LEXINGTON, Ky. — Anna Martin's homecoming got off to a rough start, and DePaul never recovered.
Martin had 14 points, but the Blue Demons fell behind by double digits early in the game and went on to a 96-64 loss at No. 7 Kentucky on Friday night.
The Wildcats jumped all over DePaul, scoring 23 straight points for a 25-2 lead in their lone home game this season at Rupp Arena.
"I was really proud of my basketball team after we got shell-shocked in the first half," coach Doug Bruno said. "Kentucky did a great job of putting us in the place they put us in by being like we were down.
"At the point of being down, 22, 20 or whatever point it got to be, I just thought we finally played basketball. We still lost the game. I thought we did some things that are going to help us as the season moves forward."
Martin, who grew up in Kentucky and led nearby Lexington Christian Academy to three state titles, was 6 for 14 from the field. She also had three assists and two steals in front of a crowd of 18,488, setting a single-game record for a Kentucky women's game.
"I wish the result was different, but I think our team will learn from this and get a lot better," Martin said. "I watch some of the Kentucky games, so when I heard the fight song it was hard for me not to chant along. It was a weird feeling, but once the ball went up it was game time."
Jasmine Perry scored 16 points for the Blue Demons (6-3), and Brittany Hrynko finished with 13.
DePaul shot just 40 percent and committed 21 turnovers. The Blue Demons lost to their first ranked opponent this season.
DeNesha Stallworth had 17 points and 13 rebounds for Kentucky (7-1), which shot 49 percent from the field in its sixth consecutive victory. Stallworth, a junior transfer, passed 1,000 career points while recording her second double-double this season.
Samarie Walker added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats, and A'dia Mathies had 17 points and nine boards. Jennifer O'Neill scored 13.
O'Neill started the rout by scoring six seconds into the game. Stallworth's follow made it 4-2 32 seconds later and started Kentucky's run of 23 consecutive points.
"I think the environment got to us and that's just an attribute to the fans here," Bruno said.
DePaul put together a 10-0 run to close to 40-24 in the first half. But the Blue Demons couldn't keep up with the Wildcats, especially Stallworth, who had 11 points and seven rebounds to help Kentucky carry a 51-33 lead into the break.
Unfazed by Penny or Katherine Harry in front of her, Stallworth fought her way to the basket and was just as fierce in Kentucky's pressure defense that made it hard for DePaul to inbound the ball early on.
The Wildcats kept up the pace in the second half, holding the Blue Demons to 34 percent shooting.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.