In case you missed it, the UK Hoops team, a 4-seed, defeated Alabama, a 12-seed, 65-55 earlier this afternoon. For some more specific information, check out Haley’s game recap here. Today’s victory advanced Kentucky to the SEC Tournament Semifinals for the 8th consecutive year, which is the longest active streak in the SEC. As we look ahead to the Cats’ next game, let’s reflect with five leftovers from today’s victory.
1. Let’s start with the highlights
Check out the top plays of the game here, courtesy of our friends at KY Wildcats TV.
2. Alyssa Rice made the difference
Although Rice has been one of the team’s starters for most of the season, today’s game definitely stands out as one of her strongest. For the third time this season, the junior hit double-digit scoring, ending with a career-high 11 points and five rebounds.
“We were just looking to be aggressive and duck-in on their post players,” Rice said after the game. “We were just trying to be poised and patient.”
3. Speaking of poise…
If you’ve been following along all season, you know “poise” has been Coach Matthew Mitchell’s word of choice from the very beginning. Today was no different. After the Tide scored a quick five points to open the game, the Cats rallied to lead 17-14 at the end of the first quarter. However, Kentucky shot just 6-of-16 from the field in this quarter. From here, the Cats remained – you guessed it – poised, and therefore maintained their lead throughout the rest of the game.
“Coach Mitchell always tells us to be poised when we have the ball, and we tried to do that today,” said senior Evelyn Akhator.
4. Akhator did her thing
For the 9th time this season, the senior forward scored 20 points or more, ending the game with 23 points and nine rebounds, just shy of what would have been her 16th double-double of the season.
Maci Morris channeled another basketball player with a double-M named (cough cough, Malik Monk) and came alive in the second half. In the first, the sophomore was 0-6 from the floor. With 7:09 left in the third quarter, Morris hit her first three of the game, pushing Kentucky’s lead back up to ten after a 7-0 run. She ended the night with 11 points — nine of which came from the second half — and three rebounds.
Taylor Murray added 8 points and dished out a team-high five assists before leaving the game late in the fourth quarter after a collision.
“She doesn’t feel great right now but it’s too early to tell what happened,” Mitchell said immediately following the game. “It was a legal play, just a bad collision.”
5. Next up… South Carolina
UK Hoops will be back in action Saturday at 5 p.m. to take on the No. 1 seed, South Carolina. The Gamecocks have defeated the Wildcats twice this season, but you know what they say about beating a team three times in one year… Tune into ESPNU tomorrow to cheer on the Cats, and make sure you’re following @HaleySimpKSR for real-time updates, as she’s in Greenville, South Carolina to cover the game.
BONUS: Check out this adorable video of Coach Mitchell and his kids celebrating after the victory.
Got the W âœ”ï¸
– SEC (@SEC) March 3, 2017