Hoops boosts confidence in road win


Joshua Huff Columnist

By Joshua Huff

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UK Hoops can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

After three straight losses, the Cats were in danger of slipping even further down the SEC standings, jeopardizing a potential bye in the conference tournament.

While a bye remains a question whether than a definite, the 56-51 win against Arkansas on Thursday helped UK more than just in standings, but also in confidence. Facing a Razorbacks defense that ranks in the top four in the conference, the Cats shook off their past game struggles and defeated Arkansas at its own game: on defense.

UK held Arkansas to under 27 percent shooting on the night and 32 percent from the three. The Razorbacks shot 25 threes, making just eight. In a complete reversal, UK won the points in the paint margin, holding a 38-16 advantage over the Razorbacks; an advantage that may have been magnified due to the number of threes Arkansas shot.

At this point, UK will take any victory.

During the Ole Miss game, the Rebels knew they could drive to the rim on the Cats, a focus that UK solidified on Thursday as the Razorbacks only made 11 shots within the perimeter.

After poor post play in previous games, it’s a relief to see that senior forward Azia Bishop had a game-high 12 points and six rebounds. It was, however, the play of Bria Goss that solidified the victory for UK. Her steal late in the game was a key play in the win.

After scoring just one point against Ole Miss on Monday, Makayla Epps followed up with another low-scoring affair, shooting 2-for-7 for just four points. Her performance, however, may be a direct result of the lingering injuries that she has dealt with throughout the season.

Senior Jennifer O’Neill scored 11 points and sophomore Linnae Harper added eight and a not-surprising seven rebounds.

As great as the victory was, all will be for naught if UK cannot defeat the titan of the SEC, South Carolina, during Senior Night. If the Cats’ defense can play the way it did against Arkansas, then nothing is out of the realm of possibility