Kentucky Basketball: Cats Women Fall to No. 15 Duke

Kentucky Basketball: No. 17 Women’s team fall to No. 15 Duke, 69-54, at Cameron Indoor Arena in Durham, NC

Mar 5, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach Matthew Mitchell yells from the bench in the third quarter against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the women

Kentucky went cold in the second half, shooting just 17.6-percent from the field, and No. 15 Duke pulled away for a 69-54 win over the 17th-ranked Cats at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC.

GAME STATS

“Congratulations to Duke,” said had coach Matthew Mitchell following the game. “What a great effort they had tonight. They really played hard and had great execution on offense and really shot the ball well and made shots. I thought our team really hustled and played through some adversity there in the first half. We had it in striking distance going into the fourth and I thought Duke gave us some looks that we just couldn’t knock down there in the second half. But I’ll have to look at the film because maybe those are the shots they wanted us to take. I thought our team battled. We outrebounded them tonight and gave some effort. We just couldn’t get the ball in the basket there in the second half. We’ll try to figure out and learn from that. But great game for us, a great learning experience. Our team has done a heck of a job against one of the toughest schedules in the country. I’m excited about our team, excited to be headed into conference play. Congratulate Duke on a really good performance tonight. They out-hustled us and outplayed us.”

Last season it was Kentucky that got the signature win when the Blue Devils fell in a premiere matchup in Rupp Arena, 71-61. And coming into this game, the Cats got back explosive guard Taylor Murray, who had sat the two previous Kentucky games with a finger injury, bringing the Wildcats back to full strength.

But Duke scored 13 points off of 18 turnovers, locking down its defense in the second half, holding Kentucky to just 17.6-percent shooting from the field. And while Kentucky went cold, Duke just kept on making buckets, pulling away in the second half for the win.

“What we were trying to do in the game is trying to get them out of rhythm,” Mitchell explained. “Becca [Greenwell] and Lexie [Brown] take so many shots and so we were trying to make sure that we covered Becca and we didn’t do a very good job on Lexie. She really made some shots with a hand in her face. I thought she was terrific. I think our post players didn’t do a good job of understanding that just because we were trying to take away Greenwell I thought we were a little bit relaxed early in the game. We got it corrected at halftime. I thought we were better. Chidom was 5-for-5 in the first half and then 0-for-1 in the second so we improved there. I just didn’t think we were intense enough and were kind of relaxed in the post and that’s probably a coaching error. I’ve got to do a better job of getting us ready and more prepared for that. She was really good. I thought she caught and saw there was no resistance and quick moves. We did a better job when we forced her out and started collapsing and started getting some turnovers. She’s a really fine player, a good athlete, plays hard. Duke’s got a good team…play hard, play together, make shots. They’re a good team.”

Duke improves to 6-2 all-time versus the Cats, and Kentucky drops to 0-3 all-time taking on Duke in Durham. The Cats return to action Sunday, Jan. 1 when Kentucky heads to Knoxville to take on Tennessee to open SEC play. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 PM EST; ESPN2 will broadcast the game.

This article originally appeared on