Kentucky Coach Matthew Mitchell isn't quite sure how to win a Southeastern Conference title.
He's never done it before, and UK hasn't done it in 30 years.
But Mitchell is confident in one thing: If sixth-ranked Kentucky is going to do it this season, it will have to be a good offensive rebounding team.
"As long as I've been around in the league, I haven't seen a champion not be a good offensive rebounding team," Mitchell said on Wednesday, a day before his UK team plays Ole Miss (12-10, 2-7 SEC) in Memorial Coliseum.
"That's just always been true with the great Tennessee teams, the great Georgia teams, the Auburn team that won," Mitchell said. "That just for whatever reason it always is an indicator of excellence in this conference."
It's something UK has become excellent at in conference play, leading the league with an average of 18 offensive rebounds a game.
Despite losing its leading rebounder last season in Victoria Dunlap, the Cats (20-2, 9-0) are able to crash the boards effectively as a group, especially the offensive boards.
Getting Connecticut transfer Samarie Walker has been a big boost to UK in that category. The 6-foot-1 sophomore has had at least seven rebounds in eight of the 12 games she's played this season.
During the past four games, she's averaged 9.5 rebounds, including a 15-board performance at Auburn.
Three UK players have more offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds. Two players have the same number of each.
But it's not just the post players, Mitchell noted.
"We can rebound from the guard position, and that helps you," he said. "Bernisha (Pinkett) can fly in there, A'dia (Mathies) can fly in there, Maegan (Conwright) can fly in there. We can go get some boards and it doesn't just have to be our four or our five."
Players such as 5-foot-8 Kastine Evans, who has 53 offensive boards to just 39 on the other end, have been a key this season.
"We might not be as traditional as some of those great Tennessee teams that had the big, big players that are getting in there close and putting them back in," he said, but UK is still effective, gobbling up an offensive rebound 43 percent of the time one is available (third in the SEC).
Pinkett, who has 26 offensive rebounds this season including 11 in SEC play, said the team is reminded of the stat's importance every day in practice.
"We do drills where you have to get a certain amount of rebounds in a certain amount of time or there's a consequence," she said "You just have to try your hardest to crash the boards and get a body on a player."
The sophomore guard said rebounding against bigger male practice players helps.
Mitchell has lamented the fact that UK doesn't always perform with precision in its half-court offense.
The Cats' ability to clean up its own messes has been key to the nine-game win streak that has put UK atop the SEC.
"It's just adding another dimension to your offense," Mitchell said. "You can get away without being the greatest execution team if you can really pound the boards."