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'Devastating' run propels UK Hoops past Bradley

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Samarie Walker had a career-high 22 points and 12 rebounds in UK's 117-77 win over Bradley on Tuesday. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics) Samarie Walker had a career-high 22 points and 12 rebounds in UK's 117-77 win over Bradley on Tuesday. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)
Save for a five-minute first-half stretch, Bradley hung with No. 7 Kentucky.

The Braves weren't afraid to run with the Wildcats. They took advantage of holes in the UK press and scored in transition. And for the 34:47 outside that first-half spurt, the Wildcats only outscored the Braves by 15.

But fortunately for UK, there's no ignoring a 25-0 run.

"It was a devastating run for Bradley," Matthew Mitchell said. "Just really hard for them to recover from that."

It began halfway through the first half. UK's lead was a tenuous five points as the visitors were proving Mitchell right about how formidable an opponent Bradley would be.

It ended with 4:33 to go before halftime. In a flash, Kentucky was up 51-21 and well on its way to a 117-77 victory to move to 7-0 on the season entering a Sunday matchup with archrival Louisville.

"That stretch, we got kind of rattled a little bit with their pressure," said Bradley assistant Skyler Young, who was filling in for head coach Michael Brooks after the birth of his son. "We had some turnovers, but more importantly I feel we had some bunnies and layups that we had to make to stop the bleeding of that run."

UK scored 16 points off seven Bradley turnovers during the back-breaking run. The Braves missed all seven of their shots from the field, while UK shot 8 for 9. Six different Wildcats scored, led by Jennifer O'Neill, who scored eight of her 14 points during the stretch.

In Mitchell's estimation, the run was all about defense.

"We finally got some good traps set and hustled enough to get some good traps set," Mitchell said. "I think today the pace was such that that was really the only time in the game where we had enough energy and substitutes came in off the bench and were able to get into Bradley's conditioning."

As impressive as the run was, the Cats didn't even process that it happened until after the fact.

"Actually, we're not aware of what's going on," said DeNesha Stallworth, who had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. "We just try to break it down and win every four minutes at a time, just play hard and play Kentucky basketball."

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