Jennifer O'Neill helps No. 6 Kentucky beat Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Kentucky made it look easy against Alabama in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.

Jennifer O'Neill had 17 points to help No. 6 Kentucky beat Alabama 85-63 on Thursday.

Azia Bishop added 16 points and eight rebounds for Kentucky (13-1), Kastine Evans had 15 points, and Samarie Walker finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

"Samarie had a big game today," Kentucky coach Matt Mitchell said. "She was working hard inside. She was letting the game come to her."

Shafontaye Myers led Alabama (7-7) with 20 points, and Daisha Simmons had 12.

Kentucky raced to a 30-16 lead, Alabama cut it 34-29, and Kentucky finished the half on a 16-9 run for a 50-38 advantage.

Kentucky's backups outscored Alabama reserves 34-12, matching the final margin. Also with O'Neill, Linnae Harper added eight points and Jelleah Sidney had seven off the bench.

"That is the reason they are the No. 6 team in the country," Alabama coach Kristy Curry said. "The difference today showed what we need to do in recruiting. What can I say about them? They are really good."

Myers did most of her damage from beyond the 3-point line, going 4 of 9. Kentucky limited her to five points in the second half.

"I don't know how much we held her in check," Mitchell said. "When we rotated off the pressure, she didn't score, but when we didn't, she did."

The Wildcats were 10 for 20 from 3-point range.

Kentucky finished off the Crimson Tide with a 15-7 run in the second half that gave it the 22-point margin it finished with.