The Kentucky women’s basketball team fell behind early and, despite 21 points from Maci Morris, could never catch up to the No. 2 Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Cats lost 74-55 on the road, dropping their record to 12-14 on the season and 4-8 in the conference. Mississippi State remains undefeated: 26-0 and 12-0 in the SEC.
The Bulldogs dominated the Wildcats right out of the gates. By the end of the first quarter, Mississippi State had already built a 22-8 lead. And Kentucky’s immediate foul trouble did not help their comeback effort. UK was called for nine team fouls in the first period, sending MSU to the line, where they went 7-for-10. The foul trouble continued throughout the remainder of the first half, and the Cats entered the locker room at the break with four players with two fouls and two players with three fouls.
Because of said foul trouble, the Cats had to go deep into their bench – all nine players who checked into the game played at least ten minutes, while only six of Mississippi State’s eight players saw more than seven minutes of floor time. Kentucky’s long lineup gave them the 21-1 advantage for points off the bench.
UK also won the battle of the boards, out-rebounding the Bulldogs 39-33, a stat Coach Matthew Mitchell was impressed with given the Bulldog’s physicality.
“To outrebound this team is a really tough task,” Coach Mitchell said. “[It] shows how hard we played.”
Kentucky tried to stage a comeback in the third quarter, outscoring the Bulldogs 21-16 to cut Mississippi State’s lead to nine. Maci Morris got hot, scoring 13 points during the third period alone. But it wasn’t enough, and the Bulldogs pushed the lead back to 13 points by the end of the quarter.
Both Morris and Taylor Murray picked up their fifth and final foul during the fourth quarter, and any Kentucky momentum checked out of the game with them. Dorie Harrison made strong contributions for the Wildcats today, scoring eight points and grabbing nine rebounds. Her performance earned her praise from Coach Mitchell after the game.
“I loved the way that [Harrison] presented herself in practice this week and think she played so well today,” Mitchell said.
Despite the final score, Coach Mitchell was impressed with his team’s effort today, which is a change from previous games when Mitchell said his players lacked the energy needed to win.
“I think that we did some good things today and really found some stuff that worked there in the second half,” Michell said. “We will be better because of this game.”
Today’s loss marked the third consecutive loss for the Wildcats. Kentucky will return to action inside Memorial Coliseum this Thursday, February 15 to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks. Tip is set for 7 p.m. and can be seen on the SEC Network.