UK women

Posted by admin | UK women | | Tuesday 20 March 2012 1:24 pm

Keyla Snowden’s late basket saves UK women against Green Bay.

Each point, each possession was painful.Kentucky seemed to have complete control and then chaos ensued in the form of turnover after turnover.Green Bay forced the second-seeded Cats into a season-high 34 miscues and came back from 17 points down to take the lead in the final two minutes.But then senior guard Keyla Snowden found a small crack of light in the smothering Phoenix zone and managed to hit the go-ahead jumper with 16 seconds to play at Hilton Coliseum.The ball bounced on every part of the rim.”I was praying,” Snowden said when asked what went through her mind.Her shot and then two subsequent free throws lifted the second-seeded Cats over Green Bay 65-62 and propelled them to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.On Sunday, the Cats will face No. 11 seed Gonzaga, which upset No. 3 seed Miami.Sophomore forward Samarie Walker scored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Cats (27-6). Snowden had 13 points and A’dia Mathies 10, all in the first half. Kastine Evans also added 10 points in the win.An emotional Matthew Mitchell said afterward there was no way to draw up the big play to win the game.”We just had to let the players make plays,” he said. “I just kept believing and telling them to believe in each other.”He didn’t have a chance to draw anything up since Kentucky used its final timeout with five minutes left in the game.The second half was a stark contrast to the first half, when UK had a seemingly comfortable 17-point lead against Green Bay.But the Phoenix rose up and used a 13-2 run early to cut the Cats’ lead to five points midway through the second half.”We got them to speed up and play fast the way they did it to us in the first half,” said Green Bay’s Sarah Eichler, who had 16 points.Senior Julie Wojta added 16 points and eight rebounds. She had 10 steals, all in the second half for the Phoenix (31-2), who saw their 11-game win streak snapped.UK answered the runs several times before the Phoenix finally got the lead, their first of the game, on Megan Lukan’s made free throw with 1:56 to go.

“It felt like we had all the momentum going our way,” Wojta said later.

But Kentucky was able to get some of that momentum back, taking several big charges in the waning minutes.

“We made some plays,” Mathies said. “Our defense made some plays. We got defensive stops. We won with defense.”

Green Bay (31-2) nearly won with its defense, which had Kentucky matching its season high of 27 turnovers by midway through the second half.

The Cats threw the first punch to start the game, using a 16-2 run to grab a 21-6 advantage early in the half. Five players scored in that spree and UK’s defense forced the Phoenix to miss eight straight shots.They didn’t get to double digits until just more than 10 minutes into the half on Hannah Quilling’s made free throws.UK’s speed and athleticism caused problems for the Phoenix, who shot 26.7 percent in the first half to 55.6 percent for the Cats.”That was a beautiful half of basketball,” Mitchell said.It was followed by an ugly half of basketball, which included two of the nation’s top defensive teams forcing each other into a combined 58 turnovers.”Before the game, we talked about trust,” Mitchell said afterward. “To trust in their ability, their preparation, their instincts. … They wanted to win and they did it.”

DePaul women

Posted by admin | DePaul women | | Tuesday 20 March 2012 1:21 pm

DePaul women fall short against Tennessee, 63-48

DePaul coach Doug Bruno gave Pat Summitt a big hug before the opening tip and a big dose of credit after the final buzzer.The way he sees it, Tennessee gave DePaul a big assist over the years — even if it ushered the Blue Demons out of the NCAA women’s tournament on Monday night.

Shekinna Stricklen scored 17 points and Glory Johnson grabbed a career-high 21 rebounds to lead Summitt and Tennessee past DePaul 63-48 in the second round of the Des Moines Regional.

Vicki Baugh scored 16 for the Lady Volunteers (26-8), who grabbed a double-digit lead early in the second half and closed out a physical game in which players seemed to hit the floor about as often as they hit shots. Now, they’re headed to the round of 16, where they’ll meet third-seeded Delaware or 11th-seeded Kansas on Saturday.

DePaul, meanwhile, is still trying to get to Tennessee’s level.

As successful as the Blue Demons have been over the years, cracking the Top 25 and making regular appearances in the tournament, the gap still exists. Even so, they’re in a better spot because of what they learned from Summitt’s program.

“The commitment and program growth at DePaul has ties to coach Summitt and coach Summitt’s willingness to compete against DePaul when we were a fledgling program,” Bruno said. “It helped me recruit players, it helped me teach own players what the top was all about.”

The Blue Demons were within five at halftime, but Tennessee stretched it to 12 early in the second half and 42-29 after a hook shot by Baugh with 11:41 remaining. The Lady Vols remained in control from there and moved closer toward their ultimate goal — a 19th Final Four and ninth NCAA title.

The powerhouse program hasn’t been that far since it repeated as champions in 2008, a nearly four-year drought that might as well be four decades given its history.

If the Lady Vols make it to Denver, that would be quite the story.

Summitt announced in early August that she has early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type, and she might not coach beyond this season. There have been ups and downs on the court, too, but Tennessee appears to be in stride at the moment, with six straight wins after improving to 20-0 against the Blue Demons.

Tennessee routed DePaul in December in New York and prevailed this time on the court where the Blue Demons’ men’s team plays most of its home games.

The Lady Vols shot just over 37 percent but prevailed anyway thanks to a huge rebounding advantage, particularly in the second half. The final tally was 51-31 after Tennessee outrebounded the Blue Demons by two in the first half.

A big reason for that was Johnson. She simply controlled the glass on both ends of the court.

“My team relies on me to be a presence in the paint, and when I’m not scoring, I try to do my best to rebound offensively and defensively,” said Johnson, who had eight points. “I know that’s something I can control. It’s effort. I try to put the effort and heart into defense and rebounding.”

Anna Martin scored 20 points for DePaul (23-11), but a difficult season came to an end. The Blue Demons were hit hard by injuries, losing star Keisha Hampton (knee), and were forced to go with a seven-player rotation.

“I think a lot of people counted us out, but we’re not that kind of program and we proved that in making the NCAA tournament in the first place and then pushing through into the second round,” forward Katherine Harry said.