Kentucky Wildcats vs High Point Panthers – Women’s Basketball – November 18, 2018 – Memorial Coliseum – Phyllis Millspaugh – Sports View America Columnist
UK Women roll past High Point for third straight victory: 71-49
UK Women faced a scrappy High Point Panthers team in their third all-time meeting. Kentucky now leads that series 3-0. Offensively, the Cats got off to a slow start, but when it picked up, there was no turning back. Taking a full four minutes to score in the first quarter, UK was searching for its groove in those opening moments, relying on some free-throws to put points on the board. But things began to pick up when sophomore KeKe McKinney sunk the team’s first three-pointer, which turned into a 15-point scoring run to end the first quarter.
K won its first two games by at least 50 points and dug in against Virginia last Thursday night to raise their overall record to 3-0. While the Wildcats offense has taken some time to get its motor running, the defense continues to be a powerhouse. The first three games showcased serious hustle from the entire team. With their aggressive pressing, UK continues to show a fierce set of full-court, half-court and man-to-man defensive set-ups that resulted in 19 High Point turnovers today and 15 points for the Cats. Their turnover margin is one of the best in the nation.
Maci Morris had a great afternoon, scoring 22 points and was 100% from the free throw line, sinking 4-4. Other Cat offensive standouts included 14 points from senior guard Taylor Murray, with freshman threats Rhyne Howard and Blair Green each putting 10 points up on the board. The Wildcat bench showed its depth by contributing 19 points to the score, keeping the player rotation moving smoothly throughout the game as well. Overall, the Cats shot 44% from the field and their three-point work is improving, shooting 38% from behind the arc. A stellar 81% from the free throw line also kept the offensive engine running, although High Point kept up with the Cats in that department, shooting 79%.
The Panthers struggled from the field, shooting only 28%, despite three starters scoring in double digits. Senior Emma Brockrath scored 14 for the day, with Shea Morgan and Lindsey Edwards, also seniors, dropping in 10 each. But the Panther’s 26% turnover rate ultimately prevented them from staying in the game.
Coach Matthew Mitchell, UK’s all-time winningest head coach for women’s basketball, was pleased with his team’s performance today, saying he thought that they played with good energy, with only a slight loss of focus in the second quarter. The Cats next head to the US Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam Tournament. “It will be a challenging stretch for us with great opportunities for players to learn the toughness about themselves,” Mitchell indicated. The Cats have three days in a row facing three different competitive basketball programs: University of South Florida on the first day, UCLA on day two and a tough North Carolina team on the third day. The Cats then return home to face the Morehead State Eagles on November 28 at noon in Memorial Coliseum.