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Matthew Mitchell on Cards: “We have a healthy respect for them.”

Matthew Mitchell (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

After losing two straight road games, Kentucky will return to Memorial Coliseum Sunday to host Louisville, a top five women’s team led by star junior guard Asia Durr.

“She’s just a very explosive player and very explosive scorer. You just try your very best to play as a team and try to, you know, make everybody aware while not just being totally consumed with one player,” Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said Friday.

“Last year in the game she had a really good game, but (Myisha) Hines-Allen was just a fantastic player. Really got 22 touches and 26 points and had a really monster game there. So, they are not a one player band there. They have a lot of good players.

“With Durr, you’re just trying to make it as tough as possible, make her earn as many points as possible and try to make her as uncomfortable as you can. There’s not a lot of situations where she looks uncomfortable. She’s an extremely explosive scorer.”

Durr is the leading scorer for the Cardinals this season averaging 17.8 points per game. She is hitting 44.8 percent of her shots, including 46.1 percent (35-of-17) from 3. Senior forward Myisha Hines-Allen is averaging 13.1 points per game with 9.3 rebounds per game,. Sophomore guard Jazmine Jones adds 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Dana Evans has a team-best 52 assists this season to go along with a team-high 23 steals.

The Cardinals are hitting 50.4 percent from the field and averaging 84.4 points per game, while opponents are scoring just 55.3 points.

Both Louisville and Kentucky have become established national powers over the last few years adding to the status of the rivalry.

On whether the success of both Louisville and Kentucky over the last few years has changed the rivalry…

“I can tell you getting prepared for them every year has definitely made me a better coach and stretched me. You really have to work hard to prepare for Louisville,” Mitchell said.

“They just are well-coached. So, I think over the years, for one week a year, just having to study them and try to get ready for them has definitely helped me improve as a coach.

“I think when you talk about any of the sports on campus and on their campus it’s always a game that means a lot to the players and to the fans. Last year was a really tough game. You could tell both teams wanted to win competing. So, that’s what it’s been almost without exception over the last 10 years.

 

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