Kentucky won in an extremely physical game against the Georgia Bulldogs in front of 6,991 people in Memorial Coliseum this afternoon, 80-72. In a game that featured 47 fouls, the Cats managed to prevail by going on a 10-0 run in the last 1:37 minutes of the game and shooting 40% in the second half.
Kentucky, who was looking to snap a two game losing streak, took control of the game early in the first half, going 10-4 up until the first TV timeout at 15:59. Bria Goss started off the game on a high note, shooting a beautiful three pointer in the first 20 seconds of the game, Linnae Harper then put in her own two points at 18:59 to give the home team a 5-0 lead. Georgia didn’t make their first point until Merritt Hempe tipped in a basket at the 17:32 mark. After dwindling the lead down to four mid-half, Kentucky managed to stretch out the lead by 13 after a huge three pointer by Jen O’Neill at the 7:57 mark. Georgia didn’t score for seven minutes until Mackenzie Engram ended the drought with a 3 pointer to cut Kentucky’s fifteen point lead down to twelve. They then cut the lead to ten when Tiaria Griffin layed it up and in. The Dogs then went on the prowl, chomping the Cats lead all the way down to five before O’Neill made a jumper to leave the half with Kentucky in charge by seven. In the first half, Kentucky and Georgia both shot 39% from the field and were also tied for rebounds at 21 each.
The Wildcats missed their first five shots of the second half, but Linnae Harper hit a huge basket to bring Kentucky’s lead to double digits. They ran the lead all the way up to twelve before UGA’s Tiaria Griffin took over with back-to-back three pointers to chop the lead back down to six. Georgia took the lead at the 8:56 mark and kept it for around 3 minutes until Makayla Epps tied it at 62 all at 6:58. The game went back and forth from there on out. With 1:37 left in the game, Kentucky only led by one, but a 10-0 run with back-to-back free throw opportunities for both O’Neill and Epps gave the Cats the win.
“It’s a great win. Any win right now is great for us,” said Coach Mitchell after the game. “If we had lost today. It would have stunk. I wouldn’t have near the good time as I’m gonna have at the Super Bowl party tonight.”
Even though UGA’s Griffin led all scorers with 23, Jen O’Neill came pretty close at 21. Five Kentucky players scored in double digit figures: O’Neill, Bria Goss with 10, Linnae Harper with 11, Makayla Epps with 16, and Alexis Jennings with 10. Harper was only two rebounds away from a double-double. Georgia shot 47% from the field to Kentucky’s 39%, but the Cats shot 24% better from the FT line than the Dogs. UK won the rebound contest 43-36 and managed 20 second chance points. The Wildcats forced 25 steals, converting 18 points off of them.
With this win, Kentucky moves to 17-5 on the season and 6-3 in conference. They now have a week off before facing Vandy next Sunday in Nashville at Memorial Gymnasium. Tip is set for 1 pm eastern time and will be shown on the SEC Network.
As always, Go Cats.