Samarie Walker leads Cats to runaway win over Bradley

jsmith3@herald-leader.comNovember 27, 2013 

  • UK Scores, schedule

    Home games in capital lettersAll times p.m. and Eastern

    Date Opponent Result

    Nov. 8 At Marist W, 75-61

    Nov. 10 At Wagner W, 96-57

    Nov. 13 GEORGIA SOUTHERN W, 103-38

    Nov. 17 CENTRAL MICHIGAN W, 96-74

    Nov. 21 LIPSCOMB W, 116-49

    Nov. 24At Middle Tennessee St.W, 84-72

    Nov. 27 BRADLEY W, 117-77

    Date Opponent Time

    Dec. 1 LOUISVILLE 1

    Dec. 6 a-Baylor 7:30

    Dec. 12 At DePaul 7

    Dec. 15 EAST TENNESSEE STATE 2

    Dec. 22 b-DUKE 3

    Dec. 29 GRAMBLING STATE 2

    Jan. 2 At Alabama 8

    Jan. 5 FLORIDA 3

    Jan. 9 At South Carolina 7

    Jan. 12 MISSOURI 5

    Jan. 19 At Auburn 2

    Jan. 23 ALABAMA 7

    Jan. 26 ARKANSAS 1

    Jan. 30 At Georgia 9

    Feb. 2 LSU Noon

    Feb. 9 At Florida Noon

    Feb. 13 MISSISSIPPI 7

    Feb. 16 At Tennessee 1

    Feb. 20 SOUTH CAROLINA 7

    Feb. 23 At Texas A&M 2

    Feb. 27 At Mississippi State 8

    Mar. 2 VANDERBILT 4

    Mar. 5-9 d-SEC Tournament TBA

    a-At AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas; b-At Rupp Arena; c-At Duluth, Ga.

  • NEXT GAME

    No. 4 Louisville at No. 7 Kentucky

    When: 1 p.m. Sunday

    TV: FS South

All Samarie Walker needed was a good talking to.

From herself.

The seventh-ranked Cats used a monster run and a monster game from the senior forward to down Bradley 117-77 on Wednesday to remain unbeaten.

"I've just been telling myself for a while now to just be more aggressive on offense and that the only person who can stop me is myself," Walker said after her career-high 22 points and 14 rebounds. "So I think it finally just hit me today, 'Just go out there and play hard.'"

Hard play was the hallmark of a five-minute span that saw Kentucky outscore the Braves 25-0 and blow the game open, giving the unbeaten Cats a commanding 51-21 lead.

"We finally started turning them over and it was a devastating run for Bradley, just hard for them to recover from that, but we finally got some good traps set — we hustled enough to get some good traps set," Coach Matthew Mitchell said.

Still, after the win, Mitchell seemed displeased, bothered by the 77 points yielded to Bradley, the most the Cats (7-0) have given up all season. Lots of those points came in transition against the UK press, including many to Michelle Young, who had a game-high 27 points in the loss.

Mitchell said he was disappointed that the team didn't take charges and do some of the other things he urged it to do to slow foes.

"If we can ever get a nice chunk of practice time, we've got to get our press sharpened up," Mitchell said of his defense, which forced 22 turnovers and turned them into 36 points. "We're not nearly as sharp as we need to be with the press right now."

He sounded like the coach of a team about to begin a brutal stretch of basketball, with four of the next five games coming against top 25 opponents, including back-to-back games against top 10 foes in No. 4 Louisville on Sunday and then No. 9 Baylor as a part of a Dallas doubleheader.

"For us to really take a step forward defensively, we're going to have to sharpen up our press and get over and take some charges," he said.

Offense wasn't a problem again for Kentucky, which came into the game averaging 95 points a contest, third highest in the nation.

For the second straight time at Memorial Coliseum, the Cats flirted with the 24-year-old school record for points (121), but couldn't quite get there.

Walker was one of eight players with nine points or more, including 14 points and four assists from Jennifer O'Neill and 13 points apiece from seniors DeNesha Stallworth and Kastine Evans.

Stallworth had her own double-double with 10 rebounds for Kentucky, which shot 51 percent from the field and 38 percent from three-point range.

Linnae Harper and Janee Thompson added 10 points apiece for the Cats and fellow guard, reigning Kentucky Miss Basketball Makayla Epps had perhaps her most complete game of the season with nine points, six assists to no turnovers and three steals.

Seven different Kentucky players scored in that big 25-0 run, which included seven straight points by Jelleah Sidney.

"We got kind of rattled a little bit," Bradley assistant coach Skyler Young said of the UK spree. "We had some turnovers, but more importantly I felt like we had some bunnies and layups that we missed that we had to make to stop the bleeding of that run."

And unless you can counteract with some points of your own, "it can get ugly real fast," Young said. "They kept running it down our throats and we couldn't stop them."

Notes

Bradley's head coach, Michael Brooks, missed the game after the birth of his son Jase Jerald on Tuesday morning. Assistant coach Skyler Young took over the head coaching duties in his absence.

Young said he found out via text message early Tuesday morning, two hours before the team was scheduled to depart, that he'd be taking the team to Kentucky alone.

Bradley was not physically damaged by recent tornadoes, but several students, alumni, faculty, staff and fans were affected by the tornadoes, which hit nearby Illinois communities of East Peoria, Pekin and Washington.

In a show of unity, the Bradley players wore "Central Illinois Strong" T-shirts in pre-game warmups. The shirts are selling online (www.gainlight.com) for $10 with proceeds going to the Central Illinois chapter of the American Red Cross for tornado relief efforts.


NEXT GAME

No. 4 Louisville at No. 7 Kentucky

When: 1 p.m. Sunday

TV: FS South


UK Scores, schedule

Home games in capital lettersAll times p.m. and Eastern

Date Opponent Result

Nov. 8 At Marist W, 75-61

Nov. 10 At Wagner W, 96-57

Nov. 13 GEORGIA SOUTHERN W, 103-38

Nov. 17 CENTRAL MICHIGAN W, 96-74

Nov. 21 LIPSCOMB W, 116-49

Nov. 24At Middle Tennessee St.W, 84-72

Nov. 27 BRADLEY W, 117-77

Date Opponent Time

Dec. 1 LOUISVILLE 1

Dec. 6 a-Baylor 7:30

Dec. 12 At DePaul 7

Dec. 15 EAST TENNESSEE STATE 2

Dec. 22 b-DUKE 3

Dec. 29 GRAMBLING STATE 2

Jan. 2 At Alabama 8

Jan. 5 FLORIDA 3

Jan. 9 At South Carolina 7

Jan. 12 MISSOURI 5

Jan. 19 At Auburn 2

Jan. 23 ALABAMA 7

Jan. 26 ARKANSAS 1

Jan. 30 At Georgia 9

Feb. 2 LSU Noon

Feb. 9 At Florida Noon

Feb. 13 MISSISSIPPI 7

Feb. 16 At Tennessee 1

Feb. 20 SOUTH CAROLINA 7

Feb. 23 At Texas A&M 2

Feb. 27 At Mississippi State 8

Mar. 2 VANDERBILT 4

Mar. 5-9 d-SEC Tournament TBA

a-At AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas; b-At Rupp Arena; c-At Duluth, Ga.

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

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