Kentucky improved to 9-1 its best start since the 1984-85 season and shot a season-best 60.3 percent (38-for-63) from the field in the game. The Cats held Tennessee State (0-8) to just 25 percent shooting from the floor (18-of-72) and outrebounded the Lady Tigers 54-34. Senior forward/center Jennifer Humphrey (Memphis) and freshman point guard Carly Ormerod (Louisville, Ky.) each added 14 points, while sophomore guard/forward Chante' Bowman (Detroit) and junior guard Jenny Pfeiffer (North Vernon, Ind.) added 12 apiece. Sophomore forward/center Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) tallied her second double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
"It's good to be back on the winning side and I think we rebounded well from the loss against LSU," UK Coach Mickie DeMoss said. "We really applied what we worked on all week and that was our offensive production. We had great balance scoring with people pulling the trigger and knocking down shots. I thought we maintained our intensity level even when the score got lopsided and that was good to see. This was a good way to end before we go home for Christmas."
Tennessee State committed 21 turnovers in the game resulting in 21 points. The Wildcats scored 37 points off of TSU's miscues and out-scored the Lady Tigers 37-9 in points off of turnovers. The Cats used a potent attack from long distance, knocking down 6-of-9 three-pointers. UK also connected 71.9 percent (23-of-32) of their free-throws. Kentucky's depth proved to be a key as the Wildcats out-scored the Lady Tigers 39-22.
Kentucky's stifling defense out of the gate caused Tennessee State to miss 19 of its first 20 shots. The Wildcats thrived on the Lady Tigers' offensive woes, starting the game on a 28-2 run capped off by a Nastassia Alcius (Lexington, Ky.) basket at the 8:37 mark of the opening period. Three consecutive three-pointers by the Cats, including two by Ormerod extended UK's lead to 41-8 with 3:47 left in the first half. Kentucky led 49-17 at the halftime intermission, holding TSU to a season-low 19.4 percent (7-of-36) shooting from the floor. The Wildcats connected on a season-best 60 percent (18-of-30) clip from the field in the first half.
"We really focused on our offense the last three days," DeMoss said. "We wanted to build on that confidence and know that even against LSU we had open looks, but we were real hesitant. Tonight we were not hesitating. Our confidence level was high and I think that is a mark of a good team when you can bounce back from a loss against LSU and come out and score 105 points."
Kentucky carried the momentum of the first half into the second, scoring the first 10 points of the period and holding the Lady Tigers scoreless for the first four minutes. The Cats continued adding to their advantage, moving ahead by 34 (77-33) on a jumper by Roddy with 11:07 left.
"Tonight we were focused on Kentucky and working on getting better," DeMoss said. "Both halves we worked on getting better. Even at halftime I asked my team how they wanted to approach the second half and they said they wanted to get better. So we had little goals within the game that we wanted to achieve both offensively and defensively. We focused on our goals and not Tennessee State."
Kentucky breaks for the winter holidays before returning to action Wednesday, Dec. 28 against intrastate rival Louisville. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. EST in Rupp Arena and the game will be carried live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio and television).
Single-game tickets are available in the ticket office in Memorial Coliseum. They are $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).