Injured Stallworth gaining confidence

DeNesha Stallworth had never sat out before with an injury, not once in her career, so missing five games after an arthroscropic surgery on her left knee was difficult for the Kentucky forward.

“I’ve never sat out, never anything,” the senior said. “I’ve always been a healthy player, so it was tough for me. … Very, very tough, just knowing I couldn’t contribute to my team.”

The Cats’ leading scorer played seven minutes against Florida and has been building up strength and stamina since then.

“She left the game with a lot of confidence,” UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said on Wednesday before ninth-ranked UK goes to No. 10 South Carolina. “She practiced really hard yesterday, made all the plays, did all the defensive fundamentals, all of our defensive footwork. So I think we will see her round into shape.”

Against a physical, punishing South Carolina team, Mitchell wasn’t clear on how much his forward would play, though.

“We’ll practice hard every day with her and we’ll let her play as hard as she can play,” he said. “She’s very anxious to play, so I see nothing but blue skies ahead as far as it relates for us to her coming back from her injury.”

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at jsmith3@herald-leader.com.
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