Cats look to rebound at USC



UK Hoops is no stranger to quick turnarounds.

But the No.15 Cats (18-5, 7-3 Southeastern Conference) have had mixed results in games coming off short rest.

Out of UK’s five losses, two came three days or less after its previous game and one other was coming off a loss. UK will be coming off a loss and short rest Thursday.

Just three days after taking No.4 Tennessee to the wire, the Cats hit the road to take on South Carolina (13-10, 5-5 SEC) Thursday.

The Cats gave Tennessee all it could handle Monday night but ultimately fell short, being out rebounded 45-23.

But the Cats can take a lot out of its effort against the Lady Vols and put it to work at South Carolina.

The Cats forced 24 turnovers against Tennessee, an SEC high for the Volunteers. If UK can play with the intensity it did in Memorial Coliseum on Monday, than it could find success in Colonial Life Arena.

But UK head coach Matthew Mitchell says the history is in South Carolina’s favor.

“We are going to play a very difficult game, a very tough game with South Carolina,” Mitchell said. “They are a team we play twice every year and they are always tough in Columbia.

“They whipped us really good down there last year, and it will be important for us to be committed to the game plan like we have been the last couple of games.”

UK’s senior leader Victoria Dunlap will need to show up to give UK its best chance to win. In UK’s last three road games Dunlap has been the Cats anchor, averaging 18.3 points and nearly ten rebounds per game.

The last time Dunlap faced the Gamecocks she shot 10-for-18 for 20 points and pulled down eight rebounds.

But history is working in UK’s favor, as the Cats are familiar with South Carolina. When the Gamecocks visited Lexington less than a month ago, UK trailed at halftime but used a 23-3 run to close out South Carolina. The Gamecocks only made one field goal the last 8:08 of the game.

UK was on a losing streak heading into its first game with the Gamecocks but Mitchell said this game should be more of a challenge, even though UK was down by as many as seven in the second half in the first game.

“South Carolina has certainly made some progress since the last time we played them, so it should be a tough challenge for us and we are going to have to play our very best to win,” Mitchell said.