UK Hoops wins 4th straight, 5-2 in SEC

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell was
happy his team snapped a 16-game losing streak to LSU. What really
excited him, though, was how the Wildcats performed against a
ranked squad.
Victoria Dunlap scored 24 points and Kentucky beat No. 18 LSU
71-62 Thursday night, its first win against the Lady Tigers since
the 1999 SEC tournament.
"We've had some big wins this year, but this was a big one,"
Mitchell said. "It was real nice to end the drought. But, that's
low down on our list. We needed this win for this team. This team
hadn't lost 16 straight games to LSU."
Trailing by three points with 8 minutes remaining in the game,
the Wildcats scored 11 consecutive points to take control. Amani
Franklin's field goal started the run. Two free throws by A'dia
Mathies gave Kentucky the lead at 58-57.
Dunlap followed with a field goal and two foul shots. Mathies
knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Wildcats a 65-57 advantage
with 4:15 to go.
Adrienne Webb ended LSU's 5-minute drought with a 3-pointer at
the 3:27 mark. The Lady Tigers scored only two more points on a
field goal by Allison Hightower.
"Our players did all the little things during that stretch,"
Mitchell said. "We made all the hustle plays and asserted
ourselves on the defensive boards. We did it on the defensive end.
"The players never stopped believing. LSU was making a run and
I told the players don't stop believing," he said. "We just made
Dunlap, who grabbed nine rebounds, was 9 of 16 from the field.
Crystal Riley scored a career-high 11 points and Amber Smith had 10
points for Kentucky (17-3, 5-2 SEC).
Hightower was the leading scorer for LSU (14-5, 3-4) with 23
points, but she missed 20 of her 30 field goal attempts. LaSondra
Barrett added 14 points, while Jasmine Nelson had a season-high 10
"Kentucky carried it to us defensively," LSU coach Van
Chancellor said. "We can't carry it from the practice court to the
game. We can't carry it to the court after a timeout. It's really,
really frustrating for me."
Kentucky scored 13 consecutive points to take a double-digit
lead with 7:04 remaining in the first half. A three-point play by
Dunlap started the run. Riley and Franklin made 3-pointers. A field
goal by Riley gave the Wildcats a 32-21 lead.
However, LSU closed outscored Kentucky 13-2 over the final 4
minutes to pull even at halftime. Hightower made three baskets,
including a 3-pointer.
The other six Lady Tigers points came on two free throws apiece
by Barrett, Katherine Graham and Nelson. Hightower's field goal
with a second remaining tied the score at 36.
LSU pulled out to a five-point lead early in the second half
after going on an 8-0 run. A couple of baskets by Hightower
completed the outburst which put the Lady Tigers on top 46-41.
The Wildcats answered with six straight points to retake the
lead. Riley accounted for the last four of those points with a
field goal and two free throws. After this brief flurry by
Kentucky, there were four ties over the next 2 minutes.
Hightower broke a 52-all tie with a 3-pointer with 9:11
remaining in the game. Dunlap and Hightower exchanged field goals
on the next two possessions. Then, the Wildcats went on their
game-deciding run.

FINAL SCORE: No. 24 KENTUCKY 71, No. 18/19 LSU 62 Team Records and Series Notes

· Kentucky improves to 17-3, 5-2 in the Southeastern Conference. LSU falls to 14-5 overall, 3-4 in the SEC.

· The Wildcats recorded their first win against LSU since the 1999 SEC Tournament and notched their first win in Baton Rouge since Feb. 25, 1995 (63-49). UK had lost 16 consecutive games to LSU and eight in a row in Baton Rouge.

· With the 17th win of the year, Kentucky eclipsed the win total from the 2008-09 season (16-16).

· Kentucky has won four consecutive SEC games, marking the longest SEC win streak since winning four in a row during the 2005-06 season.

· UK improves to 2-1 against ranked teams this season as the Wildcats also defeated No. 17 Vanderbilt on Jan. 10.

o The Wildcats have 35 upsets (a win over a higher ranked team) in program history, including two over LSU. UK also upset the 17th-ranked Lady Tigers in the SEC Tournament in 1999.

This marks UK’s first win over a ranked foe on the road since 2008 when UK topped No. 17 Georgia, 47-44 in Athens, Ga.

· The Lady Tigers own a 28-8 overall series lead, including an 11-3 mark in Baton Rouge.

· UK head coach Matthew Mitchell improves his career record to 80-64, including a 50-35 mark at UK. The win marked his first career win over LSU, improving to 1-6 all-time against the Lady Tigers.

· This marks Mitchell’s sixth win over a ranked opponent in his three seasons at UK.

· Kentucky is 592-450 all-time in 36 years of varsity women’s basketball and owns a 114-205 all-time mark in SEC play.

· The Wildcats are 2-3 this season in games decided by 10 points or less and own a 24-22 record in close games under head coach Matthew Mitchell.

· Up next: Kentucky returns to action Sunday, facing Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss. Tipoff is slated for 3 p.m. EST and the game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network, with the Voice of UK Hoops, Neil Price calling the action.
Team Notes

· Kentucky started with the lineup of Carly Morrow, Victoria Dunlap, Amber Smith, Amani Franklin and A’dia Mathies. UK has started with this lineup in 19 of 20 games, posting a 16-3 record.

· Key run: With the score tied at 57 with 6:47 to go, Kentucky outscored the Lady Tigers 14-3 and hit 10 of 13 free throws during that stretch for the victory.

· UK went 5-of-8 from behind the arc and has now made a three-pointer in 207 consecutive games, dating back to the 2003-04 season.

· Kentucky forced 14 LSU turnovers and has now forced all 20 opponents this season into double-digit turnovers.

· With the score tied at 36 at halftime, UK outscored LSU 35-26 in the second half to improve to 2-0 this season in games tied at halftime.

· The Wildcats held LSU to 38.3 percent (23-for-60) from the field and 36.4 percent (4-for-11) from behind the arc. UK has held 15 opponents to under 40-percent shooting from the field this season.

· UK is 11-1 this season when score 70 or more points.

· UK won the rebounding battle 36-33 and improves to 10-0 overall and 4-0 in the SEC when it outrebounds the opponent.

Individual Notes

· Junior forward Victoria Dunlap led UK with a team-high 24 points and nine rebounds in 34 minutes, adding two assists and two steals.

o Dunlap has recorded at least one steal in 27 consecutive games. She needs two more to move into UK’s career top 10.

o She has scored in double figures in 18 of 19 games played this season.

o With 24 points, she has now scored 20 or more points 13 times in her career and eight games this season.

o She now has 984 career points and is on track to join the 1,000-point club this season.

· Sophomore point guard and transfer from LSU Crystal Riley came off the bench to total a career-high 11 points in 20 minutes of action, adding a rebound and an assist.

o Riley’s 11 points sets a new career high, eclipsing the previous mark of seven points against Georgia.

· Freshman guard A’dia Mathies finished with nine points, eight rebounds, four assists and one steal in 33 minutes.

o With eight rebounds, Mathies tied her career-high also set vs. Vanderbilt on Jan. 10.

o She dished out a team-high four assists.

· Despite sitting out most of the first half with three fouls, junior point guard Amber Smith finished with 10 points, two assists and one rebound in 20 minutes.

· Senior forward Amani Franklin charted nine points, six rebounds and a game-high three steals in 31 minutes.

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