LEXINGTON – Junior guard Bernisha Pinkett came off the bench and had a career game to lead the Kentucky Wildcats to a 92-53 victory over the Miami University RedHawks Wednesday morning at Memorial Coliseum.
The 5-foot-7 Pinkett came into the game averaging seven points, two rebounds and one assist in 15.7 minutes per game. She broke out Wednesday with 21 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals in 28 minutes.
Pinkett also did not have a turnover in the game as Kentucky improved to 5-1 and Miami fell to 3-3.
“We may have got an energy drink into her Gatorade bottle about 10 minutes into the game, and it started kicking in and really got going,” UK coach Matthew Mitchell quipped when asked what got into Pinkett.
“She started off sluggish, as several of our players did, and I talked to her about her effort, and, to her credit, she really turned it around.
“Just a really productive day.”
Mitchell said the RedHawks were so focused on clamping down on his bigger players inside, particularly 6-1 Samarie Walker and 6-3 DeNesha Stallworth, that it opened up the perimeter for Pinkett and UK’s other numerous swing players.
“This is a strategy that is going to be employed by a lot of teams,” Mitchell said. “Samarie and DeNesha are really tough to guard one-on-one, as are a lot of our post players.”
Pinkett hit 8 of 13 from the field, including three of six from 3-point range.
“The first time I shot a three, I thought they were just slipping a little, but when they left me open again, I thought, ‘That’s fine, I will just keep shooting until they come out and get me.’”
“We recruited Bernisha as a shooter,” Mitchell said of Pinkett, who’s from Washington D.C. “I am not surprised when she makes shots. I am disappointed when she doesn’t.”
Senior guard A’dia Mathies and freshman guard Janee Thompson added 14 points each for Kentucky, and Stallworth and sophomore forward Bria Goss had 12 points each.
Stallworth added eight rebounds, and Mathies added three steals.
The Wildcats turned the ball over just seven times and forced Miami into 22 turnovers.
UK shot 50 percent as a team, 33-of-66, while the RedHawks were 17-of-52 for 32.7 percent.
Senior guard Courtney Osborn led Miami with 25 points.
Ninth-ranked Kentucky plays at seventh-ranked Louisville Sunday at 6 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center. That game will be televised on ESPNU.
“I am happy with the progress we are making,” Mitchell said. “We have gotten better since the Baylor game. I am still very optimistic about what we can become.
“We will prepare as well as we can for a really tough Louisville team. They are always really prepared and have some really good players. It will be a huge challenge to go on the road against Louisville and earn a victory.”