No. 16 Kentucky 71, South Carolina 50
Kentucky was too dominant for South Carolina on Sunday.
The No. 16 Wildcats cruised to a 71-50 win over the Gamecocks on
senior day to finish the regular season unbeaten at home for the
“Playing at such a high rate was the difference maker,”
Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said. “When we took control it was
an incredible display. We made this an important game and responded
with energy and enthusiasm.”
Forward Victoria Dunlap scored 16 points for Kentucky, which led
by 22 points as South Carolina shot just 32 percent from the floor
and never found rhythm in front of 7,742 at Memorial Coliseum. It
was the sixth-largest crowd in school history.
“We just couldn’t rebound or defend,” South Carolina coach
Dawn Staley said. “They played with a lot more energy than
The Gamecocks struggled to slow the speedy guards of Kentucky
(23-4, 11-3 Southeastern Conference) as they weaved through zone
and pressure defenses. South Carolina had no answer for Kentucky’s
up-tempo style of play.
“We knew going in that we were able to beat them up and down
the court,” forward Amani Franklin said. “We knew they wouldn’t
be able to stop us.”
The win avenged a Kentucky loss suffered to the Gamecocks
(13-13, 6-7) in January.
Guard Valerie Nainima, who leads South Carolina in scoring at
17.5 points a game, was held to a season-low four points as the
Gamecocks dropped their third straight game. La’Keisha Sutton, the
Gamecocks’ second-leading scorer, finished with just two
Kentucky never trailed.
After the game, Mitchell addressed the crowd from midcourt,
praising the effort of his two outgoing seniors Franklin and Lydia
“I’ve had the great fortune to have been part of some great
wins, but none is as great as today’s,” Mitchell said.
Watkins – who gave birth to a son in the offseason – had 10
points, while Franklin – troubled with an injured knee throughout
her Kentucky career – added nine.
“It’s remarkable that they’re playing at the level they are,”
Mitchell said of both players.
Both seniors average a combined 15 points and 12 rebounds for
the Wildcats this season.
With the win, Kentucky is proving to be a force in the SEC.
Picked to finish 11th in the SEC in preseason polls, the
Wildcats are second in the league behind No. 5 Tennessee with two
games to go. On Thursday, Kentucky travels to face the
“We’ve done things to put this team in the thick of the
conference run,” Mitchell said. “We started out not expected to
do well and it’s a credit that we did all this.”