UK Hoops Wins Courtyard LaGuardia Turkey Classic

Nov. 29, 2008

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. - The Kentucky women's basketball team overcame poor shooting to defeat host-team Long Island 46-43 and win the Courtyard LaGuardia Turkey Classic Saturday afternoon in the Wellness Center. Senior center Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) led the team in scoring and rebounding with 12 points and nine rebounds. Junior guard Amani Franklin (Stone Mountain, Ga.) followed with eight points while senior point guard Carly Ormerod (Louisville, Ky.), who was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, added seven. Sophomore point guard Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.) also was named to the All-Tournament team after scoring 17 vs. Yale in the first round.

One day after shooting a season-high 55.6 percent from the field and tallying a season-best 87 points against Yale, the Wildcats (4-1) struggled to find their offensive groove, netting a season-low 27.9 percent (17-of-61) from the floor. The Cats also were outrebounded for the first time this season as Long Island (3-3) won the battle on the boards, 46-41.

"It was a tough day shooting the ball," UK Hoops Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "LIU packed it in and our confidence was shaken early and we were really never able to regain it."

Despite the poor shooting, Kentucky found a way to win with their defensive prowess. Trailing by three points, 41-38, with 53 seconds remaining in the game, Smith intercepted a pass by LIU's Jade Brown and hit a driving layup to pull the Cats within one point (41-40) with 50 seconds to go in the game. On LIU's next possession, Victoria Dunlap (Nashville, Tenn.) stole a pass by Ashley Palmer and was fouled on her shot attempt. She hit one of two free throws, tying the game at 41 with 39 seconds left. Dunlap later hit a layup and Franklin made two free throws to help the Cats pull ahead by four, 45-41, with 20 ticks left. However, LIU's Connie James answered with a layup with four seconds remaining in the game. The Blackbirds ran out of time, however, and were forced to foul. Ormerod hit one of two free throws to seal the win.

"Those two steals were huge by Amber and Victoria," Mitchell said. "That is called finding a way to win. We are definitely happy to win this game and this tournament."

LIU's zone defense caused offensive struggles for the Wildcats in the first half. UK shot just 32.3 percent (10-of-31) from the field, including 1-of-9 from beyond the arc. Ormerod led UK with five points while Roddy led the rebounding effort with five. UK was outrebounded 20-18 in the opening stanza. For the game, UK shot 10.5 percent from the three-point line (2-of-19) and 55.6 percent from the charity stripe (10-of-18).

LIU was led by Palmer's 15 points and 12 rebounds and James' 13 points and 12 rebounds.

UK is now 83-36 all-time in regular-season tournaments. This marks UK's 27 tournament titles and the first since winning the Wells Fargo New Year's Classic in San Antonio, Texas in 2006.

The Wildcats remain on the road for their next two matchups, facing No. 25 Xavier on Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. ET in Cincinnati, Ohio and intrastate rival Western Kentucky on Thursday, Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. ET in Bowling Green, Ky.