UK Hoops Finishes Non-Conference Schedule with Win

UK Hoops finishes up their non-conference schedule with a 12-1 mark with a tough win over Marist 78-56 in front of 4,919 in Memorial Coliseum.

The Wildcats were led by Jennifer O’Neill’s ouside shooting and Denesha Stallworth’s inside game as they both scored 21 points.

O’Neill’s career best performance mostly came from perimeter, knocking down 4 of 7 from long range, and finishing 7 for 11 from the field.

Coach Matthew Mitchell wasn’t surprised by O’Neill’s performance as he knows she is a great shooter.

“She is a great perimeter shooter and a very skilled offensive player so I am not surprised (with her offensive performance) just really happy to see it because we needed it today because they really made it tough on our interior players.”

Stallworth was 8 for 14, mostly coming from the paint, and made 5 of 6 from the free throw line. She has reached double figures in 11 of 13 games, including 10 in a row.

All-American candidate A’dia Mathies had a rough day scoring wise, mostly because of two in-game injuries, but bounced back to score 10 points in the second half. After scoring her 4th point, Mathies passed Samantha Mahoney (2005-08) to move up to No. 4 on UK’s all-time scoring list with 1,608 points. She also became the all-time scorer in UK Hoops history for a guard.

Coach Matthew Mitchell knew Marist would be a tough matchup for his team and liked the competition before SEC play begins next Thursday with Florida coming to Memorial Coliseum.

“I think you have a better idea about things you need to work on this week as we lead up to our first non-conference game. I think that it is much more beneficial than a blow-out win. We had some pressure on us today to perform. Marist just kept coming back at us and cut it to single digits so we had to earn this one. It was hard fought and didn’t always go our way and we saw how some people responded and dug in. I thought it was very beneficial for us and we will have a good idea of where we are heading into Thursday.”

Kentucky did a great job from the foul line today, not leaving any points on the floor, as they hit a season high 18-21 for 85%.

When questioned if the non-conference schedule has gotten his team ready for the SEC, Matthew Mitchell sounded confident his team was ready.

“I think they are ready and I think they are excited. This is a 13-game stretch and a long grind. It was a tough turnaround today to get ready in one day and now you can exhale a little bit tonight and take some time to reflect back on a very successful non-conference portion. I have to believe that our players are tremendously excited for what we considered the most important part of our season. We are really excited about that.”

UK Hoops Postgame Notes
Memorial Coliseum
Lexington, Ky.
Dec. 30, 2012
Final Score: No. 7/6 Kentucky 78 – Marist 56

Team Records and Series Notes
Kentucky improves to 12-1, while Marist falls to 5-6.
UK returns to action Thursday, Jan. 3, when it begins Southeastern Conference play against Florida in Memorial Coliseum at 7 p.m. EST. The game will be televised on FSN South.
Kentucky is in its 39th year of varsity play and owns an overall record of 668-472 (.586).
Head coach Matthew Mitchell is in his sixth year and ranks third on the all-time wins list (126-57) and first in winning percentage (.689).
UK is now 62-19 (.765) in regular season, non-conference games under head coach Matthew Mitchell.
The Wildcats own a 365-140 (.723) mark in Memorial Coliseum, including a 75-12 (.862) mark under Mitchell.
The Cats are now 57-2 at home over the last three seasons.
UK has now won 29 straight home contests – the second-longest winning streak in program history. The school record is 30 straight set from Feb. 12, 1980 until Jan. 31, 82.
Kentucky has won 39 straight nonconference home games, dating back to Dec. 19, 2008.
UK extended its winning streak to 11 games, which ties the longest winning streak in a single season in school history. UK also won 11 in a row in 2009 and 1983.
UK went a perfect 7-0 in December for the first time since the 1997-98 season.
Eleven of UK’s 12 wins have been by 18 or more points.
UK is now 2-0 all-time against Marist.
The other meeting took place on Dec. 26, 1993 when the Cats defeated the Red Foxes 96-65.
Kentucky is now 3-0 all-time against teams from the MAAC.

Team/Game Notes
UK’s starting lineup featured A’dia Mathies, Bria Goss, Jennifer O’Neill, Samarie Walker and DeNesha Stallworth for the fourth straight game. The Cats are now 9-0 with that lineup.
Stallworth scored the first basket of the game on a layup at the 19:50 mark.
Kastine Evens was the first sub of the game for UK.
Kentucky is now 73-6 when scoring 70 or more points under Mitchell.
From the 9:02 mark to 3:54, UK went on a 17-4 run to extend its lead to 35-23.
With the score 58-50 with 8:52 remaining, UK went on a 14-4 run to extend its advantage to 73-54 with 2:41 to play in the game.
UK shot a season high from the free-throw line, converting on 18-21 for .857 percent.
The Wildcats have scored 30 or more points off turnovers in eight of their 13 games this season.
O’Neill and Stallworth recorded 21 points in the game, marking the first time UK has had two players score 20-plus points in a game since Keyla Snowden (22) and A’dia Mathies (21) reached the 20-point mark against Mississippi State (1/8/12).
· The Wildcats extended their streak of consecutive games with a triple to 305.

UK won the turnover battle 27-13 and is 105-27 under Mitchell when committing fewer turnovers than its opponent.
Kentucky has forced double-digit miscues in 130 consecutive games.
The Cats are now 97-33 during that span.
UK has forced 20-plus turnovers in all 13 games this season and in 42 of its last 48 games, dating back to the start of last season.

Individual Notes
Senior A’dia Mathies scored 10 points and passed Samantha Mahoney (2005-08) to move up to No. 4 on UK’s all-time scoring list with 1,608 points. She is the all-time scorer in UK Hoops history for a guard.
Today marked her 116th career start, which ties her for fifth all-time with Lea Wise (1979-83). Mathies is now one shy from equaling Tiffany Wait (117, 1995-2000) for No. 4 on the list.
With two steals, Mathies moves to No. 4 on UK’s all-time steals list and is just four shy from tying Leslie Nichols (278, 1982-86) for third.
Mathies has reached double figures in 11 of 13 games this season.
Junior DeNesha Stallworth recorded a UK career high with 21 points, while also charting a personal-best two steals.
Stallworth has reached double figures in 11 of 13 games, including 10 in a row.
Redshirt sophomore Jennifer O’Neill set new career highs with 21 points and four steals.
O’Neill made a career-best seven field goals 11 attempts from the field, including a career high four 3-pointers.

About Scott Anderson

I love covering the Kentucky Wildcats and even though I can't cheer on the outside when I go to games now, I am definitely cheering on the inside. You can follow me at @SAndersonNOB on twitter.

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