Kentucky isn't just winning Southeastern Conference games of late.
It's completely dominating them.
The fifth-ranked Cats have won their last three games by an average of 41 points, including Sunday's 97-53 throttling of Auburn at Memorial Coliseum.
UK's 17th win in a row — and 33rd straight at home — was decided early as the Cats rode a 24-2 run to a 30-point lead at the half.
"A terrific performance by our team," Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "I thought they played with great hustle and effort all day long."
It was the "all day long" part that drew the ire of new Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy.
"I thought it was pretty unclassy to continue to press when you're up by 46 points," she said. "We're a pressing team also, but at some point we take the press off because at some point it's not respectful of the other team."
Mitchell tried to deflect the criticism in his post-game comments, but he was bothered by it. He noted that UK's players are up at 5:30 a.m. four days a week conditioning in the summer to play this style.
"I'm not going to spend any time with that kind of comment," Mitchell said. "Anybody who is unfamiliar with how we play and what our goals are, that's their problem and not mine."
Auburn's biggest problem was a lack of ball-handlers. The Cats pestered 5-foot-1 point guard Najat Ouardad all game, forcing the senior into eight turnovers.
"We wanted to make certain that we made her life miserable and try to make someone else handle the ball," Mitchell said.
Auburn came into the game averaging 15.8 turnovers a game and had 16 by halftime. The Tigers coughed it up 30 times (18 were Kentucky steals), which UK turned into 34 points.
"Definitely a tough night for our ladies, but when you come in with one ball-handler against a pressing team, it's going to be a tough night," Williams-Flournoy said. "It's a learning experience and we've just got to get better."
The Cats (18-1, 6-0 SEC) were led by senior A'dia Mathies, who scored a season-best 24 points, including five three-pointers. The guard missed just one of her nine shot attempts.
"She's just playing with tremendous control right now and confidence," Mitchell said. "If you leave her open right now at the three-point stripe, you are paying dearly."
Sophomore Jennifer O'Neill added 17 points and six assists. Coming off a career-best 25 points against Mississippi State on Thursday night, junior forward DeNesha Stallworth scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
In fact, all five starters finished in double figures, including Samarie Walker's 15 points and six rebounds and Bria Goss's 10 points.
As the teams settled in, Auburn (13-6, 2-4) pulled within 7-6 and then UK dropped the hammer using a 12-1 run.
The Tigers pulled back within single digits, 22-13, with 11:02 to play before Kentucky played some of its best basketball of the season. A 24-2 spurt in which six different Cats scored put the game completely out of reach.
"It was a very impressive defensive display during that run," Mitchell said.
That run was fun, too, Kentucky's players said.
"It felt great," Mathies said. "We kept putting pressure on them and running them as much as we could and we felt like we had depth so we could sub where they couldn't. We feel like they eventually got tired and we were able to open up the game."
There was an eight-minute span where Kentucky's defense held Auburn to just one basket.
In all, the Cats ended the half on a 29-8 run to take a 51-21 lead behind 16 points from Mathies (on 5-for-5 shooting from the field) and 12 points and eight boards for Stallworth. That halftime lead was UK's largest in a league game this season.
For the game, Kentucky shot 47.2 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three-point range, connecting on a season-tying 12 three-pointers. Mathies and O'Neill had five apiece.
Auburn, which shot just 27.3 percent in the first half but came back to shoot 52 percent in the second, was paced by Hasina Muhammad's 13 points. Peyton Davis added 11 points and five rebounds.
Kentucky's 17-game win streak remains tied for the best in the nation with No. 4 Duke, but the Cats could take over sole possession on Monday night if the Blue Devils have any issues at No. 3 Connecticut.
Next up for UK is a trip to South Carolina, which came into the weekend as the third-best scoring defense in the nation, holding opponents to 47.8 points a game.