No. 9 Kentucky 84, Miami (Ohio) 71

Kentucky didn’t wait long this season to start leaning on its

freshmen.

A’dia Mathies and Victoria Dunlap scored 16 points each, and

freshmen Maegan Conwright and Samantha Drake teamed up to add 28 as

the ninth-ranked Wildcats pulled away from upset-minded Miami of

Ohio for an 84-71 win on Sunday.

Conwright finished with 15 points and a team-high five steals to

spark a Kentucky press that helped force 28 turnovers in just its

second game of the season.

”We had some negative things happen, and what you worry about

as a coach is seeing them hang their heads, but the kids came down

and made plays,” Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said.

Drake added 13 points before leaving with an apparent left knee

injury as Kentucky (2-0) overcame a 2-for-15 3-point shooting

performance. Another freshman, Kastine Evans, scored 10.

Junior Maggie Boyer scored 19 points to lead the RedHawks in

their opener. They cut their turnovers from 18 in the first half to

10 in the second.

”A young team facing a team like that, it can make you

hesitant,” said Boyer, a veteran on a Miami team of no seniors.

”We did a good job not being hesitant as the game went on.”

Kentucky is the highest-ranked women’s team to play at Miami,

and RedHawks coach Maria Fantanarosa was happy her team held its

ground.

”They’re very talented and very athletic,” she said. ”We

didn’t back down.”

Both teams displayed early season rust, combining for 45

turnovers and 65 personal fouls that resulted in 84 free

throws.

”I was so happy about the win that I didn’t notice the

whistles,” Mitchell said, looking at a stat sheet that showed the

Wildcats making 36 of 54 free throws. ”I’m not sure it was much of

an advantage with the way we shot free throws. It was a tough,

tough, physical game, and I think we contributed to that with our

press.”

Conwright scored four points during an 11-3 Kentucky run that

left the Wilcdcats in control with a 56-46 lead with 11:19 left in

the game.

”It was excellent to see our freshmen attacking the basket,”

Dunlap said.

Dunlap, last season’s SEC Player of the Year, scored 10 points

to lead Kentucky to a 33-31 in a first half that included a

combined 28 turnovers and 21 fouls.

”It was physical,” she said. ”They were physical in the

paint. They were getting feisty in there.”