Growing list of problems dooms UK Hoops against hot-shooting Aggies

UK guard Linnae Harper (15) accidentally bumps into Texas A&U forward Achiri Ade (35) and trips, falls onto the floor as Texas A&U guard Courtney Walker (33) tries to snake around her during the first half of the UK women’s basketball game against Texas A&U in Memorial Coliseum on Monday, February 18, 2015. Photo by Marcus Dorsey

By Joshua Huff

[email protected]

As the shots stopped falling for UK, the Texas A&M lead grew.

And as the Aggies took control of the paint, the game became out of reach for the Cats who fell 69-81 to the Aggies on a frigid evening in Lexington, Ky.

“Matthew (Mitchell) caught us on our best night on the road all year,” Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair said.

Despite opening the game with an 8-2 lead, the Cats hit a wall with five minutes remaining in the first half as the Aggies jumped out to their first lead with around four minutes left behind back-to-back layups from forward Courtney Williams.

Once the Cats started missing shots, the Aggies slowed the tempo down and forced the ball into the paint. They dominated the stat sheet, outscoring UK 32-14 in the first half, mostly behind William’s 12 points.

“Tonight was all about lack of effort,” UK head coach Matthew Mitchell said.

The second half only got worse for UK.

With an offense that looked out of sorts and a shot that found more enjoyment bouncing off the rim than dropping in, the Cats fell down by 21 points and had no answer for the physicality of the Aggies down low.

It was such a mismatch in the paint that Texas A&M didn’t shoot a single three, and still at one time had a 23-point lead.

“I don’t know if the poor shooting gets us down … but it was just a poor defensive effort,” Mitchell said.

With a few games remaining on the schedule, and just one home game remaining, UK has hit a rut at the most inopportune time. And these past couple of games against Tennessee and Texas A&M have highlighted a growing list of inefficiencies:

  • Linnae Harper shoots the ball too much.
  • UK misses Janee Thompson.
  • The post play for UK is terrible, the Aggies outscored the Cats in the paint 52-32.
  • Alexis Jennings, Alyssa Rice, Jelleah Sidney and Azia Bishop combined for just 13 points against Tennessee and just 17 against Texas A&M.
  • Once Makayla Epps, Jennifer O’Neill and Bria Goss go cold, UK has no chance to win.
  • UK seemingly can only score in transition.
  • The Cats are incapable of playing physical, despite relying on a self-titled “40 minutes of dread” defense.
  • The zone is the kryptonite to UK’s offense.