UK Women's Basketball

Kentucky women's basketball notes: Samarie Walker starting to show her potential

ATHENS, Ga. — Sometimes Samarie Walker has to remind herself that she's only played in nine games this season.

That's 10 games fewer than most of her Kentucky teammates.

The Connecticut transfer would sometimes find herself frustrated, but the 6-foot-1 sophomore forward said she's finding her game groove now.

"I feel like I'm getting back into it," Walker said after her career night at Georgia on Thursday. "I'm practicing with a lot more confidence, and my teammates and coaches help me not to get down on myself and help me understand that it's only my ninth or 10th game."

Walker had career highs of 18 points and nine rebounds. She made eight of the 10 shots she attempted.

She became the type of player that UK Coach Matthew Mitchell has told her she can be for sixth-ranked Kentucky, which topped Georgia 69-64 at Stegeman Coliseum.

"She's gotten a little bit better every game; she's certainly practicing better," he said. "We think she's a talented player and can give us production like she did tonight. That was huge in the game."

UK star guard A'dia Mathies agreed Walker's getting better each time out.

"She did a great job of being aggressive, posting up strong," Mathies said.

Walker gives UK another dimension offensively, Mathies said.

"You've got to have an inside-outside presence," Mathies said. "Her play on the inside really opened up some lanes for us on the outside. Her play tonight was great, all of our post players really."

Florida nears sellout

After playing two straight on the road against ranked opponents, UK's players and coaches said they'll be happy to get back to Memorial Coliseum this weekend for a game against Florida.

"It was a really, really tough stretch," Mitchell said of games at South Carolina and then at Georgia.

They might like it even more when they find out that the game is a near sellout.

Before the game at Georgia, UK announced that general admission tickets are sold out and that there are a limited number of reserve tickets left for the 2 p.m. Sunday game. Those tickets go for $7 and are on sale at the Joe Craft Center ticket office.

Kentucky will need all the crowd help it can get against the Gators, Mitchell said, noting that the Cats barely won at Gainesville, 59-56, to open Southeastern Conference play Jan. 1.

Kentucky goes back on the road again to Auburn on Jan. 26 before coming home for two more in Memorial Coliseum versus Alabama and Ole Miss.

Noteworthy

The Cats, who have defeated a top-25 opponent in three straight games, won their fifth game over a ranked opponent this season. Three times they've beaten a top-10 opponent.

It ties for the most wins against ranked teams in a single season. UK won five games against ranked foes in 1982-83 and in 2009-10.

■ Kentucky is just one of three schools in the country to have both men's and women's teams ranked in the Associated Press top 10. The others are Baylor and Duke.

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