UK women notes: Cats will learn from humbling loss

jsmith3@herald-leader.comNovember 13, 2012 

Kentucky Baylor Basketball

A'dia Mathies (1) drove past Baylor's Odyssey Sims. Mathies led the Cats with 12 points but was just 3-for-18 from the field.

TONY GUTIERREZ — AP

WACO, Texas — After watching his team get throttled by top-ranked Baylor on Tuesday, Kentucky Coach Matthew Mitchell was asked for any positives he could take from the game.

He paused and looked skyward, maybe hoping for answers from above.

Kentucky will find its answers in the game tape, he said.

"There's a lot of room for improvement, that's a positive," Mitchell said. "We have a lot to get better at doing. We were clearly not much of a match for Baylor tonight, but it's also the second game of the season, so there's plenty of opportunities to practice and get better."

Kentucky isn't the first top-10 team Baylor has dominated during its 42-game win streak, and it probably won't be the last.

But Mitchell doesn't want to see the 85-51 loss on national TV kill the Cats' confidence for the rest of the season.

"We will react appropriately to the game," he said. "We will not overreact; we will not under-react. We will look at the facts of the video and it will show us what we need to do. "

Sophomore guard Bria Goss said the video won't be pretty, but it will be necessary.

"We're going to evaluate this game and really humble ourselves," she said. "Personally, I'm going to look at this game and get better from it. The feeling I feel now I don't want to feel again, so I'm going to work harder."

The players will wake up in the morning and the sky will still be blue.

There are still games to be played and won, Southeastern Conference championships to be defended and maybe even a chance at Baylor again down the road, Mitchell said.

"I don't think we got any less talented tonight," he said. "We have a long way to go and if I have any influence on the team, this will not discourage them. It's OK to be disappointed. It's unacceptable to be discouraged."

Pressure, what pressure?

Kentucky's defense was the best in the nation at forcing turnovers last season.

The Cats' pressure was supposed to be one of the things that could slow down star Brittney Griner, national analysts theorized.

But Mitchell said it's too early in the season for UK's defense to be at the level to bother a team like Baylor.

"Our full-court press starts with playing real good half-court man to man and as the season wears on, that builds up," he said. "It's very difficult to press properly so we don't usually press in a game of this level at this time of year."

Baylor Coach Kim Mulkey had a much different take. She said the Bears' play forced UK out of what it wanted to do.

"There's a reason they didn't press a ton," she said. "When you're getting layups on the other end and you're beating the press. That press is only good if you're turning the ball over. I thought for the second game of the year, to do what we did and do it comfortably, maybe I just need to sit down and not get so stressed out."

Alterations, Griner style

National Player of the Year Brittney Griner did more than just score a game-high 27 points (her 82nd straight game in double figures). The 6-foot-8 senior center prevented UK from attacking the basket, forcing the Cats to settle for jump shots.

UK junior forward Samarie Walker said going up against her was interesting.

"It's different because there's not many 6-foot-8 women, period, in life, then getting to play against one, it's a game changer," said Walker, who had six points and a team-high nine rebounds for Kentucky.

Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog: ukwomen.bloginky.com

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