University of Louisville

Kentucky women get payback against Louisville

Kentucky's Bria Goss drove past Louisville's Jude Schimmel 
during the second half. Goss had nine points and five rebounds.
Kentucky's Bria Goss drove past Louisville's Jude Schimmel during the second half. Goss had nine points and five rebounds.

There was no escaping the beatdown Kentucky suffered at Louisville last season.

All week, the number "26" was plastered on the walls of the women's basketball side of the Joe Craft Center.

The number littered the locker room.

"We took it real personal," sophomore Samantha Drake said of that 26-point drubbing UK took at Louisville.

No. 12 Kentucky took it personally, and they gave it right back on Sunday with a 74-54 win over the No. 10 Cardinals.

It was the Cats' largest margin of victory over a top-10 opponent in program history, and they did it in front of the sixth-largest crowd (7,951) to see a game at Memorial Coliseum.

"It was definitely a payback game," point guard Amber Smith said of the win, which kept the 8-0 Cats unbeaten this season with a game against No. 7 Duke looming on Thursday at Rupp Arena.

Kentucky got the win with hustle and effort, outrebounding the bigger Cardinals 34-25 and outscoring them 24-10 on second-chance points.

"We talked about a sincere effort to offensive rebound," UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "You couldn't act like you were going to the boards. You had to go in there and get some."

Cardinals Coach Jeff Walz said it's impossible to win big games without rebounding.

"That's a mentality," Walz said. "You've got to have a little fight in you to go and rebound the ball."

He questioned his team's effort in the loss, which snapped the Cardinals' (7-2) six-game win streak.

"It's amazing how many loose balls we didn't dive at," Walz said. "You've got to do that in games like this."

Freshman Bria Goss said it's been stressed early and often this season that hustle means playing time.

"Every minute you're on the court, you want to give it your all because it could be your last," Goss said. "It could be the last dead ball you can get or the last point you can get, so you go out there and hustle."

A'dia Mathies led the Cats with 20 points, including a career-high four three-pointers.

"If you leave me open, I'm going to take the shot," said Mathies, a Louisville native. "I'm just happy that they did."

After the series offered back-to-back blowouts, this Louisville-Kentucky game with both teams so highly rated had all of the makings of a potential close one. And it was, but only for the first four minutes when it was tied 6-6.

From there, UK used a 19-4 run to pull ahead 25-10 with 7:16 to go in the first half on Kastine Evans' lay-in off an inbounds pass from Amber Smith.

The Cats extended their lead to as many as 17 points in the first half on Mathies' three-pointer with two minutes to go, which set the halftime margin, 40-23.

Louisville, which was led by Shoni Schimmel's 17 points, five assists, four steals and four rebounds, was held to one field goal for 10 minutes in the first half.

For nearly five minutes of that span, the Cardinals didn't score a point.

UK shot a season-best 51.7 percent in the first half and 47.1 percent for the game.

"They made some big shots," Walz said. "A'dia Mathies shot the ball extremely well. They had some kids step up and make some threes that had not all season.

"If they continue to shoot the ball that well, they'll be fun to watch."

Goss and Kastine Evans had nine points each. The guards had 11 rebounds between them. Smith added seven points and six assists.

Kentucky didn't let off the gas in the second half, getting its first six points from Drake, who finished with 10 points. The lead ballooned to 24 points with two minutes to go.

"We were ready for payback this year," Drake said, "and that's what we did."

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