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BBL: Kentucky women ready for Notre Dame

Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

(H-L photo/David Perry)

(H-L photo/David Perry)

Big Blue Links for Sunday:

Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader: “Lexington Catholic loyalties will be tested on Sunday. That’s when Natalie Novosel’s No. 12 Notre Dame team comes to Lexington to take on Keyla Snowden’s No. 9 Kentucky team. Both were star guards on the Lady Knights’ teams that won back-to-back state championships and went an impressive 71-2 in a two-year span.”

More Jennifer Smith of the H-L: “Mitchell used to be a traditionalist, too. He’d aim to sign a great post player or a great power forward or a perfect point guard. But in three seasons of not always signing those players, his views have evolved. “I just wanted people who wanted to come to Kentucky and we’d figure the rest out,” he explained. “We’d figure out what position you play, what we’re going to do. That’s sort of what happened with a couple of those classes and now we’ve created a style out of those types of players and now we’re looking for those types of kids that can swing and play different positions.”

Eric Lindsey of Cat Scratches: “No worries, though, Wildcat fans: Head coach Matthew Mitchell has found a quick cure in freshman do-it-all Maegan Conwright. The 5-foot-8 freshman guard out of Arlington, Texas, has played a significant role in her first two collegiate games, serving as a one-man band-aid for Mitchell’s injury-plagued team. Though she came in as the least heralded of UK’s five-player mega recruiting class, she’s made the largest contribution so far.”

Jerry Tipton of the H-L: “After the University of Kentucky battered Portland 79-48 in Friday night’s tuneup for the EA Sports Maui Invitational, Coach John Calipari assessed his team. “I do know we’re fast and athletic,” he said. “I do know we shoot it well. I do know we’re unselfish and will pass the ball. We’ve just got to get some guys a little tougher. When they get bumped, when they get bodied up, they shoot fadeaway hooks and stuff.”

Brett Dawson of the Courier-Journal: “The zone has been a four-letter defense for most of John Calipari’s career, but the University of Kentucky basketball coach has added one to his playbook, and the Wildcats might employ it during this week’s Maui Invitational. Just don’t ask them to explain it. The Calzone, apparently, defies description. “It’s a funky – it’s not a traditional zone,” Calipari said. “It’s a little bit of a crazy, funky zone that we’re going to start using, that I’ll probably use over in Maui. It’s a combination of a couple different zones that we’re just going to throw at people and see what happens.”

Glenn Logan of A Sea of Blue: “The thing that’s so great about this team is how far they are ahead of last year, execution-wise. This year’s Wildcats are chock full of great passers, and the result is the kind of ball movement we didn’t see out of last year’s team until near the end of the SEC season. I really love the combination of good ball handling with the constant threat of dribble penetration from anywhere. It puts a ton of pressure on the man-to-man defense, and the solid midrange game these new guys bring make playing a matchup zone a dicey proposition against them. Last year, Kentucky had one, but never both.”

Chip Cosby of the H-L: “Freshman Donte Rumph is already well over the 300-pound mark, and the same goes for third-year sophomore Mister Cobble. Another freshman, end Nermin Delic, is already one of the strongest players on the team. Freshman Brice Laughlin stands 6-foot-3 and, while listed at 280 pounds, appears to be much closer to the 300-pound range. Ditto for Elliott Porter.”

Evan Hilbert of AOL FanHouse: “This year, or so it appears thus far, not only will Kentucky have the ability to bury 3-pointers, but it will be a weapon. Each starter last night, and extending to Doron Lamb and Jon Hood off the bench, is a confident shooter that can be a viable outside threat. Last night on the road against Portland, Kentucky was 8-18 from deep, a solid follow-up to their 13-26 performance in their opener. Both of which are a far cry from the season-ending loss to West Virginia last year in which Kentucky missed its first 20 shots from long range, albeit against much less stout defensive pressure.”

Joe Rexrode of the Lansing State Journal: “Derrick Nix has some decisions to make, and he’ll do so while his Michigan State teammates play without him next week in the Maui Invitational. “Nix has got some personal issues and he is not suspended, we’ve just elected between him and I not to go to Maui,” Izzo said of the sophomore center from Detroit. “And he’s gonna have to figure out what those are and what he’s gonna do and what he wants to do.”

Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune: “During the second half, Jones loosened up and made some plays at both ends of the court. He followed a missed shot by a teammate with a two-hand flush, went baseline on Sikma for a rousing dunk and stuffed a post move by Portland backup Jasonn Hannibal. Jones was also blocked from behind by UP’s Kramer Knutson on a breakaway dunk attempt. “Terrence was OK, but I want him to be great,” Calipari said.”



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