Hoops prevails, claims 25th consecutive home win



By Tom Hurley | @TomHurleyKernel

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UK hoops secured their 25th straight home win Wednesday with a 92-53 win over Miami University (Ohio), improving to 5-1 on the season.

The game was played at the unusual start time of 11 a.m. as part of Class of 2019 Day, which saw an estimated 2,000 local school children fill the stands at Memorial Coliseum instead of their classrooms.

It took some strong words from head coach Matthew Mitchell shortly before the halfway mark of the first half for the Cats to realize breakfast was over.

In an opening which featured Mitchell standing unimpressed with his arms folded, the Cats allowed Miami to enjoy space and time on the ball, with senior point guard Courtney Osborn helping the visitors to a 13-12 lead.

Turning the ball over on the first possession of the game certainly did little to please the sixth-year coach.

Following that timeout, however, it was a different story as the Cats began running a full-court press, which would not relent until the final buzzer.

Tough defense and aggressive offense became the theme, with junior guard Bernisha Pinkett the catalyst in an all-out turnaround that included a 10-0 run.

“I think we maybe got an energy drink in her, gave her a bottle about 10 minutes into the game,” Mitchell said about Pinkett’s play after the timeout.

Osborn went from bringing the ball up the court with ease to finding two Cats on her moments after receiving inbound passes.

Her counterpart, UK’s senior point guard A’dia Mathies, began to spearhead the offense with free-flowing ball movement helping UK head to the locker room 12 points ahead at halftime.

Three straight three-pointers signaled the Cats intentions as the second half began, causing Miami to call a timeout.

Two turnovers and a block from junior center DeNesha Stallworth were not what the RedHawks were hoping to get coming out of the timeout. They got little their way for the remaining 17 plus minutes either.

Continuing to play hard right up until the final buzzer, Miami gave their best effort to stop the offensive and defensive juggernaut, but the gulf in depth was too large.

Osborn was the lone shining light for Miami, finishing with 25 points as her squad were time and time again outworked and out classed by their opponents.

A wry smile from Osborn after sending sophomore guard Bria Goss to the line told the story, as the little engine that could couldn’t cope with the women in white and blue.

Pinkett’s strong play continued throughout the second half, securing a double-double as she finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists – leading the team in all three categories.

“I just came out and played hard,” Pinkett said.

Mathies and freshman guard Janee Thompson scored 14 points each. Goss and Stallworth both finished with 12 points, with the latter also grabbing 8 rebounds.

UK hoops next plays Sunday, travelling to Louisville to face the rival Cardinals at 6 p.m.

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