A'dia Mathies scored 20 points to help lead No. 17 Kentucky past Northeastern 81-47.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A'dia Mathies scored 20 points and No. 17 Kentucky beat Northeastern 81-47 on Thursday night.
The Wildcats (3-0) forced Northeastern into 37 turnovers two days after they set a school record forcing Jacksonville State into n48 turnovers Tuesday. Kentucky's opponents are averaging 35 turnovers this season against the Wildcats' full-court press.
After Northeastern's Jewel Tunstall scored the game's first basket, Kentucky went on a 26-4 run over an 8-minute stretch that put the game out of reach early. Over that span, 18 of Kentucky's points came off Northeastern turnovers.
Mathies was one of four Wildcats to finish in double figures; Keyla Snowden finished with 14 points, Azia Bishop had 12 and Bria Goss had 11.
Tunstall led the Huskies (0-3) with 12 points.
Kentucky's identity is in its fast-paced play that forces turnovers and points in transition, and it showed Thursday - 40 of the Wildcats' points came off turnovers. Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell was able to sustain the press for 40 minutes because of his constant rotation. Ten players played at least 11 minutes in the game.
Still, Mitchell wasn't pleased that the pressure dropped off between the first and second teams. When he went more to his bench in the second half, the Wildcats only forced 10 turnovers, and the two teams each scored 33 points in the second half.
"Northeastern did some good things and made some good adjustments at halftime but the first group still scored," Mitchell said. "We had made some good plays, but the second group was really subpar and low-energy tonight. If we don't have everybody clicking, it sort of looks a little bad in the second half."
Mathies, a junior, finished shooting 7 of 11 from the field. It was Mathies who Mitchell said sparked the team on offense and defense, and he said it may have been her lack of presence that put the team to sleep at times in the second half.
"I think we let down a little bit, and we don't want that to happen," Mathies said. "Even if we're down by 40 or up by 40, we expect to play hard every play. That's what the other teams are going to do, so we have to work on those things."
Even with second-half struggles, the full-court press smothered Northeastern in the first 20 minutes. Once the Wildcats had established a 29-8 lead with 10:24 left, they pressed even harder and forced nine more turnovers in a five-minute stretch that saw the lead grow as wide as 43-10.
Mitchell said he kept the press on because he still doesn't know how several of his players will react to certain situations.
"As a coach, you know there are going to be tougher days ahead. You know there are going to be nights when you're not up 30. You're trying to coach each possession. I'm not down on the team at all. I think this is just part of the process."