The University of Kentucky Women’s Basketball team was back in action on Sunday taking on High Point University after their solid win over Virginia on Thursday night. Forward Tatyana Wyatt was reported as having a foot injury (she is listed as day-to-day) and missed the game, so perhaps her absence in the starting lineup got the Cats off to a slow start. The game was 6 minutes old before the Lady Cats could get a field goal to drop. But once Maci Morris broke the scoring drought, the game started going a bit smoother for Matthew Mitchell’s team.
Once Morris broke the seal on the hoop, Taylor Murray joined in on the scoring flurry. After trailing 7-4 with just over 4 minutes remaining in the 1st quarter, the Cats ended the period with a 20-7 lead. From that point on, the Cats used their pressing defense and a one-two punch of Morris-Murray to keep the Panthers from ever getting the lead down to single digits.
Whenever UK seemed to be lacking energy, Jaida Roper would make an appearance in the game and play some of the most energetic, tenacious defense I’ve ever seen. Her energy level seems contagious because once she enters the game, her teammates pick up their intensity as well. While Jaida’s contributions don’t often show up on the stat sheet, her ability to disrupt the opponent’s offense is invaluable.
Joining in on the double-digit scoring this afternoon was starter Rhyne Howard who ended the game with 10 points (2-5 three-pointers, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks). Fellow freshman Blair also had 10 points while adding 4 rebounds and 3 assists to her stat line.
There were a few lapses in concentration in the 2nd quarter that gave Coach Mitchell some talking points to his team, but overall he was pleased with the team effort and the leadership from his seniors. This was the Cats’ final game before heading to the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands, an event that should challenge this Kentucky team. Mitchell said this after the game:
“We are headed to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s the Paradise Jam and it’s one of the premier events in the world. It’s just an outstanding event. We’ve been so fortunate to be able to travel there just about every four years. It’s a real treat for our team, our fans and our family who are traveling down with us. It’s an outstanding tournament. It will be very challenging for our basketball team – three consecutive days of play, three high-level, top opponents—University of South Florida the first day, UCLA the second day and North Carolina the third day. So, our work is cut out for us to go down there and we’ll get a chance to really play some top-level competition. It’ll be a challenging stretch for us, but I’m looking forward to traveling with this team. They’re a great group of people and we’re looking forward to our trip down to the Virgin Islands.”
Will the Cats continue their winning ways in St. Thomas? Only time will tell, but the potential is certainly there for a nice Thanksgiving treat for the fans.