UK Women's Basketball

Transfer Riley shows she belongs

Crystal Riley was in a no-win situation.

The transfer from Louisiana State was eligible to play for the first time on Sunday. She was joining a 9-0 team in Kentucky's biggest game of the young season.

"We were very concerned about that because it's a difficult situation for her to come into," Coach Matthew Mitchell said.

But Riley played within herself as a backup to point guard Amber Smith, scoring six points and grabbing two rebounds in 15 minutes.

She had just one turnover and made some nifty drives to the basket.

"I was so happy she had positive minutes," Mitchell said. "You saw some flashes of the athleticism she possesses, and she's going to get even better."

Smith said the team did its best to help Riley get ready.

"We did a little dance for her, wrote a little song for her," Smith said. "There wasn't a letdown when she was in there. She came in and led the team and ran the team."

Best start in history

There were no fireworks or certificates passed out, but Kentucky's win did make the team 10-0, the best start in program history.

The previous best start was by the 1980-81 team, which began the season 9-0 and finished it 25-6.

The players and coaches acknowledged the milestone sparingly.

"It means a lot, but we don't want to dwell on it because, like Coach says, you don't get a trophy for going 10-0," Smith said. "We'll just try to go to 11-0."

Mitchell echoed his junior point guard and pointed toward Tuesday's game against Tennessee-Martin.

"We're so happy to be 10-0," he said. "We'll try to make it 11-0 on Tuesday and keep it going. Any time you do something that's never been done, it's special."

Chippy chip shots

Kentucky could have rolled out to maybe a 40-point lead in the first half if it had done a couple of things more effectively.

Two things that stuck out to Mitchell were free-throw shooting and making layups.

UK missed 19 layups in the game and 16 of its 52 free throws.

"We didn't make enough layups," Mitchell said. "We emphasize layups every day, and that's something we'll continue to emphasize and, certainly, there's room for improvement."

Guard Carly Morrow said UK knows it has some work to do despite its large margin of victory.

"We missed a lot of layups, a lot of chip shots, a lot of free throws, and that's just (about) focus," Morrow said. "There's a lot of room for improvement over this Christmas break."

Extra points

The crowd of 7,323 was the eighth-largest in program history. ... Kentucky has defeated all 10 opponents by double digits, including four opponents by 30 or more.

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