UK Women's Basketball

Kentucky women roll in second half behind Keyla Snowden

One of Kentucky's biggest offensive weapons the past two seasons had generally failed to fire so far this season.

Keyla Snowden seemed lost in the shuffle of guards that No. 14 UK bring in and out throughout its games.

But in a 73-52 win over Sam Houston State Friday night at Memorial Coliseum, Snowden came off the bench with a bang, scoring a season- and game-high of 19 points.

"She doesn't need to get lost in the shuffle," Cats Coach Matthew Mitchell said of Snowden, UK's third-leading scorer last season. "We need her bad. She's a senior, a veteran, a talented weapon out there."

The former Lexington Catholic standout admitted that her shooter's swagger had been at a standstill lately.

She was averaging just 16 minutes a game and hadn't been able to hit as many shots as she wanted.

"I need to work on my confidence," she said. "For me my confidence has been down. But having a good shooting night helps with that."

Snowden's shots were a shot in the arm for an ailing offense that made just 34.9 percent of its shots against Sam Houston's zone defense.

Kentucky (6-0) made just 32.5 percent of its shots in the first half, which had Mitchell frustrated. He specifically was concerned about the misses from close range.

"It's just so deflating," he said of the botched bunnies. "It's so incredibly deflating. I think those would have allowed us to stay energized. ... It's very frustrating tonight that we shot it poorly."

It was frustrating as well for Samantha Drake, who made four of her nine shots but still managed to score 11 points and grab 13 rebounds in 14 minutes.

"In the game, we weren't focused as much and it's something we need to keep working on," Drake said. "We didn't finish to our abilities."

Sam Houston Coach Brenda Welch-Nichols hopes her team's defense had something to do with UK's struggles.

The Bearkats, who were led by 13 points each from Britni Martin and Sequeena Thomas, used their zone heavily and tried to stop the Kentucky run and gun with what the coach called a "one-one-one-one-one" defense.

She explained that the defense — specifically created to go up against UK — meant that the Bearkats (2-2) had one player rebound and four others sprint back down the center of the floor.

It helped hold UK's fast-break points to just 18.

The Bearkats' defensive strategies seemed to work on key UK players Friday night.

"We weren't quite ourselves and we need to correct that in a hurry," Mitchell said. "We're all based on energy and we can't afford to have any drop in that."

Bria Goss and A'dia Mathies had 10 points apiece for UK. Mathies also added six steals and five rebounds. Amber Smith had six points, six assists and four steals in the victory.

The Cats had enough get up and go to pull away from a slim 35-28 edge at the break with an 18-4 run in the second half. During that UK spree, Sam Houston hit just one field goal.

But the Sam Houston coach seemed pleased with her team's efforts.

"Right now I can tell you every goal we set for our kids coming in here we accomplished," Welch-Nichols said, including scoring 50-plus points over the vaunted Cat defense that forced 26 turnovers and converted them into 31 points.

The Kentucky coach was just happy to have a weapon loaded and ready for an occasion when his team wasn't firing.

"You see her being able to pop out there and hit some three-pointers," Mitchell said of Snowden. "She's a really, really important part of our team and she's a huge weapon."