Maybe there’s something about Transylvania’s Clive M. Beck Center. Or, maybe there’s just something about Kentucky women’s basketball that has been hiding until recently.
Coming off a big win against Boston College on Thursday, the ‘Cats remain undefeated at Transy (3-0) after beating Tennessee Tech 73-67 on Sunday afternoon. Kyra Elzy’s squad did it without senior point guard Maddie Scherr, who is out with a head injury she sustained against Boston College. Also unavailable for Sunday’s game were guard Amiya Jenkins (shoulder) and forward Zennia Thomas (suspended indefinitely).
At the start, this game looked like it might be a blowout. Kentucky went up 13-4 at the beginning of the first quarter, shooting 9-18 (50%) from the field, including three three-pointers — one by Saniah Tyler, and the other two by Eniya Russell, immediately off the bench.
Eventually, Tennessee Tech began to live up to their three-point ranking (49th in the nation) and started to make some shots, but finished 9-27 from three on the day. The smallest the Wildcats’ lead ever got was one in the fourth quarter. Then, the game started to get chippy from the Golden Eagles.
First, Cassidy Rowe took a hard fall in the exact same spot Maddie Scherr fell in Thursday’s game against Boston College. Rowe was shaken up but walked herself off the court. Almost right after, Saniah Tyler takes a hard fall in, you guessed it, the exact same spot as Rowe and Scherr. Once again, Tyler appeared shaken up but walked herself off the court. The Tyler foul was deemed intentional by Tennessee Tech’s Reagan Hurst. The guard committed two fouls in the same play. The second foul resulted in sending Ajae Petty to the line.
The standout for Sunday’s matchup was none other than Petty. The forward crushed her previous career best (19 in a loss to Austin Peay) by scoring 33. Petty boasted another career-high with 14 rebounds, marking her third double-double of the season. The senior also added another career-high with three blocks, in addition to an assist and a steal.
For the second game in a row, Emma King also made a big impact. The senior had a career-high 14 points and career-high seven rebounds. King added another career-high with three blocks to go along with two assists. Besides King and Petty, there were two other Wildcats who scored in double digits: Saniah Tyler (13) and Eniya Russell (12).
Tyler went 4-11 from the field, and all of her makes were from the perimeter. Russell, on the other hand, didn’t start, but immediately coming off the bench hit two three-pointers in a row. In only 25 minutes, Russell went 5-12 (2-3 from three), and grabbed three rebounds and a steal. Cassidy Rowe didn’t score, but instead made an impact in the assist column with a career-high of six. Rowe also took three charges.
For the Golden Eagles, the only standout player was Maaliya Owens. The graduate student dropped 30 on the Wildcats, going 8-16 from the field (6-12 from three). Owens added five rebounds, two assists, a block, and a steal.
The Wildcats will be back in action on Wednesday, Dec. 6, as they take on Minnesota at Rupp Arena. This will be the first game at Rupp since their Nov. 11 victory against USC Upstate. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. and will be shown on SEC Network+.