A series of big runs and strong defense helped No. 16 Kentucky run away with a big Southeastern Conference win over Auburn 69-38 on Thursday night.
UK, which won its seventh straight, forced the Tigers into 28 turnovers en route to a route that saw six different players score eight points or more.
Kentucky was led by Brittany Henderson’s career high 13 points, 11 coming in the first half. Keyla Snowden added 11 points and Victoria Dunlap had 10 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the win in front of 6,003 at Memorial Coliseum.
Auburn (13-9, 6-3) made the game’s first basket and then went more than nine minutes before making another.
In that span, UK (18-4, 7-2) used a 16-2 run behind its defense, which forced 10 turnovers in the first 12 minutes of the game.
The Cats hit a small offensive lull in the first half, going nearly six minutes without a field goal and the Tigers creeped back into it, cutting the Cat lead to eight points on a Courtney Strain three-pointer with five minutes to go in the first half.
UK called a timeout and Mathies made a cutting drive through the lane out of timeout to end the skid and start a new 15-4 run to end the half with a 37-20 lead.
The Tigers had a little spurt to start the second half, scoring the first seven points and forcing UK into three turnovers and five missed shots. But the Cats righted themselves via a 19-4 run to put the game well out of Auburn’s reach.
UK, Auburn and Georgia had been tied for second place in the SEC standings.
Auburn (13-8, 6-2 SEC) vs. Kentucky (17-4, 6-2 SEC)
UK is in full control of the game and has a 56-33 lead with 7:44 to play.
- Auburn scored the half’s first seven points and UK missed its first five shots and turned the ball over three times. But UK has calmed down and just grabbed a 42-29 lead on a Mathies three-pointer from the top of the key.
- HALFTIME: KENTUCKY 37, AUBURN 20 – The Cats used a 15-4 run to end the half and take a big lead into the break. Henderson leads UK with 11 points and four rebounds. Blanche Alverson leads Auburn with seven points.
- A Mathies drive ended the shot drought and UK is up 28-18 with three minutes before the break.
- Auburn is on an 8-1 run and Kentucky has gone five minutes without a field goal. The Tigers are now within eight points, 24-16.
- Kentucky leads 24-10 with 7:22 left in the first half.
- UK’s ball movement is the best it’s been all season and the Cats lead 16-4 with 11:18 to go in the first half. Auburn has turned the ball over eight times.
- Kentucky has scored 10 unanswered and Auburn has made just one of its first six shots and trails 10-2 with 15:25 to play in the first half.
- UK goes with the same starting lineup that it has won the past six games with: Mathies, Morrow, Evans, Dunlap and Henderson.
- Auburn, Georgia and Kentucky currently are battling for second place in the Southeastern Conference behind Tennessee. UK is riding a six-game win streak and Auburn is coming off a win at South Carolina. The Tigers have won three of their last four games.