UK Hoops Defeats ETSU, Matches School-Best Start
Dec. 15, 2013
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Streaking Kentucky relied on its defense.
Janee Thompson and Samarie Walker each scored 12 points to help the fifth-ranked Wildcats beat East Tennessee State 73-56 on Sunday. Kentucky tied a school record with its 11th consecutive victory to open the season.
Kentucky limited the Buccaneers (2-6) to six points and two field goals in the final 10:30.
"I'm glad we were able to play good enough defense to win the game," Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said. "I thought East Tennessee State played really hard and, obviously, caused us some problems today and competed tough. We had to win with our defense and that's something that's been different for us than previous games. I'm just glad we were able to tighten up in the second half and really shut them down for a long period of time. I think that was a big difference in the game."
East Tennessee State (2-6) forced four lead changes and three ties in the first eight minutes, but the Wildcats used a 14-2 run to go up 31-18 with 8:15 remaining in the first half.
Kentucky led 49-29 at the half, but the Buccaneers pulled to 54-44 with 13:28 left.
"I thought our kids competed to the best of our abilities for the entire 40 minutes," East Tennessee State coach Brittney Ezell said. "You have to take your hat off to Kentucky. They are fantastic, they are loaded, they play hard and they're aggressive."
Linnae Harper added 10 points for Kentucky, and freshman guard Makayla Epps had eight. Epps was involved in an automobile accident on the Bluegrass Parkway while returning home from a funeral Saturday night, but wasn't seriously injured.
"I'm here and that's the best thing," she said. "Nothing terrible happened. I didn't think I was going to get to play today but I was grateful to get out there with my teammates and be able to contribute as always. I'm just real blessed that nothing bad really happened."
Maria Bond led East Tennessee State with 14 points, and Chandler Christopher had 11.
Kentucky was without second-leading scorer DeNesha Stallworth. She had arthroscopic knee surgery to repair loose cartilage in her left knee and is expected to miss at least two weeks.