Kentucky-Delaware notes: Mathies becomes fifth Cat to reach 2,000-point milestone

jsmith3@herald-leader.comMarch 30, 2013 

  • UK's 2,000-point club

    Only men's and women's players have scored 2,000 career points for Kentucky:

    Valerie Still (1979-83) 2,763

    Dan Issel (1967-70) 2,138

    Kenny Walker (1982-86) 2,080

    Jack Givens (1974-78) 2,038

    A'dia Mathies (2009-13) 2,000

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A'dia Mathies knew she was never going to score 2,764 career points.

She was never going to top Valerie Still, Kentucky's all-time leading scorer.

So Kentucky's guard set her sights on getting to 2,000 points.

"It's a good round number," Mathies said a few days before her Senior Day at Kentucky.

The two-time Southeastern Conference Player of the Year met that goal on Saturday in the semifinals of the Bridgeport Regional against Delaware, when she scored exactly 16 points to hit 2,000.

A good round number, yes.

And it's a number that puts the 2009 Kentucky Miss Basketball from Louisville on a Kentucky basketball Mount Rushmore of sorts, joining only four other players (male or female) to reach the 2,000-point mark.

She joins Still, Dan Issel, Jack "Goose" Givens and Kenny Walker in the club, with still at least one more game promised.

That next game, Monday against Connecticut for a chance to advance to the first Final Four in UK women's history, is why Mathies didn't want to think too much about milestones.

"It means a lot," she said. "I can't really think about that right now because we have another huge game, but I know after the season is over with I'm really going to look back at this and be glad."

Getting to 2,000 points is impressive, Coach Matthew Mitchell said.

"An unbelievable number," he said shaking his head. "It's just a testament to incredible consistency that begins very early in your career. ... It's just about her coming in and giving a consistent effort every time."

So far, Mathies has 2,000 career points, 666 rebounds, 348 assists and 317 steals.

'She was terrific'

Kentucky watched tons of video on Delaware star Elena Delle Donne, who had scored more than 3,000 career points going into the game against the Cats.

But in person, she proved to be even more impressive, they said.

"She raised her level today," Mitchell said of the senior. "She played better today and harder today than I had seen her play on film. I thought she was terrific."

She scored 33 points, more than any other individual who has faced UK this season, and she grabbed nine rebounds. Delle Donne finished with 3,039 career points, passing the likes of Chamique Holds-claw, Cheryl Miller and Maya Moore on Saturday.

"I don't know if we did a good job on her or not," Mitchell said. "She missed more than she made, so I guess we'll count that as a good job."

UK forced her into five turnovers, the most she'd had in a game all season and four more than she'd had in the previous two NCAA Tournament games combined. The Cats held her to 11-for-23 shooting as well.

The 6-foot-5 swing player didn't cry at the post-game podium. Instead, Delle Donne complimented Kentucky for being an "awesome team" and spoke fondly of her time at Delaware.

"This has been an incredible journey," Delle Donne said. "This has been awesome. We made a lot of history at Delaware. I think we've made our fans very proud and we're proud of ourselves also."

Sidney shines for Cats

Some soreness in her knee kept Jelleah Sidney from having the kind of season she thought she might have at Kentucky when she transferred from Chipola Junior College.

But the 6-foot-2 forward was thrust into the spotlight on Saturday, when she played a career-high 20 minutes, mostly charged with trying to stop, or at least slow, Delaware star Elena Delle Donne.

"Jelleah Sidney worked her tail off and I thought had a fantastic game playing (Delle Donne)," Mitchell said of the sophomore, who had two points, four rebounds and two steals. "We wouldn't have won the game today without Jelleah Sidney."

The soft-spoken Sidney, who said there are plans to scope her knee when the season ends, was happy to help.

"I was really excited," said Sidney, who has played 42 minutes in the past three games after playing just 81 minutes the entire regular season. "It was pretty cool, and to be noticed is really nice."

UK's players had seen glimpses of her defensive abilities in practice this season and were happy the rest of the country got to see it, too.

"J.J. has great defensive moves," Mathies said. "She has a little size and she's able to move."

Sidney was especially important for UK when starting center DeNesha Stallworth went out early with two fouls and then again early in the second half when she picked up her fourth.

"She played great defense and was able to fill that void for us," junior forward Samarie Walker said of Sidney. "We have a lot of people who can sub in at any position and contribute. ... Being so deep and so versatile really helped us."

Turning the tables

Kentucky dominated Delaware on the boards in the first half, 24-11, with the Cats getting more offensive rebounds (13) than the Blue Hens had total rebounds, but that all changed in the second half.

Securing the half's first 14 rebounds before UK could corral one, Delaware ended up outrebounding the Cats 40-35 for the game and 29-11 in the second half.

"We started doing what we didn't want to do, which was watching Elena Delle Donne shoot," said Mathies, who tied her career high with nine rebounds. "Their players flew to the boards and we just watched them. When we finally got that turned around, it slowed them down."


UK's 2,000-point club

Only men's and women's players have scored 2,000 career points for Kentucky:

Valerie Still (1979-83) 2,763

Dan Issel (1967-70) 2,138

Kenny Walker (1982-86) 2,080

Jack Givens (1974-78) 2,038

A'dia Mathies (2009-13) 2,000

Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241.Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog: ukwomen.bloginky.com.

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