UK HOOPS IS MOVING ON TO THE SECOND ROUND. The #4 seed beat 13-seeded Belmont today in a close 73-70 game.
It was a tough game in Memorial for the Cats, but the home court advantage helped. You could feel the electricity in Memorial throughout the whole game. Yeah, it’s definitely March in Kentucky.
“Playing here again, it’s like senior night part two and Sunday will be senior night part three,” said Makayla Epps.
The Cats came out hot with Epps getting a three right after the tip. The Senior Superstar played all 40 minutes and scored 30 points. She shot 4-of-5 in the first quarter and ended shooting 11-of-18 overall. Evelyn Akhator also had an impressive game with 22 points and 10 rebounds ( her 17th double-double if you’re counting at home) . But, despite this impressive effort – Belmont didn’t go away.
“We felt some four seed pressure, our team didn’t want to lose today. We did what we had to do to win,” said Coach Matthew Mitchell.
Belmont fought hard. They out-rebounded and out-scored the Cats in the paint. Number 23 Kylee Smith scored a whopping 18 points in the first half and Kentucky couldn’t answer. In the third quarter, the Cats went on a 13-0 run but, Belmont got hot and back-to-back-to-back threes.
The game came down to free throws. With 37 seconds left, the Cats led 66-63. Maci Morris went to the line three times in the last seconds of the game and made all but one of her free throws. It was 71-68 with 10 seconds left. Belmont is known as one of the best three point shooting teams in the nation but, they couldn’t tie up the game.
“I just didn’t want to miss. Epps told me they would go in. My teammates have a lot of faith in me,” said Maci Morris.
UK Hoops will play either Western Kentucky or Ohio State on Sunday in Memorial for the second round or as Makayla Epps called it “senior night part three.”