The past few days have not been pleasant ones for Kentucky.
The Cats had two straight road losses where they had shot a combined 26.2 percent from the field.
Players were injured. Morale was low.
"It's been very frustrating," sophomore Carly Morrow said. "We've not shot the ball well; we've not finished layups. We know we're a lot better than that."
UK still had issues with layups, missing more than a dozen close-range shots, but those points weren't necessary in what turned out to be a 74-35 rout of Furman in Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.
"We needed a win real, real badly," Coach Matthew Mitchell said.
The 39-point victory was the largest in Mitchell's tenure at UK. He wasn't sure it was going to come as easily.
Kentucky played a second straight game without senior guard Carly Ormerod, who re-aggravated a foot injury from last season. It also was without the services of Lydia Watkins, who was held out to rest the stress reaction in her shin.
Perhaps even more worrisome for Mitchell was that he canceled practice Friday to give his team a break and they went into the Furman game relatively blind.
A morning shoot-around and walk-through were UK's only chances to become familiar with the Paladins' plans.
But he was pleased that his team responded well to even more adversity.
"The players really changed their attitudes and used some of the gifts that the good Lord has given them, and I was real, real pleased with the effort," Mitchell said.
Amani Franklin led four Kentucky players in double figures with 15 points, eight ,/;k,l;k' and three steals. Victoria Dunlap added 14 points and eight boards.
Morrow had 11 points, including three three-pointers. Eleia Roddy pitched in with 12 points and six rebounds for a UK team that outrebounded Furman 46-34, including holding the Paladins to just 11 offensive boards.
The Cats scored 20 second-chance points to just eight for Furman (3-4).
Kentucky's defense did a lot to create offense, including forcing eight steals that led to run-outs and easy points. The Cats scored 22 points off of 23 forced turnovers.
Yet those fast-break points didn't come as easily as they should have.
Point guard Amber Smith, who had a game-high five assists, could have had at least six more if not for missed close-range shots.
"I got on them about it," she joked, slightly. "I told them I was going to make them run. ... But I know they can finish, and I have faith in them, and I'm going to continue to pass to them."
Mitchell probably won't be opposed to Smith's running option.
Neither will Morrow, who said it's something the Cats have to get corrected.
"When you play the type of defense we play and then to turn around and not put the ball in the hole kind of defeats the purpose," she said.
UK shot 45.5 percent in the first half, but struggled in the second, shooting just 31 percent despite having more open looks and run-outs.
Furman pulled within three points with 11 minutes to go in the first half before Kentucky (5-3) went on a 26-5 run to take a huge lead into intermission.
The Paladins were led by Lee Stephens' 10 points.
Date Opponent Time/result
Nov. 5 x-KY. STATE W, 99-28
Nov. 9 x-BELLARMINE W, 72-69
Nov. 15 MICHIGAN L, 70-60
Nov. 17 CINCINNATI W, 58-55
Nov. 23 GEORGE WASHINGTON W, 67-48
Nov. 28 a-Yale W, 87-82
Nov. 29 a-Long Island W, 46-43
Dec. 2 at Xavier L, 67-47
Dec. 4 at Western Kentucky L, 66-57
Dec. 6 FURMAN W, 74-35
Dec. 12 EAST TENNESSEE ST. 7 p.m.
Dec. 14 at Louisville 2 p.m.
Dec. 19 ALABAMA A&M 7 p.m.
Dec. 21 at Cal-Santa Barbara 2 p.m.
Dec. 20 IUPUI 7 p.m.
Jan. 1 NORTH CAROLINA A&T 7 p.m.
Jan. 3 at Miami (Ohio) 2 p.m.
Jan. 8 at Tennessee 7 p.m.
Jan. 11 ARKANSAS 2 p.m.
Jan. 15 at Alabama 7 p.m.
Jan. 18 MISSISSIPPI ST. 4 p.m.
Jan. 25 LOUISIANA ST. 1 p.m.
Jan. 29 at Florida 7 p.m.
Feb. 1 at Mississippi 3 p.m.
Feb. 5 SOUTH CAROLINA 7 p.m.
Feb. 8 VANDERBILT 1 p.m.
Feb. 12 at Auburn 7 p.m.
Feb. 19 TENNESSEE 7 p.m.
Feb. 22 at Louisiana St. 3 p.m.
Feb. 26 GEORGIA 7 p.m.
March 1 at South Carolina 3 p.m.
x-exhibition; a-Long Island Turkey Classic at Brooklyn, N.Y.