No. 2 Duke beats No. 5 Kentucky, 69-61
Kentucky is undefeated no more.
The fifth-ranked Wildcats had tied a record with 11 straight
victories to open the season, but their streak ended with a 69-61
loss to No. 2 Duke on Sunday.
Kentucky made history and broke a school attendance record with
23,706 in its lone game of the season at Rupp Arena. But its
nonconference winning streak was halted at 44 games.
Wildcats coach Matthew Mitchell was pleased with the crowd, but
obviously disappointed with the outcome.
”It was remarkable,” he said about the crowd that got loud as
the Wildcats mounted a second-half rally that got them to 59-55
with 6:07 remaining and 67-61 with 54 seconds left.
”If you’ve been around here as long as I have and been in the
league as long as I have, you’ve got some good perspective on what
today meant. I don’t want to beat ourselves up too much, because we
lost to a good team. They’re an excellent basketball team, but
gosh, I sure wanted to reward that great crowd with a
Tricia Liston scored a season-high 28 points for the Blue Devils
(12-1), who frequently flexed their size advantage against the
Wildcats. The 6-foot-1 Liston thrived on mismatches to shoot 10 of
19 from the field, including two 3-pointers, falling a point short
of her career best.
Duke’s 6-3 center, Elizabeth Williams, was 6 of 10 to chip in 17
points and had eight rebounds.
The Blue Devils stifled Kentucky around the basket, limiting the
Wildcats to 25-of-75 shooting (33 percent) and 3 of 15 from long
range. Poor free throw shooting also doomed Kentucky, which made
just 8 of 19 from the line.
”They outworked us today and I think that’s what happens in
games with two really good teams going at it,” Mitchell said.
”They were just a team that worked harder. Not that our team
didn’t work hard, I just think Duke worked harder. You give them
credit. They did a nice job.”
Janee Thompson’s 12 points led Kentucky, which played its third
game without injured 6-3 forward DeNesha Stallworth, out three to
four weeks after having knee surgery.
The Wildcats started 0 for 5 from the field and fell behind 7-1
in the first 3 minutes before a 12-2 run turned it into a 13-9 lead
with 12 minutes remaining in the first half. Duke answered with a
20-6 run to regain the lead at 29-19 with 4 minutes left in the
first half as the Wildcats went more than 4 minutes without a field
Kentucky’s 10-of-35 shooting in the first half set the tone for
a frustrating offensive day – not that getting beat to the basket
on the other end was any better.
Samarie Walker said Kentucky’s slow start was the difference in
”We definitely need to come out with more energy from the start
and just let it fuel us throughout the game,” she said. ”I think
we started to wear down after we got down (early). We didn’t get
back up (on defense) and nobody was there to pick us up. One person
was trying and everybody else was in a lull.”
The Wildcats used four overtimes to defeat No. 9 Baylor 133-130
on Dec. 6 at Cowboys Stadium and had defeated its first two ranked
opponents. Kentucky trailed 36-27 at halftime against No. 7
Louisville on Dec. 1, but rallied for a 69-64 win.