It was a MUCH-NEEDED win for UK Hoops tonight! They beat Alabama 79-54 and no one could be happier about it than Matthew Mitchell himself. The man was grinning ear-to-ear.
Man, it feels good to win again. Let's talk about some key moments from tonight's game and revel in this victory.
I almost called 911 tonight because this girl was ON FIRE (sorry)! Murray finished the night with 20 points and 10 assists. It's UK Hoops' first points-assists double-double since February 2016. So, that's pretty cool.
"She does a great job of getting the ball out so quick," said Alabama Head Coach Kristy Curry on Taylor Murray.
She's also the only player in school history to have 20 and 10 in an SEC game.
"Really proud of her resilience....we need it desperately," said Mitchell.
We (kind of) have a leader
And her name is Alyssa Rice. Rice only had six points tonight, but she had a big presence on the court! It seems like a leader is FINALLY emerging from this team. It just might be too late.
"It's been very ugly at times but you're seeing that this team's worked so hard," said Mitchell.
Mitchell noted that he's working on confidence - especially with the freshmen KeKe and Dorie, and utilizing the older girls to help them.
"We can't have a glamour player," said Mitchell.
What's going right?
Shooting, for one thing. The Wildcats out-shot the Tide like crazy. They were 33-51 tonight, compared to Bama's 20-51. Overall, They're playing smarter. Taylor Murray said they've really been focusing on execution in practice - and it showed tonight. The Cats really capitalized on Bama's quick mistakes. Not to mention, their confidence was off the charts.
"We were just all on," said KeKe McKinney.
Mitchell attributed the win to good hustle and the "reboot" of the bye week. whatever he did, it's working.
What's still going wrong?
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. Yikes. We need to work on turnovers! And rebounds, too. Our defense is nowhere near where it needs to be. Matthew Mitchell knows there's a tough road ahead with Mississippi State and South Carolina still on the schedule.
"A win is a win but we still have a long way to go," said Taylor Murray.
That's the truth.
Let's end this on a positive note - we WON tonight. Like I said earlier, it feels really good.
UK Hoops travels to Arkansas on January 29 and will be back in Memorial on February 1 to take on Auburn. Go Cats!