Cats Roll Georgia, Extend SEC Win Streak to Eight
Feb. 11, 2010
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky used a strong defensive effort to beat Georgia on a night both teams struggled offensively.
A'dia Mathis and Amani Franklin each scored 15 points, and the No. 17 Wildcats extended their home winning streak to 16 games with a 64-48 victory over the 19th-ranked Lady Bulldogs on Thursday night.
Kentucky (21-3, 9-2 Southeastern Conference) forced 24 turnovers and harassed Georgia into 36-percent shooting from the field.
"Tonight we weren't at our best," said Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell, whose team shot 34 percent. "But I think it speaks to our solid play on defense that we did what we did."
The win evened a 61-60 overtime loss to Georgia in January and stretched the Wildcats' SEC win streak to eight. It was Georgia's first loss to a ranked opponent this season and fifth loss in six games overall.
All season long, the Wildcats have made things miserable for opposing offenses and against Georgia they looked to make every shot attempt a difficult one.
"It starts with our defense and with our defense we get things done," forward Amani Franklin said. "We just went out there and played our game."
Victoria Dunlap added 13 points for the Wildcats.
Georgia coach Andy Landers credited the loss to his team's miscues rather than Kentucky's play.
"I think it's more a question of what we do that takes us out of games," Landers said. "And what we do is force too many sassy plays and too little smart ones."
Jasmine Hassell scored nine points for the Lady Bulldogs (19-6, 6-6), who used their height advantage to outscore Kentucky 32-24 in the paint. Still, that advantage didn't translate into better rebounding as both teams were relatively even at 40-37 in favor of Georgia.
"Georgia had a hard time getting set offensively and getting easy baskets," Mitchell said.
Landers also acknowledged that Kentucky's rugged and harassing defensive strategy was too much for his team.
"When (Kentucky plays) the way they want to play they are very good," Landers said. "We gave up too many boards and weren't accurate offensively."
For the Wildcats, such a simple game plan was exactly what they had planned.
"Coach says every day we got to stick to fundamentals to win games," Dunlap said. "There were a lot of elbows, a lot of hands. That's our mentality."
Kentucky trailed for most of the first half and didn't manage a field goal for the first 5 minutes, but tied the game on Rebecca Gray's 3-pointer. The Wildcats then scored 11 straight en route to a 28-23 halftime lead. The Lady Bulldogs had 16 turnovers in the first half and shot just 25 percent from the floor.
Georgia came within one in the second half but could not retake the lead as the Wildcats hit two quick 3-pointers.
"We got off to a good start, and then sputtered," Landers said.
Many of the Lady Bulldogs' turnovers were unforced by Kentucky, coming off simple double dribbles or errant passes.
Still, Georgia also managed to make things difficult for Kentucky's attack. The Wildcats, who lead the league and are ranked 15th nationally in offense, had their worst outing in 10 games.
Kentucky's victory keeps them steady at second place in the conference behind No. 5 Tennessee. The Wildcats are in the midst of one of their best performances in school history, but for Mitchell, that still isn't good enough.
"We are in the thick of this race and we need to stay humble and stay hungry," he said. "Where we are right now, we can't make mistakes like we did."