December 1 Edition on News Stands Wednesday!

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UK Hoops — Little Sister, Big Sister

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Big Sister, Little Sister—By John Huang

The KFC Yum Center in Louisville remains one of the nicest venues in all of college basketball. Completed in 2010, the state-of-the-art facility serves as the home of both the University of Louisville’s Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams. It just so happens that in this particular year, both games in the UK series will be played on the Cardinal’s home court, so I’m preparing for the pre-Christmas showdown between the men’s teams by scouting out the women’s contest three weeks earlier.

Approaching Louisville from the interstate, the Yum Center sits impressively along the banks of the Ohio River. Every time I drive by, it reminds me of a beached whale swallowing up visiting opponents in a vortex of obnoxious fans and poor officiating. The Jorts game notwithstanding, my previous visits here as a spectator have always left me with a bad taste in my mouth and my shirt soaked with spilled beer. We’ll see if my vantage point from media row this time around changes my perspective. A Sunday clash between two nationally ranked rivals who don’t like each other all that much should provide for a very interesting storyline.

Just a couple of days earlier, UK Hoops pulled off an impressive 82-68 victory over the #12 ranked Oklahoma Sooners in Memorial Coliseum. Down 39-37 at the half, Makayla Epps and Maci Morris fueled a spirited 2nd half effort that had the 4400 Cat fans in attendance in a continuous full throated roar. Epps and Morris scored 30 and 19 points respectively, helping the 17th ranked Wildcats gradually pull away for a confidence building win over a skilled and well coached Big 12 opponent. The 19 points by Morris represented a career high as the sophomore from Bell County also added a career high 8 rebounds.

After the game, I asked Epps about the upcoming challenge against the 7th ranked Cardinals. “Oh buddy, I don’t care if we win a game all year, but that game Sunday, I need it,” said the Lebanon native. “It’s Kentucky versus Louisville, so it will be fun win, lose or draw.”

Well, Sunday’s here and I’m sure the game would have been a lot more fun for Makayla had the Cats won this Battle for the Bluegrass. Unfortunately for her and the rest of the BBN, Kentucky just didn’t have enough to overcome a talented opponent on their hostile home court as UL prevailed 69-67 in overtime. The tension-packed game had a distinct tournament type feel. The 12,245 rabid fans saw the Cards jump out early before the Cats slowly chipped away and battled back to take a quick third quarter lead. It was nip and tuck the rest of the way until the Cards opened the extra period with a critical 3-pointer and held on for the win. Makayla Epps led Kentucky with 22 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists. Taylor Murray added 21 points and 5 rebounds in the hard-fought affair. The loss drops UK’s season record to 6-2 with both defeats coming on the road.

Unlike the Football Cats two weeks earlier, there wasn’t the soothing sweetness of upsetting your rivals on their home turf in front of a manic crowd. The loss snaps the Wildcat’s five game winning streak over the Cards and temporarily terminates their reign as king of this series. Every once in a while, you just have to let your little sister win.

As for me, I escaped this time from the Yum Center unscathed—my shirt lager free. The UL media relations team was extremely hospitable, feeding me quite well and giving me a seat close to the action—albeit sandwiched between the ear-splitting pep band and cheerleaders waving their pom-poms. Despite the tough loss, the Cats should be proud of their effort and I left the arena with a gleam in my eye, a skip in my step, and a smile on my face. I’m just hoping for somewhat different results when big brother and little brother tip it off the next time I return.

This blog posting was originally submitted as a UK Basketball Column for Nolan Group Media publications.

If you enjoy my writing, please continue to visit me at www.huangswhinings.com and follow me on Twitter @KYHuangs.

 

Love Stabs Ex-Husband

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Jenny Love, age 29, of Lake Road (London) was arrested after deputies were dispatched to a complaint that Love stabbed her ex-husband, Bradley Gossett. Deputies learned he had allegedly been stabbed in the chest by Love, who was still inside the residence. There had been a domestic argument, which apparently led to the assault.


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Kentucky Basketball — Ruined by Bruins

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Ruined By Bruins—By John Huang

My first memories of basketball other than UK were of the mighty Bruins of UCLA. As an inquisitive 8-year-old, I remember my dad introducing me to the likes of Lew Alcindor, Sidney Wicks, Curtis Rowe, the Wizard of Westwood and their slew of championship banners hanging from the rafters in their fabled Pauley Pavilion. Imagine my excitement last year when I was finally able to complete a long-awaited pilgrimage to the storied west coast venue to watch my #1 ranked Wildcats take on the homestanding Bruins. There was only one problem. The Cats never really showed up. Due to some anemic outside shooting, Marcus Lee’s mystery concussion and forgettable performances from Skal Labissiere and Alex Poythress, UCLA put an 87-77 whoopin’ on the Wildcats. The game wasn’t as close as the final score indicated as UK’s interior weaknesses were fully exposed from the get go. The lopsided contest represented a microcosm of the struggles of the entire season and a harbinger of difficulties to come.


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