UK women break records in NCAA opener

It was a record-breaking start to the NCAA Tournament for the Kentucky women's basketball team. The third-seeded Cats advanced to the second round with a 106-60 thrashing of Wright State.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – It was a record-breaking start to the NCAA Tournament for the Kentucky women's basketball team.

The third-seeded Wildcats placed seven players in double figures, set several school records and tied an NCAA record for rebounds in their 106-60 romp over No. 14 seed Wright State on Saturday in the opening round at Memorial Coliseum.

Junior guard Jennifer O'Neill led the scoring onslaught with a game-high 21 points for Kentucky, which shot 55 percent from the floor (44 of 80) and pulled down 67 rebounds against the undersized Raiders, who were making their first tournament appearance.

Sophomore guard Janee Thompson scored 14 points for the Cats, while senior forwards Samarie Walker and DeNesha Stallworth combined for 23 points and 23 rebounds and had six of UK's school-record 12 blocked shots.

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Walker's game-high 14 rebounds set a new UK record for an NCAA Tournament game. Stallworth's five blocked shots did the same. Azia Bishop added four blocked shots as the Cats held Wright State to 22.9 percent (19 of 83) shooting from the field.

"I thought we had a chance to play well today," said UK coach Matthew Mitchell, who has guided the Cats to five consecutive 25-plus win seasons. "I certainly didn't come into today with this kind of expectation that we would play this sharp. We've historically kind of struggled in this game for whatever reason, because of the long layoff or for whatever reason, so my mindset going into the game was just to let them know that they had clear advantages in the game… physical advantages in size, speed, depth, and so I really try and go into the game thinking about just playing 40 minutes."

Kentucky had a 66-26 scoring advantage in the paint.

Third-seeded Kentucky (25-8) advances to face No. 6 seed Syracuse (23-9) on Monday night in the second round of the Notre Dame Region. The Orange advanced with a 59-53 win over No. 11 seed Chattanooga in Saturday's second game. The Cats are playing their first two games on their home court for the first time in program history.

Wright State (26-9) got 16 points and seven rebounds from senior guard Ivory James. Tay'ler Mingo added 14 points, while Tayler Stanton had 14 rebounds for the Horizon League champions.

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