Subs Super as UK Overcomes Sluggish Start
It was still Sunday, but Kentucky seemed to have a case of the Mondays.
In a game UK badly needed to win, the Wildcats quickly found themselves facing a 9-0 deficit against Florida.
That’s when Matthew Mitchell turned to his bench.
“They really gave us a lot of energy,” Mitchell said. “I don’t think we could have gotten it done today without the bench. We needed some energetic play.”
Within a minute, Amanda Paschal, Jaida Roper and Blair Green all checked in. They promptly delivered a boost of energy and propelled No. 19/15 Kentucky (18-5, 5-4 Southeastern Conference) to a 62-51 victory over Florida (5-17, 1-8 SEC) on Super Bowl Sunday at Rupp Arena and snap a two-game losing streak.
An and-one by Jaida Roper finally got UK on the board and Green scored the Cats’ next five points to help her team overcome that slow start, while Paschal hit big back-to-back second-quarter 3s.
“We just knew that we definitely needed to bring energy into the game. I thought we did a good job of doing that and just bringing it more together.”
Roper, Green and Paschal managed a combined 19 points along with 16 rebounds – including a career-high nine by Paschal – and three steals. There was one column in the box score where they were even more impressive. Kentucky was plus-27 in Paschal’s 27 minutes, plus-22 in Green’s 33 and plus-10 in Roper’s 18.
That goes a long way in explaining why the trio was on the floor so much down the stretch.
“Amanda was incredible,” Mitchell said. “Amanda really, really sparked us. When we could not score, she was everywhere flying around, rebounding the ball, on the floor. I thought Jaida was just fantastic and Blair Green, maybe her best overall contribution. Really was engaged today, made some defensive plays. Took some shots at difficult times during the game and made them. Good day for those three off the bench. Real proud of them.”