Sure, Kentucky played an intense game, made key shots and got clutch plays from several different players. However, Kentucky may well have won the game the day before when it practiced at Rupp Arena.
No, it wasn't the extra shooting the team got in or anything really basketball related. Instead, it was the team building exercise coach Mickie DeMoss put the team through that helped.
"Before the Tennessee game, we did a carpet building activity where you had to work as a team," Pfeiffer said.
She went on to explain that the team had to stay connected and work together to get from one end of Rupp Arena to the other without stepping off the carpet around the outside of the court. "It's kind of hard to explain how that helped us, but in hindsight it made a huge difference," Pfeiffer said. "Instead of just focusing on playing Tennessee, it helped us grow as a team."
DeMoss is big on team building. That's why she cooks wings for the team at pregame tailgate parties during football season or has players over to her house to eat at holidays. She's had the team read a motivational book and discuss it this season.
"We usually do certain team building things once a week. It can be something on or off the court," Pfeiffer said. "Those things have helped us tremendously. This was a completely new team this year. We had a lot of challenges to overcome. The biggest thing about this team is the camaraderie we have on and off the court. I don't care what anybody says. If you have team chemistry off the court, it will carry over to the court. I think that has been the biggest thing in our success this year."
Can that team building and good chemistry continue now that UK has five of its remaining games on the road starting with Thursday's game at No. 14 Georgia?
"I have no doubt that it will," Pfeiffer said. "We're proud of what we have done, but we want to do a lot more. We have a chance to make this a special season. We've already had some big wins. However, we all know now what counts is how we finish the season and we're determined to do the same things the rest of the year that have made us successful to this point."
Want to learn more about Jenny? KSR's magazine releasing in mid-March will have a profile on Jenny. In addition, Steve John will profile Eleia Roddy in the same issue. There will also be articles on men's hoops and men's football, information you won't find elsewhere. Subscribe today.