Kentucky women crush Tennessee State in NCAA opener

Lexington, KY ( - Linnae Harper led six Kentucky players in double figures with 16 points as the Wildcats rolled to a 97-52 victory of Tennessee State in the first round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament.

Kentucky (24-9), seeded second in the Albany region, led virtually from start to finish to advance to face No. 7 seed Dayton in Sunday's Round of 32.

Harper added 10 rebounds and five assists while Alexis Jennings tallied 15 points for the Wildcats. Jennifer O'Neill, Bria Goss and Makayla Epps contributed 13 points each to the rout.

Brianna Lawrence paced Ohio Valley Tournament champion Tennessee State (18-13) with 16 points.

A 26-3 first-half run essentially put the game away for Kentucky. Jennings netted seven points during the surge and O'Neill had eight, the last three coming on a long-distance bucket that gave the Wildcats a commanding 29-6 lead with eight minutes left in the period.

Kentucky cruised into the break up by a 50-25 count, with Jennings posting 12 first-half points and O'Neill 11, and led by at least 23 throughout the second stanza.