UK Hoops Takes Down DePaul In Chitown
Linnae Harper scored 18 points and Kastine Evans added 14 to lead No. 5 Kentucky to a 96-85 victory over DePaul on Thursday night.
Harper, a Chicago native who starred at Whitney Young High School, led a balanced offense as 10 players scored for the Wildcats (10-0).
Kentucky broke away from a 44-44 halftime tie and took the lead for good after Harper's jumper put the Wildcats ahead 60-59 with 14:15 left in the second half.
Brittany Hrynkko scored 20 points, Megan Rogowski had 19, and Megan Podkowa and Jasmine Penny added 17 apiece as DePaul (4-3) lost for the third time in four games.
Samarie Walker scored 13 points, Jennifer O'Neill had 12 and Makayla Epps added 10 for the Wildcats.
Kentucky entered the game third in nation in scoring at 98.8 points per game - including and 103.8 per game over its last five.
The Wildcats were without senior forward DeNesha Stallworth, out two to four weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on her left knee on Wednesday. She was second on the team in scoring (14.2 points), rebounds (7.0) and field-goal percentage (.560).
DePaul's Podkowa and Rogowski each had two 3 pointers and combined for 17 points as the Blue Demons took a 21-10 lead less than 7 minutes in.
Kentucky pulled within three points on five occasions over the next 9 minutes but DePaul replied each time until the final minute.
Hrynko's 3 pointer gave the Blue Demons a 44-37 lead with 2:43 to play in the first half, and Jasime Penney's layup kept it at seven with 1:28 left.
The Wildcats closed the half with seven consecutive points in the final 38 seconds, including five from Goss and a fast-break layup by Azia Bishop with 12 seconds left, to tie the score at 44 at the break.
Kentucky took its first lead since the opening minutes at 50-49 on Evans' layup with 17:30 left in the second half. It was short-lived as Penny replied 20 seconds later with a jumper.
From there the game featured five lead changes and two ties until the Wildcats pulled ahead for good at 60-59 on Harper's jumper with 14:15 left. Kentucky opened its biggest lead to at 66-61 on Epps' jumper a little more than 2 minutes later.
Kentucky's lead hit double-digits at 83-73 with 4:07 to play on Evans' two free throws during a 9-0 run.
The game was a homecoming for Wildcats sophomore starter Janee Thompson and Harper.
Both starred on Chicago-Whitney Young High School's 2012 unbeaten Class 4A state champions and had their respective numbers retired by the school on Wednesday.
The Blue Demons came in ranked fourth in Division I with 13.5 steals per game.
DePaul's loss was just the third in 25 games at its on-campus home. The Blue Demons are now 13-15 all-time against top-25 teams.
Kentucky is four wins away from 700 all-time.