LEXINGTON, Ky. – Samantha Drake scored 18 points and No. 8 Kentucky rebounded from its first loss of the season by routing Samford 90-61 Wednesday night for the Wildcats' 31st straight nonconference home victory.
Kentucky (11-1) never trailed against Samford (6-5) after falling at No. 3 Notre Dame on Sunday. Against the Bulldogs, everyone got involved with coach Matthew Mitchell using all 13 players on his bench in the first half.
Paige Anderson led Samford with 24 points, but the Bulldogs only managed to hang around for the first 3½ minutes before Kentucky used a 9-0 run to take a 10-point lead. Kentucky's frenetic defense forced 28 turnovers that the Wildcats converted into 35 points.
Kentucky, which leads the nation in turnover margin and is second in scoring, managed to shoot 54.7 percent, its highest mark of the season.
Azia Bishop scored 13 points, Keyla Snowden 12, and Bria Goss and Kastine Evans had 11 apiece for Kentucky. Samarie Walker, a transfer from Connecticut who was eligible for the first time against the Irish, added 10 points and seven rebounds in her first game at Memorial Coliseum in front of 5,311.
Kylie Black's 3-pointer cut Kentucky's lead to 11-10, but the Wildcats went on a 9-0 spurt capped by consecutive baskets by Snowden. Kentucky needed less than 2 minutes to open up a 20-10 lead by capitalizing on three straight Samford turnovers.
Samford's 10th mistake and Kentucky's subsequent basket by Walker put the Wildcats ahead 30-14 with 11:23 left in the half. Kentucky pushed the lead to 40-20 a little over four minutes later and led 55-28 at halftime. It marked the most points the Wildcats have scored in the first half this season.
Kentucky led 60-30 less than 2 minutes into the second half, but led by as many as 36 points in the first matchup ever between the two schools.
Ruth Ketcham scored 14 points and Jazmine Powers had 12 points for Samford.
Next up for Kentucky is a nonconference road game at Middle Tennessee next Wednesday before opening Southeastern Conference play at Florida on Jan. 1. The Wildcats return home to play Arkansas on Jan. 5, beginning a three-game homestand that concludes with a game against No. 6 Tennessee on Jan. 12.