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No. 7 Kentucky beats Central Michigan, 96-74

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 17, 2013 at 5:21 pm •  Published: November 17, 2013
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky players knew it was just a matter of time before Janee Thompson showed her versatility.

And after Sunday's all-around performance that helped beat Central Michigan, the Wildcats guard will be expected to keep it up.

Thompson recorded career highs of 17 points and six steals while tying a best with four rebounds to complement DeNesha Stallworth's 21 points as No. 7 Kentucky pulled away for a 96-74 victory on Sunday.

After averaging four points per game last season, the 5-foot-7 Thompson opened the season with 13 at Marist before tailing off the past two contests against Wagner and Georgia Southern. The starting point guard went all out against CMU, scoring 11 points while trying to get everybody involved.

Asked what has helped this season, Thompson said, "just knowing what to expect now. At times I didn't understand how hard I would have to work and how hard it would be in general. ... Just having the year of experience has helped me."

Thompson's contributions were certainly needed as the Wildcats had to work harder and longer to keep the stubborn Chippewas at bay.

Thompson and Stallworth each scored 11 in the second half, but the guard made her biggest contribution during Kentucky's 19-10 scoring spurt after leading just 46-37 at the break. She scored seven points during the run that ultimately provided a cushion as the Chippewas fought back to make it interesting, getting within 80-68 on Jewel Cotton's third straight basket with 5:53 remaining.

Stallworth added six points down the stretch to create some distance from CMU. Kastine Evans added 13 points, Jennifer O'Neill 11 and Samarie Walker and Azia Bishop 10 each for the Wildcats (4-0). Walker also had 11 rebounds.

Stallworth shot 6 of 8 from the field, made 9 of 10 free throws and grabbed six rebounds as Kentucky outrebounded CMU 30-16 in the period and 55-36 overall.

"I knew what we were going to have to do if we were going to compete with them," Central Michigan head coach Sue Guevara said. "One was to handle the pressure and the other was to not allow so many offensive rebounds. Unfortunately, that did not happen."

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