Victoria Dunlap knew she was going to be in for a battle Sunday afternoon.
The 6-foot-1 senior knew Kentucky would be without starting post player Samantha Drake against a Notre Dame frontline that includes four players her height or taller.
So Dunlap prepared the best she could last week.
"I told the coaches if I get tired in practice, don't take me out, just make me keep going," she said after UK's 81-76 win in which Dunlap had game highs of 24 points and 14 rebounds.
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UK lost the battle of the boards badly, 51-35, but Coach Matthew Mitchell said Dunlap always seemed to come up with the important rebounds.
"I don't know what we would've won without her," he said. "It was Victoria going to work. She showed up big in a big-time game."
Dunlap played 38-plus minutes in the win, but said she wasn't tired at all.
"I could go another game or two right now," she said with a smile.
Kentucky missed its first 11 three-pointers, but it didn't dissuade guard Keyla Snowden.
"As a shooter, you just have to keep shooting. Whether you're 0-for-100, you just keep shooting," she said.
Snowden did just that, hitting five three-pointers for the game, including four of UK's five in the second half.
Mitchell was pleased to see his team, which came into the game hitting just 23.3 percent from outside, keep shooting.
"We can't shy away from the three-point line," he said. "We're so small and that's an equalizer for us."
Notre Dame Coach Muffet McGraw, who played zone against UK much of the second half, said she may have inadvertently helped the Cats' shooters.
"When I looked at the halftime stats, I said, 'I hope they keep shooting threes,'" she said of UK's 3-for-16 shooting in the first half. "I thought that would be to our advantage in the zone. That was great coaching there."
Mathies keeps playing
Playing out of position most of the game, Kentucky sophomore star A'dia Mathies looked out of sorts.
The guard, who came into the game averaging 17 points, finished with just six points and she missed six of her eight free-throw attempts. It was uncharacteristic for the career 70 percent free-throw shooter.
But her teammates were glad to see her come up with a clutch steal (her only swipe of the game) in the final 30 seconds of the contest.
"She had a rough time out there," Dunlap said. But, "when she got that steal, I was like, 'That's A'dia right there.' She came down and made something happen."