The Kentucky women went down to College Station this afternoon looking to close out the regular season by getting a win over #11 Texas A&M. The Cats put their five game win streak on the line against the Aggies, who had a six game winning streak of their own on their Senior Night, but the Cats were the ones who came out victorious, 71-58.
It wasn’t a good start at all for the girls in blue today. In the first five minutes of the game, Kentucky had missed all six of their attempted field goals and had turned the ball over four times in four minutes, giving A&M the 10-1 lead at the first media timeout. The Cats’ first FG came at 4:30 left in the first quarter courtesy of an Alexis Jennings jumper. A pair of layups by Epps and Jennings cut Kentucky’s deficit to four with a minute and a half left in the period, and shortly after a three pointer by Epps got the Cats within 1. After an 11-4 run to end of the first period, Kentucky trailed by one, 15-14.
A three pointer by Maci Morris was able to tie the game, 19 all with 6:49 left in the half. Soon after, Morris was able to get to the basket and get Kentucky the two point lead. A 9-0 Kentucky run got the Cats a six point lead with 4 minutes and change left in the half, forcing Texas A&M to call a timeout. After a little run, the Aggies were able to tie the game back up. A three pointer by Janee Thompson got the lead back for the Cats. At the end of the first half, Kentucky had the two point lead, 30-28. Alexis Jennings led UK in scoring during the first half with 8. Evelyn Akhator had 9 rebounds. Kentucky turned the ball over 9 times, but outrebounded the Aggies 31-16. The Cats also outscored Texas A&M in the paint 16-12.
Kentucky started the second half with a jumper by Akhator to extend the lead to four. From there, the Cats went 1 for 9 from the field, but managed to hold on to the lead, thanks to some great defense. A&M did not make their first basket of the half until 5 minutes in. The Aggies were in a 4 minute scoring drought to end the third quarter, where they went 2 for 9 from the field. At the end of the third period, the Cats were leading by 10, 49-39.
The Cats went 3 for 3 to start the final quarter of the game, extending the lead to fifteen before A&M started chipping away with a couple of free throws and a layup. Makayla Epps went down hard, clutching her right knee with 4:48 left to go in the game. It didn’t appear to be too serious, though as she returned to the game with 2 minutes left. With 1:30 left in the game, Janee Thompson sank a nice three pointer, and the fat lady sang. Kentucky steals the spotlight on A&M’s Senior Day with a win, 71-58.
The biggest story of the game was Kentucky’s defense. The Cats outrebounded the Aggies 56-32. The Cats shot 41% from the field in the game and outscored A&M in the paint, 34-28. Alexis Jennings and Evelyn Akhator both had career nights; Jennings ended the game with 15 points and 16 rebounds, while Akhator tallied 15 points, 18 rebounds. Morris got 15 points and Epps ended the game with 14 points and 4 assists.
Here’s today’s box score:
The Cats will now go to Jacksonville for the SEC Tournament and will face the winner of LSU/Bama as the 5th seed on Tuesday around 2:30pm (a more detailed post to come later tonight).