UK Women's Basketball

Pressure defense produces another blowout win for UK women

Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell talked to Brittany Henderson (#40) in the first half of the game against Northeastern at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky.  Thursday Nov. 17, 2011.  Photo by Joseph Rey Au
Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell talked to Brittany Henderson (#40) in the first half of the game against Northeastern at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky. Thursday Nov. 17, 2011. Photo by Joseph Rey Au

Being from Boston, the Northeastern Huskies no doubt are used to strong, violent storms like Nor'easters.

But they weren't ready for Kentucky's first-half storm that set up an 81-47 blowout in front of 3,960 at Memorial Coliseum on Thursday night.

"That first 20 minutes was pretty tough," Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "We played really, really hard in that first 20 minutes."

In that first 20 minutes, No. 17 Kentucky went on an unrelenting 26-4 tear to grab a 26-6 lead.

The Cats did it with defense, forcing the Huskies into one more turnover (27) than their per-game average (26) coming in. Kentucky turned the Huskies' first-half mistakes into 33 points.

"We have to learn how to handle pressure," Northeastern Coach Daynia La-Force Mann said. "In the first half we just didn't do the right things. We weren't using fundamentals in breaking traps. We weren't using fundamentals in our press break."

UK extended its lead to as many as 41 points early in the second half before the storm seemed to subside.

"Second group was subpar tonight, low energy," Mitchell said of his bench. "We don't have everybody really clicking."

One member of the bench agreed.

"A lot of times, we lose focus and let the score get to us mentally and that's not supposed to happen," said senior Keyla Snowden, who scored 14 points. "We're going to work harder in practice to let the score not affect us."

A'dia Mathies, who had a game-best 20 points, six rebounds and four steals, said the calm after the storm is something Kentucky has to work harder to avoid.

"We let down and we don't want that to happen anymore," Mathies said. "Even if we're down by 40 or up by 40, we expect to play hard every play."

Two freshmen, Bria Goss and Azia Bishop, set personal bests for their young careers.

Bishop had 12 points and eight rebounds. Goss added 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals in the win, which moved UK to 3-0 on the season.

Snowden, a former Lexington Catholic standout, went over the 1,000-point mark for her career.

"It's an incredible accomplishment," Mitchell said. "Keyla Snowden has had some terrific, terrific moments here at Kentucky."

The Huskies (0-3) were led by Jewel Tunstull's 12 points and six rebounds.

Northeastern committed 37 turnovers, which Kentucky managed to turn into 40 points. The Cats had 19 steals in the game, including five by Maegan Conwright, tying a career high.

Riley, Ali sit out

Freshman Bra'Shey Ali was not on the bench for the game. She was suspended for missing a class.

Crystal Riley also wasn't on the bench, but for the opposite reason.

She was in class taking a test, Mitchell said of the senior guard, who wouldn't have played anyway because of a stress reaction in her foot.

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