LEXINGTON, Ky. – Freshman point guard Carly Ormerod (Louisville, Ky.) scored a game-high 17 points to lead Kentucky to its eighth consecutive season-opening win with an 81-52 victory over IUPUI in Memorial Coliseum. Sophomore forward/center Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) charted her first career double-double with a career-high 11 points and a personal-best 12 rebounds as one of four UK players to reach double-figure point totals.
"It was a good opener for us," UK Coach Mickie DeMoss said. "I thought we got to play a lot of people. As you can see from our youth, we need to get (the players) some minutes in. We were able to do that tonight…play a lot of different combinations. I didn't play (Sarah) Elliott much – she tweaked her knee in the shoot-around – after we got a lead. I didn't want to chance anything. I thought Sam Mahoney was a little tentative at times, but other than that, I felt some other people really stepped up and played well – especially Eleia Roddy first half. Carly Ormerod had an outstanding game."
Ormerod connected on 5-of-7 shots from the field, including 5-of-6 three-pointers, turning in one of the top performances in a varsity debut in school history. The first-year floor leader also added five rebounds, four assists and no turnovers for the Wildcats, who improve to 25-7 all-time in season openers and 29-3 in home openers. Senior forward Jennifer Humphrey (Memphis, Tenn.) and junior guard Jenny Pfeiffer (North Vernon, Ind.) chipped in 11 points each.
"I thought Carly stepped up and played really well," DeMoss said. "She let the game come to her tonight. In a couple of the exhibition games, she tried to force some threes, but she learned from that. She is a special player who learns quickly and applies it. She took some wide open threes and handled the ball extremely well…she played an all-around solid game."
Roddy, who sat out most of last season with a knee injury, came off the bench for her first career double-double.
"I think sitting out last season really inspired her," DeMoss said. "Some people can use that year to sit around and feel sorry for themselves and some people can use it as a motivational tool, which I think she (Roddy) did. She worked so hard over the summer and every day in practice I see her getting better and better. So much of it is her attitude. You can see it when she is out there. She goes after the ball and doesn't wait for it to come to her. I am really pleased with Eleia's progress."
The Cats were tenacious on the boards out-rebounding the Jaguars 42-27 and out-scoring IUPUI 19-3 in second-chance points. Each of UK's 13 players saw action in the game with 11 of those players scoring at least two points. Kentucky's depth was apparent as the UK bench out-scored the Jaguars' bench 40-9 in the game.
Both teams started slow to begin the game, but Kentucky (1-0) was able to break to an impressive 24-4 advantage as a basket by junior Nastassia Alcius (Lexington, Ky.) capped off the run at the 9:07 mark. The Wildcats went on to take a commanding 44-19 advantage into the locker room at halftime after shooting 53.1 percent (17-of-32) from the field and 72.7 percent (8-of-11) from the free-throw line.
"I am really pleased with our bench play," DeMoss said. "Nastassia Alcius came off the bench in the first half along with Jenny Pfeiffer and really picked up our defensive intensity along with our scoring. I was really pleased with the two of them. I thought we let up a little in the second half. We were trying different combinations and for whatever reason, just didn't play as smart as we could of. But overall, I think the depth is very good at this point."
After making just one shot in the opening four minutes of the second half, Kentucky began to find its groove offensively. Chante' Bowman (Detroit) and Humphrey hit back-to-back baskets to go ahead 52-25 at the 14:41 mark.
A three-pointer by Ormerod with 12:13 remaining, followed by a jumper by Pfeiffer put the Cats in front 60-34 leading into an IUPUI timeout. Pfeiffer drained another three out of the break and Ormerod added two charity shots to extend the UK advantage to 65-34 with 9:19 left.
The Wildcats continued cruising to take a 29-point (67-38) advantage with 7:42 left. Ormerod nailed her fourth and fifth three-pointers of the night, giving the Cats their largest lead of the game at 34 points (79-45) with 2:34 to go.
The Wildcats shot 48.4 percent (30-of-62) from the floor in the game, including a 53.8 percent clip (7-of-13) from beyond the arc.
"The unfortunate thing is that we weren't able to execute our game plan which was to not let kids like [Eleia] Roddy come of the bench and do what she did," IUPUI Coach Shann Hart said. "[Kentucky] is a well coached team. Coach [Mickie] DeMoss has done a great job in preparing a young team."
The Jaguars were led by Kia Hayes' team-high 15 points.
Kentucky returns to action on Tuesday, Nov. 22 when it plays host to Stetson. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum and the game will be carried live on the Big Blue Sports Network with Neil Price.
Single-game tickets are available in the ticket office in Memorial Coliseum for all 15 home games, including four contests in Rupp Arena (Louisville, Auburn, Tennessee and Alabama).
Single-game general admission tickets are available for $5 adults/$2 senior citizens and children ages 18 and under. UK students, faculty and staff are admitted free with valid identification based on availability. For ticket information, log on to ukathletics.com or call the UK ticket office at 859-257-1818 or 1-800-928-CATS (2287).
Ormerod leads Cats to victory in opener
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