After another upsetting road loss to Georgia last Sunday, the ‘Cats had a week to digest their now four-game losing streak and prepare for a battle on home turf. This time, Kentucky looks to defeat the 16-6 (4-5 SEC) Texas A&M Aggies.
The ‘Cats and the Aggies have met 14 times before, and A&M leads the all-time series 9-5. Kentucky is also trailing against Texas A&M at Rupp, 4-2.
In Sunday’s loss to Georgia, the ‘Cats came out all gas no brakes, shooting 45% from the field, including 4-6 (66.7%) from the perimeter. Kentucky held the Bulldogs to only 3-12 (25%) from the field, and led by 15 at the end of the first quarter. However, all of that came to a screeching halt when Georgia outscored the ‘Cats by 15 in the second quarter and tied the game 30-30 to end the first half.
Ajae Petty finished Sunday’s matchup with 25 points and is finally displaying her SEC talent once again after a four-game skid without a decent performance. Although Petty only finished with five rebounds, she wasn’t the only Wildcat to struggle on the boards. Kentucky as a whole finished with only 23 rebounds, compared to Georgia’s 43. If the ‘Cats want to have a chance against the Aggies, they’re going to have to get their rebounding under control, which is something head coach Kyra Elzy mentioned in the postgame press conference.
“I think what went wrong is that we need five people to the defensive boards,” Elzy said. “We gotta commit to that consistently, getting five people to the boards. We can’t be leaking out. We got caught in between today.”
As for the rest of the team, there were only two ‘Cats in double-digit scoring (including Petty). Saniah Tyler has been consistently putting up numbers for the past few weeks. She finished with 18 points on 6-7 (85.7%) from the field and 4-4 from the outside. Eniya Russell finished with nine points and a pair of rebounds, but other than that, no one really stood out.
The ‘Cats take on the Texas A&M Aggies on Sunday, Feb. 11, at Rupp Arena. Tipoff on this Super Bowl Sunday is set for 4:00 p.m. EST and can be streamed on the SEC Network.
Scouting Report: Texas A&M Aggies
After losing two straight, Texas A&M was resurrected from the dead after thumping Ole Miss 72-53 in Oxford. The Aggies come into this game 4-5 in the SEC with a very up-and-down resume. This Texas A&M squad lost to 10-12 Purdue by 14 back in November, but they also beat Tennessee by 15 on January 14th.
The Aggies started the season 12-1, but they have fallen victim to the brutality of the SEC. However, the one thing about them that has remained constant all year long is their rebounding ability. Texas A&M ranks eighth in the country in rebounds per game with 45. Crashing the boards has been a major weakness for Kentucky, so head coach Joni Taylor will look to exploit the ‘Cats in that area.
Fifth-year senior guard Endyia Rogers is the leader for Texas A&M offensively, scoring 12.7 points and recording 4.1 assists per game as well. After transferring from USC to Oregon, Rogers decided to abandon the Pac-12 for Texas A&M and the SEC in her final season of college basketball.
One of the other primary scorers for this Aggies team is Aicha Coulibaly, a senior who spent the first three years of her collegiate career at Auburn. Unfortunately for Coulibaly, she’s having a down year by her standards that we haven’t seen since her freshman season. The 6-0 guard is averaging just 12.0 points per game. However, her 51.5 FG% this season is by far the highest it has ever been in her career. Additionally, she grabs 5.7 rebounds per game.
Texas A&M is, again, a very up-and-down, sort of wishy-washy team. The bad part about that is A) they could play out of their minds, and B) Kentucky is just as inconsistent and unpredictable. Sunday is truly a toss-up game.