UK Hoops faced off against the LSU Tigers on Sunday afternoon at Rupp Arena. Kentucky started the game struggling offensively, landing zero of their first eight field goal attempts. An and-one from No. 20 Dorie Harrison had the crowd at Rupp on their feet about halfway through the first quarter. But by the end of the period, the Cats were only 2-of-15 from the field, and hitting only 33% of their free throws. LSU held a significant lead by the time the buzzer sounded, with the score 16-5.
The Cats turned up the heat offensively, making 90% of their field goals in the second period. Kentucky worked to cut LSU’s lead to seven points, but a three by LSU brought their lead back up to 12 by the end of the first half. The score at the end of the second period was 38-26.
While the third period started with UK Hoops in possession of the ball, the Cats struggled with two missed threes from No. 4 Maci Morris. A three from No. 3 Keke McKinney cut LSU’s lead to eight, but three straight turnovers from Kentucky helped the Tigers on a 7-0 run. Morris scored a three with less than a minute left on the clock, and UK Hoops ended the period on a 7-0 run. The score at the end of the third period was 51-43 with the Tigers still holding a big lead over the Cats.
The third period was all about threes and free throws for Kentucky. After two threes from Morris and a three from No. 12 Amanda Paschal, the crowd at Rupp was on their feet for the last two minutes of the game. Murray was sent to the line and hit both of her free throws, cutting LSU’s lead to 69-66. The Tigers increased their lead to 70-66 with a free throw, but a field goal from Murray brought the score to 70-68, with 27.2 seconds left in the game. The crowd was brimming with nervous energy and excitement as LSU was sent back to the line, making another shot. The Cats were down by three when Morris was fouled. She made both of her free throws, bringing the score to 71-70 with less than 12 seconds left in the game. A last attempt at a shot to tie the game from Morris didn’t land, and LSU walked away with a win. The final score was 72-70.
“I’m real disappointed today because the game came down to effort and we didn’t give everything we had and that was really, really disappointing,” Coach Mitchell said in the post-game press conference. “The progress we’ve made is what makes it so disappointing. We’re definitely a lot better than we were a month and a half ago.” Kentucky is now 12-12 this season.
UK Hoops will play the University of Missouri at the Mizzou Arena on Thursday, Feb 8, at 9 pm. The Wildcats will be back in Memorial at 7 pm on Thursday, Feb 15, to take on the University of Arkansas.