LOUISVILLE — They aren't just All-Stars; they're Kentucky All-Stars.
That's the message that Kentucky Coach Chris Souder gave to his team before Friday night's game against the Indiana All-Stars.
"I was on these girls pretty hard yesterday in practice," Souder said. "They all just said 'Coach, we'll be ready.'
"Late in the game they reminded me that they were ready."
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The Kentucky All-Stars stole game one of the two-game series 84-78 behind 17 points and 10 assists from Miss Basketball Makayla Epps.
Kentucky got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 9-0 lead in the first two minutes. The lead grew to 17 late in the first half.
Indiana's Miss Basketball, Stephanie Mavunga, injured her left knee three minutes in and sat out the remainder of the contest. The North Carolina signee is listed as a game-time decision for Saturday night's rematch.
Indiana Coach Mark Hurt said that the game plan didn't change in Mavunga's absence, but he added that it probably hurt the team's morale.
Indiana forward Taya Reimer, a Notre Dame signee, said Mavunga is so dominant that not having her really hurt the team.
"(Playing with Mavunga) is something we got used to playing with all week," Reimer said. "To have that be gone that early in the game was something we definitely had to adjust to."
The first half ended with Kentucky on top 48-35.
But the Hoosiers bounced back early in the second half and cut the lead to two. Bridget Perry scored nine of the team's first 12 points in the second half.
That's when Kentucky went on a 9-0 run of its own to stretch the lead.
But Indiana's girls continued to fight. They rallied to bring the score to 76-74 with 2:11 left to play.
With less than two minutes remaining, Souder called a play that gave Madison Central forward and Butler commit Ashton Feldhaus an open three-pointer from the right wing. She knocked it down to give Kentucky a 79-74 lead.
On Kentucky's next possession the ball again ended up with Feldhaus, this time on the left wing. She sank the shot, her sixth three-pointer of the night.
Feldhaus' two late threes sealed the victory for Kentucky. She finished as the game's leading scorer with 20 points. She credited her teammates' passing as the reason she was open so often.
The Kentucky girls said that being underdogs fueled them to come out and prove everyone wrong.
"Everybody in that gym probably knew we were the underdog, even some of them on the Kentucky side," said Madison Central's Larryn Brooks, who signed to play at Indiana University.
"Going out here and playing two last times for Kentucky and playing with these girls one more time — that I've been playing with for a while — has been a privilege more than anything," Brooks said.
KENTUCKY 84, INDIANA 78
INDIANA — Bridget Perry 7-15 5-8 19; Taya Reimer 5-7 0-1 10; Ally Lehman 5-10 0-0 10; Dakota Weatherford 3-4 2-2 9; Rhagen Smith 3-4 3-4 9; Jill Morrison 3-8 1-2 8; Taylor Lutz 2-3 0-1 5; Katie Curtis 1-6 2-2 5; Stephanie Mavunga 1-1 0-0 2; Andrijana Cvitkovic 0-2 1-2 1; Jenn Anderson 0-0 0-0 0; Caitlyn Tolen 0-2 0-0 0; Celeste Edwards 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 30-65 14-22 78.
KENTUCKY — Ashton Feldhaus 7-10 0-0 20; Makayla Epps 6-13 4-5 17; Kyvin Goodin-Rogers 3-5 4-6 11; China Dow 4-9 2-8 11; Larryn Brooks 4-10 2-2 11; Taylor Porter 2-2 0-0 4; Whitney Hartlage 1-3 0-0 3; Logan Powell 1-1 0-0 3; Michaela Hunter 1-4 0-1 2; Jessica Hardin 1-4 0-0 2; Beth Rates 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 30-62 12-22 84.
Indiana 35 43—78
Kentucky 48 36—84
Three-point goals—Indiana 4-20 (Morrison 1-5, Weatherford 1-1, Curtis 1-4, Lutz 1-1, Tolen 0-2, Edwards 0-1, Lehman 0-3, Perry 0-3), Kentucky 12-25 (Feldhaus 6-8, Goodin-Rogers 1-2, Powell 1-1, Epps 1-1, Brooks 1-4, Dow 1-4, Hartlage 1-2, Hardin 0-2, Hunter 0-1). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—Indiana 47 (Lehman 8), Kentucky 31 (Epps 7). Assists—Indiana 16 (Weatherford 3, Lutz 3, Reimer 3), Kentucky 18 (Epps 10). Total fouls—Indiana 17, Kentucky 17. Technical fouls—None. A—n/a.