The UK women’s basketball team advanced to its third Elite 8 in four years with a win over the Delaware Blue Hens on Saturday in the Sweet 16 of this year’s NCAA Tournament.
The Cats took a commanding 14-point lead into halftime, but had to withstand a strong second half push by the Blue Hens to hang on for the victory. Delaware outscored UK by seven in the second half, and cut the UK lead to as little as three points, but were never able to completely overcome the deficit.
UK was led by point guard Jennifer O’Neilll, who scored a team-high 19 points in the victory. Forward Samarie Walker also contributed 11 rebounds and two blocks inside for the Cats.
Delaware forward Elena Delle Donne led the Blue Hens with 33 points in 39 minutes in the loss. Delle Donne, a senior, concluded her career with the sixth-most career points in NCAA women’s basketball history.
UK head coach Matthew Mitchell has now recorded a 10-4 NCAA Tournament record over the last four years; the program had four total tournament wins before Mitchell took over as coach.
UK now advances to the Elite 8 where it will face the winner of this afternoon’s Connecticut (1-seed) v. Maryland (4-seed) game. UK will once again compete for the program’s first-ever Final Four bid. The game will take place Monday night to decide the champion of the Bridgeport Region.