Last season, Kentucky traveled to Arizona, where they defeated the favored Sun Devils in overtime. Today, the Cats got a taste of their own medicine as unranked Arizona State were the victorious ones over No. 15 Kentucky, 73-71. Read Maggie’s post about the loss here, but here are five takeaways from today:
Maci Morris balled out
Morris completely obliterated her old career-high of 19 points against Oklahoma, scoring 29 points in today’s loss. Morris went 2-7 from the three, 9-17 from the field and 9-9 from the free throw line. After only scoring two points against Middle Tennessee State, Morris ran all over Arizona State. Usually a three-point shooter, the sophomore drove up the paint and the baseline for a majority of her points tonight.
“I recognized that they weren’t guarding the drive and Taylor and I tried to exploit that,” Morris said after the game.
However, a career high means nothing if it doesn’t come with a win. When asked if the high gave her confidence moving on, Morris said she would’ve rather won that scored 29 points.
Makayla Epps was off, so off, before the fourth quarter
Epps had a giant goose egg on her stat sheet going into the third period with no points and no assists. The senior was visibly frustrated throughout the entire game as she’s usually the foundation of the Cats’ scoring and ball distributing. Epps did come alive with about four minutes left in the third quarter to hit a jumper from the elbow to tie the game at 40. In the last four minutes of the third, Epps rallied to make six of her 14 points for the day.
ASU out rebounded the heck out of UK
It’s always surprising when the Cats get out rebounded with the amount of talent there is under the basket, but today was one of those days. ASU out rebounded the Cats 41-32, Akhator grabbing 12 and Epps, seven. However, it wasn’t enough to edge the Sun Devils who scored 17 second chance points to the Cats four. Controlling the paint is something the Cats are going to have to do better moving forward.
According to Mitchell the problem lies in their physicality.
“We’re not tough enough pushing back,” head coach Matthew Mitchell said.
Free throws win games, people
Morris herself hit nine free throws today, tying the game up at 54 all regulation, sinking two for the lead in overtime and also cutting the lead to two in overtime. Epps also hit two vital foul shots to put the Cats up 65-63. Missing any of those free throws, makes this an incredibly different game.
The only free throw the Cats did miss however, might have been the game changer. With about 30 seconds on the clock in overtime, Taylor Murray drove to the basket and drew an and-one. The shot tied the game up at 71 all, but Murray missed her foul shot and ASU got the ball back. On ASU’s final possession, they were able to get a shot off just before the shot clock went off. Kentucky had the ball for the last 5.5 seconds with the ball in Epps hands, a play Mitchell regrets and blames himself for.
They’ve now lost two games in OT they had chances to win in regulation
In Kentucky’s two overtime games, the Cats have held a lead in the fourth period, but fallen in overtime. In today’s game, the Cats led by four going into the fourth quarter and with one minute left in regulation. However, poor defense allowed for ASU to get a shot off and tie the game. In overtime, ASU got up as many as four, Kentucky fighting their way back each time, but a missed shot from a double-teamed Epps at the buzzer iced the ASU victory.