Samford women fall behind early to No. 8 Kentucky

Paige Anderson felt Samford played well in the opening minutes. Then, Kentucky's substitutions began.

Samantha Drake scored 18 points and No. 8 Kentucky used wave after wave of players to rout Samford 90-61 Wednesday night for the Wildcats' 31st straight nonconference home victory.

"We weathered the storm the first three minutes, then they're subbing five in, five out so much and that's really tough on us," Anderson said. "We're still working into roles going into conference play and that's what a game like this is about. That's what coach said, we schedule these games to get better."

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.

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.

"They are a very good team that has a tremendous style of play that's a little different," Samford coach Mike Morris said. "You don't see it every day. They're deep. They can make you look very bad."

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. Morris said the depth hurt his Bulldogs, who play a more methodical halfcourt style.

"It's really contrasting styles," Morris said. "We're a little outmanned at every position to some degree, so I think that plays a big part. They can be fresh basically with their substition pattern every possession."

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.

"It's always exciting getting to come and play at a big place, big environment, Kentucky basketball is nationally known," Anderson said. "It's really exciting to get to play in front of those types of crowds."

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.

"We didn't quit, we didn't give up," Morris said. "I was pleased with the way we responded, especially when we got down."