Strong Start Leads to Kentucky Rout of Shawnee State
No. 16 Kentucky streaked to a 14-0 lead Tuesday and cruised to a 99-42 rout of NAIA member Shawnee State (Portsmouth, Ohio) in Memorial Coliseum in the Wildcats’ final exhibition game of the season. Four players scored in double figures for the Cats, who registered their largest exhibition victory (57 points) under fourth-year head coach Mickie DeMoss.
The Kentucky post presence stepped up big for the Wildcats, who capitalized on their size advantage and out-scored the Bears (1-1) 58-14 in points in the paint. Shawnee State had just two players over 6 feet. Juniors Sarah Elliott (McKee, Ky.) and Samantha Mahoney (Detroit) led the Cats with 14 points apiece. Kentucky was tenacious on the boards, out-rebounding Shawnee State 60-25 and posting a 23-2 margin in second-chance points. Senior forward Jennifer Humphrey (Memphis, Tenn.) led all players with 11 rebounds. The Cats also capitalized on 26 turnovers by the Bears to score 26 points off those miscues.
“I thought we came out with a lot of energy tonight,” DeMoss said. “We did some good things and we got to play a lot of people, which is one of the intentions of exhibition games - getting some people some minutes to try to get them game ready.”
The Wildcats shot an impressive 55 percent (44-of-80) from the field, their second consecutive game shooting over than 50 percent. Senior guard Jenny Pfeiffer (North Vernon, Ind.) and junior guard/forward Chanté Bowman (Detroit) each added 10 points as Pfeiffer was 2-of-4 from beyond the experimental arc (extended nine inches). Bowman narrowly missed a double-double with nine rebounds in just 14 minutes of action.
The Wildcats limited Shawnee State to just 27.1 percent (16-of-59) shooting from the floor in the game, allowing the Bears just eight field goals in either period. Kentucky’s 99 points were the most scored in an exhibition game in the DeMoss era as all 12 players that saw action scored at least four points in the game.
Sophomore forward Jenn’e Jackson (Radcliff, Ky.) showed an impressive improvement in the post, charting five blocks which would have been a career-high had it been a regular-season contest. Sophomore point guard Carly Ormerod (Louisville, Ky.) dished out a squad-best six assists compared to just one turnover and added five points.
Kentucky scored the game’s first 14 points, holding Shawnee State scoreless for 6:20 to begin the game. The Bears missed each of their first 10 shots before getting on the board at the 13:40 mark of the opening period. The Wildcats extended their advantage to 23-4 after a three-point play by Humphrey with 10:12 remaining in the period.
“We spent a lot of time in practice working on our transition game,” DeMoss said. “We were looking to get out and run as much as possible and I thought we were able to do that tonight. We had exceptional speed and we were able to utilize it, run the ball and finish at the end of the break.”
Kentucky led 49-22 at intermission after holding Shawnee State to just 26.7 percent (8-of-30) shooting from the floor in the opening period. Balanced scoring was the key to the first half with Mahoney leading the way with 10 points.
Out of the halftime locker room, Kentucky continued to add to its advantage, going ahead by 41 points, 65-24, on a pair of free throws by Bowman with 14:54 remaining in the game. A fast-break lay-up by Bowman with 5:14 left put the Cats in front by 51, 87-36.
Shawnee State was led by Jill Cropper’s 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
The Wildcats begin their 2006-07 regular season this weekend when they serve as hosts of the Women’s Sports Foundation Tournament Nov. 10 and 12. Wake Forest and Indiana face off in the first game Friday at 6 p.m. EST followed by Kentucky and Washington State at 8 p.m. EST. Sunday the games will be played at 11 a.m. EST and 1 p.m. EST. UK will play the 1 p.m. game and it will be televised on the Big Blue Sports Network.
Tickets for the tournament are $10 for adults and $4 for youth age 18 and under. Children age five and under are admitted free. Single-game general admission tickets will allow spectators to watch both games of that day’s session. Call the UK ticket office at 859-257-1818 or 1-800-928-CATS (2287) or visit UKAthletics.com for more information.