OXFORD, Ohio – The Kentucky women’s basketball team used a dominant post presence that out-scored Miami (Ohio) 46-18 in the paint, and forwards Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) and Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) both notched double-doubles Saturday to lead the Wildcats to their fifth consecutive victory, an 80-55 win against the RedHawks in Millett Hall.
Kentucky (10-5), playing its third game in five days, placed five players in double-figure scoring for the third consecutive game and had two players record double-doubles for the third straight contest. The Wildcats, who are 250-19 since 1974 when scoring 80 or more points, shot a sizzling 53.3 percent (32-of-60) from the floor in the game, their second-highest shooting efficiency of the season, and out-rebounded Miami (8-5) 46-28. Each of the nine players who dressed for the game scored at least two points.
“We’re definitely proud of our five-game winning streak and I’m really proud of the way we won today,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “We won in convincing fashion over a good basketball team in Miami. It’s always tough to go on the road and win against a quality team. To perform the way we did today is really, really encouraging.”
Dunlap notched her seventh career double-double and her third this season with a game-high 20 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. She becomes the sixth player in school history to join the 20/15 club and the first player to accomplish such a feat since Jennifer Humphrey did so in an SEC Tournament first-round win against Arkansas in 2007. The Wildcats improved to 13-5 when Dunlap scores in double-digits, including a 3-0 mark when she hits the 20-point plateau. She has scored in double figures in seven of her last eight games, including six consecutive.
“Vic is just so versatile for us both offensively and defensively,” Mitchell said. “She is just a really valuable player for our team and she came to play today.”
Senior forward/center Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) recorded her seventh consecutive double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. She has now recorded seven consecutive double-doubles, making her just the second player in school history to record seven consecutive double-doubles. Former Wildcat All-American Valerie Still recorded seven or more consecutive double-doubles on four different occasions during her storied career, including a school-record 11 straight double-doubles in the 1982-83 campaign.
Sophomore guard Carly Morrow (Chattanooga, Tenn.) charted her third consecutive game with three three-pointers, finishing with 11 points. Junior guard Amani Franklin (Stone Mountain, Ga.) reached double-figure points for the fourth time in the last five games with 11 points to complement a career-high-tying two blocks, while junior forward Brittany Edelen (Springfield, Ky.) added 10 points and tied her career high with two steals.
Sophomore center Catina Bett (Gadsden, Ala.) tied her career high with eight points, while sophomore point guard Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.) tied her career high with seven assists.
Kentucky opened the second half on an 11-2 run, including five points from Morrow during that stretch, to go ahead 56-37 with 15:01 left in the game.
“To start the second half, I really wanted for us to put the hammer down early,” Mitchell said. “That was probably the best job we have done to start a second half. That’s what you want to do against a good team on the road. If you have a chance to create some separation, that’s what you need to do and I was very proud of the Wildcats for doing that today.”
From there, the RedHawks began rallying with five consecutive points from Briana Dunlap to cut within 14, 56-42, with 12:29 remaining. After a pair of free throws by Roddy put the Cats up by 16, 58-42, with 12:16 left, Miami used a 6-0 run over the next 2:14 to whittle its deficit down to 10, 58-48. A lay-up by Smith sparked a 9-2 run by the Wildcats that put them ahead 67-50 with 5:10 remaining after a pair of free throws by Edelen. Kentucky closed the game on a 13-5 run and Miami got no closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
The Wildcats took a 45-35 lead into the locker room after shooting an impressive 52.9 percent (18-of-34) from the floor in the opening period. Kentucky also did a good job taking care of the ball, committing just seven turnovers in the first half.
Kentucky raced out to a 10-3 advantage, including a 5-0 run to begin the game, capped off by a Morrow three-pointer at the 13:52 mark of the opening period. A three-point play by Miami’s Jenna Schone brought the RedHawks to within four, 10-4, but Roddy knocked down a pair of free throws to put UK back up by six with 12:57 left until intermission.
The two teams began trading baskets until the Wildcats, leading 20-16, got back-to-back hoops by Dunlap and Franklin to go ahead 24-16 with 9:08 remaining in the first period, forcing Miami to burn a timeout. The RedHawks answered with a pair of baskets of their own to again cut within four, 24-20, but Kentucky used an 8-2 run, capped off by a Morrow three-pointer, to go ahead 32-22 with 5:12 left until intermission. Mitchell switched up the defense to have Dunlap guard Schone, who was single-handedly keeping the RedHawks in the game. After a pair of Miami free throws, a 6-2 run by the Wildcats over the next 1:45 extended their advantage to 38-26.
Miami was led by Schone, who finished with a team-high 17 points. Freshman guard Maggie Boyer, who entered the game averaging 15.0 ppg in her last two games, was plagued by two early fouls and was limited to just two points in the game.
The Wildcats now lead the all-time series between the two teams 13-2, including a 6-2 advantage when the game is played on Miami’s home floor.
Kentucky returns to action on Thursday when it travels to Knoxville, Tenn., to take on No. 8 Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. Tip-off in Thompson-Boling Arena is slated for 7 p.m. EST and the game will be carried live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with Neil Price.