Memorial Magic showed up one last time for Janee Thompson tonight for Senior Day. After an emotional senior night ceremony, Thompson caught fire in the fourth quarter, fittingly leading Kentucky to the victory, 69-59.
Kentucky jumped out to an early 4-2 lead thanks to back-to-back Evelyn Akhator jumpers. Kentucky struggled to guard the three point shot in the first quarter–6 of Mizzou’s first 9 points came from the arch. The play of the quarter was a beautiful steal by Epps who passed it to Murray to get the Cats a 12-10 lead. Janee Thompson got her first points of the night at the free throw line at the 1:54 mark in the first quarter. Thompson went back down the floor on the next possession, faked a defender, and landed a gorgeous bucket in the paint, giving Kentucky the six point lead. Kentucky ended the first quarter on an 8-0 run, making 4-5 shots. At the end of the first quarter, Kentucky had the 8 point lead, 22-14.
The second quarter started out with a Mizzou three pointer, but Murray was quick to respond, splashing a deep three pointer herself. Makayla Epps ended Kentucky’s three minute scoring drought with a jumper with 7:09 left in the half. Thompson set Memorial on fire with a super strong layup, getting the Cats an 11 point lead. The Cats ended the half on a high note, going 3 for 3. Mizzou, on the other hand only made one of their last seven shots in the half. At the end of the first half, Kentucky had the 13 point lead, 39-26. Kentucky shot 45% and was outrebounding the Tigers 17-14. Kentucky forced 10 turnovers off Mizzou, converting them into 12 points.
Kentucky started the second half pretty slow; they missed their first four shots and didn’t make their first basket until Makayla Epps layed it in at the 6:32 mark. Kentucky’s slow start gave Mizzou the opportunity to cut their deficit to 8. Mizzou continued to roll, going on a 6-0 run over a one minute span, cutting Kentucky’s lead to four with 2:52 left in the third quarter. Mizzou’s run continued and at the 2:06 mark in the third quarter they took the two point lead. Maci Morris got her first points of the game shortly after to get Kentucky’s lead back. The last few seconds of the third period went back and forth and Mizzou went into the fourth quarter with the one point lead, 51-50.
Janee Thompson went off in her final ten minutes on Memorial’s court. She started off the final 10 minutes of the game on a high note for the Cats, getting fouled on layup and securing Kentucky a two point lead. Then, she sunk an absolutely gorgeous three pointer soon after, extending the lead to 5. Evelyn Akhator had a strong tip-in with 1:20 left in the game to extend Kentucky’s lead to 11. Fittingly, Janee Thompson had 12 of Kentucky’s last 19 points in her 100th win as a Wildcat. The Cats get the victory, 69-59.
“Senior Day meant a lot. I had a lot of people here from my hometown and a lot of my family that I haven’t seen in a long time. People make a big deal out of this, but I was just happy to see my family and know they were in the stands,” Thompson said after the game.
Thompson ended the night with 24 points and 3 assists. “For Janee to perform like that on senior night, that’s story book type stuff,” Coach Mitchell said after the game. Evelyn Akhator was a rebound away from a double-double with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Makayla Epps ended with 14 points. Kentucky shot 40% for the game and forced Mizzou into 17 turnovers, converting them into 20 points.
Here’s tonight’s box score:
Kentucky will go to College Station to face Texas A&M in their final regular season game on Sunday. The game will be broadcast on the ESPN at 4 pm.