UK Women's Basketball

UK women pound Miami (Ohio) 107-53

The Kentucky players talked about it as if it was some kind of zen experience.

"We were on another level out there," Amani Franklin said.

It was almost transcendental.

"It felt like we couldn't miss," Amber Smith said.

Even the coach, who normally can find plenty of things wrong in even the biggest of wins, couldn't stop smiling after the Cats' 107-53 blowout of Miami (Ohio) on Tuesday.

"We played some terrific basketball, some really good basketball," Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "It was a great combination of good, tough defense and great offense."

Much as the stars seemed to align for the Cats — with six players scoring in double figures — all of the statistics did, too.

UK, which has been one of the poorest shooting teams in the Southeastern Conference the past few years, got up over the century mark for the first time in four years.

The Cats' 107 points were the most scored by UK since a 108-102 overtime win in 2002. It's the most points scored by Kentucky in a regulation game in nine years.

"We were going on all cylinders today," Franklin said of UK, which has seemingly started its season that way, moving to 7-0 in front of a Memorial Coliseum crowd of 4,123.

Every player who was eligible scored. Seven players had nine points or more, led by Victoria Dunlap's 21 points and 16 rebounds. She also had five steals and four blocked shots.

Smith tied her career high with 17 points and added six assists and four boards.

"She was tremendously aggressive in the first half, made some spectacular plays at the bucket to score," Mitchell said of his junior point guard.

Franklin added 16 points and nine rebounds.

Carly Morrow had 14 points, including four three-pointers. Rebecca Gray contributed 13 points and six assists. The duo combined to hit seven of UK's season-high 12 three-pointers.

"We were making everything," Smith said. "It felt like we couldn't miss. That is exactly what it was. It felt great."

The Cats hit 70.6 percent from long range and 57.1 percent overall, both season highs.

"We finally got on track shooting the three-point shot," Mitchell said. "I thought that was coming on. ... Tonight was an unbelievable night from the three-point line."

A'dia Mathies notched 11 points and a career-high seven assists. The freshman also had four steals and four rebounds with one turnover.

UK's 22 assists (a season high) on its 36 made baskets were what had the coach most pleased.

"It was all about us making the extra pass and sharing the basketball and, when that happens, we're pretty good," Mitchell said.

Kentucky forced the defending Mid-American Conference champion RedHawks, who lost their fifth straight, into 28 turnovers and turned them into 34 points.

Miami was led by freshman Courtney Osborn's 22 points and four steals. The Hawks made just 18 percent of their shots in the first half.

UK's 57-21 advantage was the largest halftime lead for the Cats in school history. The previous high was 35 points against Nicholls State in December of 2004.

While Mitchell was pleased, especially with UK's play in the first half, he did note that the season is just beginning.

"The challenge for us is, when a night doesn't go like tonight, can we continue to play defense? Can we continue to hang our hat on defensive intensity?" Mitchell asked.

If Kentucky wins its next two games, it will tie for the best start in program history with the 1980-81 team.

If it can keep playing like it did Tuesday, Franklin likes the team's chances:

"If we continue at this pace, it's going to be real hard to beat us."

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