The UK women’s basketball team started their season off with a win against Lincoln Memorial University 101-64 in Memorial Coliseum in the teams’ first meeting since the 2012-2013 season.
The Wildcats struggled in the first few minutes of the game, but were able to begin a run of 23-2 to take the lead 27-12. Tatyana Wyatt began the offensive success by scoring first for the Wildcats. The Cats increased defensive pressure, forcing LMU to have shot clock violations, five second calls and back court violations. The Wildcats forced 13 turnovers, and LSM had a combined five personal fouls against the Wildcats in the first quarter.
Both Ryhne Howard and Blair Green made their freshman debuts, but didn’t show any signs of nervousness.
“We know that our team has our back,” Green said.
In the second quarter, the Railsplitters had some offensive success, but the wildcats were able to capitalize on their continued fouls. The Railsplitters added four personal fouls to their total of nine. The Wildcats were again able to create a 11-2 run to lead 50-35 to end the quarter.
“[They] had a rocky second quarter where we didn’t play with the kind of energy. I thought they lost some confidence,” Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell said.
The Kentucky Wildcats were able to create their biggest lead of 81-53 at the end of the third quarter. The Railsplitters kept giving the Wildcats scoring opportunities because of their continued turnovers throughout the quarter.
As LMU became more tired, their play became unorganized causing many turnovers and missed shooting opportunities. The Cats were able to add to increase their lead, leading to a Wildcat victory.
“Tonight was a good place to start and good to be in Memorial Coliseum,” Mitchell said.
The Wildcats were able to force 31 turnovers and 41 points off those turnovers. Maci Morris believes they can sustain this throughout the season and credits her coach for doing a good job of conditioning them.
The Wildcats know their work is not done yet. Morris and Green agree that “getting the rotations down” is something they need to work on as they go further into the season.
“Want to have a winning season, obviously do better than last year. I want to compete for the SEC championship and I just want to make it the best year I have here,” Morris said. “I think we have the potential to do that and so I’m really excited for this team.”
The Kentucky Wildcats will return to the court to play Alabama State on Wednesday, November 7th in Memorial Coliseum.