The women’s basketball team completed the perfect trifecta against Florida Sunday afternoon – the football team and the men and women’s basketball teams have all defeated the Gators this season.
The No. 19 Wildcats trailed for just over 10 minutes of the game, but they finished in a fairly-dominating fashion, ending the game with an 11-point margin of victory. Shooting was an issue for Kentucky (31.7 percent from the floor and 25 percent from the three), but the Cats found other ways to win. Here’s how:
Right play, right moment
Although the shooting percentage doesn’t show it, Kentucky was able to hit shots when they needed them. A 7-0 run at the end of the first quarter brought the momentum back to the Wildcats, and the game was tied 15-15 by the break. At halftime, Kentucky had pulled ahead, and the Cats went to the locker room with a 30-23 lead.
Another game changer? Maci Morris, who finished with just 10 points for a rather quiet night, sank a beautiful three-point bucket with under two minutes left in the game. Although the Cats had the lead before the successful trey, Morris’ shot felt like the straw that broke the Gators’ back. Morris has now hit at least one three-point shot in 100 of her 119 career games at Kentucky.
“We have ultimate confidence in her and she made some huge buckets in the fourth quarter,” Coach Matthew Mitchell said of Morris. “She came up big defensively at the right time and [I’m] really proud of that.”
The Cats finished with 35 rebounds, led by junior Amanda Paschal. The guard finished with a career-high and a team-leading nine rebounds, while freshmen Blaire Green and Rhyne Howard each contributed five boards.
“Amanda [Paschal] was incredible,” Coach Mitchell said after the game. “Amanda really, really sparked us when we could not score. She was everywhere, flying around, rebounding the ball, on the floor.”
Collectively, the Cats scored 16 points off their rebounds, plus 16 more off of second-chance points (aided by 16 offensive rebounds).
The Gators nearly matched the Cats’ number of rebounds (34) but they were far less efficient in terms of turning those boards into points. Florida scored just seven points off rebounds and just eight second-chance points off seven offensive rebounds.
Turnovers, turnovers and, yep, more turnovers
Kentucky finished with just nine turnovers, while they forced the Gators to lose possession 24 times. The Wildcats were able to turn those mistakes into 31 points, which made a huge difference in the game.
Physicality & free throws
The Cats finished with 16 team fouls, while the Gators had 22 against them. And when Kentucky got to the line, they were very successful – UK finished 17-22 from the charity stripe for 77.3 percent. Florida, on the other hand, finished the game 8-16 for 50 percent.
Taylor Murray was the difference maker for this stat line: the senior point guard hit 11 of her 13 free throws.
For a game recap, click here.