There were times when Eleia Roddy was ready to just give up on basketball.
In three seasons, the Kentucky center had four surgeries on her right knee.
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She tore her meniscus twice. She tore her anterior cruciate ligament. She had her knee scoped to eliminate a foreign body.
Four times she went through all of the rehabilitation.
Four times she went through the conditioning.
"There came moments when I wanted to just quit," she said. "I was disappointed and sad 'cause I wasn't where I wanted to be."
But through all of the rehab and conditioning, she needed only to imagine the season when she would finally be back to 100 percent.
If her performance in Sunday's 72-69 exhibition win over Bellarmine is any indication, this could be that season.
Roddy was a dominant force in the post. She led UK with 21 points (on 8-for-10 shooting), eight rebounds and three steals in 28 minutes.
"She demonstrated the type of passion we need from her," UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "The fact that she's performing at this level in spite of all of the obstacles she's had to overcome is pretty remarkable.
"It's a real testament to what kind of character she has. It's the type of character we're going to have to have to be successful as a team."
Roddy led a collection of post players that caused Bellarmine fits. She motivates the other players around her.
"It's a lot of fun (playing with her) because you know you have a beast down there when she comes to play," forward Victoria Dunlap said of Roddy.
Dunlap had 13 points, nine rebounds and five steals. Catina Bett came off the bench to score nine points and grab five rebounds.
"They were bigger, stronger, quicker and you can't simulate that in practice," Knights Coach David Smith said of UK. "It's hard to adjust to on the fly."
Kentucky outscored Bellarmine 46-30 in the paint, including 23-3 on second-chance points. The Cats pulled down 21 offensive rebounds to just six for the Knights.
But those stats masked some the Wildcats would probably like to forget, such as their 1-for-15 three-point shooting and their 46.4 percent free- throw shooting.
"Bellarmine exposed some of our weaknesses today," Mitchell said. "It's a game we need to learn from and go in and correct whatever mistakes we made today."
Roddy was a bright spot in an exhibition game that exhibited more of Kentucky's flaws than its strengths.
UK trailed much of the game and didn't take the lead for good until 4:30 remained in the game on a Roddy putback. The senior scored eight of the Cats' final 13 points.
"We knew we were better than them," Roddy said. "So I was like, 'Man, I've got to step up and do what I've got to help my team.' That's what motivated me, that I knew they couldn't stop me inside."
Sophomore Carly Morrow had 11 points, including a clutch three-pointer (UK's only one of the game) to make it 68-62. Senior Carly Ormerod, who also was plagued by her own injuries last season, had eight points, five assists and four rebounds.
Ormerod's former Sacred Heart teammate Taylor Kopple led the Knights with 24 points, making 10 of her 12 shot attempts.
Bellarmine hit 47 percent from the field, but turned the ball over 29 times. The Knights led by as many as seven points with 13 minutes to play. Elizabethtown freshman Kylie Brady added 15 points and seven boards.
For the second straight exhibition game, junior college transfer Jackie Sanders dressed but did not play. Mitchell said she is not injured. ... Only Amber Smith and Lydia Watkins, who have been recovering from injuries, did not score.