While the boys were taking care of business in Rupp tonight, the Hoops squad was working hard down in Starkville against a #14 Mississippi State team. The Cats took control of the game early and ran away with the win, 83-60.
Mississippi State took the lead early in the game, but Kentucky was quick to answer with a jumper by Janee Thompson and took the one point lead with Maci Morris’ foul shots two minutes in. After that Kentucky took control of the game with jumpers by Makayla Epps and Morris. During the last five minutes of the period, Mississippi State got hot and cut their deficit to six. At the end of the first, the Cats were in the lead, 20-14.
Kentucky had trouble converting offensively in the second quarter. The Cats missed six of their first seven shots of the period. A three pointer by the Bulldog’s got State within 3 with 6:30 left in the half. As hot as the Cats were to start the game, they went a little chilly in the second quarter, and the Dogs got within two pretty quickly. What mostly kept the Cats in the game in the second quarter was their rebounding. At the end of the half, Kentucky was outrebounding State 23-14. Taylor Murray came alive late in the half, scoring 7 of her 11 points in the second quarter and leading all scorers at the break. Janee Thompson had three assists. Makayla Epps and Alexis Jennings had four rebounds a-piece to lead the team. At the half, Kentucky had the seven point lead 37-30.
The Wildcats started out the second half on a high note with back to back jumpers by Camara and Thompson, extending the lead to double digits. In the meantime, Mississippi State went on a 5 minute scoring drought, making only two of their last thirteen shots in the third quarter. Maci Morris got her first three of the game at the 1:40 mark of the third, taking Kentucky to a 19 point lead. At the end of the third, the Cats led 59-40.
Kentucky went two for nine in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter and State attempted to mount a comeback with a 6-0 run, cutting the lead to sixteen. Back to back buckets by Makayla Epps with around 5 minutes left in the game put the proverbial nail in the coffin for the Bulldogs and Kentucky gets out of Starkville with the W, 83-60.
The biggest story of the game was Bell County’s Maci Morris, who led all scorers and absolutely lit it up, going 6 for 9 and notching 17 points. The Cats had four players end the game with double digit scoring, Epps with 16, Murray with 13, and Jennings with 12. Evelyn Akhator was a basket away from a double-double with 8 pts, 12 rebounds. Kentucky dominated the glass tonight, outrebounding the Bulldogs by 15. The Wildcats also outscored State in the paint, 32-24.
Here’s tonight’s box score:
Kentucky will be back in Memorial on Sunday at 3pm to face Arkansas. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network. After that Kentucky will face Mizzou a week from today for Janee Thompson’s Senior Night at 7pm. Start making plans to get out to Memorial on Thursday. This is going to be a super special senior night.
In other Hoops news, the latest Bracketology by ESPN’s Charlie Creme has the women as a sixth seed in top seeded Baylor’s bracket in Dallas. If that’s the case, they would not be in the Lexington bracket with #1 South Carolina. In UK’s place at Rupp as the sixth seed would be Tennessee. Get that gawdy orange out of there.
Until Sunday. Go Cats.