UK women look to keep winning streaks alive at Arkansas


Head coach Matthew Mitchell of the Kentucky Wildcats yells to his team during the NCAA women’s basketball tournament Sweet 16 game against the Washington Huskies at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY on Friday, March 25, 2016. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff.

Chris Leach

The UK women’s basketball team is less than two weeks away from the SEC tournament in Greenville, S.C., and the Cats find themselves in a good position to meet their one of their postseason goals.

The Cats want to be a top four seed in the SEC tournament, so that they get a bye in the first two rounds of the tournament. The Cats are currently in fourth place in the standings, but the race for a top four seed is far from over.

Tennessee and Missouri, tied for fifth place, are only one game behind UK. The Vols and the Tigers have an easier schedule towards the finish, and are expected to finish their final four conference games with a 3-1 record.

UK is expected to finish with a 2-2 record in their final four conference games, as the last two games for the Cats will be against the No. 6 and No. 3 teams in the country, with the latter game being on the road.

With the Cats in such a tight race, and a harder finishing schedule than others, it will be crucial for the Cats to take care of the remaining easier games, and that starts with Feb. 16’s matchup at Arkansas.

The Razorbacks are tied for last place in the SEC with a 2-10 record, and have lost their last six. Arkansas has struggled offensively during their slump, as they have not scored more than 56 points in a game since Feb. 2.

The Cats will take two winning streaks with them into Fayetteville: a recent two game winning streak, and a five game win streak over the Razorbacks. The Cats have a good chance to leave the arena with those streaks intact, as UK is either virtually the same, or better in every stat category, except rebounding.

Arkansas averages 38.4 rebounds a game while UK only grabs 36.8 boards a game. The Cats have had rebounding issues numerous of times throughout the season, especially on the road. The Cats will once again need to take care of the glass if they want to avoid being upset.

The Cats will also have to slow down Jessica Jackson, who has scored in double figures in four of her last five outings for Arkansas.

Besides Jackson, Arkansas lacks another offensive threat, as Jackson is the only Razorback to average double-digit points. The second leading scorer for Arkansas, Malica Monk, averages 9.1 points per game.

The Cats have four players who average over 10 points a game, including Makayla Epps, who has averaged over 20 points a game in the last five contests. The senior has had her ups and downs this season, but has played well as of recent to turn UK’s season around after a 1-2 start in SEC play.

Tip-off in Fayetteville, Ark. is set for 8 p.m. Following that, the Cats will return home to take on Florida on Feb. 19 in the annual pink jersey game.