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Five things from Senior Night at Memorial

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

No. 22 Kentucky pulled out a massive upset tonight, taking down No. 3 Mississippi State 78-75 on an emotional Senior Night. The Cats are now 20-8 on the season and third in the SEC and an electric night in Memorial proved that they are a real contender this year. Check out Savannah’s post to read more about tonight’s overtime win.

The seniors took over the second half. 

Kentucky went into the third quarter trailing 31-30 and Makayla Epps had decided she had enough. Epps came out and had an 8-0 run to give the Cats a 38-30 lead. This gave Kentucky some much needed momentum after they had a rough time getting their offense moving in the first half. For only having four points in the first half, Epps came out and rolled out 18 more in the second half for 22 points total.

Akhator, was also a victim of a weird first half. Only scoring five points in the first half, she went to work in the second and scored 22 points to give her 27 totally points and 17 rebounds. A ridiculous stat line, but one that is not unusual for the senior. She took advantage of MSU getting in early foul trouble to work her way into the paint and be a huge factor in Kentucky winning tonight.

Head coach Matthew Mitchell was elated for the seniors tonight.

“The best feeling for us is that Makayla and Evelyn will always have tonight. And now that they have it, you can’t take that away from them,” Mitchell said after the game.

Free throws matter

If you follow me on Twitter then you’ve seen me preach this over and over again while watching our guys play. But free throws were what kept the Cats in this game. Mississippi State was making stupid foul after stupid foul and Kentucky took advantage. They shot 71% from the charity stripe, making 20 of 28 free throws.

Memorial was lit

“That atmosphere out there felt amazing, it felt like one of the Rupp Arenas game,” Epps said. And it did have that feeling. 5,224 fans showed up to cheer on Epps and Akhator tonight and it was one of the best atmospheres I’ve experienced in Memorial.

This is the Cats biggest win of the season

It’s no secret that Kentucky has struggled this season. They’ve lost all but one matchup against top 25 teams this season and have lost both of their games that went into overtime. Tonight, they knocked off the No. 3 team in the nation and the top team in the SEC. The Cats also played one of the most complete games they’ve played all season with things flowing on both ends, hitting the shots that mattered and forcing turnovers one after another.

This was big going into the SEC tournament

Next week I will be traveling to Greenville, South Carolina to watch the Cats compete in the SEC Tournament. This win seals Kentucky at three seed so they will receive a one day bye and will play on Thursday. That is huge because the Cats will need all the rest they can get going into March.

 

Also, this video from the locker room is awesome.

I didn’t wake up today thinking I’d see Matthew Mitchell standing on a table, but ya never know.

Article written by Haley Simpson

I'm from Bullitt County but I'm not a 6'9 power forward with a solid outside shot. Follow me on Twitter: @haleysimpKSR

2 Comments for Five things from Senior Night at Memorial



  1. WeareBBN
    11:09 pm February 23, 2017 Permalink

    One thing was the difference, the ladies took care of the ball. Only 9 turnovers in an OT game vs a top team, INCREDIBLE. Look at the stat line and we had less rebounds, less FG%, way less threes but look at that TO stat…..22 for MSU vs 9 for UK. C-A-T-S CATS CATS CATS. Great job ladies, carry that momentum to USC.