The UK Women’s Basketball team defeated the Georgia Lady Bulldogs on the road 66-56 Thursday night. The Cats are now 17-8 on the season and 8-4 in the SEC, including four SEC road wins. First, you should check out Nick’s game recap, then catch up on the five takeaways from last night’s victory.
This matchup was very different from the matchup in Lexington
On Jan. 15, the Wildcats crushed the Bulldogs 82-61 in Memorial Coliseum. In the first meeting, Georgia ended the first quarter with just four points. On Thursday, the Bulldogs scored seven points in four minutes, and they ended the quarter trailing 8-11 to the Wildcats.
“Coach told us a lot that we were going to see a completely different Georgia team than we saw in Lexington,” said senior Makayla Epps after the game. “We are on their home court, and nobody wants to get beat like that on their home court.”
In Lexington, Kentucky forced 12 Bulldog turnovers and converted those mistakes into 24 points. In Athens, the Cats committed 12 turnovers of their own and scored 12 second-chance points, compared to Georgia’s 17 second-chance points.
“Last time we played them we were coming off the three-point loss to South Carolina,” Georgia Head Coach Joni Taylor said. “Because we played South Carolina so well, we thought we could just show up to the next game. I don’t think we were mentally locked in.”
Akhator recorded another double-double
This marks her 26th career double-double at Kentucky and her 13th of the season. She is now ranked second in terms of most double-doubles in a single season, behind legendary Wildcat Valerie Still.
In Thursday’s game, Akhator scored just 11 points, but grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds. And, according to Matthew Mitchell, these were no ordinary rebounds.
“Those 14 defensive rebounds that Evelyn got tonight were grown-up rebounds,” Mitchell said. “They were going at us tonight.”
Epps, Morris were also leading scorers
Makayla Epps ended the game with 7-14 shooting for 16 points and three assists. Maci Morris reached double-digit scoring for the fifth time in the past six games, finishing with 15 points.
…but don’t worry about Murray
Although Taylor Murray shot 3-12 from the floor and ended with nine points, four rebounds and two assists in a full 40 minutes, Mitchell says she contributed in other ways.
“Don’t worry about Taylor’s stat line tonight,” Mitchell said. “She ran the floor and had great poise. She even calmed me down in the third quarter.”
Poise was an important aspect of the victory, as the Cats had to continue to fight to maintain their lead. Most importantly, it helped Kentucky make 18-of-21 from the free-throw line for 85.7 percent, while the Bulldogs hit just 7-of-12 for 58.3 percent.
“There were some tough times tonight, but I thought the players did a great job of keeping their poise,” said Mitchell. “I thought our team communicated really well down the stretch, had great poise and did a great job.”
Congrats to Alyssa Rice
The junior center has just been named one of the five District II honorees to the 2017 College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District Team.
On the season, Rice is averaging 21.6 minutes per game with 4.1 points and 4.4 rebounds.
Off the court, Rice continues to excel. Last semester, she earned a 3.94 GPA. Earlier in the season, she represented UK at the SEC Women’s Basketball Leadership Council and was voted on by her peers to serve as the vice chair of the council.