times when they needed them the most. The Cats looked terribly ugly on offense in the second half, and Mitchell will have to go back to the drawing board to correct a lot of mistakes as Kentucky is still in the midst of a tough stretch of games in the SEC. The Cats had plenty of chances but could not execute at the right time. Tennessee lost on the road to Missouri this afternoon, bailing Kentucky out in the SEC standings as now five teams are within one game of first place. Jennifer O’Neill finished the game with eight turnovers and was on the verge of tears in the press conference, very upset with her performance and the outcome of the game.
2nd Half 3:41: Kentucky responded well to the Georgia run despite not looking too sharp on offense at times. They have forced 26 Bulldog turnovers, and UGA came into the game today only averaging around 14 which was second in the SEC. The Bulldogs refuse to wilt right now and Kentucky is looking mighty flustered in their halfcourt game. Georgia gets a steal and an and-one and we’re back at a one point game. Memorial is gettin’ hyped and I need to use the restroom….just as I type that Miller for Georgia nails a 3-pointer and now has 24 on the game. Things are getting crazy, now a tie game 69-69.
2nd Half 7:49: After the quiet whistles of the first half, the refs have gotten a little more foul-prone of late. They must be feeling the pressure of this game too. Armstrong has been clutch for the Dogs and HOW ABOUT STALLWORTH. The center nails her second face up 3-pointer of the game and now has 10. I don’t think many people were aware of her range coming into this season. The Big Three for Kentucky: Mathies, O’Neill, and Stallworth have come to play today at least, and they are the key factors in determining UK’s success. Goss nails an and-one and Kentucky now leads 62-57.
2nd Half 11:53: Sooooo….things got real tense real quick in Memorial. The Dogs scored on a quick inbounds layup and answer that with a three pointer, and all of a sudden Matthew Mitchell is geekin’ and calls a timeout to settle the Cats down. We all knew a Georgia run was going to happen eventually, but Kentucky has to be able to answer here. Hayley and I are gettin’ all sorts of anxious now as Armstrong has now cut the lead to one and Coach Landers is waving his rolled piece of paper around like a mad man. Georgia is now officially on fire and Kentucky can do NOTHING on offense, turning the ball over and looking extremely confused. The Wildcats desperately need someone other than O’Neill and Mathies to produce for them offensively. Tie ball game, anxiety, and loud Memorial…51-51.
2nd Half 15:59: DeNesha Stallworth is trying to get hot, and she is doing it in some unconventional ways for a 6’3 center. She stepped outside to knock down a three-pointer, and Georgia now looks even more annoyed. The Bulldogs answer with an outside shot of their own but MKG…oh wait, I mean…Samarie Walker comes down and does what she does best: clean up the trash and score. Bishop did a total of nothing during the first half, but she now comes in for Stallworth as Mitchell has a long discussion with his junior power player who is visibly frustrated with her play. Dogs force a shot clock violation and are still hanging around as Cats lead 47-39.
HALFTIME KENTUCKY 40 GEORGIA 30 After Kentucky got out to a big lead early on, Goergia was able to combat and put up a run for themselves. Both teams found an offensive rhythm near the end of the half, and it looks to be a toe to toe battle till the end. O’Neill led the Wildcats with 14 points, and Mathies wasn’t too far behind with 10. Jenny from the Bronx tore up the UGA defense when they took it to zone, and made them pay. Stallworth is still in the midst of her biggest slide of the season, as she only has two points today, after scoring just four last weekend. All the female athletes from UK are now taking the court for a halftime shoutout, go girls.
1st Half 3:53: Georgia has found a way to get things going offensively of late, but Jenny from the Bronx is clutch from outside the arc to help pace Kentucky. The Bulldogs are starting to feel it, and their entire bench is now up and at em. There have been numerous questionable physical plays lately, and naturally: no whistle. Coach Landers is one of the best coaches in college basketball history, and it’s with reason. He knows how to alter play during the game to find a way to get his team to play the way he wants them to. All-SEC performer Anne Marie Armstrong has been good for the Dogs, as well as Khaalidah Miller. Bodies continue to fly, and Mitchell is out on the court to greet his team for the timeout. Cats hanging on 29-23.
1st Half 7:51: Kentucky is simpling dominating the Bulldogs right now. This very talented Georgia team is completely out of sorts, and Coach Landers has commenced to waving his rolled up sheet of paper in dismay. Samarie Walker is this team’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist…there I said it. She is the heart, soul, and emotion for the Cats. Her hustle is unmatched by anyone on the court, and while she might not always have the flashiest of stats, her effort is unparalleled, especially on the boards. O’Neill has looked sloppy of late, walking and dribbling the ball off her foot. From the stomping of his feet, Mitchell is not happy. Kentucky still winning 21-10.
1st Half 11:34: The refs are letting them play today, as it has been very physical inside with virtually no whistles. This has been good for the Cats, as their scrappy play has deflected and altered many Georgia post attacks. Mitchell is trying his Janee Thompson/Azia Bishop combo early on this game…a duo that had a lot of success against LSU. The latest segment of play has been a little stagnant with a lot of fallen bodies and yelling girls…but no points. Coach Landers seems flabbergasted at what to do to get the Bulldogs any sort of rhythm on offense. Kentucky is all up in their business. O’Neill is getting hot, and Cats look very sharp early on leading 17-6.
1st Half 15:56: These two teams definitely have some similar plays in their playbooks, as the Cats and Bulldogs are first and second in the nation in turnover margin respectively. These squads are fast, physical, and sneaky. Coach Landers is one of those “rolled up pieces of paper coaches” as he carries a rolled up sheet of paper in his hand the entire game, for no apparent reason. Georgia’s only two SEC losses this season have come to Tennessee and Texas A&M, the other two teams in the top four of the conference. Stallworth just brought down the house, stealing the inbounds pass and taking her girl to work with the easy drive and layup. Coach Landers is salty and Cats lead 12-4.
BzzzzzZZZzZzZZ: Figuring out who is going to the best player for the Cats game in and game out is no easy task, as it seems every single game a new Wildcat decides to show up big time and dominate. Last game, this was the case for Azia Bishop, who scored a career high 17 points in just 20 minutes of play. Her level of consistency is a huge issue for Coach Mitchell, and you know he wants her to come out with another big performance today. Senior star A’dia Mathies will have a to have a big game for Kentucky today, as Georgia is always a very tough game, and the Bulldog program is a mainstay in the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky wins the tip, let’s do this.
10 Minutes till Tip: Hayley and I have the pleasure of watching one of the sports best coaches this afternoon, as Georgia head coach Andy Landers has been manning the sideline for the Bulldogs for 33 years. He reached the 800 win pinnacle earlier this year, and will surely go down as a hall of famer. The Cats hope they can continue the momentum they picked up after defeating LSU at home last week, and are looking to keep their 34 game home winning streak alive. Today is also National Girls and Women in Sports Day and Alumni Day, so lots of speeches and commemorative basketballs are sure to be handed out.