Mark Story: From NBC to Dickie V., Kentucky women are all the talk

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistDecember 9, 2013 

Fast-break points from Mr. Gower's drug store:

21. UK women's basketball. Two Sundays ago, I observed in a column that if the Dec. 1 Kentucky-Louisville women's basketball game proved a classic it could help Matthew Mitchell's program continue to "break through" with the mainstream of the Wildcats fan base. Turns out I was off by five days.

20. Kentucky 133, Baylor 130 (4OT). UK Hoops' epic victory over Kim Mulkey's Bears Friday night took the Wildcats into rarefied air in the national and social media.

19. SportsCenter. In the wee hours of Saturday morning, the lead story on ESPN's signature program was the UK women and Baylor. "The game of the night," anchor Stan Verrett proclaimed.

18. Dick Vitale. On Twitter, @DickieV exclaimed to his 569,200 followers the "stars of the night UK's women's team — #TENACIOUS"

17. NBC News. To its 1,164,318 followers, @NBCNews tweeted "Kentucky beats Baylor 133-130 in 4OT — teams eclipsing record for most points in a women's DI basketball game"

16. Ashley Judd. In perhaps the ultimate sign of UK Hoops penetrating the mainstream of the Kentucky basketball fan base, @AshleyJudd tweeted "@UKHoopsCats EPIC! Wow. Fabulous. So memorable"

15. Trap game? Coming off back-to-back victories over then-No. 3 Louisville and then-No. 9 Baylor, Thursday's trip to Big East foe DePaul (4-2) could be a tricky spot for the Kentucky women.

14. John Calipari and Kim Mulkey. Interesting that the UK men's coach and Baylor women's coach came up with the idea of a Kentucky-Baylor women's and men's double-header in the home of the Dallas Cowboys — and then each took the L.

13. Dominique Hawkins. Is it possible the Kentucky men would be better off with the freshman from Madison Central getting more clock at the point?

12. Allen Feldhaus. Was impressed that, working the UK-Baylor game, ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla recalled from his days as head man at Ohio University that Allen Feldhaus had been the head boys basketball coach at Mason County.

11. Allen Feldhaus confusion. Sort of understood why the ESPN color commentator thought that the Allen Feldhaus who coached Dominique Hawkins at Madison Central was the former Mason County coach. For future ESPN reference, it was Allen Feldhaus Jr., son of the elder Allen Feldhaus, who coached Hawkins.

10. Fashion police. The new uniforms the UK men unveiled at "Jerry World" in the 67-62 loss to Baylor were snazzy.

9. Matt Elam. Buzz I'm hearing out of Hardin County is that Alabama is the leader in the recruitment of the John Hardin defensive tackle.

8. Mr. Football. In my view, the award recognizing the top senior in Kentucky prep football should go to the player who has had the biggest impact on the high school sport in the commonwealth. How one is ranked as a college prospect should not matter.

7. Nacarius Fant. I don't have a vote for Mr. Football, but if I did I would cast it for Fant, the star Bowling Green wide receiver who has been a part of three-straight undefeated Class 5A state championships.

6. Braylon Heard. The transfer running back from Nebraska will have two years of eligibility at Kentucky starting in 2014. "He's got a different gear. He's really fast," UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown said.

5. Kentucky to Denver again? Ex-UK linebackers Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan are starting for the Broncos. Avery Williamson, the graduating UK middle linebacker, beamed when asked if he saw himself joining them. "If they want me to go there, I will," he said.

4. Jordan-Hare Stadium. Due to an inexplicable human error — mine — the Auburn stadium was omitted from a list of SEC football facilities that accompanied my Sunday column.

3. The Auburn numbers. Jordan-Hare's listed capacity is 87,451. In eight home games this season, Auburn had two sellouts and averaged 85,657 fans for 97.95 percent of capacity.

2. Winless to first. Auburn went from winless in the SEC (3-9 overall, 0-8 SEC) in 2012 to the SEC title and a berth in the BCS Championship Game during this charmed season (12-1, 7-1 SEC).

1. Last team to do that? Can you guess the most recent team prior to Auburn to go from winless in the SEC to a league title in one year?

Fran Curci's Kentucky Wildcats went 0-6 in SEC games in 1975. The next year, aided by a forfeit in what had been a loss to Mississippi State, the Cats went 5-1 to share the 1976 SEC title with Georgia.

Mark Story: (859) 231-3230. Email: mstory@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @markcstory. Blog: markstory.bloginky.com

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