By: Tyrus York – The last few weeks have been up and down for #13/12 UK Hoops (17-5, 5-4) and Head Coach Matthew Mitchell. Seemingly falling into a pattern of win one then lose one, the Cats picked up a big win over #14 LSU (17-5, 6-3) in Memorial Coliseum on Sunday with a final score of 63-56.
LSU began the game on a 6-0 run, but the Wildcats responded with a 13-0 run of their own and never looked back.
Leading by double digits a majority of the second half, Kentucky looked as sharp as maybe they have all season on the defensive side of the court. They forced the Tigers into 18 turnovers, but more importantly were able to capitalize with 25 points off those turnovers.
Bria Goss led the Cats with 11 points, but it was another very balanced scoring game for Kentucky with 7 players contributing 6 points or more.
LSU came into this game with a clear advantage in the paint that Kentucky was able to neutralize throughout most of the game. The Tigers would ultimately outrebound Kentucky 40-36 and outscore them in the paint 22-20, but those are margins that the Wildcats could live with.
Samarie Walker had a tough task in the paint going up against superior size in the Tigers, but she was a force inside grabbing 7 rebounds, 8 points and a steal. Walker won’t get credit in the box score for the havoc she created in the paint deflecting numerous entry passes to the LSU bigs.
Matthew Mitchell continues to be concerned with the growth of his team, but acknowledged that they responded very well in a very important game to beat LSU.
The identity of this team has been and continues to be their energetic defensive pressure and we saw some of that on Sunday. Lacking a true star on the team, Kentucky must rely on what it does best, forcing turnovers, to win big in the SEC.
Kentucky will get a week off before returning to action next Sunday in Gainesville, FL to attempt to avenge a 83-73 loss at the hands of the Gators in Memorial back on January 5th.