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UK Hoops Wins a Battle Over Florida for SEC Opening Win
UK Hoops had a tough time putting Florida way, but the Wildcats hit big shots when they needed them as the Wildcats beat the Gators 76-69.
A’dia Mathies led Kentucky with 20 points, but it was the timely shooting of Jennifer O’Neill that was the difference in the ballgame.
O’Neill scored 8 straight points in the 2nd half and they came at a great time for Matthew Mitchell’s team because Florida was making another run.
“Great game for Jennifer,” said Mitchell about O’Neill. “When we were really stagnant and struggling to score and Florida was playing such great defense, she just made some plays for us that I thought really lifted our team. I thought we were getting close to the point of discouragement on offense because of Florida’s really good play. We were able to shake her lose one time on a little play coming out of a timeout that was a little different look for Florida and I was really happy that one went in.”
The Wildcats would make a run, then the Gators would score 9 straight to get right back into it, and that seemed to happen the entire 40 minutes.
A’dia Mathies knew she would have to be aggressive because of the Florida runs. ““They are a great team and great teams make runs, just like we make runs. All I care is that we got a victory, whether it be by 27 points or one point, as long as we got the win.”
O’Neill finished with 17 points, hitting 3 of 4 from behind the arc, and totaled 5 for 9 from the field.
Denesha Stallworth also had a big night, recording a double double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
The win pushed Kentucky to a 13-1 record, and the loss dropped Florida to 11-4.
UK Hoops Postgame Notes
Jan. 3, 2013
Final Score: No. 6/6 Kentucky 76 – Florida 69
Team Records and Series Notes
Kentucky improves to 13-1, 1-0 SEC, while Florida falls to 11-4, 0-1 SEC.
UK returns to action Sunday, Jan. 6 at 3 p.m. EST in Tuscaloosa, Ala., against conference foe Alabama.
Kentucky is in its 39th year of varsity play and owns an overall record of 669-472 (.586).
Head coach Matthew Mitchell is in his sixth year and ranks third on the all-time wins list (127-57) and first in winning percentage (.690).
Mitchell is now 49-28 in SEC games (regular season only).
The Wildcats own a 366-140 (.723) mark in Memorial Coliseum, including a 76-12 (.864) mark under Mitchell.
The Cats are now 58-2 at home over the last three seasons.
· UK has tied the school record for consecutive home wins with 30. The Cats also won 30 straight from Feb. 12, 1980 until Jan. 31, 82.
UK is now 30-9 in SEC home games under Mitchell, including an impressive 23-2 mark in the last three seasons.
Kentucky has won a school-record 11 consecutive SEC home games.
The Wildcats are 16-16 all-time in SEC openers and 18-14 in SEC home openers, having won six of their last seven and two in a row.
Kentucky set a school record with its 12th consecutive victory. UK previously won 11 in a row in 2009 and 1983.
UK is now 25-22 all-time against Florida, including a 13-9 advantage in Lexington.
UK extending its winning streak to six games vs. UF, including five straight wins in Lexington.
Mitchell is 7-2 all-time vs. Florida.
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 10-0 with that lineup.
Stallworth scored the first basket of the game on a jump shot from the right elbow at the 19:45 mark.
Kastine Evens was the first sub of the game for UK.
UK improves to 51-30 all-time in games decided by 10 points or less, including 2-0 this season.
Tonight’s game marks the fifth straight contest decided by seven points or less between UK and UF.
UK combined to take a season-best seven charges on the evening (Mathies – 4, Goss – 3).
Kentucky is now 74-6 when scoring 70 or more points under Mitchell.
At least four Wildcats reached double-figures for the eighth time this season.
· The Wildcats extended their streak of consecutive games with a triple to 306.
UK won the turnover battle 19-16 and is 106-27 under Mitchell when committing fewer turnovers than its opponent.
Kentucky has forced double-digit miscues in 131 consecutive games.
The Cats are now 98-33 during that span.
Senior A’dia Mathies scored a season-high 20 points, marking the 20th time she has reached the 20-point mark in her career and the fifth time a Wildcat has reached the mark this season.
Mathies has started in 117 career games, tying her for fourth UK’s all-time starts list with Tiffany Wait (1995-2000).
With seven made field goals, Mathies climbs into No. 7 UK’s all-time list with 574, passing Belitta Croley (569, 1984-88) and Jodie Whitaker (571, 1985-89).
The preseason SEC Player of the Year has reached double figures in 12 of 14 games this season.
Junior DeNesha Stallworth recorded her 16th career double-double and fourth at UK with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Stallworth has reached double figures in 12 of 14 games, including 11 in a row.
Redshirt sophomore Jennifer O’Neill posted double figures for the fourth time this season with 17 points, including a season-high five rebounds.
It was her third straight game with double digits.
Sophomore Bria Goss charted double figures points for the eighth time this year with 10 points.
She equaled a career-high four assists.