UK wins NCAA opener over Navy

UK's DeNesha Stallworth

The Kentucky women's basketball team got a big performance from junior center DeNesha Stallworth and forced 25 turnovers Sunday as the Wildcats won their NCAA Tournament opener 61-41 over Navy.

The Kentucky women's basketball team forced 25 turnovers Sunday as the Wildcats won their NCAA Tournament opener 61-41 over Navy at Carnesecca Arena in Queens, N.Y.

No. 7 Kentucky (28-5) matched the school record for wins set last season on the strength of an 18-point, 11-rebound, three-block performance by junior center DeNesha Stallworth. It marked her team-high ninth double-double of the season.

Junior forward Samarie Walker added 14 points for the second-seeded Cats, who also got 12 points and a career-high five steals from sophomore guard Jennifer O'Neill.

The 20-point win was the largest in UK's NCAA Tournament history. The 41 points surrendered also set a new program record for fewest allowed in a tourney game, thanks in large part to another school tourney record, 16 steals, by the Cats.

Kentucky got out of the gates slow, trailing until a Stallworth jumper with 2:50 remaining in the first half gave them a 25-24 lead.

From there, UK never looked back. The Cats opened the second half with a 12-2 run and added an 8-0 spurt to take full control with 6:37 remaining in the game.

Navy, the No. 15 seed, closed its season at 21-12.

Kentucky advances to the second round of the tournament, where it will play seventh-seeded Dayton on Tuesday. The Flyers advanced with a 96-90 win over St. John's.

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