LEXINGTON, Ky. – Junior forward Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) led six Wildcats in double figures with 21 points and 16 rebounds as Kentucky improved to 7-0 with a 107-53 rout of Miami (Ohio) in Memorial Coliseum on Tuesday.
Junior point guard Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.) followed with a season-high 17 points while senior guard/forward Amani Franklin (Stone Mountain, Ga.) had 16, including 11 in the first half. Morrow (Chattanooga, Tenn.) followed with 14 points and sophomore guard Rebecca Gray (Georgetown, Ky.) recorded a UK career-high 13 points and six assists. Freshman A’dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.) added 11 points to go along with her career-best seven assists and four steals.
UK combined yet another stifling defensive effort with its best shooting night of the season as it hit a season-high 57.1 percent from the field, including a season-best 70.6 percent from three-point range. The Wildcats hit 12 three-pointers for the first time since 2005. The Cats’ defense held Miami to just five field goals in the first half and a season-low .268 percent shooting (15-of-56) for the game. The RedHawks (1-5) were just 1-of-5 from beyond the arc and Kentucky scored 28 points off 28 Miami turnovers.
“It was a fantastic night for us,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “Watching film, I thought that Miami had the capability to come in and be tough tonight. We just played some terrific basketball. We played very hard and the defensive intensity in the first half was where we want it. We also got on track tonight shooting the three-point shot. It was a good combination of very tough defense and good offense. I am happy to win and happy to take it to 7-0.”
Kentucky, which never trailed in the game, stretched a seven-point lead early in the first half into a 19-point advantage with a 15-0 run (30-11) with 10:32 to go. From there, the Wildcats outscored the RedHawks 21-10 to build the largest halftime lead in school history at 57-21. Franklin sparked the Cats offensively as she netted five of her first five attempts from the floor, totaling 11 points at the break. The trio of Dunlap, Smith and Franklin combined for 38 points on 16-of-22 shooting in the opening stanza.
“I think that we gained a tremendous amount of confidence from executing against their zone early,” Mitchell said. “It was all about making the extra pass and sharing the basketball. We were moving bodies and moving the ball and when that happens we are pretty good. The first four minutes we scored 13 points and it was a really productive offense start for us. There is no doubt that you feel better when shots are going in and it relaxes people and gives them confidence in the shots that they are making.”
UK didn’t let down in the second half as it jumped out on a 9-0 run in the first three minutes. The Cats hit seven of its season-high 12 three-pointers in the final period and Miami never came within 34 points.
“Kentucky came out strong and they are obviously athletic,” MU Coach Maria Fantanarosa said. “We were tentative and we could never get anything going. We would miss a shot, either a layup or open look, and we would start to panic. You have to give Kentucky credit. They have some shooters and (Victoria) Dunlap inside. You have to worry about her all of the time.”
Freshman Courtney Osborn led Miami with a game-high 22 points.
Kentucky’s 107 points were the most since a 108-102 overtime win against Miami on Dec. 21, 2002. It also marked the most points for a Kentucky squad in a regulation game since a 112-71 win over Florida Atlantic on Dec. 30, 2000.
UK hit the century mark for the first time in the Mitchell era and the first time since a 105-45 victory over Tennessee State on Dec. 22, 2005. UK is 33-0 when scoring 100 points or more.
The 54-point margin of victory was the highest since defeating Tennessee State by 60 points (105-45) on Dec. 22, 2005.
For the second straight game, all 10 Wildcats that saw action scored at least two points.
The Wildcats will look to continue their winning ways Friday, Dec. 4 when they travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to battle the Cincinnati Bearcats at 11 a.m. EST in UC’s Fifth-Third Arena. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Radio Network with Neil Price.