[Moderated by Matt Jones]
Well, here we are. Kentucky has, albeit not always prettily, defeated 3 teams with lower seeds than them so far in the NCAA Tournament, and have advanced to the Regional Finals. This is do or die time for the Wildcats. If they want to reach their first Final Four in school history, they’ll have to do the unthinkable. Defeat the vaunted women’s giant: the Univeristy of Connecticut Huskies. They’ve already tied the school record for most wins in a season after last night, so why not?
When most people think about UConn women’s basketball, they shudder. They think of that insanely long winning streak and countless national championships. They think the Huskies are virtually unbeatable, especially for a measely little program like Kentucky. This….is where they’re wrong. Yes, Connecticut is a number one seed in this year’s tournament, and yes…they’re good. But they are nowhere near the Huskie teams of the past. This team has flaws. This team has lost 5 games this year, even one at home. This team is vulnerable, and Kentucky DOES have a chance.
I’m not saying it will be easy. It won’t. Kentucky will basically need a perfect storm of events to have a chance of knocking off Connecticut. But yes, it can happen. If they could shoot the ball anywhere near the level they did last night, hitting a NCAA school record 12 3-pointers, then they’ll have a chance. If they can force over 20 turnovers, like they have in all but 5 games this season, they’ll have a chance. If star senior Keyla Snowden can lead and will the team to victory, they’ll have a chance. If Samarie Walker can dominate inside and collect her third straight double-double, they’ll have a chance. If they can dominate points from the bench, like they did on Sunday night 44-10, they’ll have a chance.
Here are a few interesting stats that will be important to get a win over UConn….
-Kentucky is 21-0 this season when they outrebound their opponent
-Kentucky is 23-0 this season when they lead at halftime
-Kentucky is 23-1 this season when they have more second chance points than their opponent
Obviously, however the Wildcats play the boards will have a huge impact on the outcome of the game….
Coach Mitchell has already talked about how special and historic this season has been. They’ve reached the Elite 8 for the 2nd time in the past 3 years, and for only the 3rd time ever. They won the SEC for the first time in 30 years. He said how far the Wildcats go in the tournament, depend on much the players want to make more history and do things that have never been done before. They will have to play with a want and desire, greater than that of UConn tomorrow night, if they want a chance.
Be sure to tune in as the Wildcats take on the Huskies tomorrow night at 7pm on ESPN. And here’s to hoping Samarie Walker gave Coach Mitchell and Co. some secret plays from Connecticut……………but really………..
Being a Wildcat is fun, follow me @WilderTreadKSR
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