The Kentucky women’s basketball team came through with a big win tonight over Auburn. The Wildcats defeated the Tigers 65-48 inside Memorial Coliseum and clinched their third consecutive double-digit win over an SEC opponent. Savannah has a game recap for you here, but first, take a look at the three main takeaways from the victory:
Cats come up huge in the 4th
Kentucky struggled offensively for the duration of the first three quarters. Although they were leading by four (42-38) at the end of the third period, the Wildcats had hit just 11-36 (31 percent) from the field. But when the Cats got the ball to start the final quarter, they came out firing.
Kentucky scored the first 13 points of the quarter, leading to a 17-point cushion for the Wildcats. Maci Morris drained her fifth three-pointer of the game, and Kentucky continued to expand their lead. The Cats finished the quarter on a 24-3 run, outscoring the Tigers 23-10 in the fourth period.
Coach Matthew Mitchell was obviously happy with his team’s effort in the final ten minutes.
“Beautiful fourth quarter,” Mitchell said. “People just flying all over the place and making plays. Excited about that.”
Maci Morris hits 1,000
After inching closer and closer over the past several games, the Bell County native finally made it official tonight. Morris hit her 1,000th point early in the first quarter after back-to-back three-pointers. She just needed four points to secure a place in the club, but she finished the night with 18, including five buckets from behind-the-arc. She’s the 33rd player in program history to score 1,000 career points.
“That’s a great accomplishment for her,” Coach Mitchell said. “She really, really lit it up from the 3 for us and kind of steadied the ship when we were having a hard time figuring out how to beat that zone. She made some big, big shots. So proud of her. She’s an absolute warrior.”
Defense stole the show
While Kentucky’s surge in the fourth quarter looks like the result of a strong offensive effort on paper, the team’s tough defense is the real reason for the run. The fourth quarter was the Cats’ highest-scoring quarter of the game, but it was also the Tiger’s lowest. Auburn scored just 10 points in the final quarter, and they took just 15 shots.
The Wildcats out-rebounded their opponent 36-27, including 23 defensive rebounds, while grabbing 16 steals.
Kentucky forced 25 Auburn turnovers, and they were able to convert these miscues into 32 points. Tonight marked the Cats’ fourth consecutive game in which the team scored 20 or more points off turnovers.
“We’re trying to find ways to win games, trying to find ways to get better,” Mitchell said. “Tonight was a good night as far as forcing turnovers. So, proud of them and we just need to come back to work tomorrow really humble and hungry and try to get better tomorrow.”
Check out all of the night’s highlights below, courtesy of KY Wildcats TV.
W W W
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) February 2, 2018
The Cats will be back in action Sunday at 7 p.m. to host LSU. The game will be played inside Rupp Arena, but if you can’t make the trip to Lexington, you can catch it on the SEC Network.