HANOVER, N.H.- Kentucky used a balanced scoring attack and forced a season-high 30 turnovers to defeat Lafayette 83-60 in the championship game of the Blue Sky Restaurant Group Classic here Saturday.
Sophomore center SeSe Helm, who scored a game-high 22 points, was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after scoring a combined 39 points in the Cats' two games. Senior LaTonya McDole was also named to the All-Tournament team, her second all-tournament honor this season.
"Our transition offense was really clicking tonight," UK coach Bernadette Mattox said. "SeSe is also showing what kind of caliber player she is. She is doing a nice job of finishing around the basket and the team is looking for her when they come down the court. Everyone contributed in winning this tournament and I couldn't be prouder of our effort this weekend."
Kentucky (7-5) controlled the tempo the entire second half, leading by as many as 27 (75-48). All 10 players contributed to the scoring column with Helm leading four Cats in double figures. McDole, Kristin Connolly and Sara Potts all finished with 11 points.
The Cats also led the battle of the boards, 37-31, and out shot the Leopards 52.3 percent to 48.0 percent.
Kentucky used a full court press to force 20 Lafayette turnovers in the first half. The Cats held the Leopards scoreless for three minutes late in the opening stanza to open up a 45-20 halftime cushion.
Lafayette (2-8) was led by Colleen Fitzpatrick's 13 points and Jennifer Bayer's 10 defensive rebounds.
The Cats, who won the Dartmouth Classic in 1997, are now 69-27 all-time in regular season tournaments. UK defeated Southern Mississippi on Friday, 59-44, to advance to the title game. In consolation play, Southern Mississippi defeated Dartmouth, 74-72.
Kentucky will open 2002 and league play at home against Southeastern Conference opponent Mississippi State on Thursday, Jan. 3, at 7 p.m.