Thompson, Cats Bounce Back with Win over LSU

Matthew Mitchell knew it was a trying time for his team, and a crucial one at that.

But with Kentucky mired in a three-game losing streak, he wasn’t looking for some radical shift. What was important, he said on Friday, was steadiness.

“You have to keep your head about you in the storm,” Mitchell said. “The wind’s blowing and the rain’s pounding down on you, and you just have to believe in what you’re doing.”

Janee Thompson provided some shelter on Sunday.

The senior point guard, arguably UK’s most important player, stayed true to what she’s done most of the season. She posted her third-career double-double and with a 16-point, 10-assist in a 70-58 bounce-back win over LSU.

“She had a great game and she really showed some great leadership today and some great fire,” Mitchell said. “Our leadership today from her standpoint was really, really good.”

On top of that leadership, Thompson also tied a career high with her assist total.

“I think the amount of assists I had, I have to give the credit to my teammates because they did a good job of knocking down shots and finishing layups and they gave me all the confidence in the world today to go out and play hard and play my game because I only got a few games left,” Thompson said. “And they were really just behind me the entire time.”

The performance came just three days after one of Thompson’s worst games of the season. She managed just three points on 1-of-7 shooting in a loss at South Carolina on Thursday, but put it in the past by hitting 6 of 11 from the field and 3 of 5 from 3-point range on Sunday.

“I know that was a tough, tough game for her Thursday night to go into that building after that injury (last season at South Carolina) and to come back today—shot the ball great,” Mitchell said. “Her shot’s looking really good and we just have to make sure we take good ones and we’ll be in good shape.”

As well as she played, Thompson was still thinking postgame about the way UK was outscored 22-12 in the fourth quarter. UK allowed a lead that grew to as large as 25 points to be cut to 10 at one point late. 

“It was a lot of fun, but we just gotta keep getting better on the defensive end,” Thompson said.