No. 19 Kentucky 80, Vanderbilt 71

Courtside at Memorial Gymnasium …

  • Flurry of events in the last few possessions. Media timeout definitely needed (this reporter has to take a breath). UK up 68-61 with Pinkett headed to the stripe for two. There is 3:41 to play.
  • Vandy bench gets a technical as a second foul is called under the Vandy basket. UK is up 65-57 with 5:43 to play after O’Neill makes both free throws.
  • Cats score 10 unanswered to grab a 60-50 lead with 8:20 to play.
  • Henderson picks up two quick fouls and is out with five with 8:39 to go.
  • Snowden takes a charge and as the trailer Dunlap hits a three-pointer that gets UK pumped up and gives the Cats a 57-50 lead with 9:04 to play. Vandy’s down to one timeout.
  • Teams tied up again 48-48 with 11:36 left.
  • UK’s press, which fueled a 30-5 run in the Cats’ win in Lexington last month, has lifted them again this half and they have e 45-43 lead with 14:39 to go. Balcomb calls a timeout in response.
  • A well-rested starting group gave UK a second wind in the second half scoring seven unanswered to start the half and give the Cats their first lead since the 14:40 mark of the first half. The teams are tied 41-41 with 16 minutes to go and Mathies will at the stripe out of this timeout.
  • 29. Yes, 29 fouls called in the first half. That would explain the lack of offensive flow and the foul trouble for both teams.
  • HALFTIME: VANDERBILT 35, KENTUCKY 32: UK has to be pleased to be down just three points going into the locker room considering most of its offense spent the final half of the first half on the bench in foul trouble. The freshmen were a boost, including O’Neill’s eight straight points down the stretch.
  • O’Neill has been Cats’ main source of offense in the past few minutes, She has four points and is headed to the line for two more potentially. Cats trail 28-23 with 3:47 to go. Tiffany Clark leads VU with 13 points. Christina Foggie has 12 points.
  • Cats now have three starters with two fouls each: Dunlap, Mathies, Snowden all out with 7 minutes to go.
  • Dunlap just picked up her second foul and takes a seat with UK trailing 19-17 with 7:56 to play. UK’s outside shooting has improved, but the SEC Player of the Year is 0-for-4 and has missed three free throws.
  • Commodores extend their lead to 19-12 and Mitchell calls a frustrated timeout. Mathies also just took a seat with her second foul with 11 minutes still left in the first half.
  • Vandy uses an 8-0 run to grab a 17-12 lead with 11:48 to go in first half. Dunlap is headed to the line out of this timeout.
  • New lineup already has paid dividends. Cats have made all three shot attempts and lead 7-4 with 15:56 left in the first half. Snowden hit a three-pointer, breaking her 0-for-12 streak. It also happened to be her 1,000th career three-pointer.

Two big pieces of news before the game gets underway …

  • Vanderbilt’s senior leader and second-leading scorer Jence Rhoads (12.5 ppg) will not play after suffering a sprained ankle.
  • UK is trying a different starting lineup, changing out Carly Morrow for Keyla Snowden and Bernisha Pinkett is in place of Kastine Evans.

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at jsmith3@herald-leader.com.
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