After coming off a win over Auburn on Sunday, Kentucky left the snowy Bluegrass state and went down to Oxford, Miss. to face former UK Assistant Coach, Matt Insell’s Ole Miss squad. After struggling most of the game, Kentucky just couldn’t get wind in their sails, and fell to the Rebels, 73-65.
Kentucky struggled to get started early and the Rebels took a quick lead in the first three minutes of the game. A gorgeous three pointer by Maci Morris, who had ten points in the first ten minutes, put the Cats up by one with 7:00 left in the first quarter. The game went back and forth from there, and even though Kentucky made 5 of their last 6 shots to close out the quarter, Ole Miss made 5 of their 8 three point attempts in the first ten minutes of play, keeping them in front going into the second period, 23-18.
Second verse, same as the first. A pair of jumpers by Alexis Jennings and Makayla Epps brought the Cats within one with 7:24 left in the first half, but Ole Miss was able to keep a hold of their lead with a three pointer. The Rebels continued to score, partly because Kentucky wasn’t able to box-out, but the Cats stayed on their heels, only trailing by two possessions in the second period. To end the second quarter, Kentucky missed six of their last seven in a nearly five minute scoring drought. At the end of the first half, Mississippi led Kentucky 35-31. The Cats shot 44% from the field, and made half of their three pointers (2-4). Ole Miss was able to outrebound the Cats 19-18, and forced 10 Kentucky turnovers. Morris and Epps both had ten points at the half. Janee Thompson had 3 assists.
In the first seven seconds of the third period Ole Miss hit a three pointer and shortly after, a turnover by Epps gave Ole Miss another clear three pointer, giving them a ten point lead in under a minute. Kentucky was as cold as ice in the middle of the third quarter, going without a basket for four straight minutes. Akhator’s and-one cut Ole Miss’s lead to five around the five minute mark.Janee Thompson cut it to three with her first points of the night with 4 minutes to go in the third quarter. Ole Miss kept going, making 3 of their last 3 shots of the period and leading the Cats by 7 going into the final ten minutes of the game.
The Rebels continued to roll in the fourth quarter, extending the lead to twelve early in the period. But, thanks to Epps and Thompson, Kentucky went on an 8-0 run, cutting the Reb’s lead to 4. Janee Thompson went down hard with a minute and fifty seconds left in the game clutching her left ankle, the same leg she freakishly injured in last season’s South Carolina game. She was carried off the court. Shortly after, Ole Miss ran the lead to nine and the game was over from there. Ole Miss gets the victory, 73-65.
Despite trailing most of the game, Kentucky shot 47% from the field to Ole Miss’s 41% and outrebounded them 36-33. They also outscored the Rebels in the paint, 34-32. Ole Miss forced 21 turnovers on the Cats, converting them into 22 points. Three Wildcats ended the game in double-digits, Epps with 22, Morris with 10, and Evelyn Akhator with 13. Alexis Jennings led the team with 9 rebounds. As soon as I find something out about Janee Thompson’s ankle, I will put it on twitter, @JC_KSR.
Here’s tonight’s box score:
Kentucky will now look towards Monday and their game against #18 Tennessee in their “We Back Pat” game in Memorial at 7pm. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2. Stay safe out there in this crazy weather, everyone.