UK Women's Basketball

UK women ending years of lowly streaks

It's been a season of streak stopping for the Kentucky women.

The Cats hadn't beaten Louisville in five years. Then they did in December.

They hadn't beaten Vanderbilt in 13 straight tries, but they did in early January.

They had a 16-game losing streak against Louisiana State until Thursday night when they were able to beat the No. 18 Tigers in Baton Rouge.

UK, ranked No. 23 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll, would like to actually start a streak on Sunday by winning a fifth straight Southeastern Conference game for the first time in program history.

"It's like a hunger thing; once you get one win, you want another," junior Victoria Dunlap said before practice on Friday. "Once you break one streak, you want to keep pushing it so you can make more."

UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said ending streaks is nice, but the Cats, who are currently second in the SEC behind Tennessee, can't take their eyes off the proverbial prize.

He wants to keep seeing forward progress.

"It's real good for our program, just like the rankings," he said. "We're real happy to break streaks if it means we're making some progress, but this team does better when it just focuses on the task in front of them."

That next task is going down to Starkville, Miss., on Sunday and trying to get a win over the Bulldogs (14-7, 5-3), who just upset No. 9 Georgia there on Thursday behind 34 points from senior Alexis Rack.

"While it was a great win, we cannot focus on it too much because it's so tough on Sunday," Mitchell said, noting that Rack is second in the league in scoring with 20.3 points a game. "If we don't get our attention focused in the right direction, we'll get beat down there."

The coach said UK (17-3, 5-2) is playing with swagger and confidence right now.

That showed against LSU (14-5, 3-4) on Thursday.

"They were playing to win last night," he said. "I sensed no fear, especially on the offensive end. If anything, that was one of the biggest steps for our team. They played with a lot of confidence."

Dunlap is one of those who gained some confidence at LSU, scoring 24 points and grabbing nine rebounds. The junior is leading UK in SEC play, averaging 14.7 points and 6.4 rebounds.

But she said the celebration was over Friday morning and it was back to work Friday afternoon.

"It was a great win for us, but we can't live in the past," she said. "We had fun beating LSU, but now we have to worry about beating Mississippi State and then the next team after that."