UK Women's Basketball

Kentucky women cruise to 113-33 exhibition victory against Bellarmine

Kentucky's Azia Bishop grabs a rebound as the UK women played Bellarmine on Monday  November 5, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky.  Photo by Amy Wallot
Kentucky's Azia Bishop grabs a rebound as the UK women played Bellarmine on Monday November 5, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Amy Wallot Herald-Leader

This season is not going to end well for chickens. Raising Cane's restaurant has a promotion with the No. 6 Kentucky women that offers fans free chicken if the Cats score 35 points in the first half.

On Monday in its lone exhibition, Kentucky had those 35 points in less than 13 minutes as it cruised past Bellarmine 113-33 at Memorial Coliseum.

"You know, there's going to be a lot of dead chickens," guard Bria Goss said when told of the poultry promotion. "Everybody's going to be eating good tonight."

And for much of the season if that exhibition was any indication.

Six players scored in double figures for Kentucky, which opens the season on Saturday afternoon against Delaware State.

"We have a lot of people who can score in a lot of different areas," Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "I have high hopes for this team offensively."

He has good reason.

Samarie Walker, who missed the first half of last season per the NCAA transfer rules, showed signs of what she could do in post-season play last season, averaging a double-double.

The junior forward said she tried to continue on where she left off by scoring 19 points, grabbing six rebounds and making five steals in 18 minutes. She was 9-for-9 from the floor.

Walker was one of several post players that caught Mitchell's attention in the win, which would have eclipsed last season's scoring high had it counted. UK's high for points a season ago was 101 versus Arkansas Pine Bluff.

"I just thought more than any other area on the team, our post players tried to get better tonight," Mitchell said.

DeNesha Stallworth, who sat out all of last season after transferring from California, had 11 points and four rebounds. Sophomore forward Azia Bishop added 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds in 16 minutes.

The post statistics were indicative of how deep and potent UK could be this season.

"We've got a lot of different offensive weapons," said reigning Southeastern Conference Player of the Year A'dia Mathies, who had 13 points and five steals. "Everybody has the potential to be the leading scorer on our team this year."

Goss added 16 points and Bernisha Pinkett had 15 points, five steals and four assists.

But UK's offensive MVP might still be its defense, which created 67 points off 46 Bellarmine turnovers. On the other end, the Cats turned the ball over just seven times.

Five minutes into the game, a Lauren Jones jumper got Bellarmine to within three points, 11-8, but it was over before the Knights could catch their breath.

Kentucky turned up the defensive pressure and went on a 31-4 run, which included an eight-minute scoring drought for the Knights.

By halftime, Bellarmine had turned the ball over 27 times to just two for Kentucky, and the Cats had turned those miscues into a whopping 41 points.

Bellarmine, a Division II school that finished 13-14 last season, was led by Jones' nine points.

Conwright sits with injury

Junior guard Maegan Conwright did not play in the exhibition game as she recovers from an ankle sprain.

When asked if Conwright, who likely will see lots of time at point guard this season, would play on Saturday, Mitchell said. "We're hoping.

"She had a pretty bad sprain and she was having great practices and doing a good job," he said. "She helps us be a little more explosive and push the pace a little bit more."

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