Samarie Walker had her fourth career double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds, and No. 9 Kentucky routed Morehead State 73-37 on Friday.
The Wildcats (3-1) made full use of its size advantage Morehead State (1-4), which had seven players in its 10-player rotation listed at 5-foot-10 or shorter. Kentucky outrebounded the Eagles 34-7 on the offensive glass, and the overall rebounding margin for Kentucky was 63-21.
The Wildcats’ 63 rebounds were three shy of a school record for rebounds in a game.
“That was a key today,” Mitchell said. “We thought we should have a huge advantage on the boards. We were bigger, stronger and more athletic, but you still have to go in and get them. The unfortunate thing was that we had so many opportunities because we missed so many baskets, but you still have to go get them. I really challenged our post players today.”
The Wildcats also had 10 blocks Saturday, their most in a game since totaling 10 against McNeese State on Nov. 28, 2009.
The Eagles hung around in the game’s first few minutes, forcing Kentucky to score from the outside despite its marked size advantage in the paint. The Eagles kept scoring low and were down 6-4 with 16:15 to play, but the Wildcats’ front-court combination of Walker, DeNesha Stallworth and Azia Bishop started to control the game on the offensive glass, and the Eagles could not recover.
Kentucky led 36-13 at halftime. Morehead State had 13 turnovers in the half and shot 6 of 25.
Stallworth finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, recording her first double-double at Kentucky. Stallworth, a 6-3 junior, sat out last season after transferring from California.
“We knew that the post play would be our advantage today because they were a very short team,” Kentucky’s A’dia Mathies said. “We knew that if we got the ball inside we should be able to score. They did such a great job, especially DeNesha Stallworth and Samarie (Walker), they both recorded double-doubles today. That’s awesome. I’m just glad they’ve been putting in work, and you could see that on the stat sheets.”
Walker, who had 10 of her 15 points in the first half, finished 5 of 11 from the field.
“It’s hard for me not to get frustrated when I miss such easy shots, but I try to continue to get better with my attitude and work on my frustration,” Walker said.
Kentucky’s A’dia Mathies had 11 points to move up to No. 8 on the school’s career scoring list. The senior has scored 1,491 points in 108 games.
Whitney Kyle and Mackenzie Arledge led the Eagles with six points each. Morehead State was 15 of 52 overall (28.8 percent) from the field.
“I wish we could go to a Black Friday sale and buy us a few more inches, but there is no alleviating that type of physicality,” Morehead State coach Tom Hodges said. “That is the one thing that this year’s team has. With DeNesha Stallworth and (Azia) Bishop, there’s just an influx of physicality. They are not just tall, they are imposing. I think that what makes this maybe their best team.”