Sometimes the stars can align just right, leaving what is seemingly a wide open path to a land that you have never visited before.
You can’t help but wonder if that is exactly what UK Hoops is thinking right now after they took care of Oklahoma Monday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. How often is it that you can play the first 2 rounds on your home court, then advance to the sweet 16 to play on your other home court?
(Photos by Mike Cyrus unless otherwise noted)
That is exactly what the Cats have going for them now as they will prepare to walk down the street to play in the Sweet 16.
To sweeten the deal, the number 2 seed in the Cats’ bracket fell to 7 seed Washington minutes before the final horn sounded against the Sooners. That means Kentucky will be the favored seed when they face the Huskies on Friday.
There was certainly some Memorial magic Monday night as Oklahoma put up a good fight for nearly 3 quarters. Then Kentucky turned on the jets and literally routed the Sooners to close out the game for the 21-point victory.
Senior Janee Thompson, who has now officially played her last game in Memorial Coliseum, led all scores with 16 points. She also took charge when fellow guard Makayla Epps had a scare after a hard foul when it was unclear she could return.
Epps would return, literally shaking out the pain in her right shoulder to score a crucial 3 at the end of the 3rd quarter to blow the game open. She would finish with 13 points in what was by far a very quiet game for her.
Maci Morris set the pace for Kentucky scoring all of her 12 points by hitting her first 4 threes of the game to tie an NCAA tournament record of 7 consecutive (adding the 3 three’s she made in round one).
Kentucky’s defense was outstanding in the fourth quarter which aided their big run to seal the deal. Oklahoma would miss 11 straight shots before hitting a lone layup at the end of the game. As a team the Cats had 8 blocks and 3 steals to go along with forcing the Sooners into 13 turnovers.
It is now time to turn focus to Rupp Arena, this time for the UK Hoops team as they have a golden opportunity to reach their first Final Four if they can win two huge games on their other home floor.
The Wildcats will take on the Huskies of Washington Friday evening.