No. 7 Kentucky 96, DePaul 64
DeNesha Stallworth is tough enough to guard by herself. Pair her
with Samarie Walker, and it’s easy to see why No. 7 Kentucky is off
to such a great start this season.
Stallworth had 17 points and 13 rebounds and Walker added 18
points and 10 boards to lead the Wildcats to a 96-64 victory over
DePaul on Friday night.
It was the second double-double of the season for each half of
Kentucky’s strong inside tandem.
”DeNesha and I try to push each other as much as we can in
practice and on the floor,” Walker said. ”Off the court we have a
great relationship where we talk to each other about how we can
motivate each other and all that.”
Stallworth, who passed 1,000 career points, said Walker helped
smooth her transition to the Wildcats after transferring from
”I feel like we feed well off each other,” she said. ”If I
miss, Samarie will get the rebound and if Samarie misses, I try and
get the rebound. It’s pretty even.”
Stallworth was 7 for 13 from the field and Walker made 7 of 11
shots. But Stallworth also helped set the intense pace for the
Wildcats by fighting hard for rebounds, grabbing eight offensive
”I think the last four games, she’s been getting better,”
coach Matthew Mitchell said. ”She started the game with great
energy, got a great offensive board early in the game and I think
our first bucket that way, and I think she just continues to get
better and better and that’s a great sign for our basketball
Kentucky (7-1) shot 49 percent from the field in its sixth
consecutive victory. A’dia Mathies had 17 points and nine boards,
and Jennifer O’Neill scored 13.
The Wildcats also improved to 3-0 against the Blue Demons in the
first game between the schools since 1984.
Kentucky got off to a fast start in its lone home game this
season at Rupp Arena, scoring 23 straight points for a 25-2 lead in
front of a record-breaking crowd of 18,488. The previous mark for a
home game for the Kentucky women’s team was 14,508 on Dec. 8, 2011,
”Kentucky did a great job of putting us in the place they put
us in,” DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. ”We never recovered.”
Jasmine Perry scored 16 points for the Blue Demons (6-3).
Lexington-area native Anna Martin had 14 points and Brittany Hrynko
finished with 13.
DePaul shot just 40 percent and committed 21 turnovers. The Blue
Demons lost to their first ranked opponent this season.
Kentucky was coming off a 48-47 comeback victory at No. 6
Louisville on Sunday, a sloppy game saved by freshman Janee
Thompson’s winning 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds left.
This one was a runaway from the start, with the Wildcats
establishing a fast pace that the Blue Demons struggled to match in
their first road game.
O’Neill scored six seconds into the game. Stallworth’s follow
made it 4-2 32 seconds later and started Kentucky’s run of 23
”The hot start came from these two in the first four minutes,
just getting on the boards and getting offensive rebounds and
putting them back,” said Mathies, gesturing toward Stallworth and
Walker. ”I wasn’t surprised but it was definitely a great feeling
to come out and be able to make a quick run to give us a little
DePaul put together a 10-0 run to close to 40-24 in the first
half. But the Blue Demons couldn’t keep up with the Wildcats,
especially Stallworth, who had 11 points and seven rebounds to help
Kentucky carry a 51-33 lead into the break.
Unfazed by Penny or Katherine Harry in front of her, Stallworth
fought her way to the basket and was just as fierce in Kentucky’s
pressure defense that made it hard for DePaul to inbound the ball
The Wildcats kept up the pace in the second half, holding the
Blue Demons to 34 percent shooting.
”You’re happy to be up 18 against a good team like that,”
Mitchell said of the halftime lead. ”I didn’t think 18 was a real
big lead against that team. I just encouraged them to come out in
that first four minutes and it was a three- or four-point victory
in that first segment.
”The next four-minute segment was a two-point victory and that
sort of settled us down.”