UK Women's Basketball

UK women's notes: Cats' confidence falling while shots aren't

Kentucky's Keyla Snowden shot between LSU's Jeanne Kenney (5), left, and Taylor Turnbow (35). Snowden said UK shooters are "lacking confidence."
Kentucky's Keyla Snowden shot between LSU's Jeanne Kenney (5), left, and Taylor Turnbow (35). Snowden said UK shooters are "lacking confidence." HERALD-LEADER

NASHVILLE — Kentucky won its first Southeastern Conference championship in 30 years behind its defense.

The Cats forced a school-record 850 turnovers this season and led the SEC in steals and turnover margin, among many other things.

But half-court offense hasn't come easily for Kentucky, which didn't shoot better than 46.5 percent in any SEC game this season.

When teams like Louisiana State, which topped Kentucky 72-61 in the SEC Tournament semifinals on Saturday, slow the game down, the Cats struggle.

"We were patient with the ball," LSU's LaSondra Barrett explained. "We wanted to dictate our tempo of the game."

Kentucky has two weeks before the NCAA Tournament begins to figure out its offensive woes.

"We need to get in the gym and get some shots up and get confidence back," senior guard Keyla Snowden said. "A lot of people are lacking confidence in their shots, their abilities right now."

UK doesn't need to go back to the drawing board, but it needs to get back on the practice floor.

"Today is disappointing," Coach Matthew Mitchell said, "but we need to bounce back and really try to focus in practice and try to take advantage of some of this time we have off to maybe regain some confidence shooting."

Post problems

Louisiana State is long on post players and short on guards, so there was no question about what the Tigers wanted to do.

"We tried to really establish our inside game because we're big," LSU Coach Nikki Caldwell said. "We're going to take advantage of our size."

Kentucky's post players got in early foul trouble trying to play with the Tigers and it meant a long night for the Cats.

Forward Samarie Walker played just 10 minutes in foul trouble. Azia Bishop had just 15 minutes with foul issues of her own. Brittany Henderson and Samantha Drake had eight minutes each.

The Tigers outrebounded Kentucky 38-23, with more defensive rebounds (26) than UK had for the game.

The plan to pressure guards Snowden, A'dia Mathies and Bria Goss worked, Mitchell said.

"We didn't get much production out of our post game today, could not make shots around the basket."

Free-throw woes

Kentucky players and coaches stopped short of blaming officials for the loss, but many of them noted the disparity in free-throw attempts.

"We did a whole lot of fouling today," Mathies said. "They shot 30 more free throws than we did and that was a key part."

LSU had 32 free-throw attempts in the second half, double the number UK had for the game.

The Tigers ended up with more free-throw attempts (43) than field-goal attempts (39) in the win.

"You'd like to see the free throws a little bit more even," Mitchell said. "But when you have it like that, you have to find some way to pull it out. We had a chance to win today; just couldn't get it done."

Also, the Tigers were able to convert those freebie points, hitting 79.1 percent of their shots to just 46.2 percent for UK from the stripe.

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