To celebrate the day before Thanksgiving, the UK Women hosted Morehead State in a game promoted as “Thanks For Giving.” The promotion was to give free admission to any fans that brought canned food items or new clothing. The Cats breezed to a fairly easy victory with a final score of 86-53.
In the spirit of giving, the Cats were very generous with the ball, tallying 25 assists for the game. They were also very generous with their scoring, ending the game shooting 56.4% FG (58.8% from the 3). That generous spirit was the first thing mentioned by Coach Mitchell in his post-game comments.
“(It was) a good win for us, players really shared the ball today. A lot of good shots went in the basket, a lot of good shot selection, and (I’m) proud of their unselfishness.”
And that good shot selection? Maci Morris was the best in that category, sinking 7-8 FGs (5-6 from beyond the arc) and was the game’s leading scorer with 19 points. She added 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and 3 steals to round out her stat line. But the star of the game was clearly Mackenzie Cann who recorded her 2nd consecutive (and 2nd career) double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. She also added 5 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal which made for a most impressive, well-rounded game.
When asked what contributed to the improvement of Cann’s game this season, Coach Mitchell was generous with his praise:
“She works hard on her game, passing was phenomenal today. I think the double-doubles have resulted because she has gotten tough on the boards. We emphasize rebounding the ball with two hands and excited she was doing that today. She shot the leather off the ball today.”
Mitchell continued his praise of Cann and Morris by saying they had probably put up “a million shots” over the summer. When asked after the game if Mitchell was exaggerating, Morris said, “I don’t think so. We put up a lot of shots.” Mackenzie and Maci also noted the “95%” Coach Mitchell emphasizes as reasons for their overall games developing and improving. Cann said, “Coach says you only have the ball about 5% of the time. 95% of the time, you don’t have the ball, so you have to do other things.”
Those other things, rebounding, passing, defense, setting screens, allow both players to contribute 95% of the time. Today, it worked out that they were very productive during the 5% of the time they had the ball. And getting a big lead built and then maintaining that lead provided other players to get some extended minutes today. KeKe McKinney (5 pts, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Kameron Roach were both mentioned by Coach Mitchell as ones who really needed that extra time on the court and did some nice things with that time.
Of course, no game is perfect and Mitchell continues to work with his team on improving their rebounding. “We’ve got to make some improvements on the glass.” And that’s a valid complaint on Mitchell’s part. The Cats only had 40 rebounds to Morehead’s 37, so definitely there is room to grow.
But for now, it was a day to give thanks and to give generously. Mitchell’s Cats did both things well.
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