UK Women's Basketball

Cats find no solace in OT loss at Georgia

Just a season or two ago, Kentucky would have been happy to get so close to a big win at a top 10 team like it did in an overtime loss at No. 9 Georgia on Thursday.

The coaches and players might have called it a confidence-building loss.

Not this year's UK team.

Not now.

"We hung with Georgia, but we're past the point of just being happy to hang with people," point guard Amber Smith said. "We expect to win every single game."

Coach Matthew Mitchell agreed.

He noted the positives: that UK was able to come back from being down by as many as 12 points, that the Cats were short-handed and strapped with fouls but still able to fight through it.

Those things aren't enough, though.

"You're definitely not trying to have a mentality of playing people close and feeling good about that," he said. "There are some things we could have done to ensure victory and we didn't do them.

"The team played hard, but made mental errors at critical times."

It's Southeastern Conference time, so UK's next chance at a big win is right around the corner. No. 17 Vanderbilt visits Memorial Coliseum on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Commodores likely will come in hungry after falling at Mississippi State 90-76 on Thursday night.

"With us right now coming off a loss, we desperately want to win, so I can't imagine they'd come in here other than highly motivated," Mitchell said.

UK hasn't beaten Vanderbilt since 1999. That's 13 straight tries and losses for the Cats.

Smith said UK would love to erase another negative streak like it did by beating Louisville earlier this season, but that the Cats are just focused on winning.

"We just want to beat everybody; we want to beat our next opponent," Smith said. "If it's Vandy, we want to beat them. If it's Tennessee, we want to beat them. Whoever's coming up next, that's who we want to beat."

Vandy is led in scoring by senior guard Merideth Marsh, a former Louisville Christian standout.

Marsh is averaging 15.2 points a game, seventh best in the SEC. She averages 2.7 three-pointers a game (fifth in the SEC) while hitting them at a 41.8 percent clip.

Marsh, who is coming off a career-high 28-point performance in a loss at Mississippi State, is one of four Vanderbilt players averaging in double digits.

"Whether (Marsh is) playing in Kentucky or Alaska, she's a very difficult matchup and a very dangerous player," Mitchell said. "You just know she's going to have a good game, she's going to be tough. Our challenge is to try to keep her from going wild out there."

Gray should be back

Reserve guard Rebecca Gray did not make the trip to Georgia because of a stomach illness, but she did practice this weekend and is expected to return for Sunday's game against Vandy. Gray is averaging 7.4 points a game and is third in the league in three-point percentage, making 43.3 of her attempts.

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