Kentucky 88, Mississippi St. 40

UK women make 14 three-pointers in record-setting rout

jsmith3@herald-leader.comJanuary 9, 2012 

  • Women's SEC Tournament

    Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt/Missouri winner
    When: 6 p.m. Friday
    TV/Radio: SportsSouth/WLAP-AM 630

It was the kind of game a coach dreams about when eyes close and head hits pillow.

For the opposing coach, it was the kind of game that keeps feet pacing the floor all night long.

Kentucky Coach Matthew Mitchell will be the one sleeping well after his No. 11 Cats demolished Mississippi State 88-40 on Sunday.

"Today's the kind of day we envision having," Mitchell said. "People were in tune and it was a good performance."

His players had simple analysis.

"Everybody was hitting tonight," junior A'dia Mathies said. "We were just clicking."

They had to be to snap record after record in the victory, which was their 14th in a row at Memorial Coliseum.

It was the Cats' largest margin of victory ever in a Southeastern Conference game and they did it behind hot shooting from three-point range, hitting 46.7 percent (14-for-30) from there.

Those that were a part of the 5,306 in attendance on Sunday and stuck around until the end saw freshman guard Bria Goss hit the record-setting three-pointer with 1:51 to play.

Goss, who made three of them en route to 13 points, four rebounds and three steals, was one of four UK players to finish in double figures.

Mathies added 20 points, including three three-pointers of her own.

Keyla Snowden led the way with a season-best 22 points, including making four of her six three-point attempts.

The senior guard from Lexington scored 10 of those points as a part of a 25-3 run early in the game that put it away for good.

"Your adrenaline's pumping, knowing that you're out there with your teammates and you're jelling, it's a really good feeling," Snowden said of the big run.

Bernisha Pinkett added 10 points for Kentucky (14-2), which started conference play 3-0 for the first time since the 1992-93 season.

They started Sunday's blowout by scoring nine unanswered.

The Bulldogs cut it to seven points, 11-4, and then UK's pressure held them without a field goal for the next 8:20. Mississippi State was held to a season-low 40 points and shot just 27.7 percent for the game.

"It's very, very disappointing and it's embarrassing, but that's where we are," MSU Coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said.

"Kentucky plays awfully, awfully hard," she said. "Give them credit. I don't know that we're as bad a basketball team as we showed today."

The Bulldogs (10-5, 0-2) were playing without second-leading scorer Porsha Porter, who stayed back in Starkville battling an illness.

They missed her.

"I don't know that Porhsa's good for 40-something points, but she sure does jumpstart us from a defensive standpoint," Fanning-Otis said.

For the game, Kentucky outrebounded State 51-34 and the Cats' defense forced 29 turnovers and scored 40 points off of them. UK (14-2, 3-0) turned the ball over just 12 times.

"We got back to Kentucky basketball with a big turnover margin today," Mitchell said. "Plus-17 on the turnover margin, that's Kentucky basketball. That's what we need."

And he got it behind quality depth with all 12 players who saw the floor playing 12 minutes or more (with none playing more than 24) and all but two of those players scored.

"Everybody just came out and played aggressive," Mathies said. "We knew we had some things we wanted to accomplish today, and I think we did a good job of doing that. Everybody came in and did their role and played their part equally. I think It was an all-around good game from start to finish."

The Cats are going to need all of that and more this week when No. 6 Tennessee comes to town on Thursday.

So maybe Mitchell won't sleep that well this week.

"I'm very happy we played well today," he said. "Now we'll set our sites on Tennessee, which is clearly the best team we will have faced so far in the conference. It should be a great game."

Mitchell's milestone

The win helped Mitchell win his 100th game as Kentucky head coach, making him the third coach in history to reach that milestone. He did it in 151 games.

"I'm glad I'm still here," he said when asked about it. "Hopefully they'll keep me around for a while. Hopefully we'll win 100 more."

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