LEXINGTON, Ky. – Behind a career-high 25-point effort from Keyla Snowden, the Kentucky women’s basketball team equaled the school record for the longest win streak in program history, posting an 87-47 win over the University of Tennessee at Martin, Wednesday night in front of 5,859 fans in Memorial Coliseum.
Snowden (Lexington, Ky.) had a blistering performance from the field, leading the Wildcats to their 11th consecutive victory which equaled the school-record 11-game winning streak set in 1983. Kentucky (11-0) also has claimed nine consecutive wins at Memorial Coliseum, good for the eighth-best home win streak in program annals. Thanks to a 101-67 win over state-rival Louisville Sunday, UK holds the school record for the best start to a season.
Snowden, a 5-foot-7 guard, came off the bench and lit up the scoreboard early, tying the school record with five three-pointers in the first half. She finished the game with 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including a 6-for-9 mark from behind the arc, just one shy of the school record for three-pointers made in a game. Snowden’s 25-point effort bested her previous career high of 15 points.
“She was so big for us tonight,” UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “When she is on, and I have said this many times, she can shoot as well as anyone that I have ever played with or coached. That is not surprising to me that she got it going like that. I think that really allowed us in the first half to get a big lead. Her being 5-for-6 was huge. It is a good example of how we are having different people step in at times when we need it. That gives us a good chance to be a good team.”
“I just find a zone when I am in the game and I just try to focus on scoring and shooting,” Snowden said. “I also have to give a lot of credit to my teammates. They found me open a lot in the game. It felt great.”
Kentucky shot 46.9 percent (30-for-64) from the field, including 43.5 percent (10-for-23) from behind the arc, with five players contributing double-digit scoring efforts for the second time this season. Senior guard Amani Franklin (Stone Mountain, Ga.) led the team with eight rebounds, contributing 10 points and three assists. Freshman A’dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.) added 10 points, five rebounds and four assists. Junior guard Carly Morrow (Chattanooga, Tenn.) connected on three 3-point attempts, charting 11 points and three rebounds. Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.), the reigning SEC Player of the Week, finished with 13 points, seven steals, six rebounds, three blocks and two assists. Sophomore Rebecca Gray (Georgetown, Ky.) was the only Wildcat not dressed as she sat with a mild concussion sustained Sunday vs. Louisville.
Kentucky never trailed in the game (1-8) and sprinted away from the Skyhawks with a 24-4 run that spanned nearly nine minutes for a 30-9 lead. Snowden hit two three-pointers and scored eight points while A’dia Mathies (Louisville) added five points and Victoria Dunlap and Amani Franklin chipped in four each. UK held UTM without a point for more than five minutes during the run.
The Wildcats’ defense held UT Martin to 30 percent shooting from the field (6-of-20) in the first half while forcing the Skyhawks into 19 turnovers that Kentucky converted into 28 points. UK led 45-19 at intermission.
A 13-0 run midway through the second half extended Kentucky’s advantage to 68-24 with 9:06 remaining. The Skyhawks made only one field goal – a three-pointer by Erica Glisson – during the first 12:43 of the second half. Kentucky enjoyed as much as a 47-point lead four times in the second stanza before ending the contest with a 40-point victory.
In addition to a fast-paced offensive attack, UK has utilized a stingy defense that has forced 24 or more turnovers from nine of 11 opponents this season. UT Martin turned the ball over 30 times, with UK registering 18 steals. The Cats turned those miscues into 48 points. Sunday, in the thrashing of Louisville, UK – the NCAA leader in turnover margin – forced a school-record 38 turnovers, including 24 in the first half.
“Going into halftime, we weren’t terribly unhappy because we thought we were in range of meeting some goals that we had set for ourselves,” Mitchell said. “Tonight, we needed to live up to our standard and not focus on the opponent as much. There were definitely some good moments in the game.”
UT Martin (1-7) was led by Alecia Weatherly and Cali Cupples with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Darnisha Lyles snagged a game-high 10 rebounds.
Kentucky, the Southeastern Conference leader in points per game, has now totaled over 65 points in each contest this season, averaging a staggering 83.9 points per game. Kentucky’s 87-47 win over the Skyhawks improves its conference lead in scoring margin to +29.3, which entered the evening ranking second in the nation. It was the third consecutive game UK has defeated its opponent by 30 or more points.
UT Martin was held to 35-percent (14-for-40) from the field in the game, with UK outrebounding the Skyhawks 41-26.
The Wildcats now lead the all-time series with the Skyhawks 4-0, including a 2-0 mark in Lexington. UK has now won 17 of its last 18 games against non-conference foes.
Kentucky returns to action with a road game at Middle Tennessee State Monday, Dec. 28. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with the Voice of UK Hoops and MTSU alumni, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM.