The No. 6 Wildcats proved it Saturday with an 80-46 rout against High Point.
Kentucky’s 85-51 loss Tuesday at Baylor was one of the worst performances under sixth-year coach Matthew Mitchell. The team shot just 27 percent from the field, the worst percentage since 2008.
The Wildcats (2-1) finished 50 percent from the field against High Point, including 16 of 30 by halftime. All of A’dia Mathies’ 17 points came in the first half, when she went 7 for 11.
Cheyenne Parker finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds for the Panthers (1-2). Tayler Tremblay added 13 points.
Mitchell said the Kentucky offense is still getting sorted out, but the performance Saturday was especially important.
“I had two days that I really broke some things down in practice,” Mitchell said. “There are some moments out there that are frustrating because they’re just not moving the way we believe they will eventually. There were some moments out there that looked really good.
“It’s just going to be a daily process, working every single day trying to fine-tune it and trying to figure out who is comfortable where.”
High Point stuck around for the first eight minutes. Tremblay made a jumper to bring the Panthers within 14-10. But Kentucky’s full-court pressure took its toll and the Wildcats rolled off 12 straight points over a 4-minute span.
A 10-0 run by Kentucky to close the half gave it a 41-18 lead.
Mathies said it was important for her to stay aggressive, especially after shooting 3 for 18 against Baylor.
“I can’t stop shooting just because I missed a few shots,” she said. “I think me being aggressive opened up shots for a lot of other people, so I have to keep shooting and being aggressive.”
The Wildcats scored 39 points off 32 turnovers by High Point. Kentucky, which led Division I in forced turnovers last season, has forced 86 in three games this season.
Kentucky had its third double-digit run late in the second half, a 12-0 stretch that gave it a 33-point lead with about two minutes left.
Bernisha Pinkett, Kastine Evans and Azia Bishop each finished with 12 points for the Wildcats.
Mitchell said Mathies set an example for the rest of the team, even though she went 0 for 6 from the field in the second half.
“I thought she had a great game and had a huge first half scoring,” he said. “Then the second half, I thought she played a really good game and found some people and made some good passes.
“She got some open looks, but they didn’t go down. I thought that her defensive intensity was where we needed it.”