LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP)—Samarie Walker wanted to make an offensive point against Bradley.
She finished with a season-high 22 points and 14 rebounds to lead No. 7 Kentucky to a 117-77 rout of Bradley on Wednesday.
“I’ve been telling myself for a while now to just be more aggressive on offense,” Walker said. “The only person that’s really been stopping me is myself. I think it finally just hit me to go out there and play hard.”
The senior center helped the Wildcats (7-0) complete the first month of the season undefeated heading into Sunday’s game against No. 4 Louisville. The Wildcats won their 42nd consecutive non-conference game at home and scored 90 or more points for the fifth time this year.
“It was an up-tempo game,” said Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell, whose team scored more than 100 points for the third time this season. “The pace was very, very fast. I thought we pushed the pace all day long. Obviously, we were able to score a bunch of points.”
Walker, who had 14 points in the first half, led six players in double figures. Jennifer O’Neill followed Walker with 14 points, DeNesha Stallworth and Kastine Evans had 13 each and Janee Thompson and Linnae Harper finished with 10 apiece.
Bradley (2-4) pulled to 20-18 on leading scorer Michelle Young’s basket at 11:25. The Wildcats responded with a 31-3 run, pushing the lead to 51-21 with four minutes remaining in the first half. Kentucky connected on five 3-pointers and scored 25 unanswered points during the decisive spurt.
The Wildcats led 59-32 at the break.
Young finished with 27 points and kept the game close in the first 11 minutes. Catie O’Leary followed with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Kentucky forced 22 turnovers, including 12 in the first half. Bradley committed eight of those miscues during the Wildcats’ seven-minute scoring blitz. Kentucky scored 36 points in transition with 23 of those in the first half.
“I thought we had some energy in the press and finally started to turn them over,” Mitchell said. “It was a devastating run for Bradley, and it was just hard for them to recover from that. We finally got some good traps set.”
Bradley played without coach Michael Brooks, who missed the game following the birth of his son on Tuesday. Assistant coach Skyler Young filled in for Brooks.
“We got rattled a little bit, with their pressure,” Young said. “We had some turnovers, but more importantly we had some bunnies and lay-ups that we missed that we had to make to stop the bleeding of that run. We couldn’t stop them.”
Sparked by Jennifer O’Neill’s 10 points, the Wildcats got 54 points from its bench and connected on 10 3-pointers, including seven in the first half.
Bradley, the highest-scoring team in the Missouri Valley Conference (74.4), notched its third-highest output of the season against the Wildcats.