Kentucky women’s basketball coach spent almost as much time addressing the officials as he did his players in a game against the University of Louisville Sunday in front of a crowd of 14,862 fans at the KFC Yum! Center. The tactic was successful, with his UK team upsetting UofL 77-68.
Louisville was clearly the better team with superior players but couldn’t find the basket or value possessions in the second half against a familiar UK press that has hampered UofL the past four seasons.
UofL jumped out to a 16-point lead and led 42-29 at the end of the first half, dominating the Wildcats in all phases of the game in the first 20 minutes. Things went south in the second half with the Cardinals making only seven of 29 field attempts while committing 15 turnovers.
Louisville would wind up with 28 turnovers for the game, including six by Bria Smith, five by Myisha Hines-Allen, four by Jude Schimmel, three each for Sara Hammond and Mariya Moore.
The Cardinals appeared afraid to shoot in the second half. When they did, there were far too many misses beneath the basket, UofL rushing shots or tossing the ball straight up in the air, expecting it to somehow find its way to the basket.
Jude Schimmel, who has played in four losses against UK in four years, will not have one decent memory of the rivalry, closing it out by missing all six of her shots Sunday.
Sara Hammond, a McDonald’s All American from the Bluegrass state, would score her 1,000th point on a free throw. Not much of a presence otherwise, managing 11 points and five rebounds, as she continues to play nice, exhibiting those ups and downs in her senior year.
Prior to the game, Hammond had discussed the importance of winning a game in the rivalry, the bragging rights and all. She also admitted, “We kind of gave it away the last couple years.”
Sunday’s outcome had a very familiar feeling.