It was a slow start for UK Hoops when they took on Alabama for their opening game in the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday. The Cats started 0-of-4 from the field, but after turning up their defense, they were able to tie the game at 8-8 with five minutes left in the first quarter. Alabama answered with a 10-0 run to regain the lead. The score at the end of the first quarter was 18-8. Kentucky was 3-for-16 in the first quarter, while Alabama was 8-for-17.
UK Hoops scored the first six points in the second quarter, cutting Alabama’s lead to 14. The Cats were able to grab the lead for a quick moment, at 21-20, but a 4-0 run from Alabama put them back on top by the end of the half. Kentucky was able to outscore Alabama 15-7 in the second quarter, making up for lost points in the first period. The score at halftime was 25-23.
Kentucky scored another small lead in the third quarter, but three straight three-pointers from Alabama helped give the Tide a six-point lead. The score was 41-35 with five minutes left in the quarter. An 8-0 run from the Cats helped tie the game at 46-46 with 48.2 left in the quarter. The score at the end of the third quarter was 50-48, with UK Hoops in the lead.
With 8:20 left in the fourth quarter, UK Hoops had their biggest lead of the game at 54-50. No. 4 Maci Morris secured her seventh 20-point scoring game to put the Cats up 67-62 with 1:23 left. Morris also scored two big threes in the fourth quarter, helping Kentucky secure a win. The final score was 71-64.
“We have to rise up and play with a maximum Kentucky Wildcat effort tomorrow because we need this win. We need it,” Coach Matthew Mitchell said in the post-game press conference.
UK Hoops will take on Mississippi State tomorrow, Friday, March 2, in the quarterfinals of the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament.