MOREHEAD, Ky. -- Playing its third game in five days, the Kentucky women’s basketball team improved to 3-0 for the first time since the 2005-06 season, defeating Morehead State Tuesday night, 72-55 in Johnson Arena.
Four Wildcats recorded double figures, including a career-high 18 points from freshman A’dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.) and 15 points by junior point guard Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.). Junior forward Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) followed with her third consecutive double-double with 12 points and a game-high 16 rebounds while junior Carly Morrow (Chattanooga, Tenn.) added 11 points.
“We are very happy to be 3-0 after playing three games in five days,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “This game really concerned me because of Morehead’s style of play. They challenged us to make outside shots and I thought we were mentally tough even though you could tell we were tired and fatigued. I thought A’dia and Amber made some outstanding plays for us.”
UK (3-0) jumped out to an 8-0 start to begin the game, paced by two of Mathies’ career-high three three-pointers. The Eagles (0-2) clawed back to take a two-point 14-12 lead before Rebecca Gray (Georgetown, Ky.) nailed a three-pointer to snap Morehead’s momentum. UK finally took a double-digit lead at the end of the half after Mathies hit two free throws and Dunlap scored on an offensive rebound.
In the second half, UK used an 11-0 run and held the Eagles without a basket for almost five minutes to take a 20-point 51-31 lead with 13:28 remaining. Morehead wouldn’t go down without a fight and pulled back within 10 (55-45) at the 7:29 mark. Smith and Mathies helped push UK’s lead back to 60-45 with back-to-back buckets while Morrow hit a key three-pointer as well. Dunlap recorded nine of 12 points and pulled down 10 of 18 rebounds in the second half and the Cats cruised to the final 17-point victory.
“I thought Amber and Victoria showed great leadership tonight,” Mitchell said. “We started to panic a little bit there in the second half when they made that run but we regained our focus and kept guarding them. I’m really proud of our effort tonight.”
MSU’s Chynna Bozeman, who Mitchell recruited to Morehead when he was the head coach from 2005-07, led the Eagles with 18 points.
The Wildcats return to Memorial Coliseum, Sunday, Nov. 22 vs. Chattanooga. Game time is 6 p.m. EST following UK volleyball’s SEC showdown with No. 13 Florida at 2 p.m. EST. The volleyball team moved up to No. 10 nationally in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll this week and are looking for its first SEC title since 1988. All single-game ticket sales for Sunday will be good for both the volleyball and women’s basketball contests. For further details on Sundays’ matchups visit UKathletics.com.