UK Women's Basketball vs. Oklahoma NCAA Tournament

Guard Maci Morris (4) drives the ball down the court during the game against the Oklahoma Sooners on Monday, March 21, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Hunter Mitchell | Staff

The No. 17 UK women’s basketball team just wrapped up the month of November with a 5-1 record. The Cats made it look easy sometimes, winning four games by over 20 points, but things will not be so easy for the Cats once the month of December rolls around.

The Cats will start the month by playing the No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners on Dec. 1 at Memorial Coliseum. Just three days later, the Cats will then travel to No. 7 Louisville to take on the Cardinals at the KFC Yum! Center. 

These will be the second and third time the Cats played a ranked opponent this season, as they previously beat No. 14 Miami (FL) in the season opener.

On Saturday afternoon at Rupp Arena, two of the most storied programs in college basketball are set to go head-to-head when No. 1 UK hosts No. 11 UCLA in what is shaping up to be one of the biggest games of this nonconference season.

The game against the Sooners will be a rematch of last season’s NCAA tournament second round game, where the Cats beat the Sooners by 21 points. The Sooners return four of five starters from last year, including Peyton Little who is the leading scorer for the Sooners this year.

The Sooners play well in the paint, which has previously been a strong spot for the Cats. The Sooners average almost five rebounds more per game, and have double the amount of blocks per game than the Cats do. It will be important for Evelyn Akhator and Alyssa Rice to control the paint if the Cats want to hand Oklahoma their first loss of the season. 

Then on Dec. 4, the Cats will look to do exactly what UK football did last week, go into Louisville’s home-arena and pull off an upset. 

The Cardinals are led by guard Asia Durr, who has been a scoring machine so far for the Cards, averaging 18.7 points a game off 53 percent shooting, and 50 percent shooting from deep.

The Cardinal’s offense as a whole has been efficient as well, averaging 80 points and 19 assists per game. UK has played pretty well on the defensive side of the ball this year, limiting three teams to fewer than 50 points in the game, so it will be key for the Cats to do the best they can to slow down Louisville’s offense.

The Cats, however, have a pretty good offense themselves, with four players averaging double-digit points. One of those players is Makayla Epps, who needs just eight more points to pass Bria Goss for 17th all-time on UK’s career points list. Epps is coming off a 20-point outing against Samford.

After this week, the schedule gets easier for the Cats, but not by much. There are no teams that are currently ranked left in UK’s nonconference schedule, but the Cats will play at Rupp Arena against Arizona State, and at Duke, both proven teams, in December.