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By: ASHLEY SCOBY

 

A missed three-pointer by Bernisha Pinkett kept the UK Hoops team from its second straight 100-point game, but not from another 40-point-plus victory over an SEC team. The Cats cruised over Auburn, 97-53 Sunday afternoon, leading Tigers head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy to speak less than kindly of her opponent’s tactics.

“I thought it was pretty unclassy to continue to press when you’re up by 46 points,” she said. “We’re a pressing team also, and at some point we do take the press off because that becomes not respectful of the other team.”

The Cats used a dominant first half of play to get to that point in the first place: Kentucky led 25-13 with 10:54 on the clock. Within eight minutes, they had used a 24-2 run to extend their lead to 31. Heading into the locker room, Kentucky led 51-31, and coach Matthew Mitchell talked about the goal for his team’s attitude heading into the second half.

“It’s hard when you’re up 30 at halftime,” Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said. “It takes tremendous discipline to come back out and be focused. We are trying to hold ourselves to high standards. We’re not trying to look at the scoreboard. We’re trying to play the best that we can because that’s what we’ve committed to doing.”

As the Cats kept their feet on the gas pedal early in the second half, they extended their lead to an eventual 39 points by the 15:17 mark. Their style of play, however, did not change, based on the scoreboard.

Auburn started hitting some shots they had missed in the first half, and ended up making a second-half run that cut Kentucky’s lead to 24. After a Hasina Muhammad layup with 7:23 to play, the score was 74-50 – a key moment in the game, according to senior A’dia Mathies.

“There was a point right before the eight-minute timeout that they cut it down to 20-something,” Mathies said. “We felt like they were on a run and if they cut it down ten more, the last four minutes, you’ve really got a game. We felt like we had to step up the pressure again and continue to do things we did the whole game that led to that big lead. It paid off in the end.”

Kentucky’s main focus on defense was to “make life miserable” for Auburn’s primary ball-handler, Najat Ouardad. She finished with 1 assist to her 8 turnovers and was 1-3 from the field. The Tigers as a team finished with 30 turnovers, which UK converted into 34 points. That pressure defense is what the Cats have relied on for both close wins and blowouts this season. But is there a point where the Cats should back off their opponent?

Mitchell defended his decision to continue to go after Auburn, even though his team was up by 24 points or more for the whole second half.

“We work really hard to get ourselves in position to play the way we play,” he said. “These kids are up at 5:30 in the morning four days a week during the summer and (they) lay it on the line. If anybody is unfamiliar with how we play and what our goals are, then that’s their problem. I’m really proud of our players and I thought they conducted themselves with tremendous poise today.”

The Cats will continue digging into SEC play Thursday at South Carolina. Their next home game will be Sunday, January 27 against LSU.

22 Responses to UK Hoops called “unclassy” for continuing their signature pressure defense; Cats win 97-53

  • ukfan197tone says:

    Did other teams, such as Baylor this year or UT for years care about how the Cats felt? NO! Herm Edwards once said, “you play to win the game.” UK won. Next opponent.

  • Sarah C White says:

    That was pretty unclassy for the Auburn coach to spout out her feelings. Classy would have been for her to say nothing.

  • bigbluejon says:

    According to sources Terri Williams-Flournoy had this to say: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Wa Wa waaaaaaaaaah!

  • I thank de War Eagle let fly wid some droppins at high alatude am hit de coach in de head causing some temporary drain bramage! Har!

    • larryvaught says:

      I just think it is great to see a team accuse the UK women of running up the score. Hard to imagine that ever happening 10 years ago

  • LindaS says:

    What gets me, if she had the chance she would have done it against Kentucky because they are Kentucky. Whether it is the women’s or the men’s team, all other teams are going to go out of their way to do it if they get the chance. I think she left her big girl pants at home or they got in a really big knot.

  • Larry Pup says:

    Nobody ever takes it easy on UK. The Auburn coach should have kept her mouth shut. The name of the game is to score and keep the other team from scoring. Case closed. If they could do it to us they will.

  • Gene T says:

    I love all the comments, and totally agree. Auburn coach is just mad ecause her team sucks.

  • Viper says:

    I would guess Coach Mitchell would take her phone call if she called him to complain in private. That would be the “classy” thing to do. In her possible defense, however, if she was asked a direct leading question like most of the media like to do, she may have just given a direct answer. I wasn’t there so I can’t be sure.

    • Ashley Scoby says:

      Viper- The coach actually said this in her opening statement. She was then asked what was so hard about competing against Kentucky’s defense, and she repeated the same sentiment.

    • TheProfessor says:

      If she had been asked the question, the Classy answer would have been that she needs to do a better job getting her players ready to compete at this level.

  • Theresa Crow says:

    Apparently, Coach Williams-Fluornoy gave it to Coach Mitchell in their post-game handshake and he had to be directed away by one of his assistants. Then, she went in to the press conference and really let loose. You can read more about it on Kentucky Sports Radio. All Coach W-F had to do was pay attention to the published info on UK Hoops–they play 40 MINUTES OF DREAD! I watched the game yesterday and Coach Mitchell played everyone. He expects each player to play hard for the entire time that she is in the game. In the second half, the women did let the shot clock run down before taking shots as well. Coach Mitchell has a style of play, and he does not expect them to let up. Auburn was just over matched, out played, out coached and pooped out. Wonder why Coach W-F did not let up when she was at Georgetown last year and they beat Dartmouth 77-38? Wonder if Dartmouth’s coach came crying to her afterward?

  • Juan4UK says:

    I have no problem with it, and here is why: In the big picture for womens athletics the sport needs headlines and hero’s. Dominate teams line UT, Uconn, Baylor are attractive to attract fans respect for a game. But fans want variety, they want challengers to the throne. And thats where UK, Coach Mitchell and high pressure defense come in. These big blow-outs and consistent winning to back it up give story lines for the hype machine.
    It may be embarrassing for the teams that fall but it is vindication for the teams that are working just as hard as any male team in the sport. The fans see that, understand that, and get behind that. Coach Mitchell and his team are a hell of a lot like the Rick Pitino teams at UK in the early 90′s. And that is a good thing.
    For better or worse, this is how you create passion.
    These chicks rock!!

  • AndyP says:

    I applaud the Auburn coach for speaking her mind. We need more of that, not less. Our society has become far too politically correct and that stifles honesty.

  • David says:

    Congrats to our girls on a welled played game. I hope you beat them at tournament time by 60 or more. Go Big Blue!

  • coldspringmike says:

    Get back to work coach. Teach your girls how to handle that press. It’s one game, get over it. If you look at the womens scores in the paper or on ESPN a 50 point beat down is not uncommon. UConn., Baylor Stanford all have been doing it this year.

  • Ken Grizzle says:

    The Auburn coach needs to first do the job she was hired to do:Coach the Auburn Women’s team.

    If she were a better coach maybe the score would not be so lop sided and she wouldn’t have to cry about a better team kicking her butt.

    Instead, she tries to cover her poor job performance by blaming UK’s coach instead of admitting the fact that she is not doing her job.

  • UKFAN197TONE says:

    It was mentioned in the broadcast that this is how she WANTS her team to play; like UK. HOWEVER, she hasn’t recruited the type of athlete to make this happen. Well, who is at fault with that? EXACTLY.

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