A roller coaster season for UK Hoops

With the regular season completed, the UK women’s basketball team (15-14, 5-9 Southeastern Conference) will need to win the SEC tournament to make the NCAA tournament. That hasn’t deterred UK head coach Matthew Mitchell, who still believes “this team has the capability of playing in the NCAA tournament.”

One of the brightest spots for the Cats was sophomore forward Victoria Dunlap. Dunlap met expectations as a preseason second-team All-SEC player by leading the league with 9.1 rebounds per game and leading the Cats with 12.7 points per game. Senior center Eleia Roddy said Dunlap’s play was “definitely” worthy of first-team All-SEC honors.

“It’s just great to have her as a teammate, because it gives you extra confidence,” Roddy said. “I can’t imagine what teams are facing when they have to face her.”

Senior guard Carly Ormerod has been one of the many Cats to miss games this season. Ormerod missed seven games. Photo by Kristin Sherrard | Staff

Senior guard Carly Ormerod has been one of the many Cats to miss games this season. Ormerod missed seven games. Photo by Kristin Sherrard | Staff

In her fifth year with the Cats, Roddy became a force after overcoming major injuries earlier in her career. She led the conference with 11 double-doubles and was fourth in the conference with 8.3 rebounds per game. Dunlap said she thought Roddy also had a major impact as a team leader, and that her play was even more special in the wake of all her previous injuries.

Ironically, Roddy would be one of the more consistent players on the team this season. After beginning the season with just 11 players, the Cats numbers began to dwindle. Junior center Jackie Sanders was suspended from the team before transferring mid-season and junior forward Lydia Watkins was lost for the year for unspecified personal reasons before conference play began. Senior guard Carly Ormerod missed seven games before conference play with sesamoiditis and turf toe.

More recently, sophomore center Catina Bett was suspended for a violation of team rules. Mitchell said she is still considered day-to-day. All the losses culminated when the Cats dressed just seven players in a 57-56 loss to Louisiana State on Feb. 22. Roddy said she believes the team could have finished much higher in the SEC standings if the team stayed healthy. The Cats will enter the SEC Tournament as the 10th seed.

“We’d probably be in the third- or fourth-seeded position in the SEC,” Roddy said.