By Alex Forkner | @AlexFork3
We knew A’dia Mathies wouldn’t stay quiet for long.
After scoring only five points and coming up empty on field goals in the first round against Navy, Mathies tied her career-high, with 34 points in the Cats’ 84-70 victory over Dayton.
To get her team to the Sweet 16, Mathies showed her guts while some of her teammates were struggling with theirs.
A stomach bug hindered several Cats’ ability to play.
At one point, Samarie Walker darted to the UK bench mid-play to vomit into a trash bag.
Her accuracy wasn’t perfect — just ask the cleanup crew at Carnesecca Arena.
Mathies’ shooting accuracy, however, was nearly perfect.
She finished 13-of-17 from the field, 6-of-7 from outside the arc, setting a new career high for made 3-point field goals.
Once again, as has been the case for the past four years, Mathies provided strength during a moment of possible weakness, a steady hand when others’ were trembling.
This NCAA Tournament is obviously the last of the senior guard’s stellar career, and it was unlikely she’d go out and lay another egg like her performance on Sunday.
And it’s a good thing she didn’t, because Dayton wouldn’t fold under UK’s defensive pressure, hovering just behind UK throughout the game.
If Mathies hadn’t brought her best to the court, UK might not have advanced to the Sweet 16, where the Cats meet a player just as pivotal to her team as Mathies is to theirs.
Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne is among the best players in the country.
Rated as the No. 1 overall high school prospect her senior year, she committed to play at UConn before changing her mind to stay closer to her family in Delaware.
After taking her freshman year off, she suited up for the Blue Hens and has dominated ever since.
Delle Donne finished with 33 points and eight rebounds in the Blue Hens’ second-round win over North Carolina, catapulting her team to its first Sweet 16 appearance in program history.
Like Mathies, she is the leader of her team and won’t go away silently.
We’ll have to wait and see who’s louder come Saturday.