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WBB’s SEC bracket is SET! See Kentucky’s potential matchups:

WBB’s SEC bracket is SET! See Kentucky’s potential matchups:

The SEC Tournament bracket has officially been set. Kentucky’s fourth-quarter rally over Georgia secured a No. 4 seed for the Wildcats, meaning they won’t hit the court in Greenville, South Carolina until the quarterfinals on Friday afternoon. Here’s a look at the complete bracket:

Kentucky will face the winner of Missouri vs. Ole Miss/Florida. Here’s how the Cats have stacked up against those teams so far this season

Ole Miss: Loss on Jan. 13, 55-49

Missouri: Win on. Jan. 24, 52-41

Florida: Win on Feb. 3, 62-51


If the Cats advance to the semifinals, they’ll likely face No. 1 Mississippi State. The Cats have only seen the Bulldogs once this season: Kentucky lost on Jan. 6 by a final score of 71-86.

On the season, Kentucky is 24-6, including an 11-5 SEC record. Excluding the Ole Miss loss, UK’s other four “L’s” this season have come at the hands of the top-rated teams in the league – twice at Texas A&M, at Mississippi State and at home against South Carolina.

The Cats’ game is scheduled to start 25 minutes after the conclusion of Friday’s noon game, so get ready to flip to the SEC Network by 2:30 to cheer on the Wildcats.


@MaggieDavisKSR


Tatyana Wyatt, via @KentuckyWBB

UK Hoops beats Georgia, secures No. 4 seed in SEC Tournament

Tatyana Wyatt, via @KentuckyWBB

It was an odd afternoon for Kentucky’s women’s basketball team, but it all worked out in the end: the No. 11 Cats defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 56-51 in Athens. The win finished out UK’s regular-season schedule, giving them a final record of 11-5 in the SEC and a No. 4 finish in conference standings. Their fourth-place seed will also give the Wildcats a double-bye week for the SEC tournament.

The Cats found themselves with little output from the season’s three highest scorers: Rhyne Howard, Maci Morris and Taylor Murray finished with a combined 16 points. Howard had seven points, Morris had six and Murray had three. Without strong contributions from Kentucky’s typical offensive leaders, other Wildcats had to step up, starting with Tatyana Wyatt. The sophomore forward finished with a season-high 17 points. Amanda Paschal and Jaida Roper finished with eight points apiece, while Blair Green added five of her own.

On the game, Kentucky shot 37.5 percent from the field (21-56) and 46.2 percent (6-13) from deep. The Bulldogs had the advantage at the end of every quarter, excluding, of course, the final one. UK’s offense found its groove early in the fourth period, and a 9-0 run cut a five-point deficit into a four-point lead for the Wildcats.

But the Bulldogs didn’t go down without a fight – Georgia answered with a short 6-2 run and a three-pointer. But Kentucky’s Roper drained a three-pointer of her own to give the Cats a 55-51 lead with under a minute remaining. And even though she struggled offensively, Maci Morris once again showcased why she’s so special to this team: she’s absolutely clutch. She nailed her final two free throws, as did Wyatt, to give the Cats a ‘W’ in their final game of the regular season. In the fourth quarter, the Cats went 8-16 from the floor to outscore Georgia 23-14.

With the loss, Georgia falls to 18-11 on the season and 9-7 in the SEC. The Bulldogs were led by Gabby Connally, who finished just ahead of Wyatt for a game-high 18 points.

Here are the highlights:


Kentucky returns to action Friday for the SEC Tournament. Their opponent hasn’t been decided at this time, but tipoff is set for around 2:30 p.m. The matchup will take place in Greenville, South Carolina, and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.

@MaggieDavisKSR


(Photo via Twitter.com/KentuckyWBB | UK Athletics)

No. 11 UK Hoops Falls 62-55 in Final Home Game to No. 19 Texas A&M

(Photo via Twitter.com/KentuckyWBB | UK Athletics)

In the final home game of the regular season, the No. 19 Kentucky Wildcats (23-6) fell to the No. 19 Texas A&M Aggies (22-6) by a score of 62-55.

After falling behind early, Kentucky was able to work themselves back into the game, but 24 points from Texas A&M guard Chennedy Carter proved to be too much for the Wildcats down the stretch. Kentucky shot 36 percent from the field and hit only five of 22 three-point attempts.

Kentucky did not get off to the start they would have liked in their final game of the year at Memorial Coliseum.

The Aggies swung the first punch and jumped out to a massive early lead, ballooning its advantage all the way up to 16-4 with about two minutes left in the first frame. Head coach Matthew Mitchell was forced to burn two first-quarter timeouts because of multiple Texas A&M runs. The Cats were being outhustled and widely outrebounded – A&M had more first-quarter offensive (5) rebounds than Kentucky did total rebounds (4) – while forcing up early and contested jumpers that hit nothing but iron.

There wasn’t one Kentucky player who could find a rhythm, as evident by the team’s 0-for-7 start from three. The Cats finally picked up the press a bit to end the quarter but still trailed 19-7 after 10 minutes.

Kentucky shot only 3-13 from the field in the first quarter while Texas A&M went 8-16.

Then, the player Kentucky has been dependent on all season to pick up the slack, did just that. Taylor Murray took over to start the second quarter, energizing her team for the first time all game. Murray forced three early turnovers in a matter of seconds and Kentucky finally began to convert on some of its open looks. A big three from Rhyne Howard ended the Wildcats three-point drought and Jaida Roper hit another triple not long after.

Tatyana Wyatt was showing off her posts moves, Amanda Paschal played one of her best quarters of the season, and the overall team defense was relentless. Kentucky forced four Texas A&M turnovers in the first two minutes of the quarter and nine for the half. With suffocating full-court defense and shots finally finding their way into the bottom of the net, the Cats were able to trim the lead all way down to two, 26-28, at the intermission.

Kentucky even pulled in as many second-quarter rebounds as the Aggies with 11 apiece. They did all this without Maci Morris scoring a single point.

Murray kept up the defensive effort as the second-half got underway, changing the entire feel of the game from a halfcourt battle to an up-and-down marathon. The two teams would go back-and-forth throughout the period, but an 8-0 run from the Aggies to end the quarter came at the worst possible time for Kentucky.

Morris started to hit her shots, including a couple of big threes to keep Kentucky in the game, but the Cats had no answer for the Aggies in the paint. Ciera Johnson was scoring from all areas on the block and devouring any loose ball, finishing with 16 points and 13 rebounds (no Kentucky player recorded more than four rebounds).

Kentucky trailed 44-51 heading into the final quarter.

Rhyne Howard and Tatyana Wyatt both picked up their fourth fouls in the last period, but both hit some big shots to keep things close. However, a three-minute scoring drought near the end of the game and little resistance from the Wildcat frontcourt ultimately led to the Aggies winning this game by a score 62-55.

The bench scoring favored Kentucky by a sizable margin, 15-1, and all nine Wildcats who entered the game scored. But the game was decided by inside the three-point line as the Aggies dropped 31 paint points compared to only 14 for the Cats.

Kentucky’s final game of the regular season will be in Athens, GA as the Wildcats face the Georgia Bulldogs this Sunday at 1 p.m. on SEC Network.


Kentucky's own Maci Morris being honored during Senior Day.

Takeaways From UK Hoops Senior Day Win

Kentucky native Maci Morris being honored during Senior Day.

The No. 16 Kentucky Wildcats made sure its seniors would be sent off with a win in Memorial Coliseum as they beat the LSU Tigers by a score of 57-52. Here are a few takeaways from the game.

The seniors

Behind the two impact seniors, Maci Morris and Taylor Murray, the Wildcats managed to hold off a ferocious fourth-quarter comeback from the Tigers. Murray led the team with 18 points on 7-8 shooting with a clutch steal at the end of the game while Morris had moments of struggle – and didn’t even play in the second quarter – but still finished with 10 points, eight of them coming in the second half.

Senior LaShae Halsel was in the starting lineup for the first time this season and the Kentucky faithful made sure she knew just how important she is to the team. Halsel has only appeared in 10 games this season, but is a part of a feel-good story. After coming to Lexington as a walk-on, she earned a scholarship in the summer of 2018.

The fourth senior, Paige Poffenberger, (who is technically a junior) has been medically retired since the beginning of the season due to complications with her breathing that would not allow her to play Divison-I basketball. Despite her inability to play on the court, she – along with her three seniors – received a long standing ovation from a packed home crowd.

Head coach Matthew Mitchell had high praise for his two star seniors, Morris and Murray.

“It’s hard to describe in words adequately, I’m not sure I can put them into words, she’s meant a whole lot,” Mithcell said, in regards to what Morris has meant to Kentucky. “She’s just come in from day one and really worked. She doesn’t talk a lot, say a whole lot, she just lets her work ethic make a statement for her. She’s grown and developed as a player, she’s grown and developed her leadership and has been able to maintain a great attitude over the four years. Certainly has endeared herself to the fans. You heard in her comments after the game to recognize her folks back home. So just an incredible young woman and representative for our program and the University. So we’re real proud of Maci and happy she got a win on her senior day.”

He then spoke highly of Murray and her growth since arriving on campus.

“Really grown in so many ways, all four of the seniors have grown as people,” Mitchell said. “But, Taylor was very shy, very quiet coming in and is really running our team right now. She had it under control there in a strategic standpoint there in the fourth quarter. She and I were having great conversations. She was checking in with me and everything she was saying was right on point so she has a good grasp of what we’re trying to get done. She has grown so much with her ability to come out of her shell and just be a wonderful representative of our program. We’re real proud of her and she’s playing some awfully good ball right now.”

He’s damn right about that last line, too. It’s even gotten to the point where I’d rather Murray have the ball to ice/win a game over Morris and Howard. Which isn’t a knock against the team’s two top scorers, but man, Murray is just playing with incredible confidence right now. Just in time, too.

Rebounding issues

It’s been Kentucky’s “Achilles heel” all year long – they rank 13th in the SEC in rebounds per game – and the matchup against LSU was no different. The Tigers had two players who pulled in 11 and 13 rebounds, respectively, while Kentucky didn’t have any player grab more than six. Overall, the Cats were heavily outrebounded on both sides; 14-4 on the offensive glass and 29-23 on the defensive boards.

Typically, such a drastic difference in offensive rebounding numbers leads to a significant advantage in second-chance points, but that wasn’t the case. Kentucky didn’t have the size to deal with LSU’s bigs, but they had the next most important thing – discipline.

Despite 10 more offensive rebounds for LSU, the Wildcats held them to only six second-chance points. Whenever an LSU player got the ball off the glass, Kentucky didn’t panic. Instead, they stayed stiff and arms were shot straight into the air to avoid any possible whistle. And it worked. LSU could shoot over basically any Kentucky player, but having that hand right in-between the arms of the defender proved to be a beneficial tactic.

4th quarter drought

Kentucky maintained a 13-point lead throughout the majority of the game. The team defense was excellent – probably one of the better overall performances on that end of the court all year – and the offense was working through Murray just enough to keep the points flowing in.

But something happened in the fourth quarter that is going to have to be corrected as the SEC Tournament looms. The Cats shot just 2-11 from the field in the final period, scoring a game-low 12 points in the quarter. Kentucky missed its last nine field goal attempts, going without a made shot from the floor in over eight minutes. On the flip side, LSU played it’s best offensive quarter of the game.

The Tigers shot 8-14 in the fourth after shooting 7-12 in the third (the team as a whole shot 5-29 in the first two quarters). Luckily, Kentucky made seven of their eight free throw attempts to stay ahead, but the overall concerns are still alive. The defense definitely slipped up in transition, allowing more LSU made threes in the fourth quarter than in the first three combined, but they did force four turnovers.

Murray, Howard, and Morris did enough down the stretch to pull out the win, but blowing a 13-point lead and going over eight minutes without a field goal cannot happen against the top teams in the SEC. The first three quarters were great for UK, but they still need to learn to play a full 40 minutes if they want to make a run for the SEC Tournament Championship.

Kentucky memories

Morris and Murray reflected on what it’s meant to be a Kentucky Wildcat these past four years in the postgame press conference.

“I would just remember playing for my teammates while playing with each other,” Murray said. “You also have a great coaching staff that helps develop you both on and off the court. You work from June to now, but you also have the chance to develop great relationships.”

Morris agreed with the sentiment.

“Like Taylor said, you just meet so many people at Kentucky,” Morris said. “You build great relationships and you have both good times and bad times that you get to share with your peers. That’s how you build those strong relationships. Like Taylor said, your teammates, coaches, staff, other classmates, everybody has such a big impact on you and that is what I’m going to remember the most.”

When Howard was asked what she’s going to take away most from her two seniors, she answered pretty bluntly with “Do what the coaches say.”

But the seniors aren’t done quite yet with Memorial Coliseum. They still have one more home game against the Texas A&M Aggies this coming Thursday at 7 p.m.

If it hasn’t set in just yet that their Kentucky careers are coming to a close, Thursday surely will.


@KentuckyWBB

It’s Senior Day for UK Hoops, including Maci Morris, Taylor Murray

@KentuckyWBB

A special senior class will be honored inside Memorial Coliseum Sunday afternoon, as Matthew Mitchell’s four seniors will be celebrated before tip-off. Maci Morris, Taylor Murray, Paige Poffenberger and LaShae Halsel will be honored. The ceremony is slated to begin at approximately 1:40 p.m.

In addition to the Senior Day activities, there are plenty of other reasons to attend. Pediatric patients from the UK Children’s Hospital will be going through the starting lineup with UK’s players; there will be a “Kid Zone” with games and a poster-making station; one UK student who checks in on the BBN Rewards app will win $10,000.

But the most important reason, of course, is to cheer on these four women as they take on LSU. While all four deserve to be celebrated, it’s impossible to ignore the impact Morris and Murray have had on this team – not only this season, but throughout their four years in Lexington. Morris is averaging 15.8 points per game this year with a team-best 65 3-pointers, while Murray is averaging 12.7 points per game while leading UK in assists and steals.

“I would really like to invite all of the Big Blue Nation to make every effort to be in Memorial Coliseum on Sunday,” Coach Mitchell said. “This is such a special group for us and they have done so much for us. We would love for a sellout crowd to attend and be there to honor them. Be in your seat early at 1:40 p.m. and hope you can come out and celebrate what has been some remarkable accomplishments from this group.”

General admission tickets are available for $8 for adults or $5 for children. If you can’t make the trip, the game can be seen on the SEC Network, and we’ll have plenty of postgame coverage right here on Kentucky-Sports-Radio-dot-com.