LEXINGTON, Ky. – Four Wildcats scored in double-figures as the Kentucky women’s basketball team cruised to a 74-35 victory over Furman Saturday afternoon in front of a season-high 4,139 fans in Memorial Coliseum. Junior Amani Franklin (Stone Mountain, Ga.) led the Cats in scoring for the third consecutive game with a game-high 15 points and eight rebounds while sophomore Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) added 14 and eight rebounds as well. Senior Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) and sophomore Carly Morrow (Chattanooga, Tenn.) followed with 12 and 11 points, respectively. The 39-point win was the largest margin of victory in the Matthew Mitchell era.
The Wildcats (5-3) jumped on the Paladins (3-4) right out of the gate, using a 20-2 run midway through the first half to build a 21-point halftime lead (39-18). Eight of the nine players that saw action scored at least two points in the opening half. The Cats, playing without senior point guard Carly Ormerod for the second straight game, was led by sophomore point guard Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.). She scored all eight of her points in the first 20 minutes.
“We were well balanced today,” Mitchell said. “I thought it all started with our defensive energy and everybody played really hard. We didn’t have a lot of time to go over Furman’s offense and we really had to communicate today. I think that our defense fueled our offense today and we were able to get transition baskets. That was a great win for us today and we needed it badly to bounce back from a couple of losses.”
Kentucky’s defense held Furman to just 35 points and 23.1 percent shooting (13-of-50) from the field. The Cats also took care of the basketball against the Paladins, committing a season-low eight turnovers, including just turning the ball over once in the second half. UK forced 23 turnovers and scored 22 points off those miscues. The Cats blocked a season-high 10 shots in the game with a career-high five blocks coming from senior Jenn’e Jackson (Radcliff, Ky.)
“Turnovers were something that hurt us on the road Tuesday and Thursday night,” Mitchell said. “For us to be a good team we will have to take care of the basketball and I thought our players made better decisions today. I am very pleased with that stat.”
Morrow hit one of her career high-tying three three-pointers to open the second half, sparking a 9-2 Wildcat run. Franklin also hit a three-pointer during that span, giving UK a 49-22 lead with 17:17 remaining in the game. The Cats eventually pulled ahead by as many as 44 points (74-30) with 4:23 to go and went on to win, 74-35.
Kentucky won the rebounding battle 46-34 and outscored the Paladins 34-10 in points in the paint. The Cats improved their field-goal percentage to 37.3 percent (28-of-75) for the game and hit a perfect 11-of-11 from the free-throw line.
Furman was led by Lee Stephens with 10 points and six rebounds.
This was the first meeting between Kentucky and Furman. UK is now 11-0 all-time vs. teams from the Southern Conference.
After a six-day break from action for final exams, the Wildcats return to Memorial Coliseum Friday, Dec. 12 to face East Tennessee State at 7 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio and TV) and FSN South.