There was no need for a fancy pep talk as Kentucky opened its NCAA Tournament run on Friday.
Coach Matthew Mitchell didn't have to say much at all.
He just had to slide in the tape from the last time his Cats faced Tennessee State in Memorial Coliseum a couple of months ago.
In that game, the Tigers jumped out to an eight-point lead and then clawed back near the end to keep it interesting.
"We were able to show them visible proof that if they didn't hustle against Tennessee State, they could really do some great things against you," Mitchell explained.
So there was no slow start this time around.
That horror film scared the Cats into aggression, including a 26-4 run early that helped give UK a 28-point lead in the first half and an easy 97-52 advantage at the end.
"I hope every game we're assertive like that," said sophomore guard Makayla Epps, one of six UK players in double figures with 13 points. "We should want to step out and jump out to a big early lead and put people away early so we can have more cushion."
For the eighth straight time, the Cats advanced out of the first round and into the second, where they will meet Dayton, which beat Iowa State 78-66 in the early game.
But to get there, a fast start was needed and achieved.
The Tigers (18-13) made their first basket of the game and then had an uncomfortable drought, missing all but one of their next 18 shots.
"We changed offenses, we changed defenses, we changed a lot of things but we couldn't get a strong foothold," said Tennessee State Coach Larry Joe Inman, whose team was held to 26.1 percent shooting, the lowest percentage for a UK opponent this season. The Tigers' 52 points were the second fewest scored by a UK foe this season.
Kentucky (24-9) forced the Tigers into 26 turnovers, many on the Cats' season-high 18 steals. Jelleah Sidney led the way in that stat with five steals to go with her five assists.
"They are much better, they play the passing lanes better, they're much more aggressive, they are very physical inside," Inman said of these Cats versus the ones he faced on Dec. 28. "I feel like they did a good job. They applied their strengths and minimized our strengths and created a lot of weaknesses for us."
While having six players score in double figures and shoot 49.2 percent from the field (second best for UK this season) was nice, Mitchell was pleased to see the points come so easily in transition and from defense.
"It was critical," he said. "We need that right now. We need to create some offense from our defense."
Sophomore Linnae Harper led the way for UK with 16 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals in just 24 minutes. Alexis Jennings added 15 points and six rebounds.
Epps and Bria Goss had 13 points each, including Goss flirting with a double-double with nine rebounds, which tied the senior's career high.
Jennifer O'Neill, who injured her ankle in practice the day before, sat out most of the second half, but was productive early, scoring 13 points, including making all three she attempted from long range.
Even as Kentucky, which outrebounded the Tigers 52-34 and scored 21 second-chance points to just five for Tennessee State, grabbed that big lead, the Cats wanted more.
"We've had a couple of games where we'd get the lead to 12 of 14 and our opponent would turn around and break that lead," Harper said. "Today we were talking about it constantly as a team. When we're up 10, we wanted to get it to 15. When we were at 15, we wanted to get it to 20."
Coe's big day
Little-used freshman guard Jaycee Coe got in on the scoring with a career-best 10 points, equaling the number of points she's scored all season combined. She made both of the three-pointers she attempted, also equal to the number she'd made this season.
Even though Coe hadn't played more than a minute in the previous five games, she tried to be prepared.
"Coach always says just be ready to go in at any moment," Coe said.
On her final three, teammates leaped off the bench to celebrate in the last minutes of the game.
"When she goes out there and puts up 10 points, we get really excited," Goss said.
'Just one of them days'
There were times in the game that Epps looked a little off, missing layups that she normally makes. She had ice on both knees after the win after knocking knees with one of the Tennessee State players.
She said she missed two layups after the knee pain, but she said her strained Achilles' tendon and painful foot problem were not the cause of her 4-for-19 shooting performance.
"Just one of them days, I've had them before," she said smiling. "It was just one of them days."
Epps helped the team in other ways, with five rebounds, three assists and three steals.