Cats drop first game of season to LSU, 66-36

LEXINGTON, Ky -- LSU and Kentucky met Sunday afternoon in a battle between two of the three undefeated teams in the Southeastern Conference in front of a sellout crowd in Memorial Coliseum. Sporting two national player of the year candidates and a #3 ranking, LSU flexed their muscles in route to a 66-36 thrashing of the young Wildcats.

Competing in the SEC when it comes to women's hoops is never easy. When you're a young program opening conference play against the #3 team in the nation, it's even harder. Mickie DeMoss' young team learned a tough lesson today. For as much as the Kentucky program has improved in DeMoss' short tenure, it still has room to improve even more.

The ‘Cats (8-1) faced an LSU (7-0) team which boasts defending national player of the year, Seimone Augustus, and Sylvia Fowles, another pre-season nominee for the Wooden Award and the Wade Trophy. The ‘Cats jumped out early on LSU, feeding off the intensity of the sellout crowd. But LSU didn't falter. After the first TV timeout, LSU took control and never looked back.

The offense struggled greatly for the ‘Cats today. Seeming somewhat timid and intimidated by LSU's size and speed, UK shot 29.2% from the field. The 6'6" Fowles closed the lane, neutralized UK's inside presence, swatted four blocks, and snagged 12 boards. On the outside, LSU covered up the sharp shooting Jenny Pfeiffer, only allowing her to get free for one shot. The Lady Tigers also forced UK into 20 turnovers while limiting them to a low of seven assists. The one bright spot on the offensive end was SEC freshman of the week, Carly Omerod. Omerod went 4-4 from the 3-pt. line, totaling 14 points.

Augustus proved why she is the best player in the nation. Augustus poured in 23 points for the Lady Tigers, draining silky smooth jumper after jumper. She would not be stopped and led LSU to the 66-36 victory.

After the game, Coach Demoss said it was important for the Cats to take something from this loss. "We've got to learn to compete. We've got to learn to be able to step up and knock shots down in big games. I was just real disappointed we didn't finish better. I know LSU is one of the top – if not the top – defensive teams in the country. It just shows we've got to have people step up. We have to get tougher."

DeMoss also stated, "We've got to learn from this. You get a 30-point butt-kicking and you need to get something out of it. We'll learn from it. We've talked to them about practicing at a different tempo offensively. After the game I said now you understand why in, our shooting and offensive drills, we want you to play at another tempo. Because I think LSU plays at another tempo. I think that's why our shots were a little off, because now we're rushing our shots a little bit.

No doubt the loss was disappointing, but DeMoss will have her ‘Cats back in the saddle soon. The ‘Cats take on Tennessee State on December 22 @ 7:00 PM EST. Games can be heard on the ‘net at www.ukathletics.com and sports.yahoo.com.


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