UK Hoops aims to continue winning streak at LSU



By Boyd Hayes | @KernelHayes

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Coming down the final stretch, No. 8 UK Hoops (23-3, 11-2 SEC) is second in the conference and almost in reach of the postseason.

Between the Cats and the regular season’s end are three games, with Louisiana State University (15-10, 6-6 SEC) first on deck.

Since losing at home to No. 13 Georgia on Feb. 3, the Cats have been tested time and again, and emerged victorious with each challenge: an overtime win on the road at Arkansas, a 22-point victory at Vanderbilt, a 16-point comeback at home to beat No. 15 South Carolina, and a last-minute victory at No. 10 Texas A&M.

Part of the UK surge has been due to the emergence of junior guard Kastine Evans as a starter, and the contribution of sophomore guard Bria Goss coming off the bench.

Prior to UK head coach Matthew Mitchell moving Evans to the starting lineup, she was averaging 3.7 points per game as a substitute, and Goss was averaging 8.8 as a starter.

Since trading places in the lineup, Evans has averaged 8.5 points per game, and Goss has averaged 13 per game.

Both have scored crucial baskets late in close games.

Senior guard A’dia Mathies leads the Cats in scoring with 15.7 points per game overall and 18.1 per game in SEC play.

In her final collegiate season, Mathies sits in third place on the all-time scoring list for UK Hoops, just two points behind former UK star Victoria Dunlap.

For LSU, 6-foot-5 junior forward Theresa Plaisance has been the statistical leader, averaging 17.6 points and eight rebounds per game.

Two other Tigers join Plaisance with double-digit scoring averages: senior guard Adrienne Webb (13.9 per game) and freshman Danielle Ballard (12.6 per game).

That production was on display when the Tigers beat No. 9 Georgia, 62-54, two weeks ago, as Plaisance contributed 13 points, Webb added 12 points and Ballard added 15 rebounds.

That victory came just days after narrowly losing to No. 12 Tennessee.

Since then, the Tigers have dismantled Mississippi State, 63-41, and now await matchups with Missouri on Friday and UK on Sunday.

The last time the Cats and the Tigers faced off, UK gave home fans a 73-60 victory at Memorial Coliseum.

Sunday’s game in Baton Rouge, La., is set to get under way at 3 p.m.