Balanced attack leads Cats past Salukis 78-59

SAN FRANCISCO – Junior guard Samantha Mahoney (Detroit) scored a season-high 17 points Saturday to lead five Kentucky players in double figures and the No. 20/24 Wildcats capitalized on 23 Southern Illinois turnovers in a 78-59 win over the Salukis in the consolation game of the Odwalla Classic in San Francisco's War Memorial Gymnasium.

Kentucky (3-2) benefited from a balanced scoring effort, as five players registered double-figure point totals for the first time since Dec. 22, 2005. The Cats scored 26 points off of 23 SIU (1-4) miscues to finish third in the fourth-annual Odwalla Classic. The Wildcat post presence stepped up big, out-scoring the Salukis 38-10 in points in the paint.

"I thought we recovered well from the loss last night and sometimes that's not easy to do," UK Coach Mickie DeMoss said. "We came out and played our game. We pushed the ball and our defense was much better than it was last night. I was pleased with that and with our intensity. We played with a lot of heart tonight and had that blue-collar work-ethic. We forced 23 turnovers and that was just huge for us. Our defense really stepped up big."

Junior center Sarah Elliott (McKee, Ky.) notched her second consecutive double-double and the sixth of her career with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

"Sarah [Elliott] has been more assertive the last few games," DeMoss said. "She is catching the ball inside better and going up strong. She's not shying away from contact. I have been really pleased with how she's been rebounding. She had 11 rebounds tonight and is really hitting those boards hard."

Senior guard Nastassia Alcius (Lexington, Ky.) scored a season-high 11 points off the bench, while sophomore point guard Carly Ormerod (Louisville, Ky.) and senior guard Jenny Pfeiffer (North Vernon, Ind.) added 10 points each. Pfeiffer was 2-of-3 from three-point range and is now tied for third place all-time on UK's career three-pointers made list with 115. Alcius and Pfeiffer were sparks off the bench for the Wildcats as Kentucky's bench out-scored the SIU reserves 32-6.

The two teams fought evenly to begin the game. With the Wildcats trailing 10-9 at the 13:15 mark of the period, Kentucky went on an 11-0 run over the next 3:09 that included four points from Elliott. The scoring streak that gave the Cats a 20-10 advantage was part of a larger 18-5 run that extended UK's advantage to 27-15 on a basket by Alcius with 7:16 remaining until intermission.

The Wildcats took a 45-32 lead into the locker room at halftime after shooting 51.4 percent (18-of-35) from the floor in the opening half. The Salukis, however, began chipping away at the Kentucky advantage to begin the second half to come within eight points, 47-39, on a free-throw by Jayme Sweere with 17:52 remaining in the game.

From there, the Wildcats went on a 7-0 run over the next 2:02 to extend their advantage to 54-39 on a three-pointer by Ormerod and the Salukis would not come closer than 11 points the rest of the way. Kentucky led by as many as 23 points, 74-51, with 5:18 left in the game.

Forward Carlai Moore scored a game-high 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting to lead Southern Illinois, while guard Debbie Burris followed in the scoring column with 18 points.

Kentucky returns to action Wednesday, Nov. 29, when it plays host to Detroit. Coach Mickie DeMoss will be looking for her 100th career victory when the Cats face the Titans. Tip-off in Memorial Coliseum is slated for 7 p.m. EST and the game will be carried live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with Neil Price.

AllWildcats Top Stories