UK POSTGAME NOTES: Blair Green Leads Kentucky Women to 63-45 Win Over Bellarmine
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL POSTGAME NOTES
KENTUCKY VS. BELLARMINE
THURSDAY, NOV. 17, 2022 MEMORIAL COLISEUM – LEXINGTON, KY. Kentucky 63, Bellarmine 45 – FINAL Team Records and Series Notes
· The University of Kentucky women’s basketball program is in its 49th season with an 886-569 (.609) all-time record.
o The Wildcats improved to 4-0 this season, including 4-0 at home in 2022-23.
· Kyra Elzy is in her third season as the head coach of the Wildcats, holding a 41-21 overall record.
· Kentucky will face No. 14/14 Virginia Tech in the Baha Mar Hoops Pink Flamingo Championship in the Bahamas on Monday, Nov. 21 at noon.
o It will mark UK’s first top-25 opponent of the season.
o Kentucky will depart for the Bahamas on Nov. 19.
· Kentucky used the starting combination Jada Walker, Maddie Scherr, Robyn Benton, Blair Green and Nyah Leveretter. The Wildcats are 4-0 using that starting combination this season.
o Kentucky won the opening tip.
o Blair Green was the first Kentucky player to score in the game for the second straight game.
o Adebola Adeyeye was the first substitute off the bench for the fourth straight game.
· It was a slow offensive start for both teams, as Kentucky scored just 12 points to Bellarmine’s nine points in the first quarter.
o Blair Green had Kentucky’s first three points in the game, thanks to a jumper and a free throw.
o Ajae Petty and Adebola Adeyeye came off the bench to score the next eight points over the next five minutes.
o Jada Walker had a pair of free throws to help Kentucky improve its lead over Bellarmine, 12-9, at the end of the first quarter.
o Despite Kentucky’s slow offensive start, they brought intensity in other areas, forcing Bellarmine to commit nine turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game.
· The Knights scored first in the second quarter, however the Wildcats responded with a 12-0 run that lasted more than four minutes.
o Kentucky’s scoring streak was snapped after a Bellarmine field goal from behind the arc at 4:24, as the Cats remained in the lead, 24-14.
o The two teams went back-and-forth over the next minute.
o The Wildcats then went on a 9-0 run, on 5-of-6 from the field, over the final two minutes and 43 seconds.
o Green hit a last second three-point field goal to help Kentucky earn its largest lead in the game, 20 points, 37-17, at halftime.
· Walker began the third quarter with a couple of free throws, as UK stretched its lead over BU, 39-17.
o Scoring was back-and-forth in the third quarter with neither team going on a run greater than four points.
o Kentucky went on a scoring drought for the final four minutes and 15 seconds of the third quarter.
o Bellarmine outscored Kentucky, 16-15, in the third quarter, as the Wildcats continued to lead the Knights, 52-33.
· Kentucky made its first points in the fourth quarter at 7:16, after Scherr dished it to Green for a field goal from long range.
o Elzy continued her effort of introducing freshmen players in the fourth quarter, as she tested new lineups with a focus on her rookie student-athletes.
o The Wildcats scored eight more points, after Green’s 3-pointers at the start of the fourth quarter, on free throws alone, as the Cats went 8-of-10 from the line in those 10 minutes.
o The Knights took advantage of the Wildcats’ new look and narrowly outscored the Cats, 12-11, in the fourth quarter.
o Kentucky defeated Bellarmine in the end, 63-45.
· The Wildcats forced the Knights to commit 27 turnovers, scoring 24 points off those miscues, which marks their third straight game forcing opponents to turn the ball over at least 25 times. Meanwhile, the Cats have scored at least 24 points off turnovers in every game this season.
· Kentucky had a season-high 43 rebounds in the game.
· Kentucky had three players score in double digits for the third straight game.
· Graduate guard Blair Green led the team in scoring for the first time this season with a season-high 15 points.
o It marked her third straight game scoring in double digits.
o Green led the team in 3-pointers, knocking down a season-high two from behind the arc.
o She tied her season high with five rebounds.
o She added a steal and her first block of the season.
· Sophomore guard Jada Walker had 14 points, in part thanks to 6-of-6 from the line.
o It marked her second straight game scoring in double digits.
o She added a season-high and team-high tying seven rebounds, in part thanks to a career-high five offensive rebounds.
o She had a season-high tying and team-leading five steals, while she also added two assists.
§ Walker leads the team with seven straight games recording at least one steal, a streak that dates back to last season.
· Graduate guard Robyn Benton is the only Wildcat to score in double digits all season, putting up 11 points in tonight’s game.
o She added two rebounds, two steals and one assist.
§ Benton has had at least two steals in three of four games this season.
· Junior forward Ajae Petty had a career-high and team-high tying seven rebounds, a career-high two steals and a career-high tying one assist.
o She added a season-high tying one block.
· Junior guard Maddie Scherr covered her stat line with eight assists, six points, five rebounds, a season-high two steals and a block.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL POSTGAME QUOTES
Kentucky Head Coach Kyra Elzy
On how she would evaluate the team’s performance tonight …
“Well I think early we let our offense effect our defense by missing open 3-pointers that we’re capable of hitting. We missed some lay-ups and I thought we got really defeated after that. I thought we’d try to rally in the second quarter. But overall, our shots didn’t fall and that will happen. I just told them that we have to hang our hats on the defensive end and bring the energy until we get going offensively.”
On their Bahamas trip upcoming …
“After we practice! We feel good. It’s going to be a fun time, but our approach is a business trip. I want them to have fun, so there’s a fine line and balance because they’re like ‘oh we have to study in the Bahamas?’ And I was like, ‘Yes you’re still in school.’ You can put your bikini on and study outside, but you’re going to study. You want them to have fun. It’s a trip that they can make memories with, but also we are there for business as well.”
#5 Blair Green, G, GS
On the second-half performance…
“We’re definitely unsatisfied. Our team is known for our defense and the energy that we bring. I feel like we started to let our offense dictate our defense and we were not as intense as we should have been like we were in the first half. After the first couple minutes of the first quarter, I felt like we really pressed up on them and got some easy steals that led to some easy lay-ups. In the second half, I feel like we came out a little flat and started to think about our shots too much. We’re a lot better of a team than what we showed tonight. I thought we showed some glimpses of what we can do.”
On her offensive mentality while putting up a season-high 15 points …
“I think the key was just focusing on getting easy baskets. If that’s getting an offensive rebound or making the cut. I know I’ve been struggling from the outside, but I’m still going to keep shooting. Eventually, it’s going to average out. I have a lot of confidence in my shot and I’m not trying to get down about it. I think I’m just trying to get easy buckets and work hard for little things.”
On the team’s next game vs. No. 14 Virginia Tech …
“We’re playing a top-25 team in the Bahamas, so that will show us where we are. We want to let our defense turn to offense and get easy things in transition. I think it’s going to be a really good game. I think we should all be excited and confident. We’re not ranked and we believe that we should be, so I think this is a great opportunity to show what we are about.”
#11 Jada Walker, G, So.
On Bellarmine’s game plan …
“I don’t think they surprised us with anything. We just had to lock into what they were doing. We practiced their plays and their gameplan all week, so I feel like it was just a focus thing and locking into what they were doing.”
On the upcoming trip to the Bahamas …
“I haven’t been out of the country much, so getting to go out there and enjoy that is going to be fun.”