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Kentucky cruises past Austin Peay, 81-52 to stay undefeated

via UK Athletics

Photo via UK Athletics

The Cats started off hot, and they never looked back. In fact, UK led the game for 39:27 – they were only tied when the score read 0-0. The Kentucky women’s basketball team cruised past the Austin Peay Governors 81-52 inside Memorial Coliseum Sunday afternoon. The Wildcats are now 7-0 on the season.

After just a few minutes of first-quarter action, Austin Peay was forced to call a timeout when the Cats went up a quick 11-2. KeKe McKinney earned an and-one within the first 30 seconds of action, followed by a Rhyne Howard block and a second-chance bucket under the rim by Ogechi Anyagaligbo. Sabrina Haines earned an early assist and defensive rebound before going 1-2 from the free-throw line, but Amanda Paschal grabbed the rebound and Haines quickly redeemed the missed free throw with a successful three-pointer from the left side of the arc.

By the end of the first quarter, every Wildcat who had checked into the game had scored. Seven Cats had points next to their names on the box score, compared to five Governors. An Austin Peay layup at the end-of-the-quarter buzzer cut UK’s lead to 24-17, but the Cats were still in control of the ballgame.

By the end of the half, Kentucky was pulling away from the Governors. With a 40-23 lead with less than 10 seconds left in the first, true freshman Emma King secured another and-one for the Cats. She sank her only free throw of the game, and Kentucky entered the locker room with a 45-23 lead at the half. UK scored 21 points in the second quarter, compared to six points for Austin Peay.

The third quarter was more of the same. The Cats continued to dominate offensively while severely limiting the Governor’s own offensive efforts. With 1.3 seconds left in the third, Jaida Roper earned another and-one for Kentucky. Her free throw hit the rim and rolled out, but the Cats still finished the quarter leading 61-33.

Blair Green started the fourth quarter on a high note, sinking a jumper. That shot was followed up by a Howard layup, and the Cats just kept rolling. The momentum was interrupted with 8:05 left in the game, when Austin Peay’s Maggie Knowles sank to the floor with an ankle injury. She was carried off the court by two Governors trainers, who evaluated her on the sidelines. Knowles did not re-enter the game. She finished with 11 points and two rebounds, shooting 4-6 from the floor and 3-4 from behind-the-arc. She was tied as the team’s leading scorer at the time of her unfortunate exit. Brianah Ferby finished the game as the Governors’ leading scorer, tallying 13 points and two rebounds.

Once play resumed, Kentucky slowed down but didn’t let up. At the end of the game, it was clear the Cats won by doing what they do best: pushing the pace, taking their opponent out of their element and relying on a variety of weapons. Nine Wildcats scored for Kentucky, with five players reaching double-digit points.

The Cats finished the day with an 81-52 win over the Governors. Rhyne Howard led all scorers with 14 points, followed by KeKe McKinney with 12 and Sabrina Haines, Jaida Roper and Ogechi Anyagaligbo with 10 each.

Tatyana Wyatt did not play Sunday, due to what Coach Matthew Mitchell called a “migraine -level headache.” Anyagaligbo earned her first career start in Wyatt’s absence. I’m told Wyatt could have played if the Cats became desperate, but a 29-point win with Wyatt unavailable will have to do.

Kentucky will be back in action at home this Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 11 a.m. to take on the Charlotte 49ers.

Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)