No. 5 Kentucky women beat East Tennessee St. 73-56

Streaking Kentucky relied on its defense.

Janee Thompson and Samarie Walker each scored 12 points to help

the fifth-ranked Wildcats beat East Tennessee State 73-56 on

Sunday. Kentucky tied a school record with its 11th consecutive

victory to open the season.

Kentucky limited the Buccaneers (2-6) to six points and two

field goals in the final 10:30.

”I’m glad we were able to play good enough defense to win the

game,” Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said. ”I thought East

Tennessee State played really hard and, obviously, caused us some

problems today and competed tough. We had to win with our defense

and that’s something that’s been different for us than previous

games. I’m just glad we were able to tighten up in the second half

and really shut them down for a long period of time. I think that

was a big difference in the game.”

East Tennessee State (2-6) forced four lead changes and three

ties in the first eight minutes, but the Wildcats used a 14-2 run

to go up 31-18 with 8:15 remaining in the first half.

Kentucky led 49-29 at the half, but the Buccaneers pulled to

54-44 with 13:28 left.

”I thought our kids competed to the best of our abilities for

the entire 40 minutes,” East Tennessee State coach Brittney Ezell

said. ”You have to take your hat off to Kentucky. They are

fantastic, they are loaded, they play hard and they’re

aggressive.”

Linnae Harper added 10 points for Kentucky, and freshman guard

Makayla Epps had eight. Epps was involved in an automobile accident

on the Bluegrass Parkway while returning home from a funeral

Saturday night, but wasn’t seriously injured.

”I’m here and that’s the best thing,” she said. ”Nothing

terrible happened. I didn’t think I was going to get to play today

but I was grateful to get out there with my teammates and be able

to contribute as always. I’m just real blessed that nothing bad

really happened.”

Maria Bond led East Tennessee State with 14 points, and Chandler

Christopher had 11.

Kentucky was without second-leading scorer DeNesha Stallworth.

She had arthroscopic knee surgery to repair loose cartilage in her

left knee and is expected to miss at least two weeks.