University of Kentucky women's basketball coach Matthew Mitchell had no idea his team was in the midst of a record-breaking performance Friday night.
That's probably because he was paying no attention to the score of the game.
His seventh-ranked Wildcats routed Alcorn State 90-23 in Memorial Coliseum, not an unexpected result against a winless opponent from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
The 23 points by Alcorn State were the fewest ever allowed by a UK women's team. The previous low was achieved most recently in Kentucky's 100-25 win over Jacksonville State last season.
But all a frustrated Mitchell could see was a team not playing to the level he was seeking. Despite racing to a 44-11 halftime lead, the Wildcats committed 12 turnovers and were not playing with the fire the team will need when Southeastern Conference play begins next week.
"I want us to be around 10 turnovers (for a game)," Mitchell said. "That's a lofty goal but it's one I think we can achieve. The problem I was having in the first half, I just thought we weren't playing sharp.
"I was not aware of any records or anything like that going on," Mitchell said afterward, laughing.
The victory was Kentucky's 10th in a row, one shy of the school record.
The seventh-ranked Wildcats (11-1) ran their home winning streak to 28 games, which is the second-longest such streak in school history.
With home games Sunday against Marist and Jan. 3 versus Florida, the Wildcats have a chance to tie the school record of 30 consecutive wins set from Feb. 12, 1980, until Jan. 31, 1982.
Mitchell knew Alcorn State (0-9) was overmatched but didn't want his team playing that way. "There are just some things you know that are looming, with a tough game on Sunday and then with the conference coming up," he said. "I was judging us at our best, not looking at the scoreboard."
The Cats placed five players in double figures, led by Samarie Walker's 21 points and 18 by Bria Goss. Mitchell said he challenged the rest of the team to step up to that standard.
"I was so pleased with Samarie's and Bria's effort in the first half. I thought they were playing with a higher level of energy than anyone else," he said. "We challenged the team at halftime. In the second half, they really responded well. A'dia (Mathies) had a great second half. We got going with all five starters in double figures. Those are some things we can carry forward into the next game."
Kentucky's players got the message, opening the second half with a 25-2 surge.
Mathies finished with 14 points. Jennifer O'Neill added 13. DeNesha Stallworth nearly posted a triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Walker added 14 rebounds, five steals and three blocks.
Kentucky, which committed only four turnovers in the second half to bring their game total to 16, forced Alcorn State into 36. The Cats also limited Alcorn State to 7-for-35 shooting.
"They played hard," a finally satisfied Mitchell explained afterward. "It's real difficult to hold a team to 23 points in a 40-minute ball game at the Division I level."
Walker said the Cats just needed some time to shake off their holiday rust.
"We just had to get a feel for it again," she said. "Once we got going we were OK."
* Mathies moved into a tie for fifth place on the Wildcats' career scoring list. Her 1,598 career points rank second in school history among guards. * Kentucky held the Braves without a field goal for nearly an entire half. During a span of 19 minutes, 26 seconds at the end of the first half and the start of the second half, Alcorn State failed to make a basket.