LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky was pushed considerably more than in their 46-point opening-game win, but turned away Syracuse 64-59 at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington Monday night. The Wildcats moved on to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Women's Tournament for the third consecutive year and fourth in five years under coach Matthew Mitchell. It was Mitchell's 200th career win.
Bria Goss led the Wildcats with 17 points, including 11 of 12 from the free throw line. The Wildcats struggled with the 2-3 zone of Syracuse, shooting just 36 percent for the game, but UK's defensive pressure forced 23 Orange turnovers.
"I was prepared for whatever tonight," said Mitchell. "I thought there was a chance we could win by large margin tonight. I was prepared for that. I was also prepared for what happened. These are very, very difficult games to play. You lose, and you're done. Everybody has done all of this here at Kentucky and you wonder if that's in the back of the player's minds, that we're at home and we have to win. I don't know exactly what is going on in their minds, but what I tried to do was show up and be ready to coach 40 minutes. There were times where I wanted to run out to half-court and scream and go nuts. Sometimes I wanted to leave the building a couple of times with some of the decisions that we were making, but what we had to do tonight was keep our wits about us, we had to stay poised and when they cut it to two, I was glad we were up two."
DeNesha Stallworth added 13 points and Kastine Evans 11 for the Wildcats and Freshman Makayla Epps, last year's Miss Basketball from Marion County, scored 8 points on 4 of 5 shooting off the bench.
The third-seeded Wildcats (26-8) now meet 2nd-seed Baylor next in South Bend, Indiana. UK beat the Bears in a 133-130, four-overtime thriller on December 6th in Dallas.
Copyright 2014 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.