UK Hoops Runs Away From Morehead 82-48 in Season Opener

Nov. 12, 2010

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Scoring 18 of the first 20 points of the second half, No. 9/10 Kentucky women’s basketball team ran away from visiting Morehead State to claim a season-opening 82-48 victory before 6,793 fans Friday morning in Memorial Coliseum.

Senior forward Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) and sophomore guard A’dia Mathies (Louisville, Ky.) scored a game-high 18 points each while redshirt-freshman guard Bernisha Pinkett (Washington, D.C.) added 12 points as Kentucky (1-0) extended it current home-win streak to 19. Dunlap, the reigning Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds to go with a game-high seven steals and four blocks.

“We are thrilled to kick the season off with a victory,” UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “We had a lot of young players out there for us today and they had to make major contributions. It was not a masterpiece by any means, but we are proud to get a victory.”

Chynna Bozeman led Morehead State (0-1) with 16 points. Ashar Harris snagged a game-high 12 rebounds to go with three points for the Eagles. 

After MSU’s Bozeman made a pair of free throws to trim UK’s lead to 27-22 at 18:29 in the second half, the Wildcats posted 18 consecutive points over the next 5:45 to grab a 45-22 cushion. UK sophomore forward Brittany Henderson (Pasadena, Calif.), freshman guard Maegan Conwright (Arlington, Texas) and Dunlap scored four points each during the run.

After a sluggish first half, Kentucky turned up its defensive intensity in the second stanza, causing the Eagles to commit 20 of its 36 turnovers after intermission and holding them without a field goal for the first 7:30. The Wildcats scored 40 points off those Morehead State miscues for the game while limiting the Eagles to 15-of-54 shooting (27.8 percent).

“There is a lot as a coach that you sit there and see that you are not doing well and things you can do better,” Mitchell said. “But I think everybody is always keyed up for that first game of the year. It is good to come out and win today and finally get some energy going there in the second half. I am happy for the players because they played awfully hard there today.”

Morehead State managed to cut the deficit inside 20 points at 45-26 when Channing Hillman connected on two free throws at 12:02. Kentucky enjoyed its largest lead at 79-46 on a layup by Pinkett at 1:08.

The nation’s first Division I women’s college basketball game saw both teams struggle early in the game. Kentucky made only three of its first 13 shots while Morehead State managed to convert only two of its first 17 attempts. Both teams combined for 25 turnovers in the first half, including 16 from the Eagles.

Junior point guard Crystal Riley (Memphis, Tenn.) and Mathies led UK scorers at halftime with six points apiece. Dunlap had six of her team-best nine rebounds in the first half. UK’s 27-20 halftime advantage was its largest lead of the first half.

“Morehead State was very prepared and did a fantastic job sprinkling in some zone defense and keeping us off balance in the first half,” Mitchell said. “I will tip my hat to Morehead State because I thought that they were ready to play.” 

The Wildcats improved to 24-4 all-time against the Eagles and 79-16 against Ohio Valley Conference opponents. UK moved its record in season openers to 29-8 and home lid lifters to 33-4.

Kentucky travels to Oxford, Ohio to battle Miami University RedHawks Sunday, Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. EST. Neil Price will call the action on the Big Blue Radio Network. The Wildcats return home to take on 12th-ranked Notre Dame on Nov. 21 for the “Pack the House” game.

Season and single-game tickets are on sale now. Season tickets in the upper level chair backs, lower level bleachers and general admission season ticket areas are only $45. Lower level chair backs are $60 for the season. Single-game reserved seats are $7 (regardless of age) while general admission tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for youth/seniors. UK students, faculty and staff are admitted free with valid identification.

To purchase tickets, visit the Joe Craft Center in person, call 1-800-928-2287 or go online at UKathletics.com.