Women’s Hoops opened the hardest part of their SEC schedule on the road to Florida today, losing to the Gators in the Swamp 79-85.
The Cats were plagued once again with turnovers, foul problems and sloppy defense early on in the game but were able to battle back to get it within two points with just under a minute left.
Missing their seven out of their first 10 shots, the Cats struggled early offensively. Janee Thompson was their only offensive source for a good part of the first period, scoring the first nine points of the game, including two back-to-back three pointers.
The second period was better for the Cats, even gaining the lead once, but losing it within 10 seconds. Maci Morris gathered 10 points in a three minute span. Kentucky hit seven out of nine shots to give them a little offensive spark, but still trailed 43-49 at the half.
Opening the second half with Morris, Thompson and Alexis Jennings on the brink of foul trouble, the Cats were playing sloppy defensively and offensively. Florida surged offensively late in the third quarter, getting up 60-47 but then Makayla Epps happened. Only scoring 7 points in the first half, Epps scored 20 of her 27 in the second half (a season-high for Epps) getting her team within five points at 70-75 with two minutes left.
The Cat’s two best three-point shooters had fouled out (Morris) or were in severe foul trouble (Thompson) at this point, but Kentucky was still able to get it within two at 79-81 with 17 seconds left in the game before Thompson fouled out, sending Florida to the line. Florida would go on to make their first and miss the second, giving Kentucky the ball, just for them to turn it over for Florida to make a layup and draw a foul to seal the game.
Turnovers have been an issue for the Cats all season and today was no different, turning the ball over 30 times for the season high (previous was 26 at Auburn). Out of those 30 turnovers, Florida scored 24 points.
Also, Kentucky is usually a team who is incredibly dominate in the paint, but tonight struggled to produce offensively. Even though they out rebounded the Gators 35-24, Florida massacred them in points in the paint, outscoring them 50-28.
Individually, Thompson, Morris and Akhator were all able to contribute offensively and defensively. Before fouling out with 17 seconds left, Thompson had 17 points and three rebounds, Morris had 10 points and Akhator had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The Cats will continue their stretch of road game at South Carolina on Thursday at 7.