With just a few days between games, the Kentucky women's basketball team was happy not to have too long to stew over a lopsided loss at Baylor on Tuesday. On Saturday, the Wildcats got back on the floor, this time at home in Memorial Coliseum, and began to erase the bad memories with 80-46 win over High Point.
"I thought we had some really good moments in the game and made some progress in some areas," UK head coach Matthew Mitchell said. "(There is) still a lot to work on, but after the disappointing defeat Tuesday, only having a couple days practice time to get ready for this one, I thought the team prepared well and performed well."
A'dia Mathies led the way, scoring all of her game-high 17 points in the first half. She missed all six of her shots after halftime, but stayed aggressive. More importantly, her overall game was strong.
"A'dia was so fantastic today on the defensive end and I just was absolutely thrilled with her game," Mitchell said. "I thought she had a great game. She had a huge first half scoring and in the second half I thought she played a really good game and found some people and made some good passes."
With Mathies limited offensively in the second half, UK's bench stepped up, scoring 31 of UK's 39 points after halftime. The three Wildcats not named Mathies to score in double figures - Bernisha Pinkett, Kastine Evans and Azia Bishop - each scored 12 points in a reserve role.
"The 44 points off the bench was great, but their effort was even better," Mitchell said.
Meanwhile, UK's defense forced 32 High Point turnovers, leading to 39 Wildcat points. Seven players had two steals or more and the visitors shot just 20 for 55 (36.4 percent) from the field.
The Cats, though, are still a work in progress on both ends of the floor. Defensively, consistent effort is the key, while UK is in the middle of revamping its offense this season.
With just two practices to work since the Baylor loss, Kentucky made strides on offense, but was still plagued by mistakes. UK shot 30 of 60 from the field, but missed multiple easy opportunities around the basketball. The Cats also committed 20 turnovers and missed 11 of their 25 free-throw attempts.
"It's all new to them," Mitchell said. "Even for a player like A'dia Mathies, this is very different than anything she's done while she's been here. It will take a little bit of time, but I thought they made good strides in two days."
With six days before they play again, Mitchell is expecting even bigger strides before UK plays Morehead State on Nov. 23 in Memorial.
"I'm looking forward to this upcoming week of practice," Mitchell said. "I think we're going to make a big, big step this week."