Evans delivers in the clutch to help Kentucky march on

Ex-NFA great Kastine Evans hit a clutch 3-pointer to help Kentucky hold off Delaware 69-62 on Saturday.
Ex-NFA great Kastine Evans hit a clutch 3-pointer to help Kentucky hold off Delaware 69-62 on Saturday. Tim Martin/The Day Buy Photo

Bridgeport - Kastine Evans, front and center in the lineage of great basketball players at Norwich Free Academy, has been the subject of several homecoming stories this week.

And most of them have trumpeted Evans' selflessness off the court, from a humanitarian trip to Ethiopia to starting her own non-profit for kids in Kentucky.

But Evans was noteworthy Saturday for her accomplishments on the court.

She made the game's biggest shot, a 3-pointer after Kentucky had nearly lost a 14-point lead, delivering the Wildcats to the program's second straight Elite Eight.

Kentucky defeated Delaware, 69-62, ending Delaware's season and Elena Delle Donne's college career.

"Kastine makes big plays," teammate A'dia Mathies said. "She hustles every second she's on the court. We ran a play and the play is designed for anyone who's open. She had no fear in letting that three go."

Kentucky led 62-60 at the time.

"She's unbelievable in those moments," Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said. "She's made so many of those. I was not surprised and I was elated and very happy we needed a bucket."

Delaware and its rooting section raised the din inside Webster Bank Arena. Until Evans silenced the place, saved for the Kentucky fans, led by her mom, dad and brother, R.J., who played for the UConn men this season.

"We want to make history for our school," Evans said. "We want to bring back something back to Kentucky besides men's basketball."

Evans missed her first four shots, but finished with eight points, two rebounds and two steals.

Sources: Buckeyes had interest in Auriemma

Industry sources said that UConn coach Geno Auriemma, who extended his contract five more years for more than $10 million at UConn this week, was the first choice for the vacant Ohio State job.

Auriemma was not offered, although a UConn source confirmed Ohio State's interest. Ohio State officials were prepared to offer "an open checkbook" to Auriemma, according to sources.

Several other candidates have emerged since Auriemma extended his deal at UConn.

m.dimauro@theday.com

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