#6 Kentucky Women's Basketball 2013-2104 Preview

Kentucky Wildcats

Overall Rank: #6
Conference Rank: #2 SEC

#6 Kentucky Women's Basketball 2013-2104 Preview

Kentucky Team Page


Kentucky returns four starters and an absolutely loaded freshman class giving the Wildcats seven former McDonald’ All-Americans on their roster. The Wildcats won 30 games in 2012-13 and have quickly turned into one of the most exciting offensive teams in all of women’s college basketball under the watch of Head Coach Matthew Mitchell.

2012-13 Record:  30-6, 13-3
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach:  Matthew Mitchell
Coach Record:  144-62 at Kentucky, 174-91 overall

Kentucky’s dynamic offense can be attributed to pressuring teams for a full forty minutes, which allowed the Wildcats to be one of the best in the nation causing turnovers last season.  They also can punish you offensively and are led by senior Denesha Stallworth.  The Cal transfer made an instant impact last season scoring over 12 points per game and shooting just over 48 percent from the field. Samarie Walker will be the other key cog to the inside game.  She averaged nearly a double double just over eight points and eight rebounds per game. In the backcourt the Wildcats will be led by Jennifer O’Neill at the point guard position. She averaged just under 11 points per game last season and was very adept at distributing the basketball to Stallworth and Walker, making the offense very dynamic and difficult for opposing teams to match up against.  Also, freshman Linnae Harper should make an instant impact with her offense in the backcourt and help open things up down in the paint for Stallworth and Walker.

The field goal defense is going to be a big point of emphasis for Kentucky. The Wildcats allowed opponents to shoot just about 40 percent from the field last season. That is something that you can survive during the regular season, but in the post season when it becomes more of a half-court type of game and possessions become more limited, is when it can be problematic. The other key thing to address for the Wildcats will be their free throw shooting as that came in at just around 70 percent last season. If the Wildcats can bump that up by a couple of percentage points, they should be able to average over 80 points per game and become even more lethal to stop offensively.

Final Projection:
Kentucky has a dynamic out of conference schedule which starts with an interesting opener at Marist.  Marist is always an under the radar mid-major team that can rise up and beat a top team on a given day. A potential final four preview with Louisville on December 1 will be one of the top early season matchups in all of women’s basketball, along with a neutral site matchup in Arlington, Texas against Baylor on December 6. The conference schedule is a bit road heavy in regard to key matchups. The Wildcats will have to go to Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas A&M during the conference slate with LSU and South Carolina highlighting the home conference schedule. If Coach Mitchell can meld all of this great talent together and get great leadership from the upper classmen Stallworth, Walker and O’Neill, the Wildcats should be in an excellent position to reach the Final Four in Nashville. The culture of Kentucky women’s basketball definitely has changed and now the fans of Kentucky should have two of the most entertaining basketball programs in the country on an annual basis.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Kastine Evans, Senior, Guard, 4.3 points per game
Jennifer O’Neill, Redshirt Junior, 10.9 points per game
Linnae Harper, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Denesha Stallworth, Senior, Forward, 12.5 points per game
Samarie Walker, Senior, Forward/Center, 8.7 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.4 (8, 2)
Scoring Defense: 57.9 (82, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.8 (57, 7)
Field-Goal Defense:  39.7 (229, 12)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game:  6.7 (39, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.8 (68, 4)
 Free-Throw Percentage: 70.1 (138, 5)
Rebound Margin: 3.3 (82, 6)
Assists Per Game: 13.2 (135, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.5 (82, 5)

Madness 2014 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#11 DeNesha Stallworth
#22 Samarie Walker

Madness 2013 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#4 Linnae Harper
#28 Makayla Epps
#68 Kyvin Goodin-Rogers


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