SAN ANTONIO - Sophomore point guard Carly Ormerod (Louisville, Ky.) led three Kentucky players in double figures with 17 points and the Wildcats notched their fifth consecutive win with an 82-47 decision over Kent State in the Wells Fargo New Year's Classic hosted by the University of Texas-San Antonio.
The Wildcats (9-3), who posted their most complete game of the season so far, continued their hot shooting, connecting on 46.9 percent (30-of-64) from the field. They nailed a season-high nine three-pointers in the game, including six in the first half, in the win over the Golden Flashes (4-6).
Ormerod's game-high 17 points came on a season-high four three-pointers and a 5-of-6 clip from the free-throw line to complement seven assists - one shy of her career high, five rebounds and three steals in 33 minutes of action. Junior guard Samantha Mahoney (Detroit) followed in the scoring column with 15 points and junior center Sarah Elliott (McKee, Ky.) added 14 points and five rebounds. With one block, she moved into a tie for second place all-time on UK's career blocks list.
"I'm proud of the way we played tonight," UK Coach Mickie DeMoss said. "I thought we struggled early in our shooting but Carly and Sam found their three-point shots. Knocking down those outside shots helped opened up the inside a little bit as well and we were able to get a season-high 19 assists. Carly had seven assists and zero turnovers. I'll take that stat any day."
Senior forward/center Jennifer Humphrey (Memphis, Tenn.) led a strong post presence for the Wildcats, who out-scored Kent State 36-16 in points in the paint. Humphrey pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds, her sixth game this season with double-figure rebounds. Kentucky won the battle of the boards by 16 (45-29) and exhibited a tenacious presence on the offensive glass.
"We handled the boards on both ends tonight and I think that was very indicative of how the score turned out," DeMoss said. "We also showed a solid defensive effort, holding them to 47 points when they came in the game averaging 72 points per game. I thought taking their leading scorer (Kristin Peoples) out of the game really disrupted them."
After both teams battled evenly to begin the game, the Wildcats broke an 11-all tie to go ahead 16-11 with 11:21 left in the opening period after back-to-back baskets by Ormerod and Elliott. The Wildcats held a 31-22 advantage with 5:16 remaining until intermission before they closed the half on an 11-1 run that included two treys by Ormerod.
The Wildcats took a 42-23 advantage into the locker room at halftime thanks to its potent three-point shooting. Kentucky canned six three-point baskets in the opening half, including four from Ormerod and connected on 42.9 percent (6-of-14) of its shots from beyond the arc. Three Kentucky players - Elliott, Mahoney and Ormerod - reached double figures by intermission as the Wildcats shot 44.4 percent (16-of-36) from the floor in the first half.
Kentucky quickly extended its advantage to 24 points (51-27) with 15:44 remaining in the game on a lay-up by freshman Lydia Watkins (Hopkinsville, Ky.). After a basket by the Golden Flashes at the 13:35 mark of the game, the Wildcats went on a 5-0 run and held Kent State scoreless for nearly four minutes as UK went up 59-31 with 10:16 left to play. The Golden Flashes never came closer than 27 points the rest of the way.
Kentucky allowed Kent State just 47 points in the game and has given up 50 points or less in five consecutive games. The Wildcats also have won each of their last five games by more than 25 points.
Jamilah Humes led Kent State with 17 points, while Mallorie Griffith had a team-high nine rebounds. Peoples, a transfer from Arkansas who came averaging 17.1 points per game, was held to just five points in 36 minutes of action.
Kentucky has a short turnaround as it concludes play Saturday, Dec. 30 in the Wells Fargo New Year's Classic by facing Memphis. Tip-off in the USTA Convocation Center is slated for 6 p.m. EST and the game will be carried live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with Neil Price.
Ormerod leads Cats to fifth-straight win
AllWildcats Top Stories
UK Basketball Recruiting Notebook - Oct. 26Kentucky is gearing up for what appears to be another elite basketball recruiting class in 2017.
Allen: Cats Must Be Ready for Uptempo TigersKentucky linebacker/end Josh Allen spoke with the media after Wednesday's practice at the Joe Craft Football Training Center.
Four Downs: Should UK Be Underdog This Week?When Kentucky takes the field on Saturday at Missouri, it may surprise some that the Wildcats will be a fairly substantial underdog.
Johnson's Demeanor Giving UK Shot to WinFew players in recent UK memory have experienced as many highs and lows early in his career like Stephen Johnson has.
AllWildcatsYesterday at 5:53 PM