PIKEVILLE – The undefeated season rolls on as the 23rd-ranked University of Pikeville women’s basketball team used defense to roll past visiting Milligan (Tenn.) 80-62 on Monday in the East Kentucky Expo Center.
UPIKE improved to a perfect 11-0 with a win over one of its toughest non-conference tests of the season. Milligan was 12-1 overall heading into the matchup and is the first team receiving votes in the NAIA Div. II top-25.
But with all that going for them, the Buffaloes were no match for the full-court pressure shown from the Bears.
They ended up turning the ball over 20 times and shooting just over 30 percent as UPIKE went to work down low, outscoring Milligan 40-18 in the paint with a 44.6 percent field-goal percentage.
You can’t say the Buffaloes weren’t fresh as 16 players entered the game for them, but UPIKE was just more efficient, leading fast-break points 14-2 and leading the game in assists 18-11 and rebounds 48-42.
For the first time this season, Prestonsburg native Kandice Porter led UPIKE in scoring with 16 points, followed by Aundrea Matchen with 13 and Devin Conley and Dinyell Calvert chipped in with 12 each. It was a block party for the defense as Sandra Davis finished with four and Calvert sent back a pair of shots.
It was that kind of night for Milligan as it shot just 28.1 percent in the first half, hitting just three of its 12 3-point attempts. Callie Cox led the army of players with 13 points while Allison Jones joined her in double figures with 11.
After falling behind by four in the first two minutes of the game, UPIKE went on a 7-0 run to build an 11-8 lead on an Emily Baker layup and never trailed again.
That’s not to say it was easy going. Although the Bears built a 40-27 lead at halftime, it only outscored the Buffaloes by five in the second half.
UPIKE led 50-32 with six minutes to go in the third quarter, but Milligan went on a 14-5 run that got it back within single digits at 55-46. The run seemed to jolt the Bears awake though as they scored the final seven points of the quarter, and then the first six points of the fourth to go up by a game-high 22 points.
That 13-0 run provided enough cushion for the Bears to hold on the rest of the way as Milligan could only cut the deficit to 15 late in the quarter.